10 Butt Workouts to Do at Home

woman doing exercises at home

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As you’re setting your fitness goals for the year, a strong, toned butt is likely on your list. The good news is that you don’t need complicated gym routines or pricey equipment to sculpt your booty — with the right moves, you can turn up the burn and gain some serious strength right at home. But research suggests that some of us may be going about butt exercises all wrong. 

Here’s why. There are three distinct muscles in your butt, explains Crystal Giorgi, a professional trainer at Activate House. Two smaller glute muscles work to stabilize your hip, and the gluteus maximus is the strongest, most visible butt muscle.

“[They all] work together to provide strength and mobility to the lower body by improving hip extension, abduction, and rotation,” Giorgi says.

When trained as a complete package, strong glutes can help stabilize your pelvis, improve posture, and reduce back pain, she adds. Yet while many trendy exercises will promise to get you a toned bum, it’s important to ensure that you are activating and strengthening all three of these muscles in your movement. Below, fitness trainers share their favorites for your at-home workout and offer insight into how to get started. 

Workout Tips

Before you get your sweat on, experts emphasize these key factors to get the best results and reduce the risk of injury.

  • Focus on your form, performing exercises slowly, intentionally, and in rhythm with your breath.
  • Start by using your body weight or modified versions of a movement until you can complete your sets with perfect form.
  • Add resistance equipment or weights progressively.
  • Stay consistent but allow your glute muscles to rest. The general rule of thumb is to wait at least 48 hours between training the same muscle group again.

Hip Thrusters

Hip thrusters are the GOAT (greatest of all time) when it comes to building booty, says Noah Neiman, a New York-based training instructor and co-founder of Rumble Boxing.

“[In fact], an EMG study showed that hip thrusters activated the muscles in the glute family better than any other exercises,” he explains. Here's how Neiman suggests doing hip thrusters.

  1. Start by lying on the floor in a sit-up position.
  2. Drive through your heels, pushing your hips upward while increasing tension on the glutes as your hips rise.
  3. Use controlled movement to lower your hips back to the starting position. 

To increase the difficulty, you can put weights on your hips or a band around your knees for extra resistance. Or, try elevating one leg as you drive your hips upward.

“You can also put your back on an elevated surface like a bench or a couch in order to increase the range of motion of the movement,” he says. 

Squats

Squats may literally be the original booty builder, says Neiman. “There are ancient caveman scribbles showing Paleolithic squat workouts. That’s how long squats have been a staple in any well-rounded lower body workout.”

Here's how he suggests doing a traditional squat,

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and brace your core with a belly full of air.
  2. Lower your hips straight down while pushing your knees slightly out at the bottom.
  3. Exhale and increase the squeeze on your glutes as you stand up to the starting position.
  4. Refrain from locking your knees at the top of the squat, but create as much tension in the glutes as possible by squeezing them like you’re trying to pop an egg.

To increase resistance, hold weights or add a band around your knees. 

Sumo Squats

The beauty of the squat is that it’s very modifiable. By changing the foot position or angle of your toes, you can change the angle of attack on the glute complex, Neiman says.

Sumo squats are one variation that turn up the heat on your glute medius and glute minimus. They’re performed the same way as a traditional squat mentioned above but with your toes pointing out instead of forward. 

Single-Leg Stand-ups

Along with hip thrusters and squats, the EMG studies point to single-leg exercises for powerful, full-range glute activation. This is because this motion requires extra work to balance and stabilize the movement. 

One of the simplest forms of this concept starts with sitting on a bench or in a chair, says Lo Santos, ACE-GFI, head coach at TITLE Boxing Club. Here's how to do single-leg stand-ups.

  1. Place one leg down at a 90-degree angle and extend the other in front of you. Your arms will also extend straight ahead.
  2. Stand up and sit back down slowly.
  3. Try to control the way down to not crash down on the bench.

You can modify this exercise by putting your heel on the ground rather than out straight (but still keep it in front of the bent leg.) Or, if you need more of a challenge, hold a weight with the hand that’s on the same side as your bent leg. 

