Tighten Butt And Slim Down Legs With These Powerful Moves


Hit the beach with slimmer thighs and a perkier tush with these exercises from top trainer Rachel Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, CA. Add a few moves to your workout for an extra booty boost or tackle a total lower-body challenge with the Sculpt a Better Butt Workout.

Single-Leg, Single-Arm Reach

woman doing single-leg, single-arm reach

This move is perfect if you’re on the go and need a zero-gear move to target your buns and thighs. “This exercise gives the hamstrings and glutes a really good stretch while also strengthening them,” says Cosgrove.

Facedown Hip External Rotation

woman's legs

Think this exercise looks too easy to be effective? “Just try it,” says Cosgrove. “You’ll feel a burn pretty quick.” Most people spend a lot of time doing exercises that involve forward and backward movements like running, walking, or lunging, says Cosgrove. Instead, the facedown hip external rotation works your muscles through rotational movement, challenging them in a different way and contributing to better muscle balance.

Lateral Band Walk

Woman's legs w/ resistance band

The lateral band walk strengthens your hips and activates your glutes to torch calories and fight fat, says Cosgrove.

Swiss-Ball Hip Raise and Leg Curl

Woman doing swiss ball hip raise

This move boasts a long title but packs a killer lower-body workout. “This exercise is one of the only moves that work the hamstrings through both hip extension and hip flexion,” says Cosgrove. What’s more, the Swiss ball forces you to stabilize your core for balance, ramping up your potential calorie burn.

Dumbbell Bent-Knee Deadlift

Woman doing a bent-knee deadlift

Dumbbell Stepup


As far as gym equipment goes, a single step looks unimpressive next to a big, shiny StairMaster–but if your goal is a better booty, opt for the step, says Cosgrove. A StairMaster offers a limited range of motion compared with an adjustable step–the higher the step, the more your glutes get involved. And while the climbing action on the stepper provides great cardiovascular benefits, constantly alternating the leg doing the work never creates enough muscle tension to get stronger, says Cosgrove. When completing the stepup, do all your reps on one leg and then switch sides.

Swiss-Ball Back Extension

woman doing back extension on swiss ball

At first glance this looks like a back-strengthening move, but you are actually contracting the glutes to pull your back up. Take note that this isn’t an exercise in arching your back. Bend from the hips to benefit your buns.

Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

woman doing a dumbbell straight-leg deadlift

This straight-leg variation on the deadlift provides similar benefits to its bent-knee companion. Holding dumbbells in front of your body fires up your glutes, which contract to counterbalance the weight. Unlike the bent-knee variation, this deadlift isolates movement to the hips, working your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

Related Article

No Lunges, No Squats, There Are Simple Butt Workouts You Can Follow

You’ve never tried this booty-burning routine before.

The beauty of this two-move butt workout is that it’s effective and manageable: There aren’t any crazy timed-intervals you need to keep tabs on or a long list of moves you need to understand how to do. The only thing you need to know how to do for this butt workout is the step up with knee lift and a marching glute bridge.

Allison Berry, a master trainer at Crunch, developed this creative but simple routine for SELF. “Aside from being excellent exercises to build the glutes, both of these moves really work the core and help to stabilize the pelvis, which are important elements to any fitness program,” says Berry. “By working the core and stabilizing the pelvis, you help protect the spine during exercise [and avoid injury]. [The core] also serves as the ‘powerhouse’ for movement.”

The icing on this butt workout cake is that the routine has a built-in cardio element, too. Since you’re moving between a box and floor quickly without any rest, your heart and your glutes will both be working overtime by the time you’re done, Berry explains. Here’s how the workout is set up.

The workout: You’ll start with 20 reps of each exercise, but you’ll cut 4 reps during each following set.

This is called a descending ladder workout, explains Berry. You’ll start the workout by doing 20 reps of each exercise, reducing the reps by 4 each set. This comes out to 5 sets total. Here’s what that looks like:

  • Set 1: 20 reps
  • Set 2: 16 reps
  • Set 3: 12 reps
  • Set 4: 8 reps
  • Set 5: 4 reps

You get a 30-second rest after each set, but remember, you should try not to take any breaks between your step ups and marching glute bridges to get those cardio benefits. “By the time you are doing four reps, your heart should be pounding,” says Berry.

Start standing in front of a small step or box, and kick those glutes into high gear with this two-move workout.

1. Step Up With Knee Lift

  • Stand in front of a box or step, about one foot away.
  • Step up with your left foot and drive your right knee up towards your chest. “Make sure to bring the opposite knee to 90 degrees and really squeeze the glute of the standing leg at the top of the step,” says Berry.
  • With control, step your right foot back to the starting position and follow with your left foot.
  • Continue on this side for 10 reps, then repeat on the opposite side for 10 reps to reach 20 total.
  • Decrease your reps by 4 with every set (so when you do 16 reps, do 8 on one side, then 8 on the other).

2. Marching Glute Bridge

  • Lie faceup on your mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift hips off the mat into a bridge—this is your starting position.
  • For an extra challenge, slightly lift your toes off the ground so you’re balancing on your heels. “This activates the posterior side of the leg (like your glutes and hamstrings) and will up the intensity of the exercise,” says Berry.
  • Keeping your right knee bent, lift your right foot off the floor. Try to keep your hips still.
  • Hold for five seconds. Slowly lower your right foot to the ground but keep your hips lifted.
  • Now repeat on your left foot.
  • Alternate legs for 20 reps total (and remember to do 16 reps in the second set, and so on).

Rest for 30 seconds, then move on to the next set (and remember, both exercises have 4 fewer reps than the last set). You’ll do five sets total.

The last has four reps, but it just might burn like 20. Try this mini butt workout either its own or incorporated into your next gym session to keep things fresh and take a break with those squats for a change.