Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

How to Get Your Butt in Shape

Our fitness expert reveals the secret to developing a stronger, more toned glutes.
By Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH
WebMD the Magazine - Feature

You're standing in front of your full-length mirror, struggling to squeeze into last year's swimsuit. You peer at yourself. There's no denying it: Either your suit shrank or your behind grew. And, alas, you're sagging and flabby, too. Panic sets in, as you realize that instead of Buns of Steel, your backside story could be called Dead End.

But don't give up yet! It's only October, so you've got about seven months before the next beach season to get your rear in gear -- which is a lot of time, fitness-wise.

WebMD the Magazine Now Available Online

The enormous popularity of WebMD the Magazine - previously only read in your doctor's office - is why we're proud to announce the release of WebMD the Magazine Digital Edition.

In each edition, you will get these features: 

  • Expert beauty tips
  • Healthy recipes
  • Celebrity health stories
  • And much more!

So what can you do? Try my four-step butt tune-up plan.

The Butt Fitness Plan

Cultivate patience -- It takes time  and persistence  to trim away fat, build up muscle, and shape your body. And the truth is, you may never have the perfect butt. But you can have one that's firmer and shapelier.

Learn the bun basics -- Your behind is made up of three muscles that make up what's called “the glutes”: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus minimus, and the gluteus medius. The maximus is the largest glute and one of the strongest muscles in the body. It helps you stand upright, walk, and raise and turn your legs. It also gives your bottom its shape. All of the glutes are covered by a layer of subcutaneous fat. But how much fat you carry is dictated by genetics and lifestyle.

Give yourself a reality check -- Look at the body fat distribution of your family members. If most of the women look like pears, there's a pretty good chance you do, too. Your pear shape won't change, but its size will. Your goal is to minimize your butt, not to wish it away completely. And while you won't necessarily develop buns that rival those of a 21-year-old swimsuit model, you can definitely bring more tone and shape to your backside.

Revel in bun pride -- If you were born with (and still have) a great rear end, but just too much of it, then celebrate your J. Lo or Beyonce endowment and do the work to make it as fit and shapely as you can.

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
man exercising
knees to chest
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
woman walking
woman doing pushups