Whether you're stoked to be back in your neighborhood gym with all your workout buddies or still soaking up your at-home sweat seshes, building a stronger booty is likely on your list. With the right moves, you can seriously feel the burn and score a fabulous butt workout wherever you are.
Understanding all the muscles that make up your booty can help you work your rear more effectively. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus muscles along with a slew of other smaller muscles, like the piriformis (located about where the heel of your hand lands if you put it in the back pocket of your jeans), are all part of your behind. Your glutes are super important for all sorts of movements you do throughout the day. Want to take the stairs anytime? One word: glutes.
Plus, when your glutes are strong, you can better strengthen and protect your back, hips, and core—all of which are huge for balance and stability. (Looking at you, yogis.)
The key to getting in a good butt workout at home (and reaping all of these full-body benefits) is to move slowly and with control so that you work your glute muscles—and don't stress out your lower back. To keep your focus on your butt, engage your core and exhale through the challenging part of every exercise.
As long as you recover well (think plenty of stretching and foam rolling), you can work out your butt up to three times a week.
Equipment needed: resistance band, dumbbells
Time: 20 minutes
Instructions: Choose up to five of the exercises below. Complete the indicated number of reps for each, then rest for 15 seconds and continue on to the next. Once you've completed all five exercises, rest for one minute, then repeat the entire circuit twice more for a total of three sets.
Standing Glute Kickback
How to: Stand with weight on right foot and left leg long behind body with toes pointed and resting on floor. Bend right knee slightly and hinge at hips to lower torso forward. Clasp hands in front of body. This is your starting position. From here, engage left glutes to kick straight left leg back and up until nearly parallel with floor. Slowly and with control, reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12 per side.
Pro tip: Engage core throughout the movement to prevent lower-back strain and keep the emphasis on glutes. Use a looped resistance band just above your knees to level this one up.
Supported Single-Leg Deadlift
How to: Stand on left leg with a dumbbell in right hand, palm facing thigh. Take a step back with right foot and lift heel. Keeping left leg slightly bent but back flat, hinge at hips to lower weight towards floor. Drive into left heel to return to the standing position. That’s one rep. Perform 10 to 12 per side.
Pro tip: Keeping a slight bend in the knee of your working leg really fires up the quad and glute muscles.
How to: Sit with feet flat on the floor in front of a couch or stable chair. Place forearms flat on surface so elbows point back and fingers point forward. Lift seat up off floor and walk feet out until planted slightly beyond knees. This is your starting position. Push through heels and engage glutes to extend hips up until body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12.
Pro tip: To maximize glute engagement, press knees slightly outward throughout the movement. For an extra challenge, place a looped mini-band just above your knees.
How to: Start standing with feet hips-width distance apart (or slightly wider) and hands clasped behind lower back. Bend knees slightly, engage core, draw shoulders back, and keep neck long, then hinge at hips to push seat back while lowering chest forward until parallel to floor. Keeping weight in heels, slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12.
Pro tip: Hold a dumbbell to increase the intensity.
Banded Glute Bridge
How to: Wrap a resistance band around thighs and lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from butt. Brace core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to lift hips up toward ceiling while pushing upper back into floor. Pause in this position and expand the band by pressing knees apart. Reverse the movement and return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12.
Pro tip: To make this one harder, hold a dumbbell on top of hips.
How to: Start lying on right side on a mat with upper body propped up on right forearm, right elbow below right shoulder. Stack left foot over right and bend legs so heels are lined up with glutes. Place left hand on top hip. This is your starting position. Without moving hips or disconnecting feet, engage outer left glutes to drive left knee straight up toward ceiling. Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12 on each side.
Pro tip: Keep hips stacked and avoid rolling backward when lifting top leg. You can also place a looped resistance band just above the knees to level this one up.
How to: Start facing sideways at back of mat with feet together, right heel high, knees bent, torso tilted slightly forward, right arm extended straight behind body and left arm bent across chest. Lift right foot and take a wide step to the right, then bring left foot to meet it, balanced on ball of foot, switching arm positions. Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12.
Pro tip: Slow pace and loop a mini-band around legs just above knees to turn up the burn on outer glutes.
Curtsy Lunge to Squat
How to: Start standing with feet wider than hips and hands clasped in front of chest. Step left foot back, while keeping both hip bones facing forward, and plant it outside of right leg, heel high. Keeping torso upright, squeeze inner thighs together and lower down until back knee hovers above floor. Press down into right heel to return to start position, then sink hips back into a squat. Press through heels to return to standing. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12 on each side.
Pro tip: Hold a dumbbell at chest height to increase the intensity.
Banded Bear Plank Glute Kickback
How to: Loop a long resistance band around left foot and hold one end in either hand to secure it in place, then get on all fours with shoulders stacked over wrists (palms pressing band ends down into mat), back flat, toes tucked, and knees hovering a few inches off floor. Keep core tight, shoulders and hips square, and foot flexed, then squeeze glute and lift left knee up in line with hip without changing shape of leg. Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12 on each side.
Pro tip: Imagine you're trying to stamp the sole of your left foot on the ceiling and move from the hips, not the lower back.
How to: Lie on back with arms extended at sides and feet together on mat as close into hips as possible with knees wide. Keep core tight and engage glutes to lift hips up off the floor until body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Squeeze glutes at top, then reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12.
Pro tip: To make this one harder, hold a dumbbell on top of hips or place a looped resistance band just above knees.
Isometric Glute Bridge
How to: Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from butt. Brace core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to lift hips towards ceiling. Maintain space between chin and chest and keep upper back pressed into floor. Hold for 5 seconds. That's one rep. Perform 5.
How to: Start on all fours with shoulders over wrists, hips over knees, and toes planted on the floor. Keeping left leg bent to 90 degrees, engage core and squeeze through outer left glutes to lift left knee out to the left, until upper leg is parallel to floor (or as close as possible). Slowly and with control, return leg to starting position. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Pro tip: Keep hip of working leg square to floor to keep the emphasis on outer glutes. Placing a looped resistance band just above knees ups the difficulty of this one, too.
Lateral Lunge with Balance
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands at sides. Take a big step to the right, then push hips back, bending right knee and lowering body until right knee is bent to 90 degrees. Push back to an upright position, lifting right knee and pulling it into chest with arms.
Pro tip: Keep weight in heel of bending leg to fire up glutes.
How to: Start standing with hands on hips. Take a big step forward with right leg, and, keeping torso upright, bend knees and lower into a lunge until legs form 90-degree angles. Press through right foot to return to standing position. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Pro tip: When in low position, hover back knee off the floor to keep lower body under tension. Hold dumbbells to increase the intensity.
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, toes forward, arms at sides. Bend knees, stick butt back, and lower down into a squat, bringing hands together in front of chest. Then explosively jump up as high as possible off floor, swinging arms straight behind body for momentum. Land softly on the balls of feet and immediately lower into next squat. That's one rep. Perform 10 to 12.
Pro tip: For an added challenge, hold a dumbbell in goblet position.
Jennifer Nied is the fitness editor at Women’s Health and has more than 10 years of experience in health and wellness journalism. She’s always out exploring—sweat-testing workouts and gear, hiking, snowboarding, running, and more—with her husband, daughter, and dog.
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