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The 10 Best Exercises for a Bigger Butt

July 22, 2019

butt workout for women

Let me have your attention for just one second.  If you are into fitness, strength training or sports, then you need to grow a bigger butt. Yes, that includes you too guys

You may not be aware of this, but having a bigger and stronger butt will:

  • Prevent Lower Back and Knee Injuries [1, 2]
  • Build A Stronger Core [3]
  • Improve Athletic Performance [4]
  • Build A Bigger Squat and Deadlift [5, 6]

I could go on but I think you get the point.  A strong butt is good for you!

Now that I have just given you an excuse for a yearlong beach training program, you should learn a couple of things about your butt muscles.  Mainly your glutes. 

 

Anatomy Of The Butt

Let’s all give a cheeky hello to your butt muscles, the glutes.

The glutes consist of three muscle groups:

  • Maximus
  • Medius
  • Minimus

Anatomists are thankfully very lazy people, they don’t think too much about what they name muscles.  With that said, it should be fairly obvious that the gluteus maximus is the strongest of the gluteal muscles.  It mainly extends your hips, think of the bottom of the squat, or rather getting out of it.   

The gluteus medius and minimus are located on the sides of the hip.  These two muscle groups act as stabilizers for any side to side movements of the hip.  Weakness in these muscle groups can wreak havoc on your knees.

It is imperative that you train and strengthen all of your gluteal muscles.  Especially if you want to grow a bigger butt. 

 

The Best Butt Exercises

There are TONS of articles out there giving you a giant laundry list of different glute exercises and then sending you on your merry way. 

But most of these articles are just cookie-cutter fluff content.  This article is different.  All of these exercises have been battle-tested by experienced strength coaches, such as myself, for years. 

 

Hip Thrusts

The hip thrust was made famous by Bret Contreras, aka “The Glute Guy”.  Bret has earned a Ph.D. in Kinesiology and his doctoral dissertation was on how to best train your glutes. 

He studied multiple exercises and in his conclusion, he found that the barbell hip thrust was the most effective of them all.  This is why it is first on our list.

butt workout with weights

To perform, simply lie down face up on the ground and roll a barbell over your lap.  Then bend your knees, squeeze your glutes and push through your heels until your hips go up as high as possible.

It is very important that you bring your hips up as high as you possibly can.  Preferably above your shoulders and fully locked out. 

Bret’s research showed that the hips need to be locked out at the top, or even past lockout, for the best glute targeting. 

Try doing several sets of 10-15 reps and your buns will be smoking.  Please prepare accordingly.  

 

Banded Side Walks

butt workout with bands

Banded side walks switches our focus to the gluteus medius.  Recall that these are the glute muscles on the outside of the hips.  They mainly focus on stabilizing the pelvis during lateral movements. 

So why would you need to train them? 

Well, for starters, there is always an aesthetic reason.  But aside from that, training the gluteus medius will make you stronger in your lower body lifts.  Plus, it will keep you safe and help prevent lower back and knee pain. 

Side walks are best performed during your warm-ups, but they can also be done as a workout themselves.

Simply place a band above your knees and bend your knees slightly while pushing your hips back.  Hold this position and then take small side steps while keeping constant tension on the band. 

Typically 10-20 yard walks down and back will do the trick.    

For this exercise, you will need a band of some kind to use.  There are many different types, but I recommend using my Well Built Athlete Non-Slip Hip Resistance Band. 

It is made out of cloth, so it will not roll up on you or pinch you.  Plus, it has rubber grooves on the inside to prevent the band from sliding.  Very convenient to wear with baggy clothing and for preventing movement from sweat. 

Be sure to check it out! 

Link To Amazon: CLICK HERE!

 

Squats

Although squats may not be as effective as hip thrusts, they are still very valuable.  Not just for building a bigger and nicer booty, but also for function. 

You don’t want to be all show and no go.  Otherwise, you’ll be writing a check with your mouth that you cannot cash with your ass.  Words of wisdom.

butt workout at the gym

Squats will build plenty of size and strength to your butt.  But you have to make sure you do them correctly, otherwise, you will not hit your glutes. 

To train the squat correctly, you want to make sure you are going down below parallel.  This means that your hips are below your knees.

EMG studies have confirmed that you need to squat at least to parallel for your glutes to fire properly. 