Step-ups

Step-ups are a variation of the single-leg stand-ups that incorporate some elevation. Start by standing in front of a chair or stairs and use one leg to push upwards into a standing position. To get even more activation, create a forward hinge from the hip (maintaining this position with a neutral spine,) says Brett Durney, PT and co-founder of Fitness Lab.

“By applying a forward lean, you activate the glutes much more as it takes them into their fully lengthened position,” he says. “Pay particular attention to the tempo (the speed of the exercise), particularly on the way down.” 

Fold Over

This classic ballerina exercise is a perfect way to fire up your glutes at any point in your day, whether you’re at your desk, watching TV, or in the kitchen. And because your upper back muscles, abs, and quads all help stabilize this movement, this exercise is great for full-body toning. Here's how Beth Hutchison and Tashina Bailey, Bar Method coaches suggest doing this exercise.

  1. Start by facing some supportive surface, like a couch, sturdy chair, or countertop.
  2. Place your feet hip-width apart and parallel, soften your knees, and extend one leg behind you, raising it up to the height of your hip.
  3. Contract your glutes to lift your entire leg up an inch and down an inch (and for a bonus exercise, do this same motion with a firmly bent leg to add in some hamstring work.)

Curtsy Lunge

Lunges are great lower body exercises—and the curtsy lunge brings the added benefits of balance and coordination work, says Kate Meier, CPT from Garage Gym Reviews. Here is how she suggests you do the curtsy lunge.

  1. Start with your legs about shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
  2. Maintain good posture with a neutral spine as you step your right leg behind you and place your right foot outside of your left foot.
  3. Lower straight down into a lunge, keeping your chest and hips facing forward.
  4. Stand back up to the starting position once your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side. 

“If you’re looking for even more of a glute burn, try adding a squat to the move before switching to the next leg,” Meier says. “You can also hold a dumbbell to add weight to this move, or add a few pulses at the bottom of each rep before standing.” 

Plank With Glute Raise

This double-whammy exercise combines isometric core work with glute activation for full-body strength and stability, Meier says. Here's how to do this exercise.

  1. Start on your hands and knees.
  2. Step your feet back to lower into a forearm plank.
  3. Make sure your hips are low and that your spine is in a neutral position.
  4. Lift one leg slowly upward and slightly out, keeping the leg straight and your hips facing the floor.

If holding the full plank is too difficult, Meier recommends you perform this move from a tabletop position (on your hands and knees) to activate the glutes without overstraining your core or back. 

Side Hip Raises

This exercise is another way to get your core engaged while targeting your glutes. Giorgio recommends the following steps when doing side hip raises.

  1. Start by lying down on one side with your knees stacked and feet together, forearm bent at 90 degrees as if doing a forearm side plank.
  2. Press through the bottom knee while raising your hips and top knee apart in an open-and-close motion.
  3. Lower leg and hips slowly for one rep.

Tabletop Kickback

“I love this exercise to activate glutes because of how lengthening it feels, and there’s the added bonus of core-firing stability work,” says Jessica Aronoff, CPT, head trainer at the ness. Here's how to do a tabletop kickback

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Reach your right leg back without arching your back, keeping parallel alignment.
  3. Imagine your hips are headlights, and keep them evenly pointing down towards your floor.
  4. Tap your right toe down to the floor and re-lift the leg back up.

“Think of squeezing your glute each time you re-lift the leg to its starting position and resist the urge to arch your back,” Aronoff says. “Length over height is the motto—like your toe is poking through the wall behind you.” 

A Word From Verywell

Whether you’re starting a new home exercise routine or adding in these trainer-approved butt workouts, focusing on proper form is essential to getting results and avoiding injury. Make sure you keep resistance low until you’ve mastered the technique, or start with a modified version of an exercise to build strength progressively and safely.

If in doubt, book a session with a certified personal trainer. They can guide you through the right movement and ensure you’re feeling the burn in all the right places.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Neto WK, Soares EG, Vieira TL, et al. Gluteus maximus activation during common strength and hypertrophy exercises: a systematic review. J Sports Sci Med. 2020;19(1):195-203.