13 Best Butt Exercises for Toned Glutes, According to Fitness Pros

Follow this workout and you'll be on your way to a stronger, more lifted bum in no time.

best butt exercises
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Let's face it, we spend more time sitting on our glutes than using them. Your glutes are actually made up of three different muscles, and that includes the gluteus maximus, which is the largest muscle in the body but often the most neglected.

While you may be in it for the aesthetics, you'll find that glute training has a ton of other advantages as well. Gunnar Peterson, celebrity trainer and strength and conditioning coach for the LA Lakers, says that consistent glute training has metabolic, functional and performance benefits too. "Metabolically, training your glutes is important and will pay you back after your workout," Peterson shares.

What's more, incorporating glute toning exercises into your routine can also help prevent injury. "Whether it be lower back issues I've developed, knee issues, tearing my calves... if I had focused more on gluteus maximus and medius strength, most of these injuries wouldn’t have happened to that severity," says Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer and New York Times bestselling author.

Some of the best butt exercises can be done at home with utilizing just your bodyweight. Fitness experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute sat down with Peterson and Pasternak to program the best butt workout that you can do at home. Form is key, but once you master bodyweight you can level up any of these movements by adding weight in the form of dumbbells or kettlebells. Before you start any exercise regimen, be sure to consult your physician or healthcare practitioner.

The Ultimate Butt Workout in Under 30 Minutes

Perform these movements on their own or try them in this circuit:

  1. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with a 15-second rest between movements.
  2. Repeat each exercise for two rounds, then move on to the next.
  3. Take additional rest time as needed. Follow the sequence of exercises in order.
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    1 Narrow Squat
    best butt exercises for women squat
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    Peterson says that playing with foot position can target different aspects of the glute muscles. A resistance band positioned just above your knees can also be useful.

    How to: Start standing tall with your feet together. Inhale as you squat straight down, shooting your hips back and keeping your weight in your heels. Remember to keep your core engaged and chest upright throughout the movement. Exhale and squeeze your glutes as you come back up to standing position.

    2 Regular Squat
    best butt exercises for women
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    Before adding weight, focus on form and core engagement in the regular squat Peterson says. When you do add weight, consider holding two dumbbells at your side or holding a kettlebell with both hands by your chest.

    How to: Start with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing forward. Inhale as you squat straight down, shooting your hips back and keeping your weight in your heels. Aim for lowering your booty down so that it is parallel with your knees, ensuring that your knees stay over your ankles and do not track over your toes. Exhale and squeeze your glutes as you come back up to standing position.

    3 Slight Turnout Squat
    best butt exercises for women
    AzmanJakaGetty Images

    This variation in Peterson's squat sequence is great for targeting those lesser-used muscles.

    How to: Start with your feet a bit farther apart than regular squat stance and turn your toes out slightly. Inhale as you squat straight down, shooting your hips back and keeping your weight in your heels. Aim for lowering your booty down so that it is parallel with your knees, ensuring that your knees stay over your ankles and do not track over your toes. Exhale and squeeze your glutes as you come back up to standing position.

    4 Plie Squat
    best butt exercises for women
    Deagreez

    The last movement in this squat sequence can help really target the inner thighs and glutes, making plie squats a great butt exercise for women.

    How to: Start standing with your feet wider than your shoulders and toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. Keep your chest up and core engaged as you inhale and bend your knees to lower down, focusing on pushing your knees outward. Exhale and engage your glutes as you come back up to standing position.

    5 Non-Dominant Side Single-Leg Glute Bridge
    best butt exercises
    SrdjanPavGetty Images

    Squats are done, now it's time to hit the floor for some glute bridges. By transitioning from standing squats straight into floor work, Peterson says you'll be able to keep your heart rate up and tax the muscles. He advises to begin on your non-dominant side first since it's often weaker (if you're a righty, you'll start with your left leg in the air and vice versa).

    How to: Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and about shoulder width apart, and arms next to your sides. Engage your core, pull the belly button in to your spine and recruit your glutes as you lift your hips up until they have created a "bridge," which is a flat surface from chest to knees. From this position, lift your non-dominant leg straight up into the air. Squeeze the glutes for a second before lowering back down.

