In addition to wanting a firm, shapely legs and butt, it is important to train your lower body, as they are involved in a lot of movements.
Sit, stand, squat and walk and your glutes are working, and think about how many times a day you do this.
Strength training exercises not only make you stronger for daily activities, they can also make you stronger for other activities like running, walking, working in the yard and climbing stairs.
Working these muscles means that you will not only build strength and lean-muscle tissue, but you will also burn more calories.
The larger the muscle, the more calories you burn. Strong legs support your knee and ankle joints which can help protect you from injury.
Your glutes, hips and thighs comprise some of the most important and powerful muscles of the human body. In fact, your legs and butt consists of the largest muscle in the body – your butt, also known as gluteus maximus.
The gluteus maximus is the most visible gluteal muscle, but below it are two very important muscles: the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus.
These three muscles are responsible for a variety of hip movements such as hip extension, such as the outside of the thigh and abduction of the hip, or moving the leg away from the body like leg lats.
This means that your glutes are used every time you stand, walk or walk up the stairs and jog, just to name a few.
Top 14 legs and butt building and toning exercises
- Hip Circles
- Dirty Dog
- Pretzel Side Kick
- Supine side leg raises
- Air Squat
- Pistol Squat
- Curtsy Lunge
- Single-Leg Deadlift
- Quadruped Hip Extension
- Glute Bridge with Leg Extension
- Sprinter Lunge
- Standing Splits pose
- Standing Straddle
- Hamstring Curl
Step by step Instructions 14 leg and butt exercises
1. Hip Circles
Hip circles are a bodyweight exercise that works on your quadriceps and hip flexors.
It is a great easy trick for building your legs and butt. When done correctly, it can effectively target your hips, legs, lower body, thighs, and upper legs. No equipment is required to do this.
- Come to sit. Get your knees together from here.
- Raise your arms up, upward and backward as you bring your hands to the mat.
- Now bend your knees towards your chest and spread your legs up to 45 in Pilates’ stance.
- Return your feet to the center and center to the right. Breath.
- Turn the legs down and around and upwards.
- It’s challenging because it’s a teaser and corkscrew kind of rolled into one.
- Therefore, keep your heel fully to work here, even if they are not pushing each other back.
- Inhale circle. exhale. Then raise the legs and bend your knees and come back to sit.
- Try to do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps each.
2. Dirty Dog
- Start in a quadruple position with your hands and knees on the floor. Use an exercise mat for cushioning.
- The hands should be directly below the shoulders and hips below the knees. Keep your gaze down or forward.
- Engage your core and move your right leg away from your body or abduct.
- Keep your knee at a 90 degree angle. Keep the knee elevated at about 45-degree distance from the body or allowing flexibility.
- Sustain your upper body and pelvis stable and try to resist the movement.
- The movement should remain in the hips.
- Also, keep your back neutral and do not let your waist relax or fall.
- Perform this exercise 3 sets of 15-20 reps each leg.
Dirty dog is a beginner level bodyweight exercise that targets muscles in your hips, glutes and core area.
Dirty Dog is a low body exercise that targets muscles in adductors and abductors (inner and outer thighs), gluteus medius and maximis, pesos and quadriceps.
Since exercise requires you to maintain a neutral spine, you will need to engage the muscles at your core, including the deep abdominal muscles, otherwise known as your transverse abdominis.
A great move is to add a dirty dog to your legs and butt exercise line-up, especially since it includes hip extensions, external hip rotation, and hip abduction.
3. Pretzel Side Kick
- Sit with your left knee directly in front of your hip and bend the right knee behind your right hip.
- Rotate your torso and place your hands on either side of your left knee.
- Hold your core as soon as you raise your right knee and lift your chest up and lift the leg off the floor.
- Raise your right leg and kick the foot parallel to the floor. Bend your left knee back and drop it on the floor.
- Try 3 sets of 15-20 reps each side.
Workout Tip:If lifting your knee is too challenging, just start by lifting your leg and then add a sidekick when ready.
After doing this exercise you will feel burning for day (and days) in your legs and butt.
4. Supine side leg raises
- Lie on a mat or floor on your right. Your body should be in a straight line, with your legs extended and feet on top of each other.
- Place your hand directly under your head on the floor or bend your elbows and tilt your head for support.
- Keep your left arm in front or rest it on your leg or hip for extra support.
- As you exhale, slowly raise your left leg above the lower leg. Stop lifting your legs when you feel the muscles in your lower back or diagonally.
- To complete the right leg, turn the leg in and down. Raise your legs again.
