Exercises like squats and lunges are great for toning the butt, but they are not enough to give it a lift. If you want a firm, rounder or bigger butt, you have to add a few more exercises to your routine. We need strong glutes, since we use them in almost every movement: Walking, climbing the stairs, sitting on a chair, lifting things, cleaning the house and so forth. These exercises will also tighten and trim the inner and outer thighs.
Add these five butt-sculpting moves to your leg workout for maximum muscle activation:
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
1. Glute Bridges
This mainly targets the butt muscles and lower back. It also stretches the hamstrings, which are tightened by long hours of sitting.
To do this exercise, lie flat on your back. Bend the knees and place hands on the side. Now, lift the hips off the floor as high as you can. Squeeze the glutes at the top for two seconds then lower the body until the butt touches the floor and repeat. Remember to keep the feet flat on the floor throughout.
Challenge yourself: For an extra burn, do the single leg glute bridge. Straighten one leg and keep it off the floor. Use the bent leg to thrust the hips high off the floor then slowly lower the body to starting position and repeat.
2. Donkey Kick
The donkey kick activates the butt muscles and the core.
Start on all fours, with hands directly under the shoulders. Keep the head, neck and spine in neutral position. Kick one leg behind until it is straight and parallel to the floor. Return it to starting position and repeat. Complete repetitions for one leg before switching legs.
Challenge yourself: You can also do the exercise with the knee bent. Keep the active leg bent at a 90-degree angle then slowly raise it until the thigh is parallel to the floor. Lower it to starting position and repeat. Avoid swinging the leg when doing this exercise. Control the motion and do the exercise slowly.
3. Shoulder Elevated Hip Thrust
To perform the hip thrust, rest your upper back on a sturdy chair and keep knees bent with feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the ears. Then lift the hips up as high as you can and squeeze the butt at the top. Slowly lower the butt to starting position and repeat.
Challenge yourself: Perform this exercise on one foot.
4. Side Lying Leg Raises
This exercise will help tone and tighten the butt and improve hip flexibility. It also activates the core.
Lie on your side with the feet straight and rest your head on the bottom arm. Raise the top leg upwards, as high as you can. Lower it until it almost touches the bottom leg then lift it again. Complete as many repetitions as you can on one leg, then switch sides.
5. Single-Leg Deadlift
The single-leg deadlift may be challenging if you are a beginner. It requires balance, strength and flexibility to execute. This exercise trains the butt muscles, thighs and lower back.
Stand with feet close together, tighten the core then bend as you simultaneously lift one leg backwards. Stretch until you touch the floor with one arm. Keep the back straight and the knee of the supporting leg slightly bent. The torso and the rear leg should in a straight line. Reverse the movement to return to starting position and repeat.