No, that doesn’t say exercise twerks for a stronger butt. It says tweaks because you only need a few moves for a well-developed backside, but a few small changes to those exercises can make them dramatically more effective.
We’ve taken our four favorite glute exercises — the squat, deadlift, single-leg hip thrust and kettlebell swing — and given them little twists to deliver the derrière you’ve always wanted.
1. Squat with a band around your knees.
Squats are a fantastic exercise for a stronger butt because they challenge the glutes through three of their main functions: hip extension, external rotation and abduction. Plus, once your form is pristine, you can load squats with weight for added strength and muscle.
To burn your butt even more, try squatting with a band around your knees. Push your knees out against the band as you squat up and down, making sure not to let your knees collapse inward.
2. Increase the range of motion on single-leg hip thrusts.
Hip thrusts smoke the glutes directly without the need for heavy weight or fancy equipment. They’re one of our top choices for a stronger butt. However, they often get too easy for the advanced exerciser.
For harder single-leg hip thrusts without adding weight, simply increase the range of motion by elevating your bottom foot on a small box or step. It doesn’t take much extra distance to feel your glutes working overtime.
3. Keep your knees behind your toes during single-leg exercises.
It’s an old wives’ tale that letting your knees go past your toes on squats is dangerous. In fact, barring a previous knee injury, letting your knees bend forward slightly while in line with your pinkie toes makes for a safer, stronger squat. But when it’s a stronger butt you’re after, you’re better off keeping your knee behind your toes during single-leg exercises like lunges and single-leg deadlifts.
Keeping a vertical shin (i.e., keeping your knee directly over your ankle) puts the stress on your glutes and hamstrings. If your knees drift forward, your quads take the brunt of the exercise. Think about sitting back through your hips instead of forward through your knees. Your backside will feel the difference immediately.
4. Overload the lockout of your glute exercises.
In most lower-body exercises, the glutes finish the lockout by extending the hips. Overloading this portion of the exercise goes a long way toward building a stronger butt.
One of our favorite methods to overload the lockout is to add a band to movements like kettlebell swings and deadlifts. Because the band stretches as you approach the top of the lift, you get extra resistance at lockout when your glutes are working the hardest.
Another option is to elevate the weight on blocks or steps during deadlifts so you can lift more weight than you could if the weight were resting on the floor. This works for barbell, kettlebell or dumbbell variations. Make sure to squeeze your butt hard, and don’t overarch your lower back. This ensures your rear end is doing most of the work.
BONUS TIP: Squeeze your butt during every ab exercise.
Did you know that your glutes can actually make your abs stronger? Your butt posteriorly tilts the pelvis, which helps the abdominal muscles keep the pelvis and rib cage in the proper position during exercises like planks and rollouts.
Every time you work your abs, squeeze your glutes like you’re trying to crack a walnut between your cheeks. This sounds silly, but it will make for a stronger midsection from front to back.
No Butts About It
A strong posterior doesn’t require any fancy exercises or equipment, just hard work and determination. A few simple tweaks to your exercise technique can give you better results in less time. Try the above suggestions during your next lower-body workout.