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How to Get Your Legs and Butt in Shape

Two Methods:Working Your Thighs and LegsWorking Your Butt

Getting your legs and butt into shape means you can flaunt your summer wardrobe, show off your new pair of shorts, or stun in your skinny jeans. Though working out your legs and butt is no easy task, you'll be able to do it once you master a few key exercises. If you want to be able to rock a bikini or your everyday clothes without worrying about how you look from behind, check out some of these exercises.

Method 1
Working Your Thighs and Legs

  1. Image titled Get Your Legs and Butt in Shape Step 1
    Run stairs. Find a set of stairs that are not too steep and that are 30 or more steps high. Start off by running up one flight of stairs, then walk down one. Next, run up two flights and walk down one. Finally, run up three flights and walk down one, completing the circuit. Complete the whole circuit as many times as possible in 20 minutes.
    • If you are having a hard time finding stairs, check the local high school stadium or local sports field. Bleachers are great for this work out.[1]
    • If you find yourself unsteady, use the handrail just to be safe.
    • Make sure there are no other people on the stairs. You don't want to hit them and it will also make you unstable.
    • This is a great cardio exercise as well as beneficial for your legs. The more your heart rate is up, the more fat and calories you will burn. Do this exercise for longer periods of time to increase intensity and burn more calories.
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    Do side squats. To do this, stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes out. Step out to the right side, squatting down until your knees are at 90 degrees. Stand back up, bringing your foot back to your starting position. Do the same on the left side to complete an entire rep. Do 15 reps.
    • To add extra weight and work your arms as well, try holding one 3 to 10 pound weight in each hand.[2]
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    Do donkey kicks. Get on your hands and knees with your back straight, arms shoulder width apart, and your legs hip width apart. With your leg still bent at 90 degrees, lift one leg, pushing your heel to the ceiling until your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Hold for 3 seconds, squeezing your leg and butt muscles. Lower your leg until the knee is back on the floor. Do 2-3 sets of 20 reps with each leg.
    • Your movements should be controlled and slow and your back straight. You work your muscles harder this way but you don't risk injury.[3]
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    Do calf raises. Stand with your legs hip width apart with your feet, knees, and hips in perfect alignment. Pushing on the balls of your feet, raise your heels. Hold for 2 seconds, making sure to keep your ankles from turning out or twisting. Return to start. Do 3 sets of 30.
    • You can hold hand weights or a kettle bell to add weight to your lifts.
    • To intensify the lift, stand on a stair, a phone book, or other small, stable surface with your heels hanging slightly over the side. Raise up like normal, but when you come back down, drop your heels lower to make a deeper stretch.[4]
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    Do squat and leg lifts. With your feet hip-width apart, slowly lower into a squat, keeping your knees over your toes. Slowly stand and lift one leg far out to the side. Bring it back down into standing position. Do 2-3 sets of 20 reps on each leg.[5]
    • To add intensity, you can add a resistance band around your ankles. This will engage your muscles when you are in your squat and add weight and intensity to your leg lift.
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    Do Romanian deadlifts. Stand with your legs slightly bent with a 3-10 pound weight in each hand. Bend at the waist until upper body is parallel to floor; letting weights travel down your thighs, keeping your back straight, and your knees slightly bent. Reverse the movement, including the weights, back up thighs as you clench your thigh muscles. Repeat 20 times.
    • Unlike the squat, you keep your legs straight with only a slight bend in the knee. Make sure you don't lock your knees in order to prevent injury and discomfort.
    • You can also do this exercise with a barbell if you want more weight. When bending over, gently slide the barbell down and up your thighs as you complete the movement.[6]
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    Do curtsy lunges. Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Bending down in a lunge, step your right leg diagonally behind you toward the left side in a curtsy, bending your left leg 90 degrees. Bend your right arm up with your hand by your face and hold your left arm down beside you for balance. As he stand back up, move your right leg back to center, setting it down. Go straight into the next lunge, starting the next rep.[7]
    • Do this exercise slowly at first while you get used to the movements. You can easily lose your balance or twist a muscle.
    • Switch sides each time you lunge with a small hop in between to add a cardio portion to this exercise.
    • To increase intensity, pause in your lunge for a few counts or, after the lunge, bring your knee up towards your chest instead of standing straight.[8]
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    Do toe jacks. Stand with your legs together and your hands by your side. Jump your legs out and raise your arms, just like a typical jumping jack. When you jump back in, bend down and touch your toes, engaging your leg muscles. Do reps for 30 to 50 seconds.[9]
    • This exercise is a great cardio workout as well. Try to increase your time as you get stronger.
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    Do single leg lateral jump. Start standing on one foot. Jump on that foot from side to side, holding your arms at 90 degree angles beside you for balance. Do this for 30 to 50 seconds on one side, rest for a minute, and then do it on the other.
    • You can start off jumping at a slow pace until you get the hang of it, but try to increase your speed and your time for a better cardio workout and muscle training.[10]
    • Make sure you engage your leg muscle for the best stability.