Another thing you want to do is squeeze your glutes as hard as you can before you start to drop down into the squat.  If you forget to do this, it will make it much harder to fire them in the bottom position because your psoas will be so overactive. 

Combining these two tips will build a sculptured rear end that Michelangelo would be proud of.  

High waisted gym leggings

 

Lunges

Lunges are one of the most underrated exercises out there.  Especially for building huge glutes. 

Most of my clients have made their best gains from doing lunges.  Since you are training on one leg, you are getting more stress placed on one leg and getting massive athletic benefits.  Talk about more bang for your buck. 

butt workout with weights

To perform, grab a barbell or a pair of dumbbells and take a big step forward so your front leg is 90 degrees in front of you.  Then push off this leg and return to the starting position. 

A couple of things to keep in mind though. 

You want to keep your spine neutral the whole time.  Don’t flex, or hyper-extend, your back.  If the back starts to flex, you will be taking the stress off of your legs and dumping it onto your lower back.  That’s not going to grow a big butt. 

Also, you want to make sure you are pushing off the ground through your heel.  This will ensure maximal glute activation.  The mistake most people make with lunges is pushing off the toes.  This is the surefire way to get a knee injury.  Stick with your heels and thank me later.    

 

Glute-Ham Developers

The glute-ham developer, also called the GHD, is a powerhouse exercise for your glutes and hamstrings.  After all, the name practically gives it away. 

To perform, get into the machine and place your thighs on the pad.  Lower yourself down as low as you can go and then push your heels into the pad bring yourself back up to the starting position. 

It is very important not to pike your hips.  What does this mean? 

It means not to fold your hips in any way on the way up.  If you do, you will be taking tension off of your glutes and dumping it all on the hamstrings. 

If you notice this happening frequently, move the pad back behind you more so your knees are further away from the pad.  This will make the exercise easier. 

If your knees are closer to the pad, then the exercise will be MUCH harder.  The reason: you will have less mechanical leverage over the exercise, so your muscles will be working tremendously harder to complete the same range of motion. 

But if you stick to good form, you will have a booty that not only looks good but works well too.    

 

Reverse Hyperextensions

Reverse hyperextensions were made famous by the legendary strength coach Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio. 

Louie himself fractured one of his vertebrae in his lower back and he was out of commission for a while.  Desperate to get back to lifting weights, Louie discovered an exercise that trains the entire backside of the body, including the glutes, lower back, and hamstrings WITHOUT using the psoas muscle.

This is a key point because there are not too many exercises that train the glutes without the psoas.  With this key discovery, you can still train your glutes with heavy weights without worrying about hurting your lower back. 

To perform, simply get into the machine and get the strap around your ankles, your legs should be hanging straight down.  This is the starting position. 

From this position, squeeze your glutes and shoot your legs back and up as hard as you can.  When you reach maximum height, relax your glutes and let gravity pull the pendulum back down.  Once it comes back down, immediately squeeze your glutes again and perform another rep. 

This is a ballistic exercise, so the only two reps that include dead starts/stops are the first and lost reps, respectively.

The swinging may look dangerous, but it is extremely safe and it helps to rehabilitate any lower back issues you may have.  So it is a hidden gem in the sea of chrome machines.   

For this exercise, higher reps work best, so aim for 20-30 per set.    

 

Leg Press

butt workout for men

Come on, admit it!  You love the leg press!

All of us do.  It is such a fun exercise.  And it makes you feel so proud of yourself because you can push a heavy sled that weighs as much as a baby pilot whale. 

All joking aside, the leg press is a fantastic way to train your glutes.  It all has to do with foot placement. 

You see, most gym-goers place their feet in the middle of the pad.  There is nothing wrong with this, but this position works the quads more than it does the glutes. 

To hit the glutes, move your feet up higher on the pad so your toes are flush with the top of the pad.  This will directly hit your glutes. 

Just make sure that your butt stays down and doesn’t come off the bench.   

 

Cable Single Leg Extensions

Sometimes one leg is stronger, or weaker than the other.  These are muscle imbalances and they can be a real pain in the butt.  No pun intended!

glute cable workout

It is the bane of a physique model’s existence to have one area of their body smaller than the other.  Likewise, you do not want to have one butt cheek bigger/stronger than the other.  You want to keep them symmetrical.

