It’s been a little while since I posted in the Best Butt Exercises area!
I know I was updating this weekly, but I don’t want to just post any old exercise just for the sake of keeping up a weekly quota. I’ll be posting butt exercises a bit less frequently now that we’ve already built up the bulk of an excellent index – this exercise today will make up the 40th addition to this index of awesome butt exercises!
Today I’ve got an exercise that I can’t believe I haven’t already written about – the lunge. This one is up there with squats for being one of the most recommended butt exercises!
Exercise: Step Back Lunges
Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps (and balance too!)
Jolie Recommends: 3 sets of 10 per leg
Difficulty rating: 5
Effectiveness rating: 7
Best Butt Exercise #40: Step Back Lunges
Lunges are a very popular exercise which are recommended when most people think of ‘butt exercises’, however I always used to find that they didn’t do much for me in terms of hitting my glute muscles! The main reason was because my quadriceps and other muscles kept taking over (due to inactive glutes).
This variation of lunges that you are about to learn will help to target your butt muscles more if you’re anything like I was. Stepping backwards into the lunge rather than forwards really helps to engage the glute muscles rather than your quadriceps, since you naturally will tend to keep your weight shifted backwards.
Foot positioning in lunges (the distance between your front and back foot) is quite important too. If you take a wider lunge stance, this shifts the effort of the movement more into your glutes; with a shorter lunge stance, your quadriceps will be doing more of the work.
If you are interested in working that butt, don’t forget to take a wide lunge stance!
How to Do the Move
The video below shows how to do a stepping back lunge. While traditional lunges that you may have seen before aim to have a 90 degree right angle at the knee on both front and rear legs, this variation is more about keeping your stance wide and really working the glute muscle of the front leg.
It should be almost like a single legged squat on your front leg – perfect for working out the glutes!
If you like, you can bend your rear leg a little if you like – experiment a bit and see what works best for you in order to feel this exercise in your butt muscles!
- Start standing, with both feet pointing straight ahead.
- Engage your core muscles to keep your back and spine in a neutral position, and torso upright.
- Bending at the right knee, sink down into a lunge by taking a large step backwards with your left leg, landing directly behind and in line with your right foot.
- Use your glute muscles on the right leg to push up through your front heel out of the lunge and back to the starting position. This is one rep.
- Repeat on the other side, alternating legs for each rep.
Perfecting Your Form
- Keep your stance wide enough so that your front knee doesn’t extend out over your front toes when in the lunge.
- Concentrate on using your glute muscles to do the work, not those quads!
- Keep your core muscles engaged the entire time. The more upright your torso is, the more you should feel this in your glutes.
- Push up through your heel on your front foot to exit the lunge, not the toes (imagine you are doing a single legged squat at this point!).
I prefer to do reps on alternating sides for this exercise, to ensure that I train both sides of my body evenly. To start off with, try for 3 sets of 10 reps (i.e. 5 reps per side), and ramp it up to 3 sets of 20 reps (i.e. 10 reps per side). Focus on slow and controlled movement to really target and feel your glute muscles working.
If you’ve already mastered this movement then it’s time to get serious by weighting it up! Dumbbells work great for this, or you can use something like a weighted bar or barbell.
2 thoughts on “Best Butt Exercises: Step Back Lunges”
How often should we doing these butt exercises? How much is too much or too little?
Hi Anny! My personal take on butt exercises is that you can’t really over-train. Some programs I have seen recommend working the glutes every day, others say to train every alternating day… it really depends on how you feel as an individual. I’d definitely say you would want to train at least 2-3 times a week if you are trying to create physical changes in the size/shape of your butt.
Glute muscles are naturally lazy in most people and actually under trained which can lead to other muscles taking over. As long as you can feel your butt muscles working in exercises like lunges, then it’s safe to do as many as you like.
Where it can become a problem is if you are feeling these exercises more in your legs (and never in your butt) which might indicate that you are using your leg muscles to do the work rather than correctly activating your glutes to involve your butt. If you train a lot in this way then it can encourage your leg muscles to compensate for your butt, which is what we don’t want to happen!