The Best Butt Exercises to Get That BURN

Glute Exercises

Butt, booty, glutes, buns, jelly, rear, duff, tushie, bum, fanny, derrière, money maker, caboose, potootie, tuchus, can, rump, behind, hiney, bon-bon, fatty, trunk, keister, and whoopie cakes. Whatever you wanna call it, we want it. We want it high, tight, and proud. And I have seven butt exercises to help you really feel that burn right in the muscle. Throw these moves into your regular workout routine a couple times a week and you’ll see a serious difference. And so will everyone around you.

We all know that squats and lunges are supposed to grow gorgeous buns. And they’re great butt exercises. But that’s not where the work should end. Squats and lunges are compound movements. That means that they work lots of muscle groups during one exercise. Squats and lunges do work glutes. But they also focus heavily on quads and hamstrings. And truth be told, after a heavy leg session full of squats and lunges, I mostly just feel those quads.

I really wanted to find a series of exercises I could do whenever I needed to feel a great burn right in my butt. I compiled a group of moves that specifically isolate and target the glutes. When I focus on integrating these exercises into my workouts a couple times a week, I really notice a definite lift and extra firmness in my posterior. And you will too! Before we get started, let’s review the anatomy.

The Triple Ms

There are three muscle groups that make up your rear: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

As you can see, the maximus is the largest muscle, covering a good portion of the area and the most posterior of the muscles. It helps lift and push your legs forward and keeps you upright as you move. The maximus is what gives your butt most of its shape and size, although a lot of that is determined by how much fat you have covering the muscles.

Glute Exercises

The medius and minimus are located more laterally, or on the side of your body, near your hip. The minimus is right underneath the medius. They assist in moving your leg away from your body and stabilizing your hips. Without these small muscles, your pelvis would slide all over the place whenever you tried to move.

Glute Exercises

The Science of Fibers

Studies show that the glute muscles are composed of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers. The exact percentage is debatable, but what matters is that the glutes need to be worked in more than one way. Slow-twitch fibers are used in endurance activities and perform longer, more moderate work, like long-distance running. Fast-twitch fibers are used in power activities and perform short intense bursts of work, like a heavily weighted squat. To work all the different kinds of muscle fibers, you need to do both kinds of activity.

Posterior Plan

So, to properly work the glutes you need to:

  • Hit all three muscle groups
  • Cardio for slow-twitch fibers
  • Low-rep, heavy weight work for fast-twitch
  • High-rep, light weight resistance work for fast and slow-twitch

Today we’re going to focus on the high-rep, lighter weight work. Here’s a great program from for the heavier weight work and cardio.

Some of these butt exercises are inspired by Pauline Nordin, a fitness celebrity and a lady in possession of one rock-hard rear. She’s funny and smart, and I recommend checking her out for all kinds of fit-spiration!

Watch the video below to get comfortable with the exercises. Then try the workout at the end of the article next time you want to really burn out those buns!

The Workout

  • Bent-Over Lateral Leg Lifts w/ Chair-40 reps on each leg
  • Weighted One-Legged Squats-25 reps on each leg
  • Prone Double Leg Lifts-60 reps in 2 sets
  • Sumo Squat Deadlifts-40 reps
  • Sumo Squat with Overhead Arms-40 reps
  • Hand and Knees Lateral Kicks-90 seconds AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
  • Modified Hydrants-No Weight: 40 each side OR With a Weight: 25 each side

Try incorporating this workout into your routine once or twice a week. Remember to train smart! Always warm up before the workout, cool down after, and always always always stretch or foam roll the muscles you worked. Drink plenty of water and use proper form. Don’t use a weight that’s so heavy you can’t maintain proper form. If you’re unsure of proper form, consult a professional.

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Images: Sarah Olive Bergeson and Shutterstock Glute Muscles Photo



Sarah Olive Bergeson

Sarah Olive Bergeson is a group exercise instructor, personal trainer, writer, clean eater, and mom. She believes you can do anything and will show you how. She enjoys crushing it daily and thinking about David Bowie.