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Let's Talk About Butts (Butt "on" Workouts)

To lift or not to lift, that is the question.  Despite the popular sayings, "Strong is the new Skinny" or "Strong is the New Sexy," there is still a large portion of the female population that will shy away from lifting solely due to their fear of bulking up or building too much muscle.  I'm not going to tell you that heavy weights won't help build muscle and I'm not going to deny the fact that some women can build muscle easier than others.  

Let's start with the photo below.  This is a nice example of the female backside that shows two different body types.  The woman on the left falls in the category of an ectomorph, which generally means skinny, little muscle, and a very high metabolism.  She could probably eat what she wants and stay skinny.  If she committed to a butt strengthening and enhancing program, filled with exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings, developing the butt on the right would still be unlikely.  Through hard work and dedication she would, however, develop stronger, firmer glutes for HER body structure.  Thus resulting in a more shapelier rear end.  The female on the right most likely falls between a mesomorph/endomorph, which tends to be a more athletic build, a somewhat more efficient metabolism, and she can put on muscle with less effort than the woman on the left.  The woman on the right has glute muscles that are developed and most likely engage in exercises such as the ones listed above.  If she switched from lifting to solely long distance running her rear would most likely get smaller, meaning she'd lose some muscle and thus gravity would probably take over.  She could literally and figuratively end up running her ass off.  She may never end up with the "pancake" butt, but she would definitely lose some of the umph in her butt. 


Having a strong butt has an incredible amount of benefits.  Glutes are the strongest muscle in the body.  Other than it being aesthetically pleasing to the eye, below is just a few reasons why every woman and man should work their butt "on" rather than butt off.

Photo Courtesy of Lindsey Dunn, see her amazing abs here

Strong glutes can decrease the chances of injuring your back, knees, hamstrings and groin muscles.  Back pain often results from having weak glutes.  The back often takes over on lifting objects rather than the glutes if one doesn't know how to use them properly.  Lower incidence of back pain is enough to sell me on working hard to have strong glutes.  

Athletes with strong glutes tend to be faster, more explosive and efficient.  The exercises that develop strong glutes such as swings, squats, and deadlifts will have a tremendous carry over in most activities. Between better athletic performance, injury prevention, posture improvement and a nice shape, butt exercises should be in everyones routine.


One should follow a lifting program that works best their specific body type.  When working with a wide variety of females, using the same program could have dramatically different effects on each individual.  The same thing goes for nutrition programs.  If someone genetically has larger legs, or a bigger frame, they may be in the camp of "my legs build muscle easily."  To make it easier I'd like to refer to them as "BME" for "Builds Muscle Easily."  Let's not disregard the BME females.  I have had many females come to me that were fearful of doing squats because in the past just staring at a squat rack could cause them to no longer fit in their jeans.  For the BME females, I have found that designing a lower volume leg program and tweaking their diet generally result in their jeans fitting.  Then there are the skinny legs women that lift very heavy and can't put on muscle to save their life.  They have to do so much more volume than their BME friends to even see a slight build.  Regardless of what your body type is, can we all agree that we won't wake up one morning from lifting weights and look like the body building competitor below?  If this is your goal, more power to you.  But I can promise you one thing, it won't happen on accident.


I am enclosing two simple butt emphasis workouts.

Category 1 is the pancake to power butt workout.  This is designed for the female who wants to lift and develop nice gluteal muscles.

Category 2 is for the female who tends to carry her weight in her hips and butt and is very sensitive about adding more muscle to her butt.  She wants to have a firmer rear end, but does not want it to get any "bigger."

Pancake to Power Butt (note: your butt will be sore after this)  If you are brand new I suggest you don't start with 5 sets your first time through.  Start with 2 sets at the most, then work your way up.  You should feel like you are working at 80% of your work capacity once your form and technique are solid.  Okay now time to work your butt on with this higher volume routine.

Warm up with Glute Bridges and Bird Dogs to make sure your glutes are activating nicely.

