Go ahead. Ask your best friend or mom what body part she’d most like to whip into shape and you’ll probably find building a better butt near the top. Ask any guy what female body part he finds most attractive and a nice booty is almost always a priority.
Does that mean girls should be hitting the gym to make men happy? Absolutely not. But if it’s important enough to you that you’re looking for solutions, you should be provided with the answers. And not the kinds of answers that make you feel like you’ll pull a muscle doing that move, or like your biochemistry degree game isn’t quite strong enough to decipher…whatever that word means.
I want to break it down for you so you can build your butt up with an effective butt workout routine.
Why Low Calorie Diets And Cardio Won’t Build a Great Butt
Firstly, let’s talk about what doesn’t work, starting with the good ol’ restrictive dieting plus incessant amounts of cardio plan.
Are there benefits to that half hour of elliptical time and your favorite kale/spirulina/beet juice smoothie? Of course! Beautiful, magical, heart-healthy, endorphin-releasing, immune-building benefits that make you skip to your car from the gym door.
But how is that helping you achieve that firm, toned butt you’re looking for?
Aside from potentially removing some padding in the form of fat, you’ll find yourself turning around every morning in the mirror wondering why things aren’t any perkier.
The reason for this is simple, excessive amounts of cardio and a low calorie diet is the perfect storm for muscle loss. If this is the case, there will be nothing there to give your butt that shape.
Light Weights And High Reps Do Not “Tone” Your Muscles
Next up, light weights, high reps. Doing stationary lunges holding 10lb dumbbells for 15-20 reps isn’t fruitless; it could help build muscular endurance and has been shown to marginally increase muscle size and strength, but it’s not going to “tone” your muscles.
The problem, however, with not adding enough weight to your exercises is the lack of significant muscular hypertrophy, or growth, which inevitably has to happen to achieve the fit, firm look you’re aiming for.
There is no magic pill.
Getting a nice butt ultimately comes down to putting the work in and not being afraid to increase the strength of the muscles you are targeting. And this most effectively happens by upping the resistance working against those muscles.
How To Truly Unveil Muscle Definition
Which leads to my final myth-busting point: bulking up.
Why are we so scared of it? What teeny-bopper magazine did we pick up in middle school that instilled these archaic idealizations into our minds that we should be slight and whimsical, and that men should be powerful and gargantuan? Being strong is beautiful, sexy, and flat-out badass.
And most importantly, there is no such thing as “bulking up.” What is it you’re really afraid of? You’re scared of having the appearance of larger muscles covered by fat you never lost, the true definition of bulk.
This can be avoided with a proper, balanced diet that naturally creates a calorie deficit without leaving you hungry, cranky, and downright depressed within a week.
And don’t forget, really putting those muscles to work will naturally increase the number of calories your body burns throughout the day, substantially aiding in promoting leanness.
Now, this is not a call to go ham on that gallon of ice cream in your freezer after each workout. One of the most common mistakes you can make when trying to achieve a fitness goal is rewarding yourself with excessive food after a big workout, falsely believing your “higher metabolism” can handle the additional calories.
And it just might! You may never gain a pound. But by this same logic and reasoning, you also won’t lose the extra weight you’re looking to lose to achieve your goals.
Building strength in your legs is equally important and a secondary effect of training your rear.
But don’t be afraid of growing “thick” legs; you are simply gaining strength while minimizing risk of injury as you add more weight to your exercises-and of course while you get your butt into shape (pun intended).
I’m not talking about Olympic weight-lifter stuff here; I’m talking about increasing the weight you’ve been working with (if any at all) enough to get results.
A proper diet in combination with a group of exercises you can keep up with will undoubtedly have you looking better in your favorite pair of jeans.
4 Effective Butt Workout Exercises
So what kind of exercises are we talking about? When your butt is forced to become an engine driving forward weighted, repeated movements, it will increase in strength in order to support them. As Greg would say, muscle is a byproduct of strength.
