Booty Work: Get Ready to Build the Butt of Your Dreams
Everybody wants it…some people have got it…many people working for it in the gym are going about it all wrong. What am I talking about? The tight round booty, of course! If you’re tired of fiddling around with this exercise and that exercise and not getting the results you want, this article is for you. If you’re tired of sweating it out on butt-oriented gym machines with nothing to show, this workout is for you. If you’re ready to get those glorious glutes you’re after, this article is for YOU!
The best butt workouts will burn out the tush musculature from multiple angles to ensure an even and balanced butt. Rather than isolating the glutes, a truly effective butt workout will also target the hamstrings, quads, adductors, calves, and core to get you full-body strong and maximize your calorie burn while you’re exercising.
A disclaimer is in order: NO BUTT WORKOUT IS GOING TO SPOT REDUCE/BURN FAT directly off of your butt. Anybody that tells you otherwise is selling something! That’s not how fat loss works. When you lose fat, you will lose it from your entire body. In many women, butt and thigh fat is the last to go even when you are in great shape. Frustrating, I know. Fat loss is going to come from full-body workouts and most importantly, smart nutrition including a calorie deficit. That being said, this butt workout is still a great choice to tone up the butt area. The more muscle you have, the more toned up you will be AND the more calories you will burn. So if you are trying to lose weight, make sure you also prioritize nutrition and full body workouts, not just butt workouts.
Got it? Great! Keep reading to learn a killer butt workout routine to blast your glutes and get you to your goals, as well as tips for maximizing your butt workouts, and nutritional considerations for butt-building. But before we get started, let’s talk about THE SQUEEZE.
If you ain’t squeezing it right, you’re missing out. To maximize each and every butt exercise, you need to think of each contraction as a squeeze. When the glutes contract, they move inward and upward. If you’re not sure what I mean, stand up right now and squeeze your buttcheeks together. Go ahead and put your hands on ’em to make sure they’re contracting. I’m serious, grab your own butt and flex, squeezing the cheeks together like you’re trying desperately not to pass gas. That, ladies, is THE SQUEEZE. That’s how you want the glutes to contract at the top of squats, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, etcetera. You can go through the motions of the exercise and leave progress on the table, or you can SQUEEZE your cheeks and get a lot stronger a lot faster. What’ll it be? OK, let’s get going on the workout proper.
The Glorious Glutes Butt Workout for Women
Here it is. These are the butt exercises you need to be doing, the order do them in, and tips for getting them SO RIGHT. Do the main events, the finishers, and top it all off with the cardio. Let’s build those glorious glutes!
- Do the Main Events as a circuit at least twice through and up to four times through
- Do the Finishers twice through only after completing your desired number of circuits of the Main Events
- Rest no more than 30 sec – 1 minute in between each exercise, just long enough to let your glutes and legs recover
- Pick a weight that will THOROUGHLY FATIGUE your muscles thoroughly by the end of the set while allowing you to MAINTAIN FORM AND CONTROL
- If the set was too easy, pick a heavier weight next time, and if you couldn’t make it through without sacrificing form or stopping to rest, choose a lighter weight
- Do this workout 2-3 times weekly for maximum results!
First and Foremost: 5 Main Events
#1. Kettlebell Swings x 30 seconds
A calorie torcher AND butt lifter if there ever was one. The basic kettlebell swing will tighten and tone your butt, hamstrings, and low back in short order. This is a nice lead-off into the other exercises because it will get your heart rate up.
To perform a set of kettlebell swings:
Get your kettlebell ready between your feet. Your stance is hip-width apart or slightly wider. You’re going to swing the kettlebell like your whole body is ringing a bell, NOT lift it up and down using your arms. Grasp the handle with both hands and stand up. Keeping your shoulders strong, sit back into your hips letting your knees bend, then quickly SQUEEZE your glutes as you allow the kettlebell to swing upward. Use your arms to guide the path of the kettlebell, but don’t actively lift or lower it with your arms. As the kettlebell swings down, bend your knees and let your chest go downward, keeping a flat back. Feel your hamstrings stretch a bit, then SQUEEZE quickly to pop your hips forward and swing it again, letting it build up some momentum each time. WooHoo! You’re swinging a kettlebell!
#2. Deadlifts x 12 reps
Everybody’s always saying “SQUATS SQUATS SQUATS” when it comes to butt workouts. The deadlift never gets its propers, which stinks because the deadlift targets the butt and hamstrings hardcore while squats target quads hardcore and the butt and hamstrings to a lesser degree. Let’s give the deadlift its due!
