Want a better butt? Try these exercises!

May 16, 2014

The hours spent running on your home treadmill have probably given you toned legs and a strong lower half.

Spring is quickly going to give way to summer, and before you know it, shorts and swimsuits will be making an appearance once again. If you’re looking to get in your best shape before summer is officially here, you’ll need to incorporate both cardio and strength workouts on your home gym equipment. In addition to riding your stationary bike, you should spend at least two to three days a week lifting weights (with actual weights or your body weight). Not only will you look and feel great, but stronger lower body muscles will help you be a better runner or cyclist.

You may spend a lot of time doing squats, lunges and deadlifts to strengthen your quads and hamstrings, but what about your butt? This area is made up primarily by the gluteus minimus, maximus and medius, and it’s important to work these muscles as well.

Here are some of the best exercises to strengthen the muscles of your backside and have a better-looking butt come summer:

Glute bridge:

  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat
  • Squeeze abs and lift hips toward the ceiling, squeeze glutes at the top
  • Return to the starting position

Repeat for three sets of 10 reps. To make it more challenging, lift your right foot toward the ceiling first and push up using your left foot, then switch and push up with your right foot.

Plie squat with toe lifts:

  • Stand with your feet wider than hip distance and your toes pointing out at about a 45-degree angle
  • Keeping your abs tight, lower straight down until your knees bend to about 90 degrees
  • Lift your right heel off the ground, then replace
  • Lift your left heel off the ground, then replace
  • Pushing through your heels, stand back up

Repeat for three sets of 12 reps. You can increase the intensity by holding onto 8- to 10-pound weights and/or lifting both heels at the same time.

Step ups:

  • Grab a step stool, exercise step or chair
  • Place your right foot on the step, push through your right heel and bring your left foot up
  • Carefully step down with your right foot, followed by your left foot
  • Repeat exercise with the left foot

Do three sets of 8 to 10 reps. For more of a challenge, hold 8-pound weights in each hand.

Prone leg lifts:

  • Lie on your stomach, bend your elbows and rest your head on your hands
  • Keep your abs tight (this protects your lower back)
  • Squeeze your glutes and leg muscles as you lift your right leg off the floor, then set it back down
  • Repeat with the left leg

Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps. For a more intense exercise, lift both legs at the same time.

All-fours heel lifts:

  • Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips
  • Pull your right knee into your chest, then push your heel up toward the ceiling.
  • Repeat 8 to 10 times on the right side
  • Return to the starting position
  • Bring your left knee into your chest, then push your heel toward the ceiling
  • Repeat 8 to 10 times with the left foot

Do three sets on each side. For more of a challenge, hold a 3- to 5​-pound weight in the curve of knee between your calf and the back of your thigh.