      6 Dominant Side Single Leg Glute Bridge
      best butt exercises for women
      filadendronGetty Images

      Next up, the same exercise but on the opposite leg. Don't forget to breathe through the movement and engage your core too.

      How to: Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and about shoulder width apart, and arms next to your sides. Engage your core, pull the belly button in to your spine and recruit your glutes as you lift your hips up until they have created a "bridge," which is a flat surface from chest to knees. From this position, lift your dominant leg straight up into the air. Squeeze the glutes for a second before lowering back down.

      7 Narrow Double Leg Glute Bridge
      best butt exercises for women
      DjordjeDjurdjevicGetty Images

      Even slightly changing the position of your legs can transform your butt workout. This narrow double leg glute bridge keeps both feet on the floor but requires strength and coordination.

      How to: Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms next to your sides. Glue your legs and feet together for this glute bridge variation. Engage your core and glutes as you lift your hips up, pausing for a moment at the top and then slowly coming back down with control.

      8 Wide Double Leg Glute Bridge
      best butt exercises for women
      DjordjeDjurdjevicGetty Images

      Once you master the movement, Peterson suggests adding weight on your hip bones or bikini line area for women.

      How to: Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms next to your sides. Bring your feet wider than shoulder width apart for this glute bridge variation, and ensure you are pushing your knees outward and not letting them cave in. Engage your core and glutes as you lift your hips up, pausing for a moment at the top and then slowly coming back down with control.

      9 Alternating Front Lunges
      best butt exercises for women
      VioletaStoimenovaGetty Images

      This lunge sequence is great for targeting the glutes and working on balance too. Pasternak says that he and his family do walking lunges around the block of their home.

      How to: Start standing tall with feet hip width apart, core engaged and chest lifted. Step forward with your right foot and bend both knees, lowering until your knees are both bent at a 90-degree angle. Push off from your front leg to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement but this time on the other side by stepping the left foot forward. Continue alternating for the full 30 seconds.

      10 Alternating Side Lunges
      best butt exercises
      SrdjanPavGetty Images

      We're so used to moving forwards and backwards, but side to side movement is crucial for building strong and sculpted glutes. This lunge variation helps to target the sides of the glutes as well as the inner thighs.

      How to: Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Keep your chest up and step your right foot out as wide as possible. Push the booty back and sink down into a squat on one side. Engage your glutes to come back up into standing position. Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating for the full 30 seconds.

      11 Alternating Reverse Lunges
      best butt exercises for women
      filadendronGetty Images

      The last move in this lunge sequence requires coordination, balance and strength. Once you master the movement, try holding dumbbells on either side or a kettlebell near your chest.

      How to: Start standing tall with feet hip width apart, core engaged and chest lifted. Step backward with your right foot and bend both knees, lowering until your knees are both bent at a 90-degree angle. Push off from your back leg to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement but this time on the other side by stepping the left foot backward. Continue alternating for the full 30 seconds.

      12 Bent Knee Glute Kickback
      best butt exercises
      gilaxiaGetty Images

      This classic toning move is perfect for sculpting your legs and booty. Peterson says adding resistance bands placed on your thighs just above your knees in this move can make it more effective. Instead of flying through the movements, he recommends slowing down and moving with a purpose.

      How to: Start on a non-slip rug or padded mat with your forearms and knees on the floor. Core is engaged and lower abs are drawn in. Keep your left leg bent and foot flexed as you kick your left foot to the ceiling. Lower back down with control. Finish this movement on the right side first for two rounds before repeating on the left side.

        13 Clamshells
        best butt exercises
        Nikolas_jkdGetty Images

        Pasternak favors glute training because it ensures that the surrounding tissues aren’t overly restrictive and tight. He loves clamshells as a way to target the gluteus medius.

        How to: Lay down on your side, and make sure your head, hips, and heels are in one long plane. Place your fingertips on the floor in front of you to stabilize the body, and bend your knees in front of you. Keep your feet glued together as you float your top knee up to your hip, then lower back down. Finish this movement on the right side first for two rounds before repeating on the left side.

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