Perhaps Sir Mix-A-Lot said it best in his hit guilty pleasure song “Baby Got Back” – “I’m tired of magazines saying flat butts are the thing.” It seems women around the world are tired of trying to diet their curves down to conform to an ultra-thin boyish figure. Instead, they’re looking to women like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez and embracing having a little junk in the trunk.
Instead of trying to make their rear disappear, many women are doing exercises that help emphasize, lift, and sculpt their booty. In fact, even women who may not be blessed with curvaceous derrieres are trying to grow their own apple bottom booty with a combination of exercises.
In order to score your best booty, there are three core muscle groups – the gluteus medius, the gluteus maximus, and the hamstrings, which rest underneath the butt, but are crucial in achieving that lifted, gravity-defying booty. These exercises target those muscle groups in different ways, making sure they’re working hard. Trust us – if you incorporate these into your workout routine, you’ll eventually see a bit of a difference.
These are ten exercises that target the muscle groups responsible for helping you build that apple bottom booty.
10. Glute bridge
This exercise zeroes in on your glutes and allows you to adjust the difficulty by incorporating a dumbbell. To perform a glute bridge, lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push your hips into the air, making sure not to arch your back – the straight back of this move, connecting the feet and shoulders planted on the ground, is why it’s called a bridge. You’re going to be raising your hips using your glutes, so you’ll definitely feel this one after a few seconds. When you’re in the bridge position, you’ll want to hold it for a few seconds before lowering your hips and completing a few reps. If you find it too easy, you can rest a dumbbell on your hips (holding it, of course) and then complete the bridge – the added weight makes it more challenging.
9. Donkey kicks
Okay, yes, you’ll often feel a bit silly performing this move – but it works! To do the donkey kick, you need to get on your hands and knees with your knees aligned with your hips and your wrists aligned with your shoulders – make a bit upside down ‘U,’ in a sense. Then, making sure to engage your abs for stability, you lift one of your legs and kick it back in a slow, controlled movement. You want to make sure your muscles are all engaged and that you’re not just flopping your foot around ineffectively. This targets one half of your glutes at a time, so make sure to switch and perform the kicks with both legs.
8. Romanian deadlift
Anyone who has tried to figure out how to sculpt their booty has come across deadlifts – they’re one of the fitness industry’s favorite exercise. This version is a bit more challenging than the regular deadlift, and definitely delivers results. You’ll want to use either a barbell or dumbbell, and place them in front of you as you stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees the slightest bit, just to keep them soft, but keep everything else straight. Then, still keeping your back straight, bend down to lift the bar and return to your standing position, before lowering it again. People often assume lifting targets the arms, which is the case for things like bicep curls, but if you maintain a straight back and arms, this deadlift will target the hamstrings and glutes – trust us, you’ll feel it after you’ve picked up that barbell a few times.
7. Sumo Squats
Sometimes making the slightest adjustment to an exercise will help target entirely new muscles – this is the case with the sumo squat. Basically everyone is familiar with a regular squat, and for a sumo squat, you’re going to just move your feet a bit wider than the ‘shoulder width distance’ that you place them in for squats, and instead of facing forward, your toes will face outwards at a slight angle. You then just sit back into squat position, as if you’re sitting in a chair, and move back up again. All squats target the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, but sumo squats place an added emphasis on the glutes and tricky inner thighs.
Many individuals perform step-ups in a gym setting using one of those aerobic blocks, but if you don’t have access to a gym, this move is still one of the easiest – you can perform it on a bench, your own stairs, anything with a difference in height, basically. To execute this move, you stand in front of your stair/bench/step with your toes straight, and then place one foot on the step. Use those muscles to push the rest of your body up until the foot you’ve placed on the step is straight. Then, lower down back to the floor and repeat. You’re going to want to change up which foot you place on the step to ensure an even glute workout. This is one of the easiest exercises focused on the glute area – basically, if you can walk up stairs, you can do this one.
5. Reverse Lunges
Everyone needs to find out what works for them, and the reverse lunge can be a nice twist on the classic lunge, particularly for those with knee problems (the reverse lunge places less stress on the knees). To start, you assume the neutral stance with your knees soft and feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward. You’ll take a big step backwards with your left foot, then lower your hips until your right thigh is parallel with the floor and your right knee is above your ankle. Your left knee should be in a 90 degree angle. To return to your neutral stance and complete the rep, press your right heel into the floor and bring your left leg back up. As with all exercises that concentrate heavily on one side of the body, you’ll want to complete an equal amount of reps with the other leg as well.
4. Jump Squats
While this exercise does focus on the quads, it does target the glutes as well, and is a good way to incorporate a burst of cardio into your booty building workouts. You’ll want to stand in neutral stance (back straight, head up, feet shoulder width apart). Perform a regular squat, getting down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Then, putting your weight predominantly on the balls of your feet so you can get a good spring, you’ll launch yourself straight up into the air, as high as you’re able. When your feet return to the ground, immediately lower yourself back down into a squat – and repeat.
3. Walking Lunges
Just like the reverse lunge, the walking lunge is a slight boost of the classic lunge movement. In order to perform this move, you’ll start in a standing position with your feet together (not shoulder width apart, as neutral stance calls for.) Take a step forward and sink down into a lunge (the front knee should be right over the ankle, and the back knee should be down towards the floor, close but not touching the ground). Then, return to standing position and take a step forward with the opposite foot. Continue for as many reps as needed. This move doesn’t require any work from the upper body, so a great way to amp it up is to hold a dumbbell at your sides in either hand. You can incorporate a bicep curl to transform this into a full-body toning move, or merely use the extra weight to add some resistance as you build that booty.
2. Stability Ball Hip Extension
For this move, it’s best if you have a stability ball, but we’ll let you in on a secret – you can get creative if you don’t have all that equipment. If you’ve already mastered the glute bridge, you’ll ace this move in no time. Basically, you want to rest your heels or calves on the top of a stability ball (or – secret tip – on some raised surface, like a chair or the side of your bed). You’ll then raise your hips up off the ground so that your body is in a straight line – just like the glute bridge – and then lower your hips again. To increase the difficulty of this move, you can incorporate a hamstring curl – when your hips are in the air and your body is in a straight line, you use your glutes to roll the stability ball towards your body, then return it to its original position. For this more advanced move, you will need the actual stability ball though – unless you have the glute strength to move an entire mattress!
Ah, squats. There are literally songs devoted to squats and apple bottom booties. They’re like peanut butter and jelly – they just go together. Squats are great because of how incredibly versatile they are when it comes to booty building. To perform a basic squat (which you likely already know), you stand with your toes pointing forward and your feet shoulder width apart, and then lower down as if you’re sitting in a chair. Your knees should be roughly above your feet, and your thighs should be parallel to the ground. You then raise yourself back up to standing position – squat complete! You can move your feet closer together or further apart for squat variations, you can use just your body weight or use a squat rack to lift heavier weights… the possibilities are endless. Sure, you need to incorporate different moves to target all the body parts, but if you master the squat and incorporate it into your routine, you’re well on your way to an apple bottom booty.