To perform, simply find a cable machine with an ankle cuff.  Then stand facing the weight plates and lift your leg straight behind you.  It sounds simple but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.   

When you are performing this exercise, make sure you keep your leg as straight as possible and try not to twist your hips.  You want to keep your lower back out of this exercise as much as possible. 

Also, make sure you are not just going through the motions.  Squeeze your glutes as hard as you can when your leg is in full extension. 

Squeezing the muscle allows for a harder contraction which allows for more growth. 

 

Deadlifts

Like the squat, the deadlift is a powerhouse of an exercise.  The deadlift works over 300 muscle groups and it teaches you how to pick up heavy objects safely.  A truly valuable exercise. 

glute exercises with weights

Of all the muscle groups the deadlift works, the hips are the most prominent.  Especially the glutes and the hamstrings. 

Now to be fair, EMG studies show that the deadlift works the hamstrings slightly more than the squat.  So you will have to concentrate a little more to get your glutes firing. 

How do you do that?  Simple.

You just squeeze them as hard as you can before you pull the bar from the floor.  As unpleasant as this sounds, think about pinching a quarter between your butt cheeks as hard as you can right before you begin the lift. 

Then keep your back completely flat and drive through the center of your foot and lock the bar out at the hips.  Don’t slack off at the top either.  Keep squeezing to lockout. 

You can always tell if someone doesn’t know how to use their glutes in a deadlift because their lower back will be hyper-extended at the top and their knees will be bent. 

To target the glutes, even more, try the sumo deadlift.  With a wider stance, you will get more glutes with less hamstrings.   

 

Belt Squats

Finally, we have a secret exercise that I only share with some of my best clients, the belt squat. 

Belt squats involve squatting heavy weight without using a barbell.  Instead, you wear a hip belt and attach weight onto the belt. 

Then you simply squat down as low as you can go and then come back up to the standing position. 

The best part of this exercise is how easy it is on your lower back.  Since you are not putting a heavy barbell onto your lower back, you have little to no spinal compression.  So this is perfect for people with back problems. 

Not only will your glutes get a great workout, but your regular squat will get a massive boost in strength as well.  Which if you are into fitness — and if you are reading this article you should be — then you always want to be working on your squat.  It is called the king of all exercises for a reason. 

You can buy a hip belt specifically designed for squats on Amazon, but they can cost you, so in that case, you can just use a dip belt and some step boxes at your local gym.  Either way, your booty will enjoy it!

 

Conclusion

Congratulations!  You made it to the end of the article.  You now know my 10 best booty exercises. 

As a special bonus, I would like to give you a good rep range to work with for maximal glute training. 

So, unless otherwise specified, you want to train each of these exercises for 4-5 sets of 10-15 reps each set.  The more weight you can handle with GOOD FORM, the more you will get from the exercises.

That’s all there is to it.  Now get out there and take some action! 

That booty isn’t going to grow itself! 

 

The best exercises for a bigger butt

References

[1]  Kumar et al., (2015): Efficacy of core muscle strengthening exercise in chronic low back pain patients. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 699-707, 2015. https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-back-and-musculoskeletal-rehabilitation/bmr572.

[2]  Cooper, N.A., Scavo, K.M., Strickland, K.J. et al. Eur Spine J (2016) 25: 1258. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-015-4027-6.

[3]  Akuthota et al., (2008): Core Stability Exercise Principles

 Current Sports Medicine Reports: January-February 2008 - Volume 7 - Issue 1 - p 39-44doi: 10.1097/01.CSMR.0000308663.13278.69 Spine Conditions: Section Articles. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2008/01000/Core_Stability_Exercise_Principles.14.aspx.

[4]  Delecluse, C. Sports Med (1997) 24: 147. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199724030-00001.

[5]  Caterisano et al., (2002): The Effect of Back Squat Depth on the EMG Activity of 4 Superficial Hip and Thigh Muscles. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2002, 16(3), 428–432. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f6ec/81a44eb19ce3ab7636d09007171b45c54049.pdf.

[6]  Andersen et al., (2018): Electromyographic Comparison of Barbell Deadlift, Hex Bar Deadlift, and Hip Thrust Exercises: A Cross-Over Study. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: March 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 587–593. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2018/03000/Electromyographic_Comparison_of_Barbell_Deadlift,.1.aspx.


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