No shade to squats, but you can only drop it so many times until your body gets too used to the exercise. "If you keep doing the same exercise over and over, you'll keep working [your body] the same way — which will limit you from developing those targeted muscles," says Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan.
We're not saying to retire your go-to butt-buster — just cycle in a few other toning moves to keep those cheeks guessing. Schoenfeld could've rattled off a dozen exercises, but we got him to narrow it down to his favorite five. To perform most of these moves, you'll just need a bench, barbell, or dumbbells. You should aim for three or four sets of 15 to 20 reps per exercise, says Schoenfeld. Hope you got all that because we're about to whip your butt into shape!
1. Hip Thrust
Sit on the floor with your back against a bench, feet flat on the ground in front of you. Place a barbell onto your lower abs, the spot between your hips and your legs — if that feels uncomfortable, use a towel between your body and the barbell. Thrust up by bending your hips and knees, your body— from your shoulders to your knees— should be parallel to the floor. Lower your body to return to the starting position.
2. Romanian Deadlift
Place a barbell in front of you. Keeping your back flat (not round), bend forward at the hips and grab the barbell. Your hands and legs should be about shoulder-width apart. Push your hips forward to raise the barbell. Lower back into the starting position. A little lost? No sweat, here's a thorough tutorial for how to do a deadlift.
3. Reverse Hyperextension
Lie face down on a bench and wrap your arms around it. Your legs should be hanging off but not touching the ground, hips meeting the end of the bench. Lift your legs up and then lower to return to the starting position.
4. Step Up
Standing in front of a bench, step onto it with your right leg first and then your left. Reverse the motion and get back into the starting position. Repeat the exercise leading with your left leg first. Continue alternating legs.
5. Reverse Lunge
Stand straight and hold a pair of dumbbells. Step your left leg back and lower your body until your right leg is at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Your back leg should not touch the ground. Come back to the starting position and repeat the move on the opposite side. Continue alternating legs.
If you're looking for other incredible exercises to sculpt your butt, try these: