Workouts and Exercises for the Butt

It seems that everyone in the gym these days wants to grow their glutes. A nice, shapely bum – heck, even a large one – is in vogue. Building up your backside in a healthy way is possible, but you may have to break some of your old gym habits to get there.

Getting a bigger butt requires a combination of diet, targeted strength training, and the right kind of cardio. You should also have realistic expectations going in.

Everyone’s body is different. Some people have a naturally larger butt and just need to strengthen and tone it. Some people are less bubbly in their backside and have to work to increase the muscle size to grow their glutes.

Take a “before” picture from the sides and back so you can track your progress. Take a new photo every 2 weeks or so. You’ll be able to compare you to you (instead of a Kardashian) and find success in your progress!

Can Exercise Make Your Buttocks Bigger?

The short answer is yes. Your tush is a powerful group of muscles. In fact, the Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in the body!

The great thing about muscles is, when trained right with resistance, they can grow bigger. Everyone’s anatomy is a little different. How much your glutes can grow will vary, but it is possible to do it with nutrition and exercise.

Now, it’s also possible to flatten your booty with the wrong kinds of exercise. For example, if you’re out jogging miles and miles at a time then you can get a flat runner’s butt. That’s because exercises like jogging don’t work your glutes in a way that makes them more pronounced.

If your cardio-loving heart is shedding a tear, don’t worry! We’ll show you what kinds of cardio can help you get bigger, better glutes.

Do Squats Really Make Your Bum Bigger?

Lots of people do loads of squats thinking that it will give them a bigger butt. The truth is, squats are okay but they’re not the best exercise you can do for your glutes.

If you are not very careful about form and something called “glute activation” while doing squats, then you are essentially just strengthening your thighs.

To get your glutes in on the action when squatting, make sure you’re doing three things:


Take a wide stance

Keep your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart.


Squat Deep

Go all the way down so your thighs are at least parallel with the ground.


​Squeeze at the Top

Focus on engaging your butt as you push up, and squeeze them at the very top.

Squats are great lower-body strength training exercises. Just make them a part of your bigger butt routine and not the main event.

How Do You Get a Toned Butt?

You get a toned butt by doing strength and resistance training exercises that target the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, These are the 3 muscles that make up your “glutes”.

The most efficient way to tone these muscles is with weight training. Certain cardio activities like barre, yoga, and cardio machines such as the stair climber can also help you firm up back there. With a combination of the right weight training and cardio, you can get your best butt ever!

What Foods Make Your Buttocks Bigger?

Nutrition is at least half the battle. If your body doesn’t have enough of the right foods to fuel your workouts and support your muscle growth, then you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

You don’t have to go hungry. You might actually eat more than you are now. The challenge here is eating the right foods all the time for maximum muscle gains.

Lean protein and healthy carbohydrates are key. You can use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) and make sure that you’re getting enough of each in your daily diet. To build muscle try to aim for about 30% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 20% fat in your diet.

Not all calories are created equal! One hundred calories from a candy bar is not the same as 100 calories of steamed veggies and chicken. Make sure you’re eating clean so you don’t undo all your hard work at the gym. If you need a muscle gain meal plan, then this is a good place to start.

An image of different foods highest in carbohydrates

What Exercises Will Give Me Gluteal Gains?

Let’s get to the sweat! Great derrieres are earned at the gym. These 10 exercises will help you tone, lift, and build your best butt. You can do your glute routine 2-3 times per week but always leave a day of rest in between so your muscles can recover.

Do 2-3 sets of each of these exercises to muscle failure. Muscle failure is when you cannot do another rep with proper form. If you’re challenging yourself with the right amount of weight then you should get there in about 10-15 reps.

As you get stronger, up the intensity by adding about 5-10% more weight or resistance. The body gets used to what we throw at it. If you want to keep improving then you need to progressively challenge your muscles so they keep getting bigger and stronger.


MUSCLES INVOLVED: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus

Step-ups are a simple exercise that you can do with any elevated platform (aerobics step, box, or bench). Start without weights to get the movement down. Stand up straight facing the platform. Place your right foot on the platform and use the muscles in your right leg to step up.

You should feel this in your butt and thighs. Step down and repeat with the left foot. That is one rep. You can make it harder and add weight by holding dumbbells in your hands.

Step-ups will get your heart pumping and your legs warm, so it’s a great warm-up to begin your workout.

Lateral Band Walks

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus

You’ll need a circular resistance band (the kind that looks like a huge rubber band) for this exercise. Step both feet into the center of the band and move the band up so it’s just above the knees. Stand up with your feet even, your core engaged, shoulders back and looking forward.

Bend at the knees to lower down like you are half-way into a squat. This is where you’ll stay for the entire exercise. While lowered down, take a step to the side with your left foot. Then bring your right foot toward the left foot and back into starting position. This is one rep on one side.

You can side-step your way across a room and back, or just do single steps back and forth until you hit your reps. This is another great warm-up exercise to fire up your glutes.

Glute Bridges

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps, Hips, Core, Hamstrings

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the mat. Your arms should be by your sides and your shoulders should be even on the mat. Keeping your core engaged, press through your heels to push your pelvis up toward the ceiling.

At the full range of motion, your body should make a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Pull your belly button toward your spine to protect your core and feel the burn in your glutes and hamstrings. Slowly lower back down to the mat. This is one rep.

