Rather than a sweaty HIIT or Tabata routine that will leave you breathless, these butt exercises for women burn major calories and isolate posterior muscles by performing slow, deliberate movements that tone and sculpt your backside. By training these muscles you don’t regularly see, your body becomes stronger, your posture becomes taller, and your muscles become more defined.
Add these lower body exercises to your weekly workout schedule (or treat it as a whole routine) and you’ll feel stronger and leaner in no time.
1. Curtsy Lunge and Squat: The curtsy lunge hits your glute muscle that helps pull your legs away from the midline of your body and add that definition we all know and crave while strengthening your abductor and adductors. Adding a squat to your curtsy lunge gives that booty and lower body a beneficial compound move to help tone and tighten.
Step 1: Begin with a curtsy lunge by standing tall, crossing one foot in front of your body and bending the knees. When you do this, your feet should be far enough away from each other so you can bend the back knee at about 90 degrees. The crossover should bring your front knee in front of the opposite hip. The hands are in front of the chest to keep it lifted.
Step 2: Step out to the side so your feet are much wider than your shoulders. Dip into your plié squat and raise your arms overhead. Go as low as you can, trying to get your hips in line with your knees. For a bigger challenge, skip standing up as you transition — keep the knees bent and stay low to hold onto the burn!
Step 3: Cross the other leg in front of your body to perform a curtsy lunge on the other side. Again, give yourself enough room between the feet to perform a deep lunge.
2. Kettlebell Goblet Squat: Goblet squats are just the exercise you need to perfect the squat movement. They tone your thighs, calves and booty while strengthening your core, and unlike other squat movements, they’re surprisingly gentle on your lower back. Grab a kettlebell or weight and get to work!
Step 1: Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart so you can drop into your squat with good posture. Hold the kettlebell at chest height — the bottom of the kettlebell should be no lower than the bra line.
Step 2: Send the hips back and down, letting the knees bend as you go. The knees stay behind the toes and your weight goes into your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes at the bottom of the squat.
Step 3: Exhale and press into the heels as you raise yourself back up to standing position. Push the hips to the front. Think of your hips as the leader of this movement, guiding the body up and back down while you squeeze your glutes and quadriceps.
3. Tip Toe Squat: Think of this squat as a triple threat that targets your glutes, inner thighs and calves. If this is a new move for you, work through the initial burn and keep this exercise in your lower body routine to build those muscles.
Step 1: Stand with feet wider than shoulder‐width apart, toes turned out with hands on your hips.
Step 2: Raise up onto your toes and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor keeping your chest up and shoulders back.
Step 3: Pop yourself back up to your starting position while remaining on your tip toes.
4. Lunge to Single Leg Deadlift: Deadlifts are one of the most important exercises for women even though most of us aren’t implementing them into our routine regularly. Your core will also greatly benefit from the lunge to single leg deadlift. Any exercise that teaches you to balance on one leg without rotating or flexing your foot causes you to target your core muscle for steadiness, and in turn, works as a great compound movement.
Step 1: Begin by grasping a dumbbell in each hand.
Step 2: Take a wide step out to the front with the left leg and lower yourself into a lunge position. Keep your back straight, your chest up, and your front leg bent at a 90-degree angle.
Step 3: Push off with the back leg (weight in your heel), while straightening the front leg. Then, slowly balance yourself on one leg, lowering the dumbbells and chest toward the ground, be sure to keep the abs in tight, the back straight, and all the slack taken out of your body. The leg behind you should be pushing straight back, not flexed at the toes or hanging with slack. Think of it as pushing against a wall with your heel.
Step 4: From this position, return back to standing position and repeat the whole movement stepping out into a lunge with your right leg.
5. Superman Ball Lifts: An awesome Superman variation that targets the muscles to get you a perkier butt.
Step 1: To get into your starting position, come to all fours and place the ball securely between your ankles. Walk yourself down to your belly with your arms extended in front of you, face to the mat. Modification: Fold your arms under your head and rest your forehead on them.
Step 2: Squeeze the glutes tightly as you lift the ball off the floor. At the same time, lift your chest and reach your arms in front of you. Try not to press your belly into the floor with great force. Keep the work in your backside and maintain length from your fingertips to toes. With control, lower the ball, and focus the movement in your hamstrings. Modification: Keep your head resting on your arms and skip the chest lift.
6. Frog Lifts: This is a great burnout move to get through as many pulses as you can to really exhaust those muscles. It’s all about focusing on your hamstrings and the glute muscles to raise your legs. Do not swing or use your lower back to manipulate the movement.
Step 1: Begin in a kneeling position and place the ball behind you between the heels. Walk yourself down to the floor and prop up your chest with your elbows. Bend the knees at 90 degrees and squeeze the ball with your heels, which will make your knees move outward to the edge of your mat.
Step 2: Squeeze the glutes and the ball to lift the knees off the ground. Pause at the top for 1-2 seconds. Continue squeezing as you lower your legs, but do not collapse at the bottom of the movement.
7. Squat Step with Resistance Band: This is one of our favorite exercises to strengthen the gluteus medius, which is situated on the outer surface of the pelvis, and is the perfect way to improve hip stability and strengthen hip flexors.
Step 1: Begin by standing with feet a little closer than shoulder-width apart. Securely loop resistance band around both feet. Drop your butt back into a squat form, focusing the weight in the heels, keeping the abs pulled in tight and the chest up.
Step 2: Side step quickly in a controlled motion, keeping resistance on the band the entire time, back and forth for your reps. Don’t sacrifice proper form and start bending over with chest down to meet your reps goal.
8. Glute Rainbow: A great bodyweight exercise that primarily works the glutes, but also hits your abs, lower back, and hamstrings. Keep your hips as aligned as possible throughout the movement, so you’re isolating the right muscle groups.
Step 1: Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Take one leg and bring it out to the side, keeping that foot on the ground.
Step 2: Exhale and lift the leg up as you move it behind you until it’s extending straight back from the hip.
Step 3: Without stopping, continue to move the leg behind you, crossing over the grounded leg. Draw the toe to the floor and tap the other side if you can. Reverse the rainbow movement. Perform all your reps on this leg, then switch sides and repeat.
9. Single Leg Glute Bridge: Glute bridge and weighted glute bridge are great exercises, but this variation increases hamstring activity with the one leg being raised, so we hope you’re up for the challenge!
Step 1: Lie down on the floor with your feet flat and knees bent. Raise one leg off the ground, keeping it straight with your foot flexed (toes pointed to ceiling).
Step 2: Raise your hips off the ground while squeezing your glutes and keeping your extended leg straight. Hold, return to the starting position and repeat.
10. Fire Hydrant: One of the most well-known exercises in any butt lift workout, you simply can’t go wrong with the fire hydrant. This is another move that primarily works the gluteus medius, which is important for women of all ages, but especially great for strengthening the hips to prevent knee and ankle injuries.
Step 1: Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Keep shoulders and neck relaxed, your core tight.
Step 2: Keeping your knee bent, raise your right leg out to the side until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your hips square. Lower your leg back to starting position and repeat for desired reps before switching sides.