Bubble butts and booty trends may come and go, but one thing never goes out of style: a firm, lifted backside.
The truth is, your gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body, so strengthening and firming your rear does more for you than just help you look hot in a pair of jeans. Glute strength can help reduce hip and knee pain and protect your back from injury; it also improves your athletic performance in nearly any workout.
In this article, we’ll explain how the glute muscles work, why strong glutes are important, and how to achieve that toned and lifted bubble butt with exercise, not over-the-top medical procedures. (Yep, butt enhancement surgeries are one of the most common plastic surgery procedures around…and totally unnecessary!)
Muscles To Work for a Firm Butt
When you think of toning your butt, you may picture the actual butt cheek itself, but there are actually a few different muscles responsible for creating a firm, lifted appearance. There are three muscles that make up your rear:
- the gluteus maximus: the largest muscle in you body, which produces the shape of the buttocks and helps with hip and thigh movement.
- the gluteus medius: a fan-shaped muscle that assists in hip rotation.
- the gluteus minimus: muscle that helps with thigh rotation.
Your hamstrings also extend up towards your glute muscles, making them an important muscle to include in your next butt workout. Hamstrings are a frequently overlooked muscle, but you need strong hamstrings to not only prevent injury to your hips but also create a lean, tight backside.
Why Glute Strength Is Important
All talk of bubble butts aside, glute strength is important for overall strength and fitness. As mentioned, your glutes are the largest muscle in your body, and they’re crucial for so many different movements concerning your hips and thighs. Here are three reasons you need to strengthen your glutes:
1. Improves Your Posture
Most of us sit for long periods of time for work and this causes the glute muscles to “turn off” so to speak. When our glutes aren’t firing effectively, our hip flexors tighten and shorten, which not only increases the chances for injuries to our hips and knees, but can cause what’s known as “postural deviations” such as slouching. Strong, activated glute muscles prevent this from happening and keep our postural alignment upright and healthy.
2. Reduces hip/back/knee pain
Strong glutes stabilize your pelvis and help protect your hips from injury. Similarly, when your hips are protected, your lower back is also free of pain. When your pelvis is stable, it also takes the pressure off your knees and ankles, which can overcompensate otherwise. All around, strong glutes lead to a pain-free body.
Related: How To Treat Hip Pain
3. Improves Athletic Performance
Strong glutes are also key to athleticism: they boost your agility, speed, and overall athletic performance. Especially if you’re a runner, strong glutes help propel you farther and faster, not to mention they reduce the impact your feet have to take every time they strike the ground.
7 Exercises To Get a Bubble Butt
Now that you know the importance of working your glute muscles, let’s get into the exercises: Squats are known for their ability to build beautiful backsides, but we’ve also added plyometric movements to this workout—plyometrics make a huge difference in building muscle quickly.
You can incorporate these movements into your existing workouts, or do them all together for one killer, butt-kicking workout! If you do them all together, perform 8-10 repetitions of each exercise. These moves are all bodyweight except for the resistance band butt blaster—but this move can be modified without the resistance band, too.
Here are seven of the best exercises to turn a flat booty into a firm, bubble butt:
1. Basic Squat
- Stand tall with your feet hip distance apart. Your hips, knees, and toes should all be facing forward.
- Bend your knees and extend your buttocks backward as if you are going to sit back into a chair. Make sure that you keep your knees behind your toes and your weight in your heels. Rise back up and repeat.
To learn more about the benefits of squats and other similar exercises, see our basic squat guide.
- Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and arms at the sides.
- Bring one leg behind at a slight angle into a reverse lunge. The front knee will come to a 90-degree angle.
- Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg forward to switch sides in a skating motion. Arms alternate as you switch sides like a speed skater.
For more information on skaters, check out our skaters guide.
3. Jump Squats
- Start standing with feet hip distance apart and lower into a squat position by bending the knees. Keep the spine straight, chest lifted, and knees behind toes. Arms are in front of the chest for balance.
- Jump straight up and swing arms overhead. Return to squat.
To learn more about calories burned and muscles worked when doing squat jumps, check out our squat jump article.
4. Resistance Band Butt Blaster
- Kneel on floor and wrap band under right foot, and place hands down under shoulders holding handles against the floor.
- Lift right knee off the floor slightly and push right foot back to extend leg straight against the band, squeezing your glute.
- Release slowly bringing knee back in to a bent position. Continue for desired reps and switch feet.
Note: You don’t have to use a resistance band if you don’t have one; it can easily be modified as bodyweight-only. Check out more information on resistance band workouts.
5. Glute Bridges
- Lie on back with bent knees hip distance apart, and feet flat on mat stacked under the knees.
- Engage the core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips to a bridge. Hold, squeezing tight and return to mat with control. Repeat for desired number of reps.
Want to learn more about glute bridges? Check out our awesome glute bridge article!
6. Plié Squats
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and toes turned out into a 45 degree angle.
- Bend knees and lower your torso, keeping your back straight and abs tight.
- Squeeze your glutes and come to standing position.
A firm booty is just one of the perks of this exercise. Check out more benefits of plié squats.
7. Cross Behind Lunges
- Begin standing with your feet hip distance apart.
- Transfer your body weight onto your left leg and cross your right foot behind your left leg keeping your hips facing forward as you bend both knees and lower yourself toward the floor in a lunge. Keep your back straight and chest lifted to keep your weight in the front leg. Step back to start position and repeat on the other side.
Check out more helpful information on cross-behind lunges.
Want to save these moves so you always know what exercises to do for a better butt? Download or print it here: