Our booties have got to be one of the main areas on our bodies that we obsess over. I’m figuring it’s a toss up between that and our bellies, though each of us has our own area that we are especially conscious about.
There appears to be more celebration recently towards curvier women, which brings about many women’s desire to have a nice, round booty. Personally, whether it’s trendy or not, I love having a firm, round behind and find it incredibly aesthetically pleasing on all physiques.
I think many of you assume that nice bums are reserved for those with great genetics, but that certainly isn’t true. While genetics do play a role, lifting weights can dramatically change the shapeliness of your backside.
Here are the most effective exercises to get your boo-tay in tiptop shape.
There are many versions of squats, and they can all be effective, as long as you are using proper form, getting a very deep squat or bend in the knees and pushing through your heels. At home, you can perform squats with no equipment. One of my favorite variations of this is squat to sumo squat, which is one rep in a regular squat stance (feet a little wider than shoulder width and toes turned forward) followed by second rep with your toes turned out. Between each rep, you are rotating on your heels, toes front/toes side. You may also perform squats with a medicine ball against the wall. A Bosu Ball also works well, as it forces you to use balance and core strength. The best place for squats though, is in the gym. There, you will usually have an option of several different machines. I’m a fan of all of them, although I believe the absolutely best squat you can do is on the Smith Machine. This equipment allows you to go very deep (butt to heels), while adding weight and giving you good stability with the bar. In my opinion, the single best exercise for your legs and butt, are squats.
Lunges have and will always be a necessity for a great leg and glute workout. They too can be done at home with several variations such as side lunges, curtsy lunges, walking lunges, alternating front and alternating back lunges. All of these variations can also be done at the gym, adding weight by holding onto free weights, putting a bar on your back or using the Smith Machine. Placing your back leg on a bench or plyo box behind you is advanced variation that I highly recommend. It is imperative to focus on form; don’t let your front knee exceed your toe, as this puts too much strain on the knee.
3. Glute Press
There is a machine in most gyms called the Butt Blaster, which is essentially a glute press, though you don’t necessarily need the machine to perform this exercise. The machine is great and does allow some stability with your upper body and possibly the opportunity to add more weight than you would without it. But you can perform this same exercise standing, with either a cable strapped to one foot or with a band. You can also execute it on your knees, pressing one leg back.
4. Butt Lift
Butt lifts may be done either lying on the floor or by using a bench and adding weight. I do both and find them to very effective either way. With your legs bent for the entire exercise, there is more contraction in the glutes and boy do they burn! For beginners, I recommend lying down and placing your feet on the floor or a medicine ball. It’s a great exercise though, regardless of your fitness level. But if you’re ready to take it up a notch, grab a bar of weights and bench, using the bench to support your upper body and perform the exercise off the floor. It can be challenging to get in and out of position between sets, but once you get the logistics down, you will find it to be very difficult (in a good way).
5. Thigh Abductor
This one you will not be able to replicate at home, but if you visit the gym, it is a “must” in your butt routine. If you are familiar with the gym, then you’re probably familiar with this piece of equipment. It’s the one that you sit in with stirrup like places for your feet. You contract the glutes by pushing out with your knees on the pads. What I love about this machine is it’s effectiveness at targeting the butt area solely, similar to the Butt Lift. You can also move your feet around into different positions, which will work different secondary muscles in your bum. This piece of equipment is also fantastic for being able to add a lot of weight and not worry about form.
6. Dead Lifts
I loath whomever designed this exercise, because not only is it incredibly effective, it’s very hard, and I dread doing it every time. But, it is a necessary component to a having a killer backside. Form, again, is very important, and it does put more strain on the lower back than any of these other exercises. If you’re prone to low back problems, I might recommend skipping this one or at least, being extra cautious as to how much weight you add. Dead lifts can be performed with a weighted bar on your back or by holding free weights.
I know that weights can be scary for some of you, but the only way to transform your body is to use weights.
At home exercises are convenient and great for toning, but the only way to lift your booty and give it that roundness is to replace the fat and flab with muscle. Look at these pictures of last years’ top professional bikini competitors at the Olympia. They all do weighted exercises for the their butts. Every. Single. One.
For my demo video on these great exercises, click here.
Photo credit: Counselman Collection