Molly McNamee | 4 Best Butt Lifting Exercises
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4 Best Butt Lifting Exercises

Many women (and men) have the goal of getting a tighter, rounder, and more lifted booty. Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian are idolized because of their butts. Although some famous figures have not earned their butts through exercise, today I am going to tell you how you can make your butt look it's absolute best using just four exercises!

1. Glute Kickback

A glute kickback targets the glutes and hamstring muscles. You've probably seen this exercise before. It can be performed on all fours, standing, or with gym machines. For this exercise one leg will be kicking backwards or upwards to target the butt. If this is a new exercise for you, I recommend trying a kickback on all fours first. Stack your shoulders over wrists and hips over knees, and lift one leg up pulsing your heel up to the ceiling. You can do this with either a straight or bent leg. Once the basic kickback (also known as donkey kick) feels good you can start making it more challening. Try the same kickback with ankle weights or a dumbbell squeezed between your hamstring and calf. You can also do kickbacks standing with cables at the gym or resistance bands at home. The extra resistance will help lift your butt even more.

2. Squat

Now I don't need to explain the concept of a squat to you, but I will explain different ways you can do a squat to help give your booty a boost. Just like with the kickbacks, if you have never done a squat before I suggest starting with the basics. A basic squat is performed with feet wider than shoulder width apart and feet turned out very slightly. When doing a basic squat focus on sitting back onto the center and heel of your foot. Once at the bottom of the movement, dig your feet into the ground to push yourself up. This is important because if you push through the ball of your foot you will engage your quads too much, your butt won't grow, and you could potentially injure your knees. Once the basic squat feels good, it is time to advance things. Add dumbbells, and then move to barbells and the squat rack. Perform your squat with a resistance band around your ankles for more glute activation. The stronger you get, the more weight you should lift.  The amount of weight you are lifting will affect the growth of your backside. The depth of your squat also affects your progress. Do not stop the squat at ninety degrees - when you go lower you tap into those muscles underneath your butt that help lift it.

There are hundreds of ways to perform a squat. If you get bored with a standard squat, try sumo squats, narrow squats, pistol (single leg) squats, traveling squats, squats into other exercises... the options are endless!

3. Leg Press

The leg press machine is one of my favorites for leg day. When used correctly the leg press can help lift the glutes so much! Obviously like with all strength focused exercises, the more you lift, the more you can grow the targeted muscle. With the leg press machine, the way you perform the movement can affect which muscle is being targeted. For glute activation, try placing your feet higher up on the machine and turning your feet out (mess around with the degree of turnout to see what helps you feel your butt more). This positioning is better for the booty! Just make sure when you start the press your knees are in line with your feet - your knees will want to cave in to make the exercise easier for the butt... but we don't want that!

4. Glute Bridge / Hip Thrust

A basic glute bridge is performed by lying on your back with bent knees and feet planted on the ground. From that position you will squeeze your butt and lift your hips up off the ground. Lower the hips back down to hover off of the ground and repeat! It's simple, but very affective. Similar to the previous three exercises, there are many ways to advance a glute bridge. Try putting your feet on a bench, stability ball, or the wall to allow a bigger range of motion. You can also do this exercise with your back on a bench and weights (barbell, dumbbells, etc) resting at your hips. This type of bridge is more commonly referred to as a hip thrust. Hip thrusts are fantastic for glute activation and growth. Don't be afraid to lift heavy... make your glute muscles work hard!