- Try 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each side.
Tip:Avoid elevating your leg during the entire exercise. Reduce it when you start feeling pressure in the lower back or diagonally.
Keep your core tight during exercise as it helps reduce the pressure on your lower back.
The side leg involves abduction, or pushing away, lifting the leg from your midline. It is a great and simple way to build strength in the outer thighs and hip abductors, including the gluteus medius and minimus.
The side leg primarily targets legs and butt muscle, which has many benefits, including:
- Better range of motion in hips
- Better body stabilization
- Use of muscles that are not usually active in those who sit for long periods of time each day
- Improve muscular endurance
- Strengthening these muscles through side leg raises can also help prevent injury and pain along the hip, knees, and lower back.
5. Air Squat
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and pointed straight ahead.
- While squat, your hips will slide down and back.
- Your lumbar curve should be maintained, and your heel should remain flat on the floor the entire time.
- In air squats, your hips will descend below your knees.
Tip:Your knees should not back away from your toes.
Your back should not be rounded out.
You should not fall your shoulders forward. Your lower body should be the only part of your movement.
Keep your eyes on the wall ahead of you. This will keep your chest lifted.
Air squats are commonly used in training programs such as CrossFit and workout routines. It is the fundamental body movement that helps you strengthen and tone your legs and butt.
They specifically target your thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes, helping you to add muscle to these areas. Because balance is important, air squats can also engage your core.
6. Pistol Squat
- Stand in an athletic stance, feet hip-width apart.
- Raise one leg slightly above the ground, while keeping the balance on the other.
- Keeping your palms facing down, keep your arms in front of you parallel to the floor.
- Handle your core. Hinge on the hips to start lowering your body towards the ground.
- Do not let the heel of your balance foot come off the ground.
- When you descend, your unbalanced leg should be straight out parallel to the floor.
- At the bottom of the movement, your glute should rest on your calf (towards the rest of the leg).
- You reach the bottom, stop and then go back to standing position.
- Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps each side.
Tip:Do not allow your bulging feet to touch the floor before starting the next repetition. Reps as many as you can. This will not be a high-volume job.
Switch legs and repeat.
Building a great rear is not a walk in the park, and just doing cardio will not give you a strong, fat legs and butt. Pistol squats may be the most challenging unilateral bodyweight exercise yet dreamed.
It require tremendous lower body strength, balance and flexibility. Pistol Squat will definitely kick the butt of your glute (if it is even possible), and it will help eliminate muscle imbalances, allowing you to build a near-symmetry.
7. Curtsy Lunge
- To start, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and arms down.
- Putting your weight in your right leg, step back and around with your left foot – almost as if you are doing – to allow your arms to face you in a comfortable position.
- Make sure your chest is proudly wide. When your right thigh is parallel to the ground, close the lungs.
- Start straightening your right leg, push with your heel, and return your left foot to the starting position.
- Repeat steps 1-3 for the desired number, then switch legs.
- Try 3 sets of 10–12 reps each leg using only your body weight.
Curtsy Lunge is a great exercise to stabilize your legs and butt. It targets inner thighs as well as glute medicus, a small butt muscle that helps stabilize the hips to help improve posture.
The movement is a type of standard lunge, but you keep your lower body in a shapely position to strengthen the extra glute.
8. Single-Leg Deadlift
The single-leg deadlift works all major muscles, a two-legged name: hamstring, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, ankle, and core. How to:
- Keep both feet below the hips.
- Shift weight to the right leg, which should be nice and straight with a soft bend in the knee.
- Start moving your left leg back as if you were keeping your foot down, keeping the soles of your foot backwards.
- Simultaneously, slowly start hinging at the waist, tilting your torso forward until it is almost parallel to the floor.
- Keep arms straight, at shoulder height, and perpendicular to the floor at all times.
- At the bottom of the position, your body should be in a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your left leg.
- Then, start pulling forward with your left leg straight, and raise your torso until you are standing again.
- It is 1 reps. Continue perform all reps on one side, then switch legs.
- This exercise is super versatile depending on your goal and skill level. If you are just starting, start with 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps, no weight, 90 seconds rest in between.
Once you start feeling comfortable with the balance component, you can work towards goals, if:
- Your goal is muscular endurance, then hit three sets of 15 to 20 reps with only 60 seconds of rest in between.
- You are aiming for strength, add some weight (dumbbell or barbell) and shoot for three sets of five to six reps with a three-minute rest in between.
- You want to increase muscle size, add weight, and do three sets of 8 to 12 reps with 90 to 120 seconds in between.