To perform a deadlift:
Get a barbell, kettlebell, or two dumbbells ready in front of you. Get in close to the weight, as close as you can (if it’s a barbell, put your shoelaces under the bar). Sit back into your hips as you reach back with your butt and hamstrings. Keep a flat back, a tight core, and shoulders back as you grasp the weights and pull yourself up to standing using your hamstrings and glutes. SQUEEZE your glutes as you stand all the way up. If you’re using a barbell, the bar should almost bruch your straight up-and-down shins as you stand up. The weight will finish at hip level. Don’t shrug your shoulders or pull up with your elbows at the top. Set the weight down in exactly the same fashion. That’s a deadlift! Deadlift EVERYTHING, it’s the safest way to pick up anything of any weight (even flower pots, cats, and dropped pencils).
#3. Squats x 12 reps
OK, I know I was down on squats just a second ago. Squats are awesome. You should do them. I was just mad because I like deadlifts better.
To perform a squat:
While a deadlift is a pulling movement, a squat is a PUSH. You are going to screw your feet into the floor (use your imagination) and PUSH the floor away from you. Get your weight in position (barbell in front or back, dumbbells at shoulders, kettlebell goblet-style, bodyweight…whatever you like). Keep your chest up and your knees right over your toes both from front to back AND side to side as you sit back into your hips, reaching back with butt and hamstrings. Get your hip crease to match your knee height (that’s 90 degrees) and then tighten your core even more as you push the ground away and stand with a SQUEEZE. Keep an eye on your knees: many people mistakenly bring their knees forward instead of sitting back into their hips. Also, many women’s knees try to cave inward when they squat down. Don’t let this happen! Keep your knees actively pushing outward if you have this tendency. It’s better to have your knees bow slightly outward than to collapse inward.
#4. Another Set of Kettlebell Swings x 30 seconds
Second verse, same as the first. 30 second interval of aggressive kettlebell swings. Get your heart pumping and your glutes burning. Don’t forget to SQUEEZE at the top of each swing!
#5. Sumo Deadlifts x 12
A special kind of deadlift with a twist: they blast your inner thighs and squeeze the glutes from a different angle, giving you a boost in tone in multiple areas while improving your strength and balance.
To perform a sumo deadlift:
For a sumo deadlift, you will begin standing with your weight already in your grasp, not on the floor in front of you. Also in contrast to the regular deadlift, your stance is much wider than hip width and your feet are turned outward. Knees must track over top of ankles and point the same direction as your feet as you lower your center of gravity toward the floor, keeping your chest higher than you would for a normal deadlift. Sink to a maximum of 180 degree angle from knee to butt to other knee. This will depend on your flexibility. Don’t push it, and try it with bodyweight at first!
#6. Walking Lunges x 10 each leg
Lunges are great for butt building as well as toning the legs and solidifying the core. You can add weight by holding dumbbells at your sides, a barbell on your shoulders, or go for just bodyweight to start. They’re kind of like a giant goofy-looking walking step. Alignment is essential to maximize muscle engagement and avoid injury.
To perform walking lunges:
Clear a path! You’ll be moving forward quite a ways. Take a big step forward with one leg, keeping your torso completely straight as you sink toward the ground. Your front knee MUST NOT go beyond the toe. Press into your front foot, SQUEEZING the glutes as you bring the back leg up to stand flush with the front leg again. Switch legs and repeat. Count to 10 going one direction, then turn around and count ten coming back. That adds up to twenty total, or ten for each leg.
Next: 3 Burning Glute Finishers
ONLY do these Finishers after your desired number of Main Event circuits are all done (that’s why we call ’em Finishers). Do two circuits of the Finishers. These finishers will make sure your glutes are completely juiced and fatigued from all angles.
#1. Cable Hip Extension x 15 each leg
Get thee to the cable machine and attach ankle straps to both ankles. With the cable attachment point set all the way at the bottom, attach one ankle. Facing the cable origin, lift one foot behind you, keeping the leg straight and leading with the heel. You’ll need to lean forward a little and keep your hand on the cable machine to maintain balance. Keep your core tight! Lower to the starting position slowly, resisting the weight all the time. You may find it helpful to stand on something like a yoga block or weight plate to give the working leg a little extra clearance. Just watch out for anything that will be slippery on the floor.
