The gluteus maximus, or butt, is the strongest muscle on the human body, according to Frederick Hatfield, president and co-founder of the International Sports Sciences Association. Choosing the correct lower-body exercises will enhance your butt, tone your hips and turn the heads of others. Don't forget to warm up with five to ten minutes of cardio exercise before any strength training session.
According to the American Council of Exercise, or ACE, deep squats place a large amount of stress on the gluteus maximus, or butt. To perform squats, stand upright, with or without weights, and then bend your knees and hips as if sitting down on a chair. Continue lowering your butt until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Contract your butt and thighs to return to the original upright position. Complete two to three sets of eight to 20 repetitions.
Lunges require core stabilization along with contraction of the thighs and butt. To perform lunges stand upright, with or without weights, and take a large step forward. Drop your hips and bend your knees until the back knee is within two inches of the ground. Push through the hips and thighs and stand upright. Repeat with the opposite leg. Complete two to three sets of eight to 20 repetitions.
Romanian dead-lifts target the butt along with the hamstring muscles. The glute-hamstring conjunction, when properly developed, gives the butt a toned appearance. To perform Romanian dead-lifts, start by standing upright with a barbell across the thighs. Bend at the hips, allowing the barbell to travel down the thighs toward the floor. Keep your back flat and just a slight bend in your knees. Stop once the weights hit the floor or you are stretched to near max, and contract the gluteals and hamstrings so that you are standing upright. Complete two to three sets of eight to 20 repetitions.
When performed properly, this exercise looks similar to a donkey kicking. It is completely controlled by the butt without the help of the legs. To perform donkey kicks, start on all fours on the ground. Lift one knee off the ground, kick the foot back and up toward the ceiling. Continue until your foot is as high up and far back as possible. Complete two to three sets of eight to 20 repetitions. Repeat the same motion with the opposite leg.
- "ACE Personal Trainer Manual"; Cedric Bryant, Ph.D.; 2003
- "Fitness: The Complete Guide"; Frederick Hatfield, Ph.D.; 2004
- "Strength Training Anatomy"; Frederic Delavier; 2006
- Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.