Buns. Booty. Assets. Badonkadonk. No matter what you call them, we all want our butts to be as high, tight, round, and firm as possible. Six-pack abs are awesome—but you know the truest test of sex appeal comes from a sleek derriére.
Getting it is another matter, since this is the spot where women tend to hold the most body fat for the longest time. Thankfully, Kim Oddo, celebrity trainer to the fitness stars, and IFBB figure pro—and mother of three—Cheryl Brown are here to show you how to kick your own ass into the shape you want with 10 butt exercise moves specifically designed to improve your bottom line.
Perform the following moves in a traditional three-set format, 15 reps each set, and resting 60 to 90 seconds between each set. Complete all sets for one exercise before moving on to the next butt exercise.
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Unilateral Stiff-Leg Deadlift
Butt Exercise: Unilateral Stiff-Leg Deadlift Degree of Difficulty: 3 out of 5
● Overview: The key to making this exercise target the glutes instead of the hamstrings is the stretch. ● GetReady: With your feet close together, hold a dumbbell in your right hand with an overhand grip and extend your arm. Keep your head up and a tight arch in the small of your back. ● Go: Bending your right knee slightly and keeping your left leg straight and locked, hinge at the hips to lower your torso toward the floor, using the weight as a counterbalance as your left leg comes up in a straight line behind you. With contracted abs, squeeze your right glute and hamstring as you pull your torso back to vertical. Repeat for reps before switching legs.
Kims Tip: “Girls tend to be more flexible than guys, so do these standing on a box for a greater range of motion.”
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Lateral StepUp With Kickback
Butt Exercise:Lateral Stepup With Kickback Degree of Difficulty: 3 out of 5
● Overview: This exercise works both the adductors and abductors, but the kickback targets the glutes. To add difficulty, use ankle weights. ● Get Ready: Stand to the left side of an aerobic step or box. ● Go: Step sideways onto the box with your right leg only, then contract your abs and squeeze your left glute as you bring your straight left leg behind you in a kickback motion. Hold for one count, then release the glute and step carefully off the box with your left leg, followed by your right. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
Kims Tip: “Be careful not to spring up. You don’t want to get a bounce motion in there. You’re isolating the squeeze-hold and the step up to make sure you’re not using your calves.”
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Butt Exercise: Split Squat Degree of Difficulty: 4 out of 5
● Overview: This exercise works both glutes at the same time — one gets stretched while the other is contracted. To add difficulty, use a stability ball instead of a bench. ● Get Ready: Stand a few feet in front of a bench. Carefully extend one foot back to place it on top of the bench with the sole of your shoe almost parallel to the floor. ● Go: Bend your front leg to lower your torso straight down toward the ground, making sure your knee stays behind your toes, until your thigh is about parallel to the ground and your back knee is within a foot of the floor. Press through the heel of your front leg and squeeze your glute as you rise straight back up.
Kims Tip: “Make sure the movement goes straight down, not forward.”
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Side Band Walking
Butt Exercise: Side Band Walking Degree of Difficulty: 5 out of 5
● Overview: This exercise effectively targets the glute-ham tie-in, where most women tend to carry body fat. ● Get Ready: Tie a resistance band just below your knees, and descend into a quarter-squat position, feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart to put tension on the band. ● Go: Keeping your abs tight and staying in the quarter-squat, step to the right with your right leg first, then your left, keeping tension on the band throughout. Repeat for reps, then switch sides to lead with your left leg.
Kims Tip: “I really like this one because it hits an area in your glutes that’s really hard to get to.”
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Medicine Ball Hip Thrusts
Butt Exercise: Medicine Ball Hip Thrusts Degree of Difficulty: 4 out of 5
● Overview: By rolling the medicine ball closer to or farther away from your glutes, you will feel this exercise in different areas of your glutes. Find the one that allows you to feel it most in the lower-middle portion of your glutes. For added resistance, place a dumbbell or weight plate on your pelvis. ● Get Ready: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your heels on a small medicine ball. ● Go: Contract your abs, then squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to thrust your hips upward. Hold for a count, then lower yourself three-quarters of the way back to the floor, keeping your abs contracted, and repeat.
