How To Get A Great Butt Without Doing A Single Squat

If you've got knee injuries (or just aren't a fan of the move), you can still work your way to a better backside. Here's how.
Illustration: David Wyffels
This routine targets the three major muscles in your glutes and avoids putting force on your knees the way squats can, says Bradley Seidenglanz, an instructor at Barry's Bootcamp (a studio known for classes devoted solely to your butt and legs) in Sherman Oaks and Hollywood, California, who created the workout.

Do 5 sets of 15 reps for each move. For those that involve moving one leg at a time, do 15 reps on one leg, then 15 on the other—that's one set. Repeat until you've done 5 sets.
Dumbbell Fire Hydrant
Illustration: David Wyffels
1. Get on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Place a dumbbell* behind your right knee, putting the handle of it in the crease of your knee (you can wrap it in a towel to make it more comfortable).
2. Gripping the dumbbell between your calf and your hamstring, raise your right knee laterally to the side, aiming to get your knee as high as your hip. Try not to let your weight shift to the left—keep it evenly distributed among your left and right arm and your left leg.
3. Hold for a second at the top, then return your right knee to starting position.
Donkey Kickbacks With Pulses
Illustration: David Wyffels
1. Get into a tabletop position. Place your right foot in the handle of a resistance band and hold the other handle in your right hand.
2. Drive your right foot backward, away from your body as your squeeze your right glute. Keep your back as flat as possible and extend your leg straight out so your heel is only as high as your glute.
3. Once your right leg is straight and extended out behind you, flex your foot and lift your heel a few inches toward the ceiling. Do that pulsing motion one time, then return your right leg to starting position.
Dumbbell Donkey Raises
Illustration: David Wyffels
1. Get into the same starting position as you did for dumbbell fire hydrants, with a dumbbell in the crease of your right knee.
2. Keeping your right knee bent to keep the dumbbell in place, flex your right foot and lift it straight up toward the ceiling. Try to keep your back flat as your lift your right leg—don't let it arch. Don't let your weight shift forward either.
3. Lift your leg until your knee is as high as your hips, then return to starting position.
Illustration: David Wyffels
1. Lie on the floor on the right side of your body with your lower body on the mat and your upper body supported by your right forearm. Your feet should be stacked and your knees should be bent at 90 degrees so you could draw a straight line from your buttocks to your feet. Using your left hand, hold a dumbbell on top of your left thigh.
2. Keeping your feet touching each other and your knees bent, lift your left knee toward the ceiling, so your legs look like a clamshell that's opening. Keep your pelvis still through the move and squeeze your glutes.
3. Lower your left knee back to starting position, holding the dumbbell steady the whole time.
Weighted Glute Bridge
Illustration: David Wyffels
1. Lie on your back on the floor. Feet should be flat on the floor, with your heels about 8 to 12 inches away from your butt.
2. Place one heavy dumbbell on your hips and hold it in place with your hands.
3. As you squeeze your glutes, push your heels into the floor and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Lift them high enough that only your upper back is still on the ground.
4. Pause for a moment at the top, then keep your glutes contracted as your return to starting position.

*The weights should be heavy enough that you can get through 15 reps of each move with good form but the 15th one is challenging. These exercises can all be done without weights, too, but if you're using just body weight, add enough reps so that your glutes are still begging for a break by the last one. Place a mat or towel beneath you if the floor bothers your knees.

Before You Go

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