Hips, Butt and Thighs Workout

This hips, butt, and thighs workout is perfect for targeting the major muscles of the lower body. Performing these exercises will help you build strength in these areas. Since there is no rest between each series, it can also help improve your endurance.

Many of these moves are advanced and may require some practice to get your form down. If you are a beginner, start with no weight or a light weight to perfect each exercise and reduce your risk of injury.

Equipment needed to do this workout includes various weighted dumbbells, a step or platform, a resistance band, and an exercise ball.

See your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions, and avoid any exercises that cause pain or discomfort.

How to Do the Hips, Butt, and Thighs Workout​

To get the most out of the hips, butt, and thighs workout, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of light cardio, such as walking.
  • Complete the exercises in each of the four series (each series includes three exercises) one after the other, with no rest in between.
  • Once each series is complete, rest for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Either move on to the next series or repeat the previous series 1 to 3 times for a more intense workout.

Series 1 - Exercise 1: Squats

Determined, muscular young woman doing squats with dumbbells in gym

Caiaimage / Sam Edwards / Getty Images

You can do these squats while holding dumbbells over your shoulders (as shown) or you can use a barbell, if you have one, and place it on the back of your shoulders. If it's easier, just hold the weights at your side.

To do them, lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as deep as you can comfortably go), then stand back up. Keep your movements slow and controlled. Repeat for 12 reps. 


Series 1 - Exercise 2: Side Step Squats

Squat With Side Step

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Without resting, transition into side step squats by placing a resistance band under your feet, holding it with both hands. Take a wide step to the right and lower into a squat, keeping tension in the band.

Step the feet back together and continue stepping to the right for 12 steps. Switch sides and step to the left for another 12 steps.


Series 1 - Exercise 3: Front One-Legged Squats

one leg squat
one leg squat.


Again, without rest, move into front one-legged squats. By now, you should feel your quadriceps beginning to burn. Just one more squat-based exercise and you get a break, so keep pushing through!

To do this move, stand upright and lift your left leg out in front of you. Bend your right knee and lower into a squat while bringing your left foot off the floor and pressing your hips back. Straighten and repeat for 12 reps on each side.

If you can't do a single-leg squat, you can squat down to a high box or even start by sitting on a bench, extending one leg, then standing up using only the planted foot.

At this point, you've completed the first series, so rest for 30 to 60 seconds. Then move into the next series or, for a more intense workout, go through this series one to three more times.


Series 2 - Exercise 1: Weighted Step Ups

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

You will begin the second series with weighted step ups. This exercise works the quads too, but also targets the glutes (butt) and hamstrings. So, you will feel it in your entire lower body.

To do them, stand behind a 15-inch platform or step, weights in hand. Place your right foot on the step, transfer your weight to the heel, and push into the heel to come onto the step. Step back down and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides. 

If a 15-inch platform feels too high, start with a shorter platform or step. If it feels too low, go higher! The higher you have to step, the harder your glutes have to work.


Series 2 - Exercise 2: One-Legged Deadlifts

One Leg Deadlift with Balance Challenge
Paige Waehner

Without resting, move into one-legged deadlifts. This move does require a bit of balance. If you are struggling to stay upright, practice by holding a chair first. Then do the exercise without the chair before trying it with weights.

To do it, tip forward from the hips and lower the weights toward the floor. Keep your back straight while lifting your right leg straight out behind you, to hip level. Contract the glutes of the right leg to pull back up and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.  


Series 2 - Exercise 3: Sumo Deadlifts

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The final exercise for the second series is a sumo deadlift. When doing traditional deadlifts, the knees are only bent enough to pick up the weights. This variation requires more bend as you squat closer to the floor.

In a wide stance, place heavy weights on the floor between your feet.  Squat down (keeping the abs in) and pick up the weights as you stand up. Squat down until the weights touch the floor, then stand up.  Repeat for 12 reps.

You've now completed the second series, so it's time for a 30- to 60-second rest before moving into the third series (or do this one again for a more intense workout).


Series 3 - Exercise 1: Lunges on the Ball

Paige Waehner

This third series is all about the lunge. Lunges are good for building strength in the hamstrings, the muscles on the back of the upper leg. By the time you get through all three exercises, you'll really feel them burn.

Place one foot on top of a ball behind you (prop the ball against a wall if needed). Bend your knees and lower into a lunge. Press into the heel to stand back up and repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides. 

You can do the lunge on the ball with or without weights. Only use the weights if you can keep your balance while lowering into the lunge.


Series 3 - Exercise 2: Sliding Side Lunges

Clique Studios

This lunge variation also works the hips, butt, and thighs, but in a slightly different way. You can use glider discs if you have them. Otherwise, a simple paper plate or towel works too.

Put the plate, towel, or glider under your left foot and hold a heavy weight in your left hand. Place your weight on your right leg and bend that knee as you slide your left foot out to the side, keeping the left leg straight.

Touch the weight to the floor and stand up, sliding the foot back in. Repeat for 12 reps on each side.  


Series 3 - Exercise 3: Lunge Sweeps

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The final exercise in this series is a lunge sweep. Begin with your feet wide and hold a weight (or kettlebell) in both hands overhead. Pivot and turn to the right into a lunge, while sweeping the weight down with the right hand.

Next, pivot back to the front, raising the weight and exchanging it to the left hand. Then pivot to the left, lowering into a lunge while bringing the weight down. Continue alternating sides while swinging the weight up and over for 12 reps. 

Once you're done, relax for 30 to 60 seconds before moving on to the final series. As with the previous series, you can also repeat this series one to three times first if you want, giving you a higher-intensity workout.


Series 4 - Exercise 1: Donkey Kicks

woman performing hip extensions with weights
Paige Waehner

So far, you've really worked your quads and hamstrings. Now it's time to build even more strength in your hips and glutes. This begins with doing donkey kicks.

Get on your forearms and knees, placing a weight behind your right knee. Squeeze the weight and lift the right leg up to a 90-degree angle while pushing the bottom of the foot toward the ceiling. Lower and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.


Series 4 - Exercise 2: Hip Thrusts

Ball Butt Lift
Ball Butt Lift. Paige Waehner

This second exercise continues to work the glutes and hips. The image shows how to do a hip thrust without weights. If you have a hard time keeping your balance, practice this way before adding any weights to this exercise.

Once you feel steady enough to use weights, lie on the exercise ball with the weights on your hips. Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips until your upper body is in a straight line. Lower and repeat for 12 reps.


Series 4 - Exercise 3: Hamstring Rolls

woman performing hamstring roll on a ball

This final exercise will continue to work your glutes and hips, but will place even more tension on your hamstrings. Perform the movement in a slow and controlled manner to work the lower body to the max.

To begin hamstring rolls, lie on your back with your heels on the ball, as shown in the image. Next, lift your hips. Keeping that position, roll the ball in and out for 12 reps.

This exercise completes the hips, butt, and thighs workout. You can either rest for another 30 to 60 seconds before transitioning into a 5– to 10-minute cool down. Or you can do another set or two (or three!) to build your lower body even more.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."