Kims Tip: “Keep your head on the floor. Doing this with your head up is a good way to pinch a nerve in your neck.
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Wide-Stance Leg Press
Butt Exercise: Wide-Stance Leg Press Degree of Difficulty: 5 out of 5
● Overview: The wide stance transfers the action from the quads to the glutes and hamstrings. ● Get Ready: Lying back in a 45-degree leg press machine, place your feet high on the platform so only your heels are resting on it at the top outside corners, toes pointed out at 45-degree angles. ● Go: Unhinge the weight, then bend your knees to bring the platform toward your chest. Pause for a one-count, then squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to press the weight back up.
Kims Tip: “Make sure the small of your back stays flush against the pad. It’s very easy for your glutes to come up, but that can create lower-back injuries.”
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Leg Press Kickback
Butt Exercise: Leg Press Kickback Degree of Difficulty: 4 out of 5
● Overview: If your gym doesn’t have a dedicated butt blaster machine, use this instead—it uses the same range of motion and targets the middle portion and upper crest of the glutes. ● Get Ready: Turn yourself around in a 45-degree leg press machine so your stomach and elbows are resting on the back pad, knees on the seat. Put one foot in the middle of the platform. ● Go: Unhinge the weight, then press your foot back at a 45-degree angle by straightening your leg, squeezing the glutes at the top. Return halfway to the starting position, then repeat for reps.
Kims Tip: “Don’t arch your back. Make sure your foot is square so your toes are pointing straight down, and don’t use a weight that’s too heavy.”
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Single-Leg Smith Machine Box Squat
Butt Exercise: Single-Leg Smith Machine Box Squat Degree of Difficulty: 5 out of 5
● Overview: Do this near the beginning of your workout, when your legs are fresh and you can really focus on the glutes. ● Get Ready: Set up an aerobic step inside a Smith machine and, resting the bar across your upper traps, stand with one foot on the platform and the other hanging straight down off the floor. Unrack the bar and extend your free leg forward at about a 45-degree angle while keeping the other foot planted on the platform. ● Go: Keeping your back flat, descend until your working quad is just past parallel to the floor. Press up through the heel, shifting your hips forward and squeezing your glutes to return to standing.
Kims Tip: “Make sure you don’t go too far down past parallel; anything more will put stress on the patella. Make sure not to bounce the motion.”
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Single-Leg Stability Ball Glute Cable Kickback
Butt Exercise: Single-Leg Stability Ball Glute Cable Kickback Degree of Difficulty: 4 out of 5
● Overview: Working one leg at a time helps erase muscle imbalances; try using different ranges of motion to see what works best for you. ● Get Ready: Attach an ankle collar to a cable pulley at the lowest setting. Wrap the strap around one ankle, then step about three feet away from the pole. Lie facedown on a stability ball so your stomach and upper thighs rest on it, then place the toes of your nonworking foot on the floor behind you and your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you. ● Go: Lock your ankle and, keeping your knee slightly bent, curl your heel toward the ceiling, keeping your hips pressed into the ball. Hold for one count and squeeze your glute, then slowly lower your toe back to the floor.
Kims Tip: “Keep your head and neck parallel with the floor throughout the exercise.”
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Wall Squat With Stability Ball
Butt Exercise: Wall Squat With Stability Ball Degree of Difficulty: 3 out of 5
● Overview: A great isolator for the glutes and hamstrings, this move eliminates danger to the lower back. For added resistance, hold a pair of dumbbells. ● Get Ready: Stand facing away from a wall with a stability ball between it and the small of your back. Your feet should be in front of your hips, slightly wider than your shoulders, with toes pointed out at 45-degree angles. ● Go: Keeping your feet flat on the floor, squat down so the ball rolls up your back, until your quads are just past parallel to the floor. Hold for a count, then lift just your toes into the air to push through your heels as you rise back to the starting position, rotating your glutes and hams inward. Lower your toes back to the floor before starting the next rep.
Kims Tip: “This is not your typical squatting motion. I hate to use this analogy, but it’s kind of like holding and squeezing a pencil [between your glutes].”