While it may seem like every “perfect butt” on social media comes with the tag line “the squat booty,” in reality, this is not the case. No matter how many squat reps you do, you’re only working your glutes from one angle.
Plus, the main muscles at work when you squat are your quads, so if making your thighs thicker isn’t your goal, this exercise is probably not where you should be placing all your energy and focus.
Don’t worry, though. There are several glute isolation exercises you can do to get the booty of your dreams. If you practice a few of these exercises together, you can round your glutes from every angle while keeping your legs lean! Here are some of my favorite moves.
Hip thrusts are one of the best exercises to isolate your glutes. They can be slightly awkward to perform in public at first, but just remember that they are leading you to a firm and toned backside.
Sit on the floor and rest your upper back against a bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest a weight (either a barbell or dumbbell) across your pelvis and brace your abs. Lower your hips down and then thrust them upward toward the ceiling, pushing your feet into the floor and your upper back into the bench. At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and repeat.
To grow your glutes the fastest, lift the heaviest weight that you can for the following sequence: Start with two sets of 10 reps, increase the weight and do two sets of eight reps, and then increase the weight one last time and do one set of six reps. You can use a dumbbell or barbell for weight.
Single-Leg Hip Bridge
Bridges are wonderful for building your glute muscles while toning your hamstrings. This single-leg variation adds extra intensity to a regular bridge.
Lie down with your knees bent and both feet resting on the floor. Straighten your left leg and flex your foot toward the ceiling. Raise your hips up off the ground as high as you can and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Lower your hips down for a second and then push them back up to repeat.
Perform 15 reps on each side. For best results, do four sets of 15.
Romanian deadlifts are another exercise that specifically rounds your glutes while leaning out your hamstrings. In order to effectively grow your glutes while simultaneously trimming your legs, it’s important to use a variety of exercises that tackle these regions. If you use the same exercise every time, your body will get used to it and hit a plateau.
Stand with a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your knees should be slightly bent. Bend forward at your hip joint, keeping your arms straight and your hands close to your legs. Lower the weights as far down your leg as you can without rounding your back or bending your knees any more than they were at your starting position. To return to the starting position, push your hips forward and squeeze your glutes to pull yourself up.
Banded Fire Hydrant
Fire hydrants have one of the most obnoxious names in my opinion, considering they’re named after the position a male dog assumes when going to the bathroom. But they’re so great for your glutes! They build the outside of the glutes and tighten that little trouble spot on the outer thigh so many of us have!
Begin on all fours. Place a loop band above your knees. Using your outer thigh and glute, lift one knee out to the side. Keep your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Lower your leg and repeat for a total of 20 reps. Then repeat on the other side.
For best results, do four sets of 20 reps on each leg.
Rainbows are another glute exercise that tone the outside of your glutes and thighs. They are known for lifting up the bottom of your butt and toning your inner thighs, as well. Rainbows are super efficient because they tackle the hardest areas all at once.
Begin on all fours. Point your toes and extend your right leg behind you. Raise your right leg toward the ceiling and then lower it to the floor. Raise the same leg toward the ceiling again, squeezing your glutes, and then lower it about 1 foot to the left of your kneeling leg. Bring your right leg back up to the ceiling to complete one rep.
Repeat 20 times. For best results, do four sets of 20 on each leg. To make this exercise more challenging, you can add ankle weights.