Bottoms Up

Fitness facts for firming up the backside

Many individuals, especially women, are concerned with how to improve the look of their “backsides.” Especially during the summer months and swimsuit season, many of us are extremely interested in how to tone, shape and firm up the buttock region. There are many reasons to target strengthening in this area and many different and simple exercises to achieve desired results.

The buttock region is made up of the gluteal muscle group, or the “glutes” as they are commonly referred to. These muscles include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The glutes, along with the hamstrings of the posterior thigh, play a major role in extending the hip for common exercises such as getting up from a chair, squatting, and walking up stairs.

Benefits of buttock strengthening include increased lower body strength, shape change to the physique, and increased muscle mass, which improves daily metabolic rate.  This muscle group is one of the largest in the body and therefore creates a significant caloric expenditure when worked, which also improves cardiovascular health. In addition, the glutes and hamstrings play an important role in supporting the lower back and hips, so they are crucial in good posture and health of the low back region.

The greatest exercises for buttock strengthening involve using the resistance of one’s own body. These exercises include squats, lunges, and mat strengthening exercises.  They can be done anywhere at any time and don’t require any equipment. See the sidebar for just a few examples of exercises that can be done to strengthen and tone the buttock area.

To keep you motivated, these exercises have many versions and can be made more aggressive with weights, inclines and explosive, rebounding motions called plyometrics. One bonus to a great “rear end” program, you can get outside and use natural walking or hiking paths or your local stadium to enjoy your exercise. For little expense or equipment, you can perfect the shape of your behind outdoors.

Hydrate well, and if you want to get out of the heat and humidity of the Florida summer, many of the lunges mentioned above can be done at home in a hallway or on a treadmill. As usual, you should always consult your physician prior to beginning any new exercise program.

Lower Intensity Exercises

  • walking up a slight hill or incline
  • climbing stairs
  • squats
  • static or forward lunges
  • Plies
  • bridging exercises
  • Sun Salutations
  • Pilates mat exercises including single and double knee kicks, side kick series and toe tapping with a bridge
  • clam digs with rotations

Greater Intensity Exercises

  • incline sprints
  • stadium bleacher runs
  • single leg squats also known as Bulgarian split squats
  • walking lunges
  • rear lunges
  • explosive lunges
  • prone hip extensions
  • single limb bridging exercises


story by TERRI STONICK, DPT, CLT, MBA and SUSAN KANE, MPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS, Lakeland Regional Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Clinic

Accessibility Toolbar