#2. Cable Hip Side Raise x 15 each leg
Similar to the first finisher, but dialed into the gluteus medius (side glute). Same set up as #1, but turn your body 90 degrees so the side of your body is facing the cable machine and the working leg is on the outside. Lift your leg up and out to the side, again keeping the leg straight. Tighten your core. You may want to reach out to your side and touch/hold the cable machine with the arm next to it. Feel the burn in your gluteus medius!!
#3. Glute Bridge x 15 lifts + 30 second static hold
Oh, this is gonna hurt after everything we just did! Oh, it’s gonna be SO worth it, though! Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor as close in to your butt as they can comfortably go. Align your toes, heels, knees, and hips so they all form a straight line. Thrust your hips upward slowly with a SQUEEZE until you have a straight, diagonal line going from your knees down to your shoulders. Keep your abdominals engaged to avoid arching your back. Lower under control and repeat for 15 reps. On the last rep, hold that perfectly aligned top position…and keep holding for 30 seconds. It will hurt so good. If this exercise proves too easy with body weight, hold a weight plate on top of your thighs or a barbell or dumbbells on top of your hips. That will make the exercise harder in a big hurry!
Drive it Home: CARDIO for the Booty
20-25 minutes of intense booty-oriented cardio is going to accelerate your results, so set aside this time after your main events and the finishers to really cap it off right. I highly recommend doing the cardio portion at the very end. You want to save your strength for the main events rather than tuckering your muscles out early by doing cardio first. So what cardio should you do? You’ve got two choices: incline treadmill walking, or a challenging climbing-type program on an elliptical machine or ARC trainer machine. DO NOT go for the exercise bike; that’s going to use your quads more than we want. We gotta directly address the glutes!
Personally, I prefer to keep it simple and go with a nice treadmill incline walk. Set the incline as high as it goes (or lower if you need to regress) and GET TO WORK. The higher the incline, the more your glutes will work rather than other muscles. Don’t hold the handle supports; keep your arms pumping naturally to propel you forward. Keep your core tight to protect your back and give you more power. DO NOT slump or sag side to side as you climb. As for speed, don’t feel pressured to jog or run. Go for a strong walking pace that allows you to maintain postural control while you demolish the incline. Squeeze, squeeze, SQUEEZE your glutes as you climb! If you need to take a rest, put the incline lower and allow yourself to recover, then get back to climbing.
When you’ve done your 20-25 minutes of booty cardio, give yourself a major high five/fist bump/pat on the back. You’re done (for today)! Remember to do the entire Glorious Glutes Workout 2-3x weekly to see the most awesome results!
Nutrition Notes for Butt Building
If you’re like most women, you would like to lose some fat off the butt while maintaining and building up the muscles. If that describes your goals, nutrition is going to be extremely important. Sometimes women will work out their glutes, doing everything right throughout the workout, and then get frustrated by their “lack of progress”. Their stumbling block is this: although they are building the muscles, the fat layer is still there and its hiding whatever progress they HAVE made. This will not be you, not this time!
To ensure that you’re losing butt fat while toning up and building the muscles, you need to be (1) working with a calorie deficit. Simply put, that means you are burning more calories than you are eating. There are no magic foods or magic pills that will do this for you. It’s about discipline, dedication, and portion control! You can still have your favorite foods, in moderation. I would highly recommend looking at your macros to ensure you’re getting proper nutrition while you are working the deficit. You also need to be (2) eating sufficient protein! Especially when you are in calorie deficit, protein is absolutely essential to maintain and build your muscle mass. Otherwise, your body might start using your muscle as fuel, which is the LAST thing you want. That’s one of the main reasons why a lot of “cardio bunnies” are skinny but still look flabby instead of toned.
If you’re not trying to lose fat, just trying to maintain body fat where it is while building muscle, nutrition is still super important. You don’t need to worry about creating a calorie deficit, but you do need to eat to maintain energy levels and get plenty of protein to give your muscles the building blocks they need to get bigger. You may even want to work with a slight calorie surplus (eating more calories than you burn through basal metabolic rate and exercise) if you’re looking to pack on lots of muscle. The downside to this is that you may put on some fat as well along the way. If you’re not concerned about that, or you plan to cut the fat after packing on the muscle, working with a slight calorie surplus would be a good choice for your goals.
Glorious Glutes Butt Workout for Women: The Bottom Line (pun intended)
Give this workout a shot and then give us a shout to let us know how it works for you. Did we miss any of your favorite butt-building exercises or key tips? Let us know in the comments below!