Mission Bubble Butt: The 7 Best Butt Exercises to Build Your Backside!

A theme most common amongst our female clients and readers is the desire for a tight, toned, round, fill in the blank….butt.  And who can blame them?  I’m not one to give someone a hard time for wanting to get a little more bootylicious.  In fact, quite the contrary.

With this in mind, I’ve spent the past several months talking to clients, trying things out, and generally seeing what produces the best results.  While results will vary slightly since we’re all programmed a bit differently, in general, these seven butt exercises are far and away the best things you can do for your backside.

Of course, if you’re already on one of our butt-oriented training plans (that doesn’t sound weird…..), feel free to keep doing what you’re doing.  These exercises are there to provide ideas for people looking to include new exercises into their own training routines.  Of course, if you want to try out some of these, regardless of the plan you’re on, that’s fine too.  As I always say, fitness isn’t an exact science – there isn’t only one way of getting to the finish line.

  1. The Deadlift – You probably expected to see this one on here.  While it is an old, unsexy, and perhaps overused staple, it still provides one of the best all-around workouts for your butt, hamstrings, back….pretty much all the muscles on the backside of your body.  With the deadlift in particular, make sure you use good form as not to hurt yourself.
  2. Butt to Floor Squats – Get yourself on the Smith machine and instead of stopping at 90 degrees, continue all the way until your butt is just a hair above the floor.  Many people will caution this is bad for your knees, but according to research on the matter, they are misinformed. Going all the way down will place greater stress on the hips, glutes, and hamstrings (which can handle heavier load) and LESS on the knees..making this easier on your joints, but harder on your butt.  You’ll want to use lighter weight at first and work your way up (1) (2).
  3. Bulgarian Squat (Jumps) – Prepare for some serious soreness.  These can be performed with a barbell behind your neck, holding dumbbells in your hands, or without any weight at all.  Alternate between jumps (may want to use no weight to start) and weighted squats without the plyometric aspect of the jump.  This movement puts a ton of stress on the upper hamstrings and glutes…helping you develop a nice, rounded rump.
  4. Reverse Lunges – Feel free to add a barbell or dumbbells for added resistance during this exercise.  Keep your body up right, press through your heel, and feel as your butt starts to burn with lactic acid build up.  To spice things up and target the outer parts of your butt, step back at a 45-degree angle instead of directly back.
  5. (Barbell) Squat Jumps – Another exercise that can be customized to increase difficulty, i.e. adding a barbell.  Squat jumps are a great plyometric movement that will hit the muscle fibers in your legs and butt in a different way.  When combined with standard weight training exercises like the deadlift and standard squats, progress is compounded, making gains more significant.  EXPLODE through your jump, get as high off the ground as possible, and land with soft feet/knees.
  6. Reverse Running/Walking on Treadmill – Not only is the treadmill a great cardio tool for burning calories, it can do wonders for the muscles in your legs and butt.  Set the speed anywhere between 2-5 miles per hour depending on your ability and start walking/jogging…in reverse.  To really up the challenge and place an even greater resistance on your glutes, increase the incline.
  7. Single Leg Hip Thrust – This one takes a little more practice to get right, but once you do…look out.  By allowing a full range of motion you are able to adequately target the muscles in the glutes and hamstrings to a degree matched by few other lower body exercises.  Try using high reps, fast reps, slow reps, etc. as you progress with this exercise to keep things fresh and your muscles guessing what’s coming next.

Start to incorporate some or all of these into your routine or fitness plan and you will absolutely begin to notice changes in your lower half.  As you progress, bump the weights when needed, mix up the types of sets you do, and always keep good form.  Until next time..happy lifting and good luck on your quest for a bootylicious butt!.

If you’d like us create a personalized workout plan that incorporates hard-hitting, result-inducing workout moves like above for you, check out our FITPLAN.  TRY IT FREE FOR 2 WEEKS, then only 50 cents/day!


(1) Ariel, B.G., 1974. Biomechanical analysis of the knee Joint during deep knee bends with a heavy load. Biomechanics. IV(1):44-52.
(2) High- and low-bar squatting techniques during weight-training. Wretenberg P; Feng Y; Arborelius UP, Med Sci Sports Exerc, 28(2):218-24 1996 Feb

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Co-Founder at Share It Fitness
Matt has been involved in the fitness industry for over 10 years and has worked with, and helped countless individuals improve their lives. After college, Matt started his fitness career working in the trenches as a personal trainer for a big corporate gym. It was here he saw how impersonal Big Fitness really was. Clients weren't people, they were just sales waiting to be made. After branching out and starting his own personal training business in San Diego, Matt soon developed the idea of Share It Fitness and started our (now highly successful) blog. A fitness junkie himself, Matt knows the importance of incorporating exercise into your life. When he isn't working at Share It Fitness, you can find Matt running, biking, taking yoga, or pumping iron around San Diego.
  • thesam27

    Squatting deep is great, but why would you ever use a smith machine? Simple barbell squats are far more functional.

    • http://www.shareitfitness.com/ Matt @ Share It Fitness

      A lot of readers of our blog are rather new to exercise. In an effort to make things as accessible as possible for everyone, and for safety, I recommended a Smith machine. But for more advanced exercisers, I agree, a barbell is best.

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  • Brittany

    Will this make thighs larger?

    • http://www.shareitfitness.com/ Matt @ Share It Fitness

      Someone else asked the same thing on our Bubbilicious Butt Workout. I’m going to copy you my answer to her, because it applies here as well…

      This will help add muscle mass to your legs, but it won’t make them “bigger” the way I think you’re thinking it might.

      I don’t know about you, but I think the best set of legs are those that are toned and athletic looking..not skin and bones. This workout will help give you an athletic set of legs and butt. If you think you’re looking “bulky” or “big”, it’s likely that you just need to burn off some of the fat on your legs that are covering the muscle beneath. Consider one of our HIIT cardio plans in combination to get a nice and toned lower half.

      Any other questions, please ask!

  • http://www.workoutnirvana.com/ Suzanne Digre

    Totally agree about deadlifts, hip thrusts and Bulgarian squats. It wasn’t til I started doing these (and BB squats) that I started building mass back there. And if you can’t do high-impact exercises like me, Bulgarian squats work well without the jump too.

  • Em

    How many reps and sets would you recommend for each of these?

    • http://www.shareitfitness.com/ Matt @ Share It Fitness

      It varies. Personally, I find best results come from combing HEAVY low rep/high set with lighter and more explosive high reps/low sets.

      For heavy sets, I’d do something like : 3-5 sets 5-8 reps.

      For lighter more explosive work, I’d do something like 2-3 sets 12-20 reps.

      Simply vary the format you are choosing, making sure to keep things fresh. If you’re still having a hard time, check out our Bubbilicious Butt Workout Plan – which does all the set/rep programming for you. Let me know if you’ve got any other questions. Thanks!


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  • http://www.shareitfitness.com Matt @ Share It Fitness

    Good tip! Thanks Suzanne!