Although roundness to the butt is partly genetic, with the right diet, some cardio and adding the following butt sculpting exercises into your workout, that beautiful bootylicious Brazilian butt can be yours to keep.
The Butt (Gluteal) Muscles
The shape of the butt is defined by the large gluteus maximus, the smaller gluteus medius and even smaller gluteus minimus muscles, and overlying fat.
Having sculpted versions of these muscles, and lower levels of fat are what help to define the butt. Running, climbing, stepping and walking all help to work the gluteal muscles and give your butt that much desired rounded shape. Since strength training is what helps sculpt a muscle, you need to add it in any butt-sculpting program.
The squat is the grandfather of all butt building exercises. The squat is a compound movement that directly targets the entire gluteal area. When using weight, the squat can be made light or heavy depending upon what your goals are. If you want a bigger butt, go heavy with less reps. If you want to just firm it up, lighten up and do more reps.
Squat form is the most important thing to keep in mind when performing squat exercises.
- Stand with feet side by side and shoulder width apart.
- Lower hips in a slow and controlled manner as if you are lowering yourself onto a chair.
- Keep your knees over your toes and your back and torso straight and tight.
- Pause for a count, then slowly stand back up to the starting position.
Squat Variation 1: Ball Squat
If you're new to the squat exercise, using a stability ball will ensure you use the proper form by creating a base for balance and axis of movement.
Ball Squat Form
- Stand up straight with a stability ball between your lower back and the wall.
- Place your feet slightly in front of you, hip-width apart so that your knees stay behind your toes.
- Once in position, perform the squat as described above.
Squat Variation 2: Sissy Squat
The sissy squat is a variation on the traditional squat. Although it focuses on the quadriceps, it’s great for hitting the glutes as well. For those just starting out, body weight is sufficient... the more advanced may hold a weight plate in one arm to increase the difficulty.
Sissy Squat Form
- Hold onto a support with your free arm, stand in a classic squat position.
- Slowly bend your knees and while leaning back, lower yourself to the bottom of a squat position. Your weight should focus on the balls of your feet.
- Pause for a count, then raise your body back up to the start position.
The lunge is another great butt-builder. The lunge also emphasizes the quads, hamstrings and calves. Since it is a compound movement, it packs a serious calorie burn!
Forward Lunge Form: Key points to remember are not to move your front knee past your toes, and your back knee should come CLOSE to the ground, but not TOUCH it.
- With feet hip-width apart and side by side, take a big step forward and slowly bend your knees so that both knees are at a 90 degree angle.
- Pause for a count, then step back and stand up in the starting position.
- Repeat with the other leg, or do all repetitions on one leg, then the rest on the other.
Lunge Variation 1: Reverse Lunge
This butt sculpting exercise is the identical to the forward lunge, but instead of stepping forward, you are taking a big step behind you. The reverse lunge focuses a bit more on the gluteal muscles and adds variety to your workout. Lunges either forward or reverse are great ways to improve hip flexibility and mobility.
Reverse Lunge Form: The starting position for this is the same as in the forward lunge, instead of stepping forward take a giant step backwards. Remember to keep your front knee behind or over your toes and don't let the back knee touch the ground.
Lung Variation 2: Side Lunge
This variation focuses on the gluteus medius and minimus (hips) and hits the dreaded inner-thigh area as well.
Side Lunge Form
- Stand with feet together, take a wide step to the side and slowly bend the outside knee to lower your body toward the floor. The shin should stay straight up and down and the feet should remain facing forward. Be sure to keep your back straight and your chest up while lowering yourself to the bottom of the movement.
- Pause for a count, then raise back up by straightening the knee ending up at the starting position.
- Repeat on the other leg, or do all reps on one leg then switch to the other.
On the Ball: Leg Lift
This butt sculpting exercise not only strengthens your glutes, but also the muscles in your shoulders and abdominal region. Start by lifting only one leg, then as you become stronger, try for both legs at the same time.
Leg Lift Form
- Lie parallel to the ground with a stability ball beneath your stomach and balance yourself with your hands on the floor in front of you.
- Lift a single leg up away from the floor by squeezing the glute muscle on that side. A good goal is for a few inches of lift, especially for those just starting out. Take care not to use the erector muscles of the lower back during the exercise.
- Lower and repeat.
On the Ball: Hip Lift
Hip lifts are a small, isolating movement targeting the gluteus maximus. It's important to focus on your gluteal muscles, make sure you're not using the muscles in your back.
Hip Lift Form
- Lie on your back, place your feet together on the stability ball with knees bent at 90 degrees.
- Gently and slowly move the back of your thighs away from the ball by squeezing your glutes. Don't worry about a huge movement, about a 2 inch lift is what you should aim for.
- Lower and repeat.
Floor Work: Bridge
Much more difficult than it looks, bridges are an excellent butt sculpting exercise for strengthening the glutes. Bridges also engage the hamstrings and hips.
- Lie on your back with bent knees, and feet hip-width apart.
- Gently arch your spine away from the floor to create a "bridge." The arching should come from squeezing the glutes and the hamstrings, not from pressing your hands into the floor. When you have created your bridge it should look like a diagonal line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Pause for a count, then slowly lower your hips to the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae.
Floor Work: Side Leg Raises
One of my personal butt sculpting favorites, as it gives the nice "dent" in the side of the butt. This butt sculpting exercise isolates the gluteus medius and minimus. Just a few inches of movement works these muscles quite well.
Side Leg Raise Form
- Lie on your side, legs straight and stacked, chest, shoulders and back in line with each other.
- Slowly raise the top leg a few inches from the bottom leg.
- Pause for a count and lower back to the bottom leg.
- Repeat, then roll over and work the other side.
For a different burn, you can also do this butt sculpting exercise by rotating the top leg outward from the hip and lifting as described before.
Floor Work: Running Plank
Also called "Mountain Climbers" this butt sculpting exercise challenges the glutes, shoulders, hips and core. For a bigger calorie burn while still strengthening the muscles, perform quickly and controlled.
Running Plank Form
- Lie in a plank position on the floor, arms straight, hands on floor underneath your shoulders, core tight, toes together on the floor.
- Pull one knee into your chest.
- Straighten leg to starting position and repeat with the other leg.
Speed of leg movement while keeping the abs tight and bellybutton pulled into your spine will give you a great burn while building and strengthening the muscles.
Floor Work: Dirty Dog
This butt sculpting exercise is excellent for isolating the gluteus minimus and medius, two of the smaller muscles in your buttocks.
Dirty Dog Form
- Kneel on all fours, arms straight with hands directly under your shoulders and knees hip-width apart.
- Slowly raise one bent leg out away from your body, squeezing the side of your butt to complete the movement.
- Pause for a count at the top, then lower leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat, then work the other side.
Make sure you are concentrating on keeping your back completely straight and abs tight throughout the entire movement.
Aside from being a great butt-blaster, stairs are a great calorie burning fat-blaster as well.
Stair Work Form: There are many ways to do a butt-blasting stair exercise. You can run up stairs, walk up stairs, perform walking or running up stairs while skipping steps... whatever form you choose, you are working the glute muscles. To maximize your glute activation, be sure to focus your weight through the front heel when stepping up to the next step.
Variation: Bench Step Up
If stairs are unavailable, you can get the benefit of the butt sculpting stair exercise by stepping up on a bench.
- Stand erect with a bench in front of you.
- Place one foot on top and step up onto the bench.
- Keep your back straight and chest up, focus your weight through the front heel.
- Lower back down to the starting position.
- Repeat while alternating legs.
For a real burn, repeat all reps on one leg, then switch to the other.
This butt sculpting exercise can be done whenever the fancy strikes you without an expensive gym membership. All you need is a pair of sneakers, comfortable clothing and some desire to sculpt your butt. For a real challenge to the butt uscles, get yourself trekking uphill. This not only maximizes glute activation, it also burns tons of calories to maximize fat loss. If you have access to a treadmill, try walking on an ncline of 5-7% at a brisk pace.
Firm Up Your Butt with Cardio
I’m asked often what cardio exercises best work the muscles in the butt. Here is the answer... revolving stairs or gauntlet (GREAT ONE), elliptical, arc trainer.... treadmill (as described above). These all are excellent for sculpting the butt while burning calories and melting fat at the same time (WIN/WIN).
Diet is NOT an Afterthought
All of these butt building exercises are great for sculpting the glutes, but what's the use of sculpted glutes if there's an ugly layer of fat on top? In order to effectively burn off that layer of fat and SEE what's been sculpted underneath, you must pay attention to your diet. Eat mostly clean, unprocessed foods in smaller quantities throughout the day. Aim to eat a small meal every 3-4 hours containing healthy fats, low-glycemic carbs, and lean protein. Avoid sugars and saturated fats, and monitor your alcohol intake.
BOTTOM Line for Achieving That Beautiful Brazilian Butt
Eat well, do your cardio along with these butt-sculpting exercises, your firmer, sexier Brazilian butt will be within your grasp. Maybe you’ll even find yourself on the beaches of Brazil.
Edited by Lynn Glenn