12 Booty Exercises to Improve the Back Side

 The glutes (not counting the core) are the single most important muscle group for athletic performance and injury prevention. 


I prefer a booty that has a functional purpose.

I am an ass man. Not in a sexual context, but in a functional movement context.  I do not care if you are fat, skinny, or look great in a pair of yoga pants. If your glutes function at an optimal level you will have better athletic performance and prevent injury. Over the years, I have worked with a variety of clients and the glutes are a focus for all of my clients. It does not matter what your current fitness level is; if you want to prevent injury, boost performance, or become more fitter, the butt is key.

Ask any client I have trained, and they will tell you that I will destroy your glutes – in a good way. Over time, I have developed some favorite booty-popping exercises.  In clinical research, there isn’t any published data that truly says these exercises are best. What you have here is based on my clinical experience and what I have found to work best. These exercises are designed to give you optimal gluteal function and they might even make you look good in a pair of jeans.

  • Hip Thrusts
    1. Lie on your upper back and shoulders supported on a bench. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees bent to 90 degrees. Position your feet so that they are at hip width and toes pointing forward.
    2. Slowly drop your hips toward the floor while maintaining a neutral spine.
    3. Return to the up position by squeezing the glutes. Avoid excessive contraction by the low back and hamstrings. At the top of the movement, contract your glutes hard and push hips forward.
    4. At the top of the movement, your torso should be parallel to the ground with your hips pushed through.
    5. Lower and repeat for the desired number of reps.
    6. Progression: Place a weight on the hips for increased resistance. Hip Thrust
  • Pendulum Quadruped Hip Extensions with Tubing
    1. Begin in the all-fours or quadruped position. Place a pad under your knees for comfort (optional).
    2. Place your right foot through one handle of the tubing.
    3. Grasp the tubing with the right hand to take up any slack in the tubing.
    4. While maintaining a neutral spine and a knee flexed to 90 degrees, extend the hip and raise it toward the ceiling. The thigh should go no higher than parallel to the floor.
    5. Continue to squeeze the glutes as your lower the knee to the starting position.
    6. Repeat for the desired number of reps and switch to the other side.
    7. Progression: Increase resistance of bands. Pendulum Hip Extension
  • Prisoner Squat
    1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and pointing forward.
    2. Interlock your hands behind your head.
    3. Slowly squat to the depth of approximately chair level.
    4. Keep the core engaged while pressing through the heels to return upright.
    5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
    6. Progression #1: Add a barbell and perform a regular squat.
    7. Progression #2: Perform the squat on an unstable surface, such as an Airex pad. 
      Prisoner Squat
  • Single Leg RDL
    1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pointing forward.
    2. Lift one leg a few inches off of the floor.
    3. The leg on the floor should remain straight. Nend at the hips to lower the upper body toward the floor.
    4. Squeeze the glutes to straighten the hips and return to the standing position.
    5. Repeat for the desired number of reps and perform on the opposite leg.
    6. Progression: Perform while holding a Kettlebell. Single Leg RDL
  • Cross Over Step-Up
    1. Begin by standing next to a step, low bench, or plyo box.
    2. Cross the outside leg in front of the inside leg and onto the step.
    3. Squeeze the glutes as you step-up.
    4. As you get to the top of the step bring the inside leg up and end in a balancing position.
    5. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps. Perform on the opposite leg.
    6. Progression: Perform while holding dumbbells. Cross over step up
  • Modified Side Plank with Lateral Raise
    1. Begin side lying on the right side and place the right elbow under your shoulder.
    2. Bend the bottom (right) knee to 90 degrees and keep the left leg straight.
    3. Engage the core and press the right knee into the floor, raising the hips and torso off the ground.
    4. Squeeze the glute as you slowly return to the down position.
    5. Repeat for the desired number of reps and then perform on the other side.
    6. Note: Make sure the hips are not flexed and that the hips are pressed forward through the movement. Mod side plank raise
  • Curtsy Lunge
    1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pointing forward.
    2. Bring the left leg back and behind the right leg.
    3. Try to reach the left leg as far back and as wide as possible as you drop into a deep lunge. The left knee should touch the ground behind and outside the right foot.
    4. Press with the right leg to return to the starting position.
    5. Repeat on the left side.
    6. Repeat the movement going from the right side to the left side for the desired number of reps.
    7. Progression: Place a barbell across the shoulders or hold dumbbells. Curtsy lunge
  • Lunge
    1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pointing forward.
    2. Step forward with one leg and lower the body until the back knee is an inch from the floor.
    3. Both the front and back legs will be bent at 90 degrees.
    4. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other leg.
    5. Progression: Add weight by holding dumbbells. Lunge
  • Skater Squat
    1. Stand on one leg and place the opposite leg on an object at waist height.
    2. Lean forward at the waist. Try to make a “T” with the body by having the up leg and the torso parallel to the floor.
    3. Place hands behind the back. Bend the knee of the down leg and lower yourself to the floor. Be sure to keep the upper body parallel to the floor.
    4. Lower until the chest comes to the knee.
    5. Squeeze the glutes to return to the start position.
    6. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch to perform on the opposite leg.
    7. Progression #1: Place a weight across your back for added resistance.
    8. Progression #2: Perform on an unstable surface. Skater squat
  • Straight Leg Lunges
    1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pointing forward.
    2. Take a large step forward. Bend at the waist and front knee to transfer the body weight over the front leg.
    3. The shoulder should touch the front knee and be over the toe.
    4. Keep the back leg straight.
    5. Return to starting position.
    6. Repeat on the left and repeat for the desired number of reps.
    7. Progression #1: Add weight holding dumbbells.
    8. Progression #2: Perform multiplanar lunges: forward, front diagonal, side, and back diagonal. Straight leg lunge
  • Fire Hydrants
    1. Begin on all fours, with the hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Engage the core and tighten the glutes.
    2. Take the right leg and raise it 90 degrees to the side (like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant).
    3. While keeping the leg raised to the side repeatedly bring the right knee to the right shoulder and extend the leg straight back.
    4. Repeat for the desired number of reps and repeat the exercise with left leg.
    5. Progression: Add time: Do the exercise for time 1 – 2 minutes per side without rest.  Fire Hydrant
  • Floor Bridge with March
    1. Lie on your back with the knees bent 90 degrees and feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms at your side.
    2. Tighten the abdominal muscles and squeeze your right glute to push through your heels so that the butt and back come off the floor.
    3. While holding the up position raise the right leg and lower the leg back to the floor.
    4. While remaining in the up position, raise the left leg and lower back to the floor.
    5. Alternate between right and left marching for the desired number of reps.
    6. Note: Be sure to keep the hips level while marching. Do not let the pelvis tilt or twist.
    7. Progression: Perform on an unstable surface, such as an Airex pad or an elevated surface, such as a bench. You can also try a single leg floor bridge. Floor Bridge with march

3 thoughts on “12 Booty Exercises to Improve the Back Side

  1. Tammy Slauenwhite

    I love these exercises. I’m a huge fan of the curtsy lunge. But I don’t put my knee on the floor behind me, although sometimes it gets so close it may tap. I bring my knee as close to the floor as possible, pause, and then return to starting position. Why do you suggest touching the knee to the floor? Doesn’t that reduce resistance for a few seconds?

    1. Joshua Stone Post author

      I prefer a quick tap and touch down, which ensures you are going deep enough on every rep. You should not be placing the knee on the floor and resting for two seconds though. If I am working with a client and he or she is demonstrating good technique without hitting the floor, that is ok. Try the cross-over step up. I actually like that more than the curtsy lunge.


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