Method 2
Working Your Butt

  1. Image titled Get Your Legs and Butt in Shape Step 10
    Do gate swing squats. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your legs slightly pointed out. Bend down into a squat until your legs are at 90 degrees, lightly grabbing onto your thighs. Jump up, bringing your feet together and landing with your legs side by side, almost like a jumping jack. Jump back out into a the squat position to start the next rep. Do 20 reps.
    • This workout incorporates cardio as well to help burn fat and promote lean as well as strong muscles.
    • As an advanced move, instead of landing with your feet side by side, crisscross your legs. This adds extra stretch and difficulty.[11]
  2. Image titled Get Your Legs and Butt in Shape Step 11
    Do step-ups. Standing in front of a step, bench, chair, or other stable surface strong enough to hold your weight, place your right foot on top of the bench. Step up onto the top of the bench, bringing your left leg to rest beside your right. Step back down with the left leg, returning to your starting position with your right leg still on the step. Do 10 to 12 reps with each leg as lead.
    • To add intensity, try holding hand weights to add weight for each leg to lift. [12] You can also increase your speed to add a cardio element.
    • The size of your step depends on your level of comfort and ability. Start at a height that is comfortable and increase it as you get stronger.
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    Do dead-lift squats. Hold a five pound weight down in each hand, resting against your thighs. Stand with your hips over hip width apart. Slowly bend your knees 90 degrees as you move into a squat, keeping your knees from going over your toes. Move your arms straight down toward the floor. Stand back up to complete the rep. Repeat for a total of 15 reps.
    • Try to increase your number of reps as you increase your strength. [13]
  4. Image titled Get Your Legs and Butt in Shape Step 13
    Do side-lunge butt kickers. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Step far out with your right leg, squatting down and bending your right knee 90 degrees with your knee over your toes. This will pull your left leg straight. Place your hand on the floor in front of you for support and balance. Stand back up, bringing your right leg back to rest beside your left. Do 15-20 reps on each leg.
    • For a more advanced move, bend your leg behind you and touch the bottom of your foot each time you stand back up from the lunge. [14] You can also increase your speed to add cardio to this step.
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    Do bridges. Lie on the floor and place your legs hip-width apart on a bench, chair, or couch. Bend your knees between 70 and 90 degrees, toes pointing at the ceiling. Press your heels into the bench and lift your hips toward the ceiling, clenching your butt muscles. Drop your hips back to the ground to complete one rep. Do 15 reps.
    • Do as many sets of reps as you feel comfortable. If you can only do one set of 15 at first, try to work up to more sets as your muscles strengthen.
    • For a more advanced workout, do this exercise with a single leg on the bench instead of both.[15]
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    Do wall squats. Stand with back, shoulders, and butt pressed against a wall and your feet slightly away from the wall. Keep feet hip-width apart. Slide down until thighs are parallel to floor. Hold for one count, then slide up. Do 12 reps.
    • To intensify this exercise, try using an exercise ball or holding the counts for longer periods of time. The exercise ball isn't nearly as stable as the wall and will engage your butt and abs more. Holding the counts longer will add intensity for your legs and butt muscles.[16]
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    Do plie squats. Stand with your feet as wide apart as you feel comfortable with your toes pointed out away from your body. Hold one 3 to 10 pound hand weight or kettle bell in your hands with your arms straight down in front of you. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to floor, legs pointing out toward your toes and away from your body. Hold for 2-3 seconds, then straighten legs, keeping heels flat. Squeeze thighs and butt as you come up. Do 15 reps.
    • Make sure your knees stay over your toes, pointed out, when doing these squats. Otherwise, you might twist your ankles and injure yourself.[17]
    • If you want to add a cardio element to this step, when you raise back up to starting position, jump in place, returning to starting position before heading into the next squat.
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    Do marching hip raises. Lie flat on your back, knees bent in front of you and arms and hands flat on the floor. Raise up your butt, bringing your torso into a bridge shape and using your arms still on the floor for stability. From here, lift your right leg until your knee is pointed at the ceiling. Bring the leg back down. Do the same with your left leg to complete one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps.
    • To increase the cardio aspect of this exercise, raise your legs faster.[18]
    • Make sure your back stays straight and your arms remain engaged. You don't want to injure yourself by straining your back or losing your balance.


  • Stretch after your workout.
  • You want to make sure that you always eat protein and carbohydrates 15 to 30 minutes after you do strength training and/or cardio. When you work out your muscles, make sure to have a good source of protein, about 8 to 16 grams. This can be found in a cheese, milk, or meat. If you had an intense cardio workout as well, have about 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, which can be found in milk, whole grains, or fruit.[19]
  • While strength exercises tone and build muscle, it’s also necessary to do cardiovascular exercised to burn fat and calories for lean muscles. Some of the exercises above incorporate cardio, but adding additional cardio will help you get in shape overall. Activities such as running, walking, jogging, and swimming get your heart rate up and help burn calories, reducing fat over time. Try to add cardio to your workout every week for the best results.
  • Don’t strength train every day. You won't gain any muscle by doing so because your muscles will not heal properly between workouts. Have a rest day between weight days. These off days are perfect for your cardio.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Building Muscle & Strength | Gluteus Muscle Workouts