The butt, or glutes speaking technically, are arguably the most sought after muscle or muscle group in fitness in terms of toning and strengthening. These muscles which attach around the hip and comprise a big part of our core and overall functional movement, rival the abdomen and the back of the arms for the honor of most targeted area of the body during training.

But, what makes the glutes so important is what they provide beyond just aesthetics! This is the functionality and “correct” movement and posture I mentioned. The glutes anchor around our hips to help stabilize our core, protect our back and knees and therefore preventing injury and pain while performing some of the exercises we love like squats and lunges.

The glutes are also a complicated set of muscles in terms of how they attach to and sit around our hip joints because they are a multi planar muscle that controls leg and hip movement in all three possible directions of motion. This multifaceted ability of the glutes is key to their importance in core functionality.

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Now that we’ve spoken briefly about the value of the glutes from a function and performance standpoint, let’s get to the sexy stuff! The aesthetics! I’m going to list some great butt exercises for isolating and toning up the glutes for a rounder butt. However, to truly hit the glutes thoroughly we have to remember my previous mentioning of the glutes being a multi planar muscle.

Since they are responsible for controlling movement in three different directions, we have to perform leg lift exercises that do so as well. These directions are lateral (side), forwards/backwards, and rotational (twisting motions). So, the following leg lift exercises emphasize lifting and moving the legs throughout all of these motions to work the butt to the max!

1. Standing single leg cable extensions

– Cable should be connected with an ankle strap around ankle

– Use moderate resistance for doing high rep toning sets (15-20 reps)… 3 to 4 sets per leg for good volume

– With desired weight/resistance and ankle strap connected, extend the leg backwards keeping the knee straight and turning the entire leg outwards for rotation

– Abs should remain tight and engaged to prevent low back arching and to maximize the isolation and activation of the glute muscle specifically.

2. Straight leg bridges on swiss ball

– Lie on back with feet on top of ball

– Keeping knees straight, push heels down into ball raising body off of the ground while being sure to squeeze glutes in doing so

– Rotate or turn entire leg outward while raising and extending the hips upward

– Perform 3 to 4 sets of 20 reps each

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3. Rotational bridges (From floor or on top of swiss ball for added difficulty)

– Lie on back with knees bent and just heels in contact with floor

– Extend and raise hips high off the floor by squeezing the glutes

– Rotate knees outward while extending hips upward

– Perform 3 to 4 sets of 20 reps each

Give these a try! These are three of the best butt lift exercises to really squeeze and burn those glutes! Also as indicated make sure you are doing a good few rounds of high reps to thoroughly get to those glutes. And here’s a good little trick for some extra intensity.

Organize these exercises into compound sets where you are doing them immediately following a larger muscle group exercise like a weighted squat or lunge! These isolating exercises are extra tough following right behind one of those!

So there you go! Have fun with these and challenge yourself! Keep in mind activate and squeeze from the glutes. Not from the lower back. And emphasize that rotation of the legs along side the basic extension for maximum glute usage!

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