Butt Strengtheners

As I mentioned in my glutes = core post, having a strong, functional backside is intricately linked to having strong, functional abdominals.  Assuming you’ve got your anterior pelvic tilt in check and are ready to start strengthening that booty, here’s the glute builder sequence:

The first and most accessible thing your should try.  No equipment or gym membership necessary.

video credit: EXOS (formerly core performance)

Notice her palms are up and outstretched wide.  This makes it hard to use that upper body to cheat.  Toes are up.  This is a backside exercise.  Drive through the back of the foot at the heel, not the toes.  Make sure you don’t extend that lower back.  Keep it posteriorly tilted.  We’re good at that now, right?

 Once you can easily do 4 or 5 sets of 10 on these, progress to:


photo credit: cubsbaseball.8k.com

Start out with 3-5sec holds.  The goal is to not let the hips shift when picking one leg up off the ground.  This is stability. How you start is how you end.  You should feel your stomach working with your butt to keep your torso steady and level.

Extend the leg out first and then attempt to hike the opposing knee toward your face.  Being able to flex one hip while extending the other is a complicated move. Be aware of any arching in that lower back.

Being able to perform 3 or 4 sets of 8 well should give you the confidence to attempt the next stage.

A word of caution as you consider yourself advanced…

If you can’t do this:

video credit: dewey neilsen
Don’t attempt this:
 video credit: ben bruno
(You can also add resistance to regular or double leg bridges with this same set up.)


Performing bridges with the shoulders elevated maximizes leverage.  In this almost seven minute video, Nick Tumminello takes you through multiple variations.  When weighing the movement with a dumbbell, anything at 20 lbs or more should be placed atop the grounded leg. You can find his entire post and specifics about weight placement here.

 video credit: nick tumminello
Again, be able to master at least 3 sets of 8 repetitions before jumping into something harder.


Progressions will end here because it attempts to apply what you learned on your back to standing upright.  Butt building involves your hips going back and forth, not up and down.  Lying on your back and pressing your butt up is equivalent to standing on your feet and driving your butt forward.  This is a resisted hinge, with the weight being behind you instead of underneath you like deadlift.

The gal in the video has a bit too much knee bend.  Excessive knee movement triggers quads.  Hip movements activate the butt.  Let the rope pull you back (butt behind feet) keeping shins relatively vertical.  Try to get elbows through the crotch. Using your feet, hamstrings, and butt, propel hips forward. Arms stay stiff and close to body. 

Triple check that it’s your butt moving, not your back.  Single line from head to hips.

You’ll need a cable or band for resistance.  Exercise begins at the 34 second mark.

video credit: eric cressey


  • Your butt is the forgotten core muscle
  • To strengthen the butt you must first fix anterior pelvic tilt
  • You are still in anterior pelvic tilt if you feel “glute exercises” in your hamstrings, not your glutes 
  • Progressions manipulate leverage and stability
  • Work on single leg versions of bridges and thrusts before you start adding a bunch of weight
  • Correctly pattern at least 24 repetitions before attempting advanced movements

    Check out Brett Contreras, “the glute guy”, if you just can’t get enough of this stuff.  He invented the hip thrust and posts plenty of pictures of the derrieres of his female clients, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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