The butt exercise I have for you all today is an interesting one – the kneeling squat. It’s actually managed to escape my attention up until now, as I must admit that didn’t even know about this particular exercise! Thanks to Kittycat for suggesting this exercise, and if anyone reading this knows of any other awesome butt exercises that I’ve missed from the Best Butt Exercises list, please let me know!

Exercise: Kneeling Squat
Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps (and balance too!)
Jolie Recommends: 3 sets of 10
Difficulty rating: 3
Effectiveness rating: 3

Best Butt Exercise #41: Kneeling Squat

By now you’ve heard of squats right?

If you have heard anything about butt exercises, I’m willing to bet that you’ve been recommended squats as an exercise to target your butt. That’s totally true, but many people (myself included) can struggle with squats – they are a difficult exercise to master, and sometimes they don’t seem to target your butt muscles all that well.

Kneeling Squat

Enter the Kneeling Squat. This (odd) variation of squats is actually gives you the highest glute muscle activation – around 60% or more versus less than 40% glute activation for traditional full squats. This is because in the kneeling squat variation, the bent positioning of your legs restricts your hamstrings more, effectively forcing your glute muscles to do the work. This time there’s no escape for those often lazy glutes!

Kneeling Squat

While Kneeling Squats are probably not the best for building glutes in size (it can be difficult to add the necessary resistance to this exercise that you will need to build a lot of muscle), they are great for learning muscle activation and helping to keep your glute muscles firing properly. If you didn’t  already know, butt muscles are extremely lazy, and have a strong tendency to ‘forget’ how to do work unless we actively concentrate on them.

How to Do the Move

Kneeling squats look fairly simple, and it’s likely you’ve done this motion before when getting out of a kneeling position. However, to make sure you are doing them properly, check out the cues from the video linked below.

  1. Start from a kneeling position with knees about shoulder width apart and feet straight behind your knees.
  2. Engage your core muscles to keep your back and spine in a neutral position, and torso tight and upright.
  3. While activating the glutes, sit back slowly and with control towards your heels. Imagine sitting back into a chair.
  4. Contract your glute muscles to push up and return to the upright position, in a slow and controlled manner.  This is one rep. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Perfecting Your Form

  • Slow and controlled movement is absolutely vital with this exercise! Don’t simply ‘fall back’ and let gravity do all the work.
  • Really concentrate on using your mind-muscle connection to activate and engage your glute muscles.
  • Your core and torso muscles need to be activated the entire time during this exercise.
  • Sit back leading with your butt, as though you were sitting into a chair.

Reppin’ It

As stated previously, this exercise is probably best suited as an activation drill than a muscle-building one. If you want to build muscle, try doing glute bridges or hip thrusts instead – they are very similar, but easier to add the necessary weight to (which you will definitely need if you are trying to increase your musculature!).

I recommend working your way up to 3 sets of 10 reps on this exercise, starting with just 1 set of 10 to begin with until you can get your glutes firing the correct way. From there, build it up to 3 sets of 10 reps.

If you are after more of a challenge, you can do these exercises with a resistance band and bar setup, or a weighted bar or barbell.  The image at the start of this post shows kneeling squats using a swiss ball, but if you are new to the exercise, I recommend just focusing on activating your glutes instead of introducing objects held in front of you.

Here’s what they look like with a band setup:


Best Butt Exercises: Kneeling Squat

2 thoughts on “Best Butt Exercises: Kneeling Squat

  • November 18, 2019 at 1:38 am

    These can be done with resistance on a smith machine.

    • November 20, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      Great suggestion – thanks Lori!


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