Goblet Squat 6-8 reps
Heavy Swings 12 reps

Rest for 30-45 seconds. 5 sets total

Single Leg DeadLifts  6/6  Video below!
Double Press  5  squeeze your glutes!

Rest for 30-45 seconds. 5 sets total

Heavy Farmers Walks  30 seconds
Jump Squats  10 reps

Rest for 30-45  3 sets total

Single Leg Deadlift video

Butt Strengthener without the Bulk
Go through each exercise one after the next.  Take just enough rest to recover for the next exercise.  It's okay if your heart rate is high throughout, just don't let it take away from the quality.  Choose a challenging weight that feels like you are working at 80% of your capacity.

Warm up with Glute Bridges and Bird Dogs to make sure your glutes are activating nicely. 

DeadLifts  5 reps
Burpees    5 reps
Goblet Squats       5 reps
Swings    15 reps
Reverse Lunges or TRX Air Lunge   8/8
Snatches 10/10

Rest for one minute.  Perform this for 3 sets

Add these routines in to your regimen and let me know how it goes.  I will hopefully have a few more videos I can link these exercises to over the next few months.  Enjoy!

This blog post has actually taken me some time to get the courage to share.  I wrote it a month ago! I have always been very self conscious of my own butt.  This is due to being made fun of in school about not having a butt at all.  I couldn't fill a pair of jeans to save my life.  I had a tiny nothing butt and this is actually one of the reasons why I began lifting weights.  I strived to work my butt "on".  So here it is.  After years of hard work I can safely say I now have one.   This photo was actually taken today in bad lighting with my iPhone.  It's as real as it gets and kid friendly.  ;-)

Okay, felt I should reveal my face so you know it's me, Lauren. A bit conservative at times so this is a STRETCH for me! Guess it's too easy to just grab any butt off the web these days.  I'm thinking in my head "here goes nothing" as I hold my breath. First time in 15 yrs of fitness showing the world this side. However, it's covered up.

Good luck working your butt on!

Much Love,


p.s.  If you need the best DVD I've created for "butts" check out The Kettlebell Body.  Download, Stream or order your hard copy DVD It includes one of everyones favorite workouts Kettlebutts™.  More butt enhancing and firming exercises can be found on our online classes designed for all levels! Learn more about Lauren's Playground here. 


lindsey said…
Love this! Now I suppose.we truly are butt buddies LOL!
Btw-i want to add that while I've always had *some* butt, its certainly gotten higher & rounder with kettlebells. I was not always athletic (in looks or otherwise) and I try to always stress that. Basically like to push the idea that anyone can get there with the right motivation and mindset.
louise said…
Hi Lauren,
Your butt looks great :). Where'd you get those pants?
I'm 4'11 and carrying about 20lbs of baby weight (it was 40lbs!). I have a powerlifting background and an endo/meso body but pregnancy gave me a flat butt. 7 months post c-section it is rounding up with heavy lifting and pretty high volume. Yesterday at the gym by body pretty much said "I've had enough of this". I think I need to switch to something else and i think kettlebells is it. I'm going to try this butt routine tomorrow and download volume 1.
Have been following your blog for a while all the way from Australia. You are really inspirational, especially to a post c-section mumma!
runangelarun said…
Great article from a pear-shapped momma. What type of diet "tweaking" are you referring to? (or is this an answer for another post? Thank you Lauren!
Jilligan said…
I had a pancake bum since 1980? It was fashionable to disappear when turning sideways for a long time. I was always active and fit, but nothing on the backside. Then I took up squats and deadlifts in my mid-thirties and after a good year of progress I finally had a set of worthy cheeks! Yoga booty body be darned, kb swings and squats got me where I wanted to go. Thanks!
Emma said…
Great article to read and your butt looks amazing. Hard work built that one :)

Thank you from Sweden
Lauren Brooks said…
Lindsey, Yes I agree! LOL! Kettlebells definitely add the higher and rounder element on any butt. It fights gravity which is a good thing. Great job with all of your hard work. I appreciate you volunteering your butt for one of the photos. It's perfect! ;-)
Lauren