Be sure to keep your body in a straight line down the steps. When your body is parallel to the floor and the foot is behind you, the hip sealing has a tendency to move – you want to prevent it from moving at all.
9. Quadruped Hip Extension
- Begin on all fours, your hands under shoulders and your knees under your hips, flat on your back.
- Raise one leg behind you, bending your knee at 90 degrees until the sole of your foot faces the roof.
- Lower your leg to return to start. It is 1 rep.
- Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Perform all 10-15 reps on one leg, then repeat on the other side.
The square hip extension is designed to isolate and target the largest muscles of the butt, gluteus maximus, and gluteus medius.
But in addition to targeting glutes, exercise requires that you maintain a neutral spine by stabilizing your core muscles stretching between your hips and shoulders. Done regularly, it can help strengthen your core and your low back.
A 2006 study led by Dr. John Porcari found that quadruple hip extension was better at activating the gluteus maximus and medius than other common butt exercises, including traditional squats, lunges, step ups, or leg presses.
10. Glute Bridge with Leg Extension
- Place your upper back on the floor and keep your feet hip-width apart, knees bent at 90 back, so your body makes a line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Squeeze your glutes, raise one leg and lower your hips – this is your starting position.
- Then drive through your heel to return to the top, stopping for 3 seconds before slowly lowering.
- Try all reps on one leg, then shift to other side. Do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each leg.
Tip:You can either move your leg straight up, bend your leg at the knee or, as demonstrated, place one arm around the raised knee with stability.
“Glute Bridge with Leg Extension” exercises are a great way to separate and strengthen the muscles of the glutes (butt) and the hamstrings (your back of upper legs).
If you do “Glute Bridge with Leg Extension” exercise correctly, you will also see that it is a very powerful core strengthening technique. Include this exercise in your regular workout routine to awaken and tone your buttocks.
11. Sprinter Lunge
- Stand with one foot with a towel or your mat.
- While moving your core, move that leg backwards to a lower height. Go – less than that.
- Blast back up by pushing through the heel of the stationary leg and raise arms directly above your head. It is 1 reps.
- To build more strength that you will see in muscle tone, you should work in the 8-12 rep range.
- Try 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps each side.
Try this trick to target your legs and butt. Sprinter Lunge is a calisthenics exercise that primarily targets the hamstrings.
As mentioned, a sprinter lunge is one of the multitasker exercise. Muscles targeted in this exercise:
- inner thighs.
12. Standing Splits pose
- Start standing in the mountain pose (tadasana) with your arms.
- Allow your breath to be steady and rhythmic. Draw your awareness inward and focus on the present moment.
- Breathe in as soon as you reach the top of your arms. Exhale and bend at the hips, come to the standing forward fold (Uttanasana).
- Bring both hands to the floor and straighten your legs. Do not lock your knees.
- Shift your weight equally on your right leg and on both hands. Then, raise your left leg as much as you can behind you.
- To deepen the stretch, rotate your hands back (in the direction of your steep heel), and pull your torso near your right foot.
- Breathe deeply and relax your shoulders. Tuck your chin.
- Internally rotate your left thigh, and square your hips towards the floor (by doing this you may have to lower your left leg slightly).
- Keep your standing leg knee and leg straight in front.
- Hold for five breaths. Then, bringing your left leg down slowly, return to Uttanasana.
- Repeat the pose for the same time on the other side.
- Do 10-15 reps each side for 3-4 sets total.
Standing Split is an intermediate yoga pose that stretches your legs and butt, challenging your balance. This pose is also a common preparation condition for front-to-back split poses on the floor, known as monkey poses.
Standing Splits strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles, and also extends the muscles of the waist.
13. Standing Straddle
- From a stationary position, your step feet apart slightly wider than your shoulder-distance.
- As you inhale reach your arms overhead.
- Abdominal tight and exhale while bending forward and keeping your hands on the ground between your legs.
- Hold the your tailbone lifted and keep the legs long.
- Relax your neck and stop breathing for 30 seconds.
Standing straddle stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, and lower back. It is a basic posture that most people are able to learn and those who learn it enjoy the benefits of more open legs muscle and lower back pain. If you have tight hamstrings or lower back discomfort, standing straddle is a great pose for you to practice.
14. Standing Hamstring Curl
- To do a standing hamstring curl, separate your legs hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on your waist or chair for balance. Shift your weight on your left leg.
- Slowly bend your right knee, bringing your heel towards your butt. Keep your thighs parallel.
- Slowly lower your leg.
- Complete 10-15 reps.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Do total of 3-4 sets.