Best butt exercises #9 fire hydrants
photo credit: The Rocketeer via photopin cc

Welcome to another episode of Best Butt Exercises! Well another week has flown by, but I hope you have been working your butt out during the past week, especially leading up to the holiday season where weight gain and getting out of shape can be all too easy if you’re not careful!

Luckily, if you’ve found your way here you’re obviously thinking of your body, and I commend you highly for joining me today! This butt exercise is a great one to perform at home, and seriously isolates those hard-to-reach muscles in the butt to give excellent results. It’s just one way to counteract that usual holiday slovenliness and start working your way towards a bangin’ beach body for the new year!

Like the clamshell exercise, this butt exercise is great for opening up the hips and you’ll need to engage the glutes to perform this external rotation. It’s a great exercise to increase hip mobility which is often one of the first movements to suffer as we age.

Exercise: Fire Hydrants
Muscles worked: Glutes, Core, Hip mobility
Jolie Recommends: 20 reps per side for 2 sets
Difficulty rating: 2
Effectiveness rating: 6

What’s With The Name?

I hear you. Let’s face it, any exercise named after an apparently random object requires a bit of explanation.

It’s actually not all that weird though, and once you see how to perform this exercise, you’ll understand exactly why these are called ‘Fire Hydrants’.

It’s actually got less to do with the fire hydrant itself, and more to do with the image that you might see when a dog (of the male variety) has to answer to nature’s call and there just so happens to be a fire hydrant nearby.

Visualizing the ‘Fire Hydrant’ Butt Exercise

Yes, this will be what you are supposed to look like when performing this exercise (you, by they way, are the spotty dalmatian in the picture below). You’ll be ‘cocking’ your leg up just like a dog marking it’s territory, but of course for you, there’s no need to take it any further than just the initial movement please!

Fire hydrant butt exercise
photo credit: cinjo via photopin cc


Best Butt Exercise #9: Fire Hydrants

To get into the starting position you’ll need to be in a crawling position on all fours on the floor, with knees directly below hips and your hands directly below your shoulders.

  1. Engage your core muscles so that your spine is in a neutral position, neither arched or hunched excessively.
    Dog peeing fire hydrant butt exercise
    photo credit: Peter Gasston via photopin cc
  2. Keeping the right leg bent 90 degrees at the knee, rotate at the hip in order to lift your outer right thigh up in an arcing motion out to the right side of your body. You want to aim to get your thigh parallel with the ground (out at 90 degrees to your supporting left leg), however, this can require some flexibility.
  3. Most people have a limited range of motion in their hip joints, so this is not only a great hip-opener and mobility exercise, it also works the butt and core stabilizing muscles.
  4. Squeeze the glutes to hold your leg in the cocked position for 1 second or more, and then lower back down.
  5. Repeat with the other leg.


Common Mistakes

A common error with this exercise is to lean over to one side or twist the torso to try and lift the leg higher. This is particularly common in those who might be less flexible.

You want to keep balanced pressure in your right and left hands, and try to keep your torso and hips as steady as possible. Try to isolate the movement to only your leg.

Another common compensation is for people to bend at the elbow (twisting the torso to counteract poor hip flexibility). Keep the elbows locked out and your arms straight.

If you find that you have less flexibility and can’t get your leg up as high, then just bring it to as high as possible while keeping good form. You will improve with practice.

Here’s a video demonstration of this butt exercise so you can see how it’s done.

 Perfecting Your Form

  • Keep the core tight and abdominal muscles engaged, throughout the exercise. Your spine should be in a neutral position – neither arched or hunched.
  • Keep balanced pressure in the right and left hands. Don’t lean over to either side.
  • Both elbows should be locked out straight.
  • When lifting your leg, don’t let the torso or butt sway over to the side. The movement should come from the hip and be carried out by the butt.
  • Slow and controlled movements work best, with a pause at the top to squeeze and activate the glutes.

Reppin’ It

Keep perfect form when doing this exercise and you’ll feel it in your glutes. Try doing 20 reps per side, take a short break and come back for a second set of 20 reps. Don’t forget to perform this one with a slow and focused tempo, and remember to pause and squeeze that butt at the top of the movement!

You can take this one to the next level by lifting the leg up and holding for 5 -10 seconds per rep for that extra bit of butt-burn!

Best Butt Exercises: Fire Hydrants

8 thoughts on “Best Butt Exercises: Fire Hydrants

  • October 7, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Please, what’s the difference between the fire hydrant and the clamshell exercise? Thank you.

    • October 10, 2017 at 9:16 am

      Hi Isa,

      With the Fire Hydrants, you stay on all fours for the whole exercise and move your leg in isolation.

      Clamshells are done from a lying down position (on your side).

      You can see both exercises in this video (note that he is using an exercise band for them all, so the range of movement in the fire hydrant exercise is not very far).

      The movement itself is very similar but the main difference between the two (besides your body’s position of lying down vs being on all-fours) is that in the clamshell exercise, your feet remain touching together during the movement; while in the fire hydrant exercise, your feet come apart.

      I hope this answers your question!

  • January 21, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    How long will it take before your dip hip fills out after doing this exercise

    • January 23, 2018 at 1:44 am

      Hey Suzie,
      I can’t say for sure that your hip dips would definitely fill out from exercises alone (I’m still working on mine), but I feel like it’s worth a shot, especially when the only downside is that you’ll get a better butt in other ways from exercising it anyway!
      From what I’ve researched, it’s debatable whether or not you can improve hip dips with exercises. It depends heavily on your anatomy and why you have pronounced hip dips in the first place. Unfortunately if there’s no muscle in the dip, then there’s nothing to really bulk up even if you did work out.
      That being said, bulking up the surrounding glutes in the area can give a better lift to your butt, which can make your hip dips look less noticable. For example, I have very noticable hip dips, but if I kind of tense/activate my glutes, it lifts them up on the sides which fills in the dent. I wonder that with enough exercise or practice, my glutes could be activated naturally most of the time, in which case they might fill out the hip dips at all times!

      I’d say give it at least 3-4 weeks to see if you can notice any differences. But first and foremost make sure you can activate your glutes in the first place, so that the exercises are hitting the right muscles. Remember, if you can’t feel the right muscles working, they probably aren’t.

  • February 10, 2018 at 3:07 am

    Do fire hydrants and clamshells target the same muscle(s)? I’m looking for a variation to clamshells to add variety. Thanks

    • February 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Kathryn! They definitely would work some of the same muscles due to the similarity of the movement (abducting). Fire hydrants would be a perfect variation to add!

      You can also do a few more closely related variations of clamshells – here are 3 separate clamshell variations you might want to try:
      1) Same as a regular clamshell, but raise both feet about 4 inches into the air so your feet are ‘floating’ the whole time.
      2) Side-plank clamshells. Same as a regular clamshell, but start with your body in a knee side plank position and keep it there the whole time.
      3) Straight-leg clamshells. Same as regular clamshells, but straighten your body at the hips (while still keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees), so your body should look like a L shape. Then clamshell as usual.

      Hope this helps!

  • April 9, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Does fire hydrant exercise at first lower gluten?I did it one day with 3 sets of 20 repeats,the next day i noticed that my slightly hourglass figure is gone.What to do now?

    • April 9, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      I wouldn’t expect it to have such a drastic effect that quickly! If anything, you might get a bit of a ‘pump’ to your muscles from working them immediately after the exercise, but to see noticeable changes the very next day is something I’d be a little skeptical about. Is it possible that it may have been the way you were standing or be due to something else (e.g. different lighting / less bloating or something like that)?


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