Jessica Nelson, RDN, CPT, breaks down gluteal anatomy before sharing her personal-trainer-approved exercises to lift your butt.
Looking for the best butt-lifting workout for a stronger, more toned derrière?
Here’s a complete guide to achieving your best butt ever. We’ll cover gluteal anatomy, booty-sculpting insights, and the top exercises to lift your butt.
What are the gluteal muscles?
There are three main muscles that make up the gluteal (butt!) anatomy. Those include the gluteus medius, maximus, and minimus.
1. Gluteal Medius
The gluteal medius is located on the upper part of the buttocks. This muscle helps to rotate the hips out and stabilize movement while walking and standing.
2. Gluteal Maximus
The gluteal maximus is the largest and thickest of the three gluteal muscles and primarily makes up the shape of the buttocks. This large muscle is also important for keeping the upper body erect and supporting hip movements, including climbing.
3. Gluteal Minimus
The gluteal minimus is the smallest of the three gluteal muscles. This muscle works with the medius to help with hip and pelvis motion.
Basically, these three muscles work together to help with everyday functional movements that involve rotating, lifting, and stabilizing the lower body. And, of course, they help create the shape of your butt!
How to sculpt Your Butt
Without a doubt, you need to strengthen and build your gluteal muscles up to lift that butt.
Here are some quick tips to know before starting your booty-lifting workout:
- To build your muscles, use heavy weights to put more tension on the muscles.
- Focus primarily on dynamic strength type movements, such as squat jumps. Dynamic movements are important as they create greater muscle tension than when doing static types of movements. That’s because both the muscle and joint undergo a full range of motion.
- Finally, vary your exercises to target the three main butt muscles and get in a range of low to high rep counts.
6 Exercises to Lift Your Butt
Perform these glute-targeting exercises to strengthen, tone, and lift your butt. It’s a great workout on it’s own, or you can add it to your next lower body or total body strength-training day.
For this butt-lifting workout, you’ll need a heavy pair of dumbbells. (I used 12-pound dumbbells below.) Complete 10 to 15 reps for each exercise (and each side of your body) three or four times.
1. Dumbbell Sumo Squat
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width, toes pointed out, and holding dumbbells in front of your chest. Bend your knees while lowering hips. Your thighs should be parallel with the floor, and keep your weight in the back of your heels. Hold for two seconds, then rise back up to starting position, squeezing the glutes at the top.
2. Dumbbell dead lift
Stand with your knees slightly bent. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, with palms facing your body. Keep your arms straight while slowly hinging at the waist, pressing your hips back to lower dumbbells toward your toes. Go as far as you can without rounding your back and shoulders. Squeeze your glutes as you slowly return to standing position.
3. Curtsy Lunge + dumbbell leg lift
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold one dumbbell at the right side of the body. Keep your chest forward and shoulders back, then step back with your right foot, crossing behind your front left leg. Sit back into a lunge, keeping your weight in the back of the forward heel. Pause for two seconds, then drive up to the starting position and laterally raise your right leg out to the side with the dumbbell resting against it. Avoid leaning leftward as you lift your leg laterally. Bring your right leg back down to starting position for one rep. Switch to the left leg after completing a full set of reps.
4. Weighted Static Forward lunge with pulse
Start with your left foot forward and knee slightly bent. Extend your right leg back, with your toes down and heel up. Hold both dumbbells on your shoulders. Bend your knees, lowering your body to floor until knees are at a 90-degree angle. Come up halfway, then go back down for 1 pulse. Do two or three pulses total, then rise up to starting position for a full rep. Complete total reps on one side of body, then switch.
5. Forearm Glute Rainbow Kicks
Start on all fours. Drop down to your forearms, with knees shoulder-width apart and dumbbells on the floor as visual markers (see above). Straighten right leg and position it 45 degrees to the right (outside of the dumbbell). Keep your core engaged with your back straight, neck neutral. Lift your right leg and create a rainbow arc (kick) behind you by slowing kicking right leg over to the left side of your body (outside of other dumbbell) until toe just touches ground. From there, bring it back to right side for one complete rep. Keep your whole body still except your leg doing while a rainbow kick, and squeeze your glutes through the entire movement. Complete total reps, then switch legs.
6. weighted frog Pump
In a glute bridge position, place one dumbbell on your lower abdominal area. With knees bent, push them outward into a butterfly position. Push your heels together and place two feet from butt. Holding the dumbbell, tighten your core and squeeze your glutes as you drive your hips up, creating a straight line from hips to knees. Pause for two seconds, then slowly return to starting position. Your knees should remain butterflied out the entire time.
Remember: Patience and consistency are key when it comes to strengthening and toning your derrière. Muscle growth takes time.
Also, know that muscle development doesn’t happen through working out alone. On top of performing these exercises to lift your butt, you also need adequate rest, as well as food to fuel your muscles.