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What Are The Best Exercises To Lift And Firm Your Butt?

A new client submitted this question to me over the weekend. Ironically when I received the question on Saturday morning my wife was flipping through the channels while we were eating breakfast. She stopped on a channel playing an infomercial promoting a “Brazilian Butt-Lift” using specialized exercises.

She asked me my opinion of the program and I had to chuckle. First off, what’s a “Brazilian Butt- Lift?” This is kind of misleading to say the least. Can you lift and firm your butt by doing exercises? Yes, absolutely, but this doesn’t mean you’re going to end up with the backside resembling a dancer at carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The reality is that’s a matter of genetics. You’ve got to work with what your momma and poppa gave you!

Having said all that, what is the best way to firm, round, and lift your butt doing exercises? This is a subject that’s full of misconceptions. The key ingredient will always be applying a resistance overload to the glutes and hamstrings.

Changing the incline on an elliptical machine isn’t going to do much. Think of your cardio routines as being a piece of the puzzle by improving the efficiency of your heart and lungs to transport oxygen and nutrients, along with burning calories.

The same thing can be said for dance based fitness classes and routines. Will you change your body composition doing Zumba or other cardio based routines? Yes, absolutely, but it’s mostly fat loss and NOT from significant developments in lean muscle.

It all depends on the routine you’re doing but the MAIN movements that work best to firm, round, and lift your butt will always stay the same. What are they?

  1. Squat variation
  2. Lunge variation
  3. Deadlift variation

Perform these three exercise variations often enough, and with sufficient intensity, and you’ll see guaranteed changes to your backside. It’s not that all the dancing, and jumping around doesn’t assist with building a better butt. It’s just that you really can’t improve on squats, lunges, and deadlifts.

As a Charleston personal trainer, a lot of my new female clients have the perception of squats and deadlifts being bodybuilding or powerlifting type movements. A deadlift for example is simply pulling something from the floor.

It doesn’t have to be a barbell loaded with tons of weight. A kettlebell or dumbbell single lead deadlift will do more to build a better butt than just about anything you can do.

Fitness classes that incorporate bodyweight squats and lunges can be very effective. It’s not essential that you only do weight training. Personally, I’ve seen the BEST results with a mix of two are combined. This is something called “Three Tier Integration” which I picked up from Juan Carlos Santana, the guru of functional training.

The idea is to work your legs with weighted resistance once or twice a week, then “unload” them with bodyweight exercises on other days. This allows you to provide maximum volume of workload on the muscles without over-training by not allowing enough time in-between workouts for recovery. This way you can also have variety in your fitness routine if you like doing classes.

You’ll always want to start with bodyweight variations of squats and lunges to work on proper form and technique. This is where the instruction from a fitness professional can really be beneficial. The last thing you want to do is put weight on your back to squat, or do lunges with added resistance before you’ve developed core stability and muscle integration.

The bottom line on all this is you really don’t need to go too far outside the box from squats, lunges, and deadlifts, to build a better butt. There’s little need to waste time on all those machines in the gym which are done while sitting or lying down.

There are countless variations of squats, lunges, and deadlifts which can be done with any form of resistance. It doesn’t matter if you use kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, your bodyweight, or anything that provides resistance to the muscles.

To get a rounder, more toned, and lifted butt you simply have to apply an overload stimulus to the muscles in your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, low back). Combine this with a supportive nutrition diet and cardiovascular exercise (any way you want to do it), and you won’t be disappointed with the results.

Hopefully, this helps simply some things for you. Just because the exercise you’re doing makes you break a sweat and gets you out of breath, doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to lift your backside. I’ll take a boatload of bodyweight squats that are done deep with the thighs parallel to the floor than dance moves, kicks, or jumping around any day of the week.

Pick something you enjoy doing but don’t neglect the basic movements that always work best for your backside. Squats and lunges are going to burn and they’re going to hurt, but oh will they ever be worth it.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. If you’re looking for a Charleston gym sign up for a FREE no-obligations trial and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself today.

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Category: Fitness Training.