We’ll admit it. For most of our lives, we’ve been on a quest for a gloriously shapely booty. And we’re sure we’re not the only ones, considering any gym schedule has some sort of class with a name like “Booty Bootcamp” or “Abs & A$$.” And while we could go sweat along with a few strangers in the name of building a butt, sometimes we just want to work out alone. In peace. With no one breathing on us or making awkward eye contact. With a plan that actually works.
Which is why we asked our very own Jen to give us her favorite strength-building booty moves. We not only respect Jen because she’s in the gym putting her fitness first and pumping iron multiple times a week, we also trust her advice on exercise plans — she’s got an incredible amount of knowledge when it comes to the body and how it works. Oh, and did we mention she’s got a really great peach? So can you blame us for asking? No, no you can’t.
For those ready to build the booty of their dreams (and wear those TikTok leggings everyone is talking about), here is Jen’s routine for building strength and shape in the glutes.
Sure, these sound deceivingly simple. But let us tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because this move targets all three muscles in your glute — the maximus, medius, and minimus (oh, my!). Jen says it also deeply works the hamstring (hello, shapely legs!) and your lower back. While this move is challenging on its own, Jen adds weight to take it to the next level and challenge her muscles so that they respond by strengthening — which means your peach will start to take shape! She then follows up with bilateral bridges for an extra pump. Here’s how to do it.
Start by lying on your back, with knees bent and hands flat on the floor extended past your hips. Place your feet about hip-width distance apart, and about 12 inches away from your booty. Lift one leg into the air so that your knee is directly over the hip, and squeeze your glutes while pressing through the heel on the ground and raising your hips. Your upper back stays on the floor as you give a one second pause at the top — and then bring the lower back down, and repeat.
Do these for 4 sets with up to 12-15 reps, with moderate to heavy weight. Follow up with a bilateral bridge, which is your traditional bridge. Then, smack your own @$$ — because you did it.
If you’re thinking that hamstring curls don’t sound like they have anything to do with your glutes, think again, friends. Jen adds in prone hamstring curls because it’s a two-for-one exercise — it works your glutes and your hamstrings. And any time we can multitask in the gym, we’re here for it.
So how does it all work? There are lots of ways to do this exercise — on a machine lying down or sitting down are common in the gym — but we’re big fans of using a stability ball, because you can do it at home. To get your booty fired up with these, lay on your back and place your heels on a stability ball. Make sure your legs are fully extended and your palms are braced on the ground. Lift your hips off the floor, making sure your hips and back are in one line, while you bend your knees and roll the ball toward your glutes. Feel that? Curling your legs toward your glutes makes the glute need to engage and stabilize the movement — and that’s the making of a juicy peach.
Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps. And if you’re using the machines, make sure you go with moderate to heavy weight (we’re here to BUILD muscle!).
We do a lot of things for 2 minutes — scroll through Instagram, watch 3-5 Netflix movie trailers, analyze which side of the fitted sheet goes on the top of the bed (no? Just us?). But maybe it’s time for us to do something for 2 minutes that benefits us — like a 2-minute weighted ball sit. If you’re groaning just at the thought of it, know that Jen didn’t recommend this lightly — this is something she does every week, because it’s a key way to build strength and endurance in the glutes. So go ahead, find a wall, and sit for a second — because it’s the only time that sitting is actually good for you.
Look, at this point in the workout, you should have some serious endorphins flowing — which is what you’ll need to power through the final exercises in this squat combo. Jen does these to finish out strong. Grab a moderate to heavy weight, and then get right back into your wall sit — it’s time to build strength, both in the glute and around the knee (which is important for squats!).
After holding your wall sit for 1 minute, Jen moves into an olympic barbell squat. (Yes, it’s as badass as it sounds.) This is a compound movement, meaning it works more than one joint and muscle to make it happen — specifically, it works your hamstrings, glutes, and quads, and yes, you can do it! Before you start, remember that you’ll need an olympic barbell, which is 7 ft long and weighs 45lbs.
Step up to the rack and take the bar off by resting it on your upper back and taking a step back. Then, place your feet hip-width apart with a slight turnout of your toes, and sit back as if you’re shutting a car door with your booty. Keep sitting back until your hips are slightly below your knees while keeping your weight into your heels. As you exhale, drive through your heels to return to your start position. Give your glutes a squeeze at the top, and then start again.
Jen recommends doing 4 sets of 10-12 reps with moderate to heavy weight. You’ll start to feel the burn, but make sure to breathe through it and keep your eye on the prize.
Of course, after training her lower body 2 to 3 times a week, Jen supplements these workouts with upper body training, core training, cycling, and yoga (a healthy balance is where it’s at!). And if you’ve been interested in even a single word of this glute program, try to incorporate a few (or even all of them!) into your routine, and consider it part of your wellness plan. Then practice your twerk, or become a model for women’s workout clothes — because when you have a booty that good, it’s a crime not to share it.