This article previously appeared in and is reprinted with the permission of Spire & Co.
Let’s be honest for a second, squats are miracle workers but there are only so many squats you can do during a workout. There are plenty of different exercises that work your booty in different way that will have your butt ready for swimsuit season in no time. These are our favorites for a great behind.
Walking at an incline
Did you read that right? Yes, you did. You can get a great butt by just using the treadmill. Try setting your treadmill to at least a 5 percent incline to engage the glutes. Walk for 20 minutes at a 5 percent incline or greater to start building up your booty. This is a great workout if you’ve planned it on a cardio day.
Donkey kicks might seem silly at first but once you start to feel that burn you’ll be thanking us. Start at a kneeling position and extend one of your legs back behind you with an upper direction. Do this for 3 sets of 30 reps per side. It’s going to hurt, but the results will be worth it. If you have bad knees or need some support try putting a mat under your knees.
These exercises work the outer part of your hip and butt. These are called fire hydrants because they simply look like a dog doing his or her business on a fire hydrant (sorry for the visual, but it’s the best way to picture how to correctly do the exercise). You’ll want to start out in a kneeling position. Keeping the knee bent, lift the hip so the knee/leg come to the outside of the body (just like a dog with a fire hydrant). Do 3 sets of 30 reps per side to work the outer part of the butt.
Bridges are those funny exercises that look like you’re thrusting the air (which you kind of are). These work both your lower abs and your glutes. Lay with your feet shoulder-width apart on a mat, place your hands close to either side of your body, and with your feet planted firmly on the floor, thrust into the air. With this exercise, when you thrust, you’ll want to pull your bellybutton in as if you were pulling it into the floor, and squeeze your glutes. Do 3 sets of 20.
Inner and outter rainbows
Rainbows look like you’re trying to do arm circles with your legs. These work a few different muscles in your butt and are a great addition to any lower body workout. Start with your body in a kneeling position and extend one of your legs. Circle your leg inward 20 times and then circle it outward 20 times. Do this on each leg for 3 sets.
Lunges are the exercise we all love to hate. Keeping your upper body straight, with your stomach pulled in and your shoulders back, step forward so that your knee is bent. Make sure your knee does not go over your toe and your back leg is bent at about a 90 degree angle. Do this repeatedly so that you’ve done 3 sets of 25 per side. For a more visual description of how to do a lunge, visit Youtube for a demonstration in video format.
Single-leg kettlebell deadlifts
Using a kettlebell weight you feel comfortable with, start the exercise with your kettlebell in both hands in front of your hips, or wherever the kettlebell hits when you stand relaxed. Bend forward, extending one leg back. Slowly pull yourself back in, squeezing your abs and your glutes when you come back to an upright position. Do this with each leg until you’ve reached 3 sets of 20. You can view a demonstration via Youtube if you search the exercise.
The StairMaster is one of the absolute best cardio machines for a booty workout. The steps alone can make for a great cardio burn, all while working your glutes. If you want to switch the workout up, add double steps in there with some step and kickback combinations. The StairMaster can be tough to conquer, so try to go for 15 minutes starting out before you build up.
Superman exercise ball raises
Supermans can be a fun exercise to do, in general, because they make you feel like your own super hero, and look like one, too. Mix up this easy exercise by using an exercise ball between your feet. When you lift up to go into the exercise, lift the ball up with your feet. Do this for 3 sets of 30 reps. If you need a demonstration, search Google for an image that illustrates the exercise.
Resistance band laying kickbacks
While resistance bands are a great way to get a little extra oomph to any workout, they are especially great for kickback resistance. Put the resistance band mid-thigh and get into a kneeling position. Instead of doing regular donkey kicks, you’ll do the same movement with the resistance band on. Do 3 sets of 20.
If you’re getting ready or standing in line for something, standing kickbacks can be a great way to pass the time. Just make sure no one is in line behind you. Stand upright with your shoulders back and bellybutton pulled in with your hands on your hips. Extend one of your legs backward and keep your leg as straight as you can. Repeat this motion with both legs for 3 sets of 30 reps. If you really want to mix it up, add the resistance band.
Standing side kicks
Start this exercise with the same position you have with the standing kickbacks — upright with your shoulders back, bellybutton pulled in and hands on your hips. Instead of kicking back, keep your leg straight and kick to the side. Do this exercise for 3 sets of 30 reps. Again, you can add the resistance band to add more of a challenge if you choose to.
Any exercise you do is better with more weight because it helps to build up more muscle. Make sure you get your form correct by watching a form-focused deadlift video before attempting a barbell deadlift. Form is important so that you do not injure yourself. Once you have the form down, do 3 sets of 10 barbell deadlifts with the bar, or a weighted bar depending on how much you are able to lift for those repetitions.
These are both a God-send and a curse. Step-ups will be an exercise you thank us for later no matter how much they hurt during the process. Find a bench or jump-box and do step-ups. This exercise is pretty self-explanatory, but you can search the exercise for form if you need to. Do 3 sets of 15 reps per leg for this exercise.
Box jumps are a mind game. They are difficult mentally when you first start doing them because the idea that you’re not in total control of this exercise is a scary thing to face. But they are great once you get the hang of them. This is an exercise that you should view a demonstration of or have a friend instruct you on so that you get the general movement down. Do 3 sets of 10 to start out.
Pro tip: Getting form down first is always very important. If you are a member of a gym, ask a trainer to show you the movements and spot you for your first few exercises to make sure you are performing the exercises correctly.