It’s no secret that exercises such as squats and deadlifts are some of the most effective in targeting your gluteal muscles, but I’m going to offer up some alternative options for those ladies that feel uncomfortable approaching the squat rack in a gym full of burly, grunting men.
It’s hard to get away with a good butt workout without the deadlift. It is one of the most effective compound exercises out there, strengthening not only the butt, but the legs, arms, shoulders, and back.
Moreover, it is insurmountably effective at developing core strength and balance, a necessity in long-term health and injury prevention. If you are immediately having thoughts of developing Hulk arms, please refer back to the paragraph on “bulking up not being a real thing”.
Deadlifting with dumbbells is a great way to work on your form if you’re not ready for a barbell. It’s an exercise you can add weight to as you get stronger, and even advance to a classic deadlift when you’re comfortable.
- Set a pair of dumbbells on the floor in front of you.
- Bend at your hips and knees, and grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip.
- Keeping your head up, stand up with the dumbbells, pushing your hips forward. Keep your abs and glutes tight as you do this, not allowing your back to round.
- Lower the dumbbells to the floor.
- Do three sets of 6-8 repetitions.
In the race for king of all booty exercises, the squat is a front runner. Like the deadlift, it is a compound exercise that strengthens not only your glutes, but your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, hips, and abdominals.
It has been proven to aid in general athleticism (think agility and speed, even if you’re running after the ice-cream truck), and improve flexibility and balance.
The squat rack isn’t the most welcoming piece of equipment if you’ve never used it, and there is increased risk of injury since good form is a key component.
Free squats allow you to grow comfortable with the motion while minimizing risk of injuring your knees and back.
- Stand with feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. Your hips should be positioned over your knees.
- Extend your arms out straight in front of you, palms face down.
- Keeping your head up, begin bending your knees, keeping your hips back. As your butt starts to stick out, remember to keep your spine straight. Like the deadlift, injury occurs when the back starts to round. Focus on keeping your chest and shoulders upright; this will help guide the motion properly.
- Hip flexibility and balance vary from person to person, but the deeper you can squat, the more effective the exercise. It is always better to do 8 deep squats with proper form and no weight than 15 shallow squats with poor form and heavy weight. Your goal is to sink your hips below the knees.
- Tightening your core and glutes, push up through your heels back to a standing position, remembering to keep your chest and chin up.
- Repeat 3 sets of 8.
If you’ve ever worked your butt out, you’ve probably done a lunge or two. Not only is it effective at strengthening your lower body, but it too aids in core strength, flexibility, and balance. Like the squat, the deeper the lunge, the more effective the exercise.
The reverse lunge is a great option to include in your butt workout for beginners because it decreases risk of injury by minimizing pressure on the knees. It’s also an exercise than can be weighted with dumbbells as your progress.
- With your hands on your hips, take a large step backward with your left foot.
- Slowly lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor and your left knee (back leg) is bent at a 90 degree angle with your heel facing up.
- Push up through your right heel to standing position, bringing your left leg forward to meet your right.
- Alternate legs and repeat.
- Do three sets of 8-10 repetitions per leg.
Single-Leg Hip Raise
I like this exercise because it requires no equipment and is a great start to any new butt workout program.
Grab an exercise mat and lie on your back with your arms out to your sides for stability.
- Bend your right knee and extend your left leg out in front of you. Raise your left leg until it’s in line with your right thigh.
- Push your hips upward, keeping your left leg elevated- your body should be at about a straight line from your foot to your shoulders.
- Pause, and then slowly lower your body and leg back to the start position.
- Do 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per leg.
What Building a Great Butt Workout Ultimately Comes Down To
So give it a try. Challenge yourself and try these exercises out.
And remember, fat loss is a matter of dialing in your calorie deficit. Don’t view training as a means to burn off your calories. It’s much easier to eat less than spend hours on the stair stepper.
Besides, too much cardio can also skyrocket your appetite. You’re going to have to get stronger if you want your legs and butt to have awesome shape. It’s only when you have excess body fat when your muscles appear “bulky.”