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How to Get a Better Butt

Experts recommend exercises to help you sculpt a shapelier backside.

Maximizing Your Assets continued...

1. Squats. Stand with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your hips, making sure not to let your knees go past your toes.

A great variation for beginners, says Gansel, is ball squats: Standing with your back to a wall, put an exercise ball between your low back and the wall, then squat, keeping your feet out in front on you.

2. Standing lunges. Beginning with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart, take one giant step forward. Slowly lower your body, bending both knees. Bend your knees no farther than 90 degrees, keeping your front knee aligned over your front ankle. Then repeat with the other leg in front.

A more advanced version is stepping lunges, in which you move forward after each lunge, alternating legs. But Roget believes most people don’t use proper form on this exercise, which can put undue stress on knee joints and low backs.

3. Prone leg lifts over a ball. Lie stomach-down on an exercise ball, with hands on the floor. By tightening your glute muscles, lift one of your legs slightly off the floor, keeping leg straight. Then alternate sides. As you get more fit, try lifting both legs simultaneously -- but only if you can do it without straining your back.

4. Prone hip lift over a ball. Lying stomach-down over an exercise ball, rest your forearms on the floor and stabilize the ball under your hips and tops of your thighs. Using the arms and trunk muscles as support, bend your knees to 90 degrees, and put your feet together. Squeezing your glutes, slowly move your thighbones slightly away from the ball, being careful not to use the low back muscles. This is a very small move -- you should raise your legs no more than about 2 inches off the ball.

5. Bridge. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor and hip-width apart. Slowly peel your spine off the floor from the bottom, one vertebra at a time, tightening the glutes and hamstrings (backs of the thighs) until you've created a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. Return to the floor slowly, one vertebra at a time.

6. Side leg raises. Lying on your side at the rear edge of a mat, place your feet at the front edge of your mat, then lift your upper leg and turn it out it in the hip socket. Keeping your hips stacked and your torso as still as possible, lift and lower the leg, reaching out from the top of the thigh. Repeat on the other side.

Finding Balance

It's important to remember that healthful eating habits are a large part of the equation for creating a better shape -- for your glutes and the rest of your body, Roget says.

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