Skip to main content

The Best Butt Workouts From a Powerlifting Champion

Red Bull

Forget your Instagram influencers and the entire Kardashian family; the strongest — and therefore hardest — butts in the world belong to powerlifters. “I tell these guys, ‘Look, you’ve got to have a day on your ass, man,'” says Matt Poe, a former nationally ranked powerlifting competitor, elite strength and conditioning coach, and owner of Poe’s Gym in Nashville, Tenn. “A lot of them laugh, and then their 40-yard sprints go down.” Even the bench press, which many gym rats believe is all about the chest and arms, incorporates the glutes, activating to press into the bench as you lift. But it’s not just a drop in performance that those with Weak Booty Syndrome encounter; overuse and overcompensation injuries to the lower back and elsewhere are likely as your body tries to hide its glaring flaw.

There’s an easy solution, however, that Poe uses for the athletes, military members, and health care professionals he trains, and that’s to go further: “If you think you’re deep in a squat,” he says, “go deeper.” By sinking lower into any squat or lunge, you automatically activate the glutes more, which in turn develops speed throughout the range of motion, which translates to power.

The following workouts can be used to supplement your existing lower body workouts or combined to more fully target the largest muscle in your body. If pain is weakness leaving the body, then get ready to wave goodbye.

Related Guides

Dynamic Warmup

Red Bull

Run through this prior to your next leg day to activate and warm up your butt, thereby allowing for more activation in the target exercises.

  1. Standing, raise one ankle as high as the opposite knee, hold
  2. Without lowering foot, open the knee out, hold
  3. Without lowering foot, bring knee across and over the opposite knee, hold
  4. Without lowering foot, push back like a donkey kick, hold

Complete ten sets with each leg and controlled movement. More advanced athletes can drop sets to five and focus on explosive movement between positions.

Squat Box

Red Bull

Many people utilize a box behind them when squatting, but most don’t have the box low enough. Stack up plates behind you to approximately 13 inches. For the next set, remove a plate to approximately 11 inches. For the final set, remove another plate for approximately nines inches.

  1. Barbell squats, 10 reps
  2. Remove plate, barbell squats, 10 reps
  3. Remove plate, barbell squats, 10 reps

Rest 60 to 120 seconds between sets.

Box Jump Circuit

Red Bull

This circuit teaches your glutes to fire faster, which translates to power. The higher the box, the more they activate. Grab a box or bench and get hopping.

  1. Box jump up
  2. Jump down
  3. Bodyweight squat lower than vertical
  4. Vertical leap
  5. Barbell squat, light weight, exploding from the bottom

Repeat for 10 sets.

Hit the Hill

Red Bull

No gym nearby? Head to your neighborhood steep hill. You’ll want a punchy 10 to 15 yards to sprint up. The steeper, the more you’ll activate your glutes. After a warmup, complete 10 to 20 reps, with full recovery (three to five minutes) between each.

Force Coupling

Red Bull

Call it a universal mystery, but the body grows stronger when working in opposites. Pair an upper body unilateral lift with a lower body single glute lift and be dumbfounded by the synchronicity.

  1. Left dumbbell row
  2. Right single-leg step-up or lunge
  3. Repeat series for 10 reps

Complete three sets with 60 to 120 seconds between each.

Single-Leg Step-Up Series

Red Bull

For this workout, you’ll first isolate one glute and then switch immediately to the same exercise bilaterally. Lacking a box, you can substitute single-side lunges followed by alternating lunges. Add dumbbells to scale up the difficulty.

  1. Right-leg step-up, 10 reps
  2. Left-leg step-up, 10 reps
  3. Alternating step-up, 20 reps

Repeat for three sets with 120 seconds between, or try this variant:

  1. Single-leg lunge, one rep
  2. Bodyweight squat, one rep
  3. Repeat series 20 to 30 times

Repeat for four sets, alternating legs with each set, with 120 seconds between.

Rise of the Machines

Red Bull

The reverse hyper machine, commonly thought to target the lower back, can build a stronger butt with a simple tweak (just be careful to not hyperextend your lower back, coming up to level). When you hit your peak, squeeze your glutes for a moment and lower down. Complete three sets of seven to 10 reps, hugging a plate to increase difficulty.

Dumbell Deficit Deadlift

Red Bull

This variant of the common barbell deadlift adds a few subtle shifts to home in on your posterior. First, grab a couple of lighter plates to slide under your heels — this allows you to go deeper, thus activating your glutes more intensely. Next, grab a heavier dumbbell. For the deadlift:

  1. Bring the weight close to your shins
  2. Hands hook around the weight between your feet
  3. Keep arms straight
  4. Bring hips through

Complete four sets of 10 reps with 60 to 120 seconds between each.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
Expert reveals the best way to build muscle with resistance bands
Resistance bands might seem too simple for you, but they can be a powerful tool in your muscle-building journey
Jake Lott performing pallof press using a resistance band in a gym.

Many people seek to get stronger and more able through their strength training workouts, but they may wonder how to build muscle to improve their physique and bulk up. A great method for adding on mass is through hypertrophy training, which is a form of training achieved by using heavier weights during high-volume training.
Although a lot of people assume that you can only build muscle by lifting dumbbells, barbells, or other traditional weighted implements, it's possible to do so with resistance bands as well. Resistance bands provide a low-cost, portable, and convenient way to do at-home strength training workouts for those who can’t afford a gym membership or prefer the convenience, efficiency, and privacy of working out at home.
To learn more about how to effectively build muscle using resistance bands instead of weights, we spoke to Seamus Sullivan, a certified strength and conditioning coach and a certified Precision Nutrition professional who has been training clients for more than seven years.
Keep reading to learn expert tips on how to build muscle using resistance bands and increase your gains even if you don’t have access to weights.

How does muscle growth occur?

Read more
4 effective fat-burning workouts to help you lose weight
Lose weight with these fantastic workouts
man doing fat-burning workout.

Burning fat and gaining muscle is a common goal among men, and knowing which are the best workouts to lose weight can speed the process up! Dropping weight can lead to you both looking and feeling better, in addition to reducing your risk for various diseases that sometimes accompany excessive body fat.
When paired with a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet, exercise is a highly effective way to lose weight and burn fat. A workout burns calories and can also impact your metabolic rate. However, when it comes to fat burning workouts and weight loss, not all forms of exercise are created equal. Certain workouts and exercises will help you torch calories and shift your metabolism into a fat-burning mode more than others, so if you have big weight loss goals, keep reading for a list of the best fat burning exercises and workouts.

How does exercise burn fat?

Read more
The best pre-workout meals — everything you need to know
Maximizing athletic performance in the gym requires the right nutrition. These best pre-workout meals will help you succeed
Man eating before a workout

As in most things in fitness, there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all situation. Whether that's diet, exercise, routines, supplements, habits, the list goes on, just because something works for someone else does not mean it will work for you. A pretty commonly asked question on that fact is whether you should eat before a workout.

First thing, you need to establish which group you fall into. Do you feel fully optimized during your session, either with or without food? Some people feel less sluggish on an empty stomach and love to recover with a feast. Others feel lethargic and struggle throughout without proper fuel. If you're the latter, this article is for you. If you are not sure, try both for a couple of weeks and compare your training performance.
Peak performance
With that being said, eating right before a workout may help you perform at your best. The right foods can give you the strength you need to crush a cardio workout or maximize a strength-training session.

Read more