Hip Thrusts

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Quadriceps, Hamstrings

Position yourself sitting on the floor next to the long edge of a weight bench with your shoulder blades along the edge of the bench. Your knees should be shoulder-width apart and bent with your feet flat on the floor. Stretch out your arms along the bench.

Keeping your core tight, push up through your heels to “thrust” your hips up. At the full range of motion your knees should be at a 90-degree angle like a tabletop. Hold for 2-3 seconds, then slowly lower down. This is one rep.

You can add weight to this by using a barbell or resistance band across your hips. If using a barbell, make sure to use the correct pad on the bar and have someone spot you.

Sumo Squats

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Thigh Adductors, Glutes

The sumo squat is a variation that will do more for your glutes than the traditional variety. Think of a sumo wrestler stance with their feet wider than shoulder width. That’s what you want. Squat down so your thighs are parallel with the floor, then press up through your glutes to complete one rep.

You can add weight to a sumo squat by holding dumbbells in your hands or using a bar or a Smith Machine

Fire Hydrants


Get on your hands and knees on a mat, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Engage your core so you don’t twist, then lift your right knee up to the side like a dog lifting his leg (hence the name “fire hydrants”). Lower the knee to starting position. This is one rep for one side.

When you’re doing this use your core to stabilize your hips and keep them even. The idea is to really isolate the gluteus medius with the side lift. You’ll be feeling this one without any weight but you can add a resistance band as you get better at it!

Single-Leg Deadlift

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Glutes, Hamstrings, Adductor Magnus, Lower Back

Stand up straight with a dumbbell in your left hand and your left foot slightly behind your right foot. Engage your abs. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe as you hinge forward to lower your torso and lift your left leg up. Keep your hips even, your right knee (standing knee) slightly bent, and let your left arm (holding the dumbbell) counterbalance by hanging toward the floor.

Keeping your body straight and in alignment, press through your right leg to return to standing. This is one rep on one side.

Since this is a balancing exercise you may want to do it without weight first to get the motion down. Remember – form is always the most important. Correct form will help you get the most results out of your workout and help you prevent injury.

Reverse Lunge to Lift

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, Soleus (Calves)

Start standing up straight with your shoulders back, abs engaged, and hips square. Take a step back with your left foot and lower down until your right knee and thigh form a 90-degree angle. Be careful not to let your knee go past your toes. Press through the heel and stand up. As you straighten your right leg, bring your left leg forward and lift your knee to hip height as you balance on your right leg. This is one rep on one side.

Try not to put your foot down as you move into the next lunge. Focus on keeping your hips square, engaging your abs, and keeping your standing leg fired up throughout the movement.

Back Extension

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Erector Spinae (Lower Back), Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus, Hip Adductors

Getting a glute workout from this exercise is all about form, so pay close attention! On the back extension equipment at your gym press your hips on the pad and anchor your feet flat on the footholds with your heels pressed against the back. Keep your head and spine in a neutral position.

In the “up” position your hips and shoulders should be in line so that your body is in a straight line. Cross your arms across your chest. Hinge at the hips to lower the torso while keeping the back and neck in straight alignment.

Keep the back and neck straight as you hinge at the hips to lift back to a straight line. Mentally focus your energy on your glutes and back. This is one rep.

This exercise will also strengthen your lower back which will help you have better form for exercises like deadlifts and kettlebell swings

Kettlebell Swings

MUSCLES INVOLVED: Hips, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lats, Abs, Shoulders, Pectorals, Hand Grip

This is a great head-to-toe finisher that works nearly every muscle in your body – including your glutes! Start by standing while holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in your hands. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and look forward as you bend slightly at the knee and hinge at the hips to lower your torso about 45 degrees.

Quickly stand up straight by straightening (but not locking) the knees and thrusting the hips forward to raise the torso up. The momentum will push the kettlebell or dumbbell forward and up along the arc of your arms. This is one rep.

Use the momentum of the “swing” but remain controlled throughout the movement by focusing on engaging your core, pushing through your glutes, and guiding the upswing of the dumbbell with the grip of your hands.

While your shoulders will work to hold the kettlebell or dumbbell, you should not be “lifting” up and the kettlebell or dumbbell should never go higher than chest-height. The lift is in the momentum from your legs and hips, and your shoulders and arms are keeping tension on the kettlebell or dumbbell as it moves through its arc.

Bonus Round – Cardio

Not all cardio is created equal when it comes to building your best butt. On your cardio days in between strength days, or as a short warmup, you can get the biggest glute gains from these activities

  • Walking on a treadmill on an incline
  • Stair climber
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Hiking
  • Spinning/bike sprints
  • Rowing machine

Who’s ready to hit the gym? You can grow your butt into the shapely, toned derriere of your dreams. All it takes is a little sweat and determination.

Find a routine that works with your schedule. We’ve all got the time, it’s just a matter of figuring out what works for your life. After all, me, you, and Beyonce have the same 24 hours in every day. What matters is how you use them!

Remember to focus on form – in the gym and in the kitchen – and do YOUR best. All you have to do is start. If you’re not feeling like working out, just do one set of one exercise. More often than not, once you’re over that initial hump you’ll be motivated to keep going.

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