Working Your Backside for Better Shape, Strength and Health: Exercises and Programming For A Nice Butt

  • Most people are missing the boat with training the glutes and hamstrings
  • Training the backside is great for looks, but there’s plenty of other benefits as well
  • Train this group of muscles 2x a week for best results
  • Pick a few main exercises to build strength in and filter other ones in and out focusing more on higher reps

Considering the fascination people have with butts, it’s pretty interesting that no one seems to go about training it – or training it effectively. Ask the typical gym-goer what they’re doing for their derriere and you’ll either hear squats, leg presses or crickets.

Squats and leg presses do hit the backside, but it’s pretty hard to avoid the quads with those. Most people won’t see much happen on the backside without options that focus much more on the backside .

For the guys: Beyond building your back, chest, shoulders and arms – building up your hamstrings and glutes is another way to actually make it look like you lift. And don’t forget, the biggest butt lifts the most weight.

They got something right. Almost.


Sitting and inactivity has created a bit of a problem as far as the health and roundness of the world’s bums go. When you sit, the chair takes the load off from your glutes. Do it long enough and it withers away.

You do not want that.

For me, most people come to me for help looking better naked. And in the field of looking better naked, we are often asked to solve the flat butt.

Just don’t forget this isn’t just about looks – with the exercises below you’ll build strength, athleticism, better posture and bulletproof your knees and back. Develop these exercises over the long haul and you’ll never have to worry about a walker or a wheel chair.

Or maybe you just care about filling out your jeans or yoga pants. Either way.

Beginner Progressions Or Warm-Up Moves

These three exercises below are either useful as teaching tools for many of the exercises below – it should come as no surprise that they look exactly like some of the movements that come later on.

For others they act as good warm-ups or reminders before they get into the main part of their programming.

In each case the exercises are listed under a total of 6 headings, and in all cases they are listed on a progression continuum in that the exercises listed first will be easiest to figure out. That said, none of these exercises ever really lose their use – especially the stuff that comes after the beginner stuff.

Glute Bridge

Dowel Hip Hinge

Band Reaching Hip Hinge

Bridging Variations

Hip Thrust

Single Leg Hip Thrust

Deadlift Variations

Romanian Deadlift

Modified Sumo Deadlift

For a more complete breakdown of deadlifting see my video on Conventional Deadlifts HERE

Single Leg Deadlift Variations

Split Stance Romanian Deadlift

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Split Squat Variations

Split Squat

Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

Accessory Moves

Cable Pullthrough

Back Extension (should be called a Hip Extension — check the video)

Programming Options

To get you off on the right foot, I’ll give you some quick programming ideas.

There are no hard and fast rules and it’s impossible to go through all the nuances but you’ll be right to start off picking a couple main strength exercises to focus on.

Suggestions? Romanian Deadlift, Hip Thrust, Mod. Stance Sumo Deadlift and Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat. I would suggest focusing on building up strength in those. Just do yourself a favour and start light. How light? Too light would me be my suggestion. Because that’s an easier fix than too heavy.

This doesn’t mean these exercises can’t be used with higher reps, meaning you aren’t quite as concerned with strength. The hip thrust and RFE Split Squat work just as well with higher reps.

If which to choose confuses you, just ask. Some people don’t like doing hip thrusts in public (obvious reasons), deadlifting from the floor for Mod. Sumo Deadlifts can be tricky. And some people aren’t ready to Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat — so start with Split Squats.

Again, if that’s all confusing,Just ask.

For the best development you’ll want to work the muscle group twice a week.

So regardless of whether you strength train 2-4 times a week, which is what I usually recommend. If you want to focus on this area, take 4-6 of these exercises and spread them out over two different days.


Day 1:

A. Romanian Deadlift 3-4 Sets, 8-12 reps

B. Split Squat 3 sets of 10-12 reps/side.

C. Cable Pullthroughs 3 sets of 15 reps

Day 2:

A) Mod. Stance Sumo Deadlift 3-4 sets 4-8 reps.

B) Split Stance Deadlift 3 sets of 8-12/side

C) Back Extensions 3 sets of 10-15

And by all means, you don’t have to just do these exercises. For instance, I often pair a few core exercises with lower body lifts. And you can find plenty of core exercise options HERE. There’s literally an endless number of options.

So there you have it. Thirteen exercises that target the glutes and hamstrings that will not only make a better looking butt, but will also make you more athletic and resilient to injury.

As always, direct any questions my way if you have em’. Hope this helps.










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