Ready for a booty like J Lo’s? Well, you might be finally able to once you ditch those squats. Squats aren’t bad, but if you really want to tone and tighten you’ll need to vary your workout with exercises that hit different muscles, including the hamstrings and back.
And it turns out that shaping up your rear won’t just make you bootylicious—the butt is the largest and strongest muscle in the body, so putting it to work can rev up your metabolism and help you burn off calories, too. Here’s 5 exercises that will sculpt your glutes in no time.
1. BARBELL BENCH BUTT RAISE
Lie in a bridge position with just your shoulders on the bench, thighs parallel to the floor with knees bent at 90 degrees. Place a barbell on your lap. Lower your hips as much as possible to the floor— your upper body and thighs should form a V-shape. Then lift back to the starting position by pushing through your heels. You’ll want to keep your toes off the ground to really focus on the butt muscles. Do three sets of 15.
Tip: If you’re new to barbells, you can start off with just the rod and work your way up by adding weights to up the challenge.
2. DUMBBELL CURTSY LUNGE
Stand with feet hip width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Step back with right foot into a lunge while crossing your left leg in front of your right. Maintain control with your front leg and keep your hips pointed straight ahead. A lunge already requires a lot of work from your glutes, but doing a curtsy amps up the intensity and burn. Repeat 15 times, then switch legs. Do two sets on each leg.
3. SUMO DEAD LIFT
Hold a kettle bell by the end with both hands. Maintain a wide stance (wider than shoulder width) with your toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. Lower down so that weight touches the floor, keeping back straight. The only movement you want to make is bending your knees. Your upper body should remain erect, without rounding the back. Raise back up, squeezing glutes at the top. Do three set of of 15 reps.
4. ONE-LEG BRIDGE
Lie on the floor with left knee bent and flat on the floor and right leg straight up at a 45 degree angle. Squeezing glutes, raise hips and hold for two counts, then release hips back, keeping the leg raised the entire time. That’s one rep. Repeat 15 times, then switch legs. Do two sets on each side. To make it more challenging, you can hold the bridge four counts and/or cross arms over chest (instead of resting them on floor).
5. TWISTED WALKING LUNGES
Holding a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands at waist level, take a step forward, bending into lunge position, with knees forming a 90 degree angle. As you step, rotate your torso and the medicine ball to the outside of the same leg. So, if you step forward with your right leg first, twist your upper body and rotate the ball to the right side. You want to make sure you are only moving your torso, not your hips. The rotation to the outside forces your butt muscles to work even harder. And you’ll sneak in a core workout while you’re at it. Do a total of 30 lunges.