7 Best Exercises for Your Booty That Aren't Squats

Squats (and the 831 variations) are great for building a booty, but they come across as overrated. If you have bad knees or other joint problems, or are severely overweight, squats can do more harm than good. For those of us who aren’t squat-obsessed, I compiled a list of a few great exercises that rank up with squats for building that brazillian bodacious badonkadonk.

Hip Thrusts

These work your core muscles and force you to use your glutes to push the weight up. Push through your heels on these and make sure to keep a flat back throughout the whole movement. Make sure to use a protective barbell pad if you use a barbell on your hips! If you don’t, it can cause pain on your pelvic bone and cause your form to suffer.

Donkey Kicks

After I developed a better mind-muscle connection, donkey kicks became one of my favorite exercises for the pure burn that they give me in my glutes! Focus on driving your heel directly up to the sky and keep a 90 degree bend in your leg the whole time.

Bonus Tip: Donkey kick burnouts are great (assuming you don’t plan on walking the next day). For instance, try doing 15 on each leg followed by immediately doing 10 more on each leg, and then another 5 on each leg. By the time you get done, your butt should be on fire!

Curtsy Lunges

Proceed with caution with curtsy lunges. If done improperly, you can hurt your knees or hips. With caution and proper form, these are an awesome exercise for working your glutes and hips while improving balance and coordination.

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlifts are a great exercise for working your booty and hamstrings at the same time. Make sure to keep a straight back throughout the movement and to hinge at the hips. It’s easy to try and go fast with these, but I recommend taking your time with it and going slow. Try a tempo of 2-0-4-1 (2 seconds to take it down the leg, no pause, 4 seconds coming back up the leg, 1 second pause at the top) and squeeze those butt cheeks at the top the next time you’re going all in on a leg day.

5. Backward Lunges

These will help you work on your balance as well as your muscle strength. Do a set number of reps (usually 12-15) per leg, and then switch. You should lunge directly behind you, keeping your core tight and your upper body upright. For an extra balance challenge, try not to let your foot touch the floor when you come back to the top of the movement before you begin your next rep!

6. Fire Hydrants

Yes, these do look like you’re a dog taking a pee, but they’re great for working on your outer glute muscles and rounding the toosh. For these, focus on keeping your belly button pulled in towards your spine and trying to make the movement come from your hip muscles.

7. Leg Press

If you work out at a gym, the leg press is a great leg day machine. You can use it to focus in on any of the large muscle groups in your lower half, and in particular, your glutes. Use caution on this machine and always start with a low weight and increase as you adapt to avoid injury.

Kelcy Anderson