Deciding to put their butts where there mouths were, the American Council on Exercise commissioned a study in 2005 to find out which of their recommended butt exercises actually helps lift and tone. Turns out several exercises help build butt muscle and shape the different muscles of your backside, including lunges, step-ups, quadruped hip extensions and four-way hip extensions.
When you think about the shape of your butt, you’re mostly thinking about your gluteus maximus, or glutes. These muscles are some of the largest in your body and do a lot of work, including rotating your hips. To strengthen these muscles, try lunges, which can also strengthen your hamstrings, quads and calves. Begin standing, drop to one knee and lean your body weight into that knee. If you have bad knees, use a towel for cushion. You can also try standard lunge variations, like one-legged lunges, side lunges and low lunges.
Your gluteus medius muscle is on the outside of your pelvis bones. This muscle helps your thighs move, and if you stand on one leg, these muscles engage to help with your balance. Squats can help strengthen this muscle as well as your thighs. Begin by standing and then sit back like you’re about to sit in a chair. For proper form, don’t extend your knees past your toes, keep your thighs parallel to the ground and keep your back as straight as possible. To intensify this exercise, try holding weights in each hand or stand on just your toes while you do it.
One of several muscles responsible for your thigh range of motion, your gluteus minimus works in conjunction with your gluteus medius. This muscle also plays a part in how well your hips keep you stable when you stand. Squats and lunges will target this muscle as well as your other glute muscles. Aerobic exercise like walking and running can also help, says the American Council on Exercise. Because of where this muscle is, exercise isn’t going to make a visible difference, but the stronger this muscle the better your overall butt physique.
Tensor Fasciae Latae
The tensor fasciae latae is the largest muscle in your thigh, and several exercises that can target it will also target other muscles, including your other butt muscles and your outer legs. To target this muscle group, the American Council on Exercise suggests hip extensions and hip openers. The more often you incorporate hip openers into your workout, the better your hip range of motion will be. One exercise to try includes lifting your leg to the side as far as you can while standing. Also, while balancing on your hands and knees, extend your leg behind you, bend this leg at the knee and try to touch your butt with your foot.
The only way to tone, lift and firm your butt is exercise, since “you can’t direct or drive the fat in one part of your body versus another,” says Dr. Robert Kushner, a professor of medicine specializing in obesity at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, told ABC News in 2010. “For the average person on the street, it’s determined by genetics.” The right exercises can help, though. And you don’t need a gym to help you shake and firm your booty.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.