News flash: Your glutes exist for better reasons than just looking good in jeans. This major muscle group (made up of your gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus) is a key player in explosive movements like jumping and sprinting.
A strong butt can also help relieve low back pain and make everyday movements — like standing and climbing stairs — that much easier.
To get the most out of those glutes, strengthen them with these bodyweight exercises, courtesy of Brynn Putnam, certified trainer and founder of Refine Method.
You won’t need any equipment, though a few moves require a step or a sturdy chair. For some moves, you can up the intensity by holding medium-weight kettlebells or dumbbells in each hand.
At the bottom, we’ve got a bodyweight workout for you with five simple moves to strengthen your butt in less than 20 minutes.
1. Hip drive
Sit on your knees, legs together, so your butt is on your heels. Engage your glutes to lift your butt and rise to a kneeling position. Slowly lower, keeping glutes engaged.
2. Bottoms-up lunge
Perform a hip drive. Bring left foot forward so you’re kneeling on your right knee. Push into your left heel and engage glutes to stand, bringing right knee up. As you stand, try not to push off the floor. Instead, engage hamstrings and glutes to lift. Return to starting position.
3. Hip thrust
Lie faceup with knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, fingers facing away from your body. Squeeze glutes and lift hips into a tabletop position.
Focus on keeping your neck long and not scrunching your shoulders. Hold for a count of 5. Slowly lower hips to the floor.
4. Glute bridge
Lie faceup with knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Raise hips straight up off the floor, engaging glutes and bracing core. Lower down slowly, creating your own resistance.
5. Side skaters
Stand with feet together and crouch down by pushing hips back, keeping back flat and abs engaged. Jump as far as you can to the right, landing lightly on the ball of your right foot. Now jump as far as you can to the left, engaging glutes to push off. Land lightly on left foot.
Repeat, swinging your opposite arm forward like a speed skater.
Make it easier: Take big steps from side to side.
6. Marching hip lift
Lie faceup with knees bent, feet on the floor, and abs engaged. Lift your hips as you squeeze your glutes (as in No. 4). Raise right foot a few inches off the floor and straighten right leg. Try not to let your hips twist.
Lower right foot to the floor as you pick up left foot. Repeat the “march” on the other side, focusing on squeezing glutes throughout.
7. Chair squat jump
You’ll need a chair or bench for this move. Sit on a chair with your back straight and feet hip-width apart. Using your glutes, jump straight up, making sure both feet come off the floor. Land lightly and slowly squat to sit on the chair.
8. Diagonal squat
Stand with your feet wider than hip width, arms at your sides. Step right foot back on a diagonal, send hips back, and bend right knee. Your left leg will be straight with foot flexed. Keep your chest up and abs engaged. Return to starting position. Repeat on the other side.
9. Hip thrust single-arm reach
Sit on the floor, knees bent, feet hip-width apart. Place hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, fingers facing away from your body. Squeeze glutes to lift hips into a tabletop position and hold.
Reach right arm on a high diagonal across your body, keeping hips straight (no twisting). Lower hips and hand to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Stand in front of a bench, chair, or step. Place left foot on the bench and step up, engaging your left glute to lift. Do not push off your right foot.
Straighten left leg to stand tall, then slowly lower, sending hips back and bending left knee. Repeat on the other side.
Make it harder: The higher your step or bench, the more challenging the move will be.
11. Side lunge shift
Step your right foot to the side, send your hips back, and bend your right knee to lower into a side lunge. Staying low, shift to the other side, so left knee is bent and right leg is straight. Push off left heel to stand. Repeat, starting with your left foot stepping sideways.
Make it easier: Do not step. Keep your feet wide and shift from side to side, sending hips back to engage glutes.
12. Walking lunge
Step forward with your right foot. Use glutes, hamstrings, and core to lower into a lunge. Lift left foot and step forward, immediately dropping into a lunge on the other side. Continue to “walk” forward.
13. Single-leg hip lift
Lie faceup with knees bent, arms comfortably at your sides, and feet shoulder-width apart. Use both arms to hug left knee to your chest. Push up, engaging right glute and core, to lift hips off the floor.
Hold for a count of 5. Lower down and switch sides (so right knee is hugged. Lift again, this time engaging left glute.
Make it easier: Don’t hold at the top of the hip thrust.
14. Hip drive step-up
You’ll need a step for this move. Perform a hip drive. Step your left foot forward. Use glutes and hamstrings to stand. Place right foot on step. Engage your glutes and hamstrings to step up.
Step back down with the same foot, return to a kneeling position, then to a seated position. Repeat on the other side.
15. Side step-up
Stand with your right side facing a secure chair or bench and place right foot on the chair. Engaging your right glute, lift off the floor, straightening right leg.
As with the step-up, do not push off your left foot (the one on the floor). Focus on engaging only your right glute to lift. Lower by sending hips back and bending right leg.
16. Single leg sit-to-stand
You’ll need a chair or bench for this move. Sit on the edge of the chair with back straight, left leg straight out in front of you, and right leg bent with foot on the floor. Using only your right glute and right leg, push up and rise to a standing position.
You can leave your flexed left foot lightly touching the floor for balance, but don’t put any weight on it. Push hips back to slowly sit down. Repeat on the other side.
Make it harder: Keep your left foot lifted a few inches off the floor the entire time.
17. Crossover lunge
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and lift your left foot, stepping backward and to the right to cross behind right foot. From this crossed position, perform a lunge, engaging glutes, abs, and hamstrings to lower. Push off with your left foot to stand. Repeat on the other side.
18. Bottoms-up lunge to crossover lunge
Kneel on right knee with left foot forward. Push down into left heel and stand, squeezing glutes at the top. Step right foot forward on a diagonal across your body.
Bend your knees and lower into a crossover lunge. Push off your right heel and return to standing. Step right foot back and lower into starting position.
Make it easier: Skip the crossover lunge.
19. Supported single-leg squat
Stand in a doorway, near a wall, or next to a secure chair or other support you can hold. Grip the chair (or support) with right hand and lift right leg a few inches off the floor.
Send hips back. Engage your left glute and lower into a single-leg squat, using the chair for support. Straighten your leg and return to standing, using the chair to help. Repeat on the other side.
Make it harder: Perform a single-leg squat without the support.
20. Single-leg deadlift
Stand on your right leg, slightly bending your knee. Keep your back flat as you hinge forward at the hips into a deadlift, sending left leg back behind you and arms below you.
Lower only as far as you can without curving your back. Use your right hamstring and glute to stand. Repeat on the other side.
21. Power skip
From a lunge, with your right foot in front and left foot behind, bring left foot forward and jump up (skipping), getting right foot completely off the floor and raising left knee high.
Land lightly on your right foot before placing left foot on the floor behind you to return to starting position.
22. Rear-foot-elevated deadlift
Place left foot on a low bench or step behind you. Remain close enough to the bench so your leg isn’t stretching or locked. With your back straight, hinge forward at the hips.
Bend only as far as you can without letting your back curve. Use your glutes and hamstrings to return to an upright position.
23. Rear-foot-elevated split squat
Place left foot on a low bench or step behind you. Stay near the bench so your left leg is not stretching or locked. Send your hips back and bend your right knee to lower into a lunge. Using your right glute, push up and straighten right leg to complete the rep.
24. Single-leg squat reach across
Stand on your left leg with right foot a few inches off the floor, arms at your sides. You do not need to lift your left knee high. This should be a relaxed, balanced position.
Send hips back, bend your left knee, and lower into a squat. As you lower, reach your right arm across your body, toward the outside of your left foot. Get as low as you can — try to touch the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat on the other side.