I’ll be introducing you to another core and stomach-tightening move with this week’s Best Butt Exercise. However! We’ll be adding an extra little twist to this already-awesome move so that your glutes get in on the muscle-toning action as well.

It’s a plank with a leg raise to hit the butt muscles. There are many variations you can perform with this one, although we’ll be learning a basic move with no equipment required. Who knows though, you may wish to progress to more difficult variations, like this one that uses a stability ball:

Exercise: Plank with Leg Raise
Muscles worked: Core muscles, Glutes, Hamstrings
Jolie Recommends: 3 sets of 10 reps (per leg)
Difficulty rating: 6
Effectiveness rating: 6

Best Butt Exercise #36: Plank With Leg Raise

The humble plank is renowned for being one of the best core-strengthening moves, so we’re going to use that today as well as add in a bit of hip extension to get those glutes firing as well.

This exercise is similar to the plank with lateral leg kicks move, but instead of shifting a leg out and to the side, you’ll be raising it directly up and back.

A good way to learn this move initially is with no added equipment on flat ground. Once you get the knack of this though, you may want to progress to more difficult versions; i.e. holding the plank with arms fully extended and balancing with feet on a medicine or stability ball.

Just be careful not to jump into this too quickly – focus on developing a good form that will really work those glute muscles first so that you can master the correct movement patterns before you add the extra challenge of balancing into the mix as well.

How to Do the Move

This video demonstrates how to do a basic plank with leg lift (no equipment required).

  1. Start in a plank position with your elbows on the ground and feet together behind you.
  2. Keeping the core tight and a neutral spine, squeeze the glutes to lift the right leg directly up behind you.
  3. Squeeze the glutes and hold in the up position for a couple of seconds before lowering the leg back into the plank.
  4. Complete the desired number of reps on the same leg (or alternatively, alternate legs for each rep).
  5. Repeat the desired number of reps and sets.

Perfecting Your Form

  • Keep the hips parallel to the ground and square while doing the leg lifts.
  • Maintain a straight line in your plank – no sagging hips or raised butts here!
  • Really squeeze the glutes to help lift the leg up. Squeeze the glutes hard when holding in the up position.
  • Avoid moving on to more advanced variations until you have mastered the basic move and can feel it in your glutes.

Reppin’ It

You can either do all your reps for these plank leg lifts on a single leg and then switch legs, or alternate legs as you go. Personally, I prefer to do one leg at a time as it fatigues the muscles more and I feel like I’m getting a better workout.

Try for 3 sets of 10 reps (per leg) of these, adding more reps or sets if you find that too easy!

For a deeper butt-burn, I highly recommend doing this exercise with a resistance band looped around your ankles. A light band is usually enough to help introduce some challenge for those glutes.

Best Butt Exercises: Plank With Leg Raise

8 thoughts on “Best Butt Exercises: Plank With Leg Raise

  • July 16, 2015 at 11:06 pm
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    this exercise looks tough on the ball,i can do it without balancing but having toruble moving up to the ball. If i do on a box will it be the same? thx..

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    • July 17, 2015 at 12:29 am
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      Hi Tazz, I recommend starting out just on the floor for this exercise. The change in elevation of your feet doesn’t do much to change the exercise – what will work your glutes more though, is adding a resistance band loop around your ankles. Balancing your feet on an exercise ball makes more of a challenge for your balance and core muscles rather than the glutes, so it depends on which muscle groups you’d like to focus on more as to which variation you might like to do.

      Reply
  • July 22, 2015 at 9:36 pm
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    Ouch, that exercise on the ball looks a little scary! I normally do my plank on the floor, so I’m glad you included the equipment-free version of this one. Seems like something I could easily incorporate into my routine and see a lot of benefit from. Thanks for sharing Jolie!

    Reply
    • July 22, 2015 at 9:51 pm
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      Hi Cat, Thanks for stopping by! I totally agree – doing this one on a ball is quite advanced.. so most people who would like to focus on their glutes are actually better off doing this on the floor so that they don’t have to focus on balancing as yet another variable to the exercise. Happy glute-building!

      Reply
  • May 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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    I only did 2 sets of 8 reps. I can’t even eat today my tummy feels like I just came out of a boxing ring. My glutes and legs are so sore. Is it normal to feel like this when you’re doing it for the first time?

    Reply
    • May 13, 2018 at 6:03 am
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      Ahhh, sounds like your muscles have really taken a hit! 😛 What you’ve described is a good case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Don’t worry, it’s completely normal to experience DOMS especially if you’re just starting with exercises that your body is not used to! To reduce your pain/stiffness, keep active with some light stretching or exercise that can help loosen your body up. Also, for next time, stretching before and/or after you exercise can sometimes help reduce DOMS. I always take this kind of pain as a good sign that what you’ve done is working, so I’m excited for you.. keep it up and you’ll have some awesome results in no time!

      Reply
  • August 27, 2018 at 7:36 pm
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    Hi love this excersise! I always feel sore in my glutes the next day! My question is does it help to make your butt bigger which is my goal.

    Reply
    • August 29, 2018 at 5:01 am
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      Hi Anna, So glad you are liking this exercise girl!
      If your goal is to grow your butt bigger, check out this post for a bit of an introduction into what kinds of exercise and diet you might need to help you get your goal. To make your butt muscles grow, you will need to challenge them with progressive overload.

      Because of this, exercises like heavy weightlifting (with the right form, of course) would be my recommended strategy for building a bigger butt. That’s not to say that the plank with leg raise isn’t going to help – it definitely can too (though is probably not the most effective) – but you’ll just need to make sure that you keep challenging yourself so that your muscles grow. The only issue with the plank/leg raise exercise is that it can ‘max out’ pretty quickly when it comes to trying to add resistance. However, if your butt gets sore after these that’s excellent as it means your mind-muscle connection is strong!

      My current preferred exercise for building a big booty fast is doing glute bridges (as you progress, these can be easily weighted by using dumbbells or weight plates across your hips) and then once you’ve mastered those, stepping up to hip thrusts which you can also perform with heavy weights once you get used to them!

      Reply

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