There are many types of butts in this world. There are big butts, small butts, flat butts, curvy butts, firm butts, and butts that jiggle a bit when you move. There are also butts that are round and butts that are square or v-shaped.
What can you do if you aren’t completely satisfied with the shape of your bottom? How do you get a better-looking butt instead?
Before we get into actual exercises to perform, it’s helpful to understand the muscle groups that make up your backside. This will make it easier to put together a workout that targets each and achieve your specific gluteal goals.
A Quick Anatomy Lesson
When we talk about the butt, we are talking about your gluteal muscles or glutes for short. The three muscles that make up your glutes are:
Gluteus maximus. This is the largest muscle and generally, the one people focus on when trying to transform its size and shape.
Gluteus medius. This muscle is in the outer pelvis area, or the backside of your hips. In addition to assisting with various leg movements, it also helps steady your walk.
Gluteus minimus. The gluteus minimus is located under the gluteus medius and helps with rotating your thighs and moving your legs away from your body.
Working each of these muscles can help you create a nicer looking butt. But research has found that having strong glutes serves other purposes as well.
Even More Reasons to Tone Your Butt
Low back pain is extremely common in the world today. In fact, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that four in five people will develop this condition at some point in time.
Not only is back pain uncomfortable physically, but when you have it for long periods of time your health can suffer as well. The Cleveland Clinic shares that chronic pain decreases immunity, increases blood pressure and can elevate your heart rate.
The Clinic adds that chronic pain also raises your risk of emotional issues such as anxiety and depression. Fortunately, some studies show that building strong glutes can help reduce low back pain, potentially decreasing your risk of these types of issues.
For example, the Journal of Physical Therapy Science published a study involving 40 females with low back pain. Some of the women in this study did exercises to stabilize their lower back. Others did these same exercises but also added exercises targeted at their glutes.
Both groups performed the exercises three times a week for a total of six weeks. At the end of the study, the group that did lower back plus glute exercises had greater improvements in pain and disability. They also had better balance and improved low-back strength.
Want to help your clients achieve better results and reduce their chance for injury? Get the knowledge you need with ISSA’s Glute Specialist Certification.
Glute Exercises That Have a Big Impact on the Booty
What are the best exercises to improve your backside (and your health) and really firm those butt muscles? Put another way, which moves will give you a booty that you would be proud to see in your bathroom mirror?
The answer lies in what type of butt you want. Are you looking for exercises to make your butt appear more well-rounded and fuller, or is your goal to reduce the size of your bottom to create a thinner, more streamlined appearance?
The reason this question is important is that the exercises vary depending on your glute-related goals. First, let’s look at which movements can help you get rid of a flat butt.
Exercises to Take Your Glutes from Flat to Full
With celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Khloe Kardashian, and Coco Austin constantly in the media, it’s easy to look at their full bottoms and want them for yourself. With that in mind, here are a few exercises that can help you turn your flat butt into a more well-rounded derriere:
Squats. Many people do squats because they want to build their thighs, the muscles on the front of the upper leg. However, when you squat, you’re also working your glutes. Start with a basic squat first. When you’re ready, increase the intensity of the squat by cropping your butt lower and closer to the ground. You can also do squat variations to mix it up a bit. A few to consider include plie squats (knees pointed outward), single-leg squats, and split squats (putting one leg in front of the other).
Lunges. Lunges are also typically thought of as an exercise that works your thighs, but they work your glutes too. When doing a lunge, use good form by not letting your front knee extend beyond your toes. Also, remember to keep your back straight so you’re not leaning forward or hunched over. Add dumbbells for even better results.
Romanian deadlift. If you’ve ever watched a weightlifting competition, you’ve likely seen this one in action. The Romanian deadlift works the glutes and hamstrings, the latter of which is the muscle on the backside of your upper leg. To perform it safely, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your chest up, lower back curved slightly, and don’t lock your knees.
Glute bridges. To perform a glute bridge, lie on your back with your shoulders on the floor, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips toward the ceiling. To increase glute activation even more, add weight on your core and place your shoulders on a bench. This slight variation is called a hip thrust.
If you’re just beginning to exercise, it’s best to consult with a personal trainer to learn which exercises are best for you and how many to perform. If you’re doing it on your own, aim to complete 10 to 12 reps of each glute exercise in the beginning. As you become more comfortable with the routine and the movements start to feel easier to do, work on increasing your numbers.
For instance, when you don’t feel tired after doing 12 lunges per leg, increase your workout by adding another set. Aim to work your way up to three sets of 10 to 12 exercises for each type.
High-Intensity Interval Training for a Smaller, Nicer Looking Behind
While some people want a big butt, others are more interested in reducing its size. If you fall into the second category, there are few exercises you can do to firm up your glutes so they appear smaller. One of the most notable is high-intensity interval training.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with small periods of rest. These burst-rest periods are typically only a minute or two in length, such as 40-second bursts with 20 seconds of rest or 30-second bursts with 60 seconds of rest.
HIIT is great for building a smaller, nicer looking behind because research has found that it burns a “significantly greater” amount of calories than doing cardio or resistance training alone. And it does so in a short amount of time, with entire HIIT sessions generally only lasting 10 to 20 minutes maximum.
HIIT helps you get rid of excess fat that may be making your butt look bigger than you’d like. Other benefits of HIIT include raising your metabolism for a longer period of time and it is extremely effective for muscle growth.
If your goal is mainly to get rid of extra body fat, giving you a smaller butt in return, it may be more effective to keep your HIIT sessions primarily cardio. You can do this by alternating running and walking or by exercising on an elliptical or rowing machine and repeatedly raising and lowering your intensity.
If you want to pay your butt a little more attention, you can also develop a HIIT exercise routine that targets your glutes. To do this, perform a butt exercise such as a bridge or squat as fast as you can (while keeping good form) for about 40 seconds. Follow this with a 20-second break before starting the next exercise.
Additional Tips to Get a Better-Looking Butt
As you start to build your endurance—and your glute muscles—consider adding a resistance band to your butt workout. This helps you continue to strengthen your gluteal muscles without having to completely change your workout routine.
Another option is to increase the weight you use when performing specific movements. Just be sure to increase the weight slowly. Make too big a jump too quickly and you risk injuring yourself.
Ideally, your butt exercise routine should build your glutes without creating imbalances in other muscles. This sometimes occurs if you’ve previously injured a certain area of your body and, therefore, don’t train it.
To keep this from happening, it’s helpful to do modified exercises that are also good for the glutes. For instance, good exercises for knee pain include hamstring curls, heel touchdowns, and single-leg balances. All of these can help build your glutes without further hurting your knees.
Building strong glutes can also help some past injuries. One to consider is how a strong backside helps correct a tilted pelvis.
To learn more about how to get a better-looking butt, and how to improve your physique in general, the ISSA offers a Certified Glute Specialist course. This course teaches you how to create an effective workout program that targets all the muscle groups critical to a stronger backside. This enables you to come up with a workout routine that can transform your entire posterior chain while also creating another stream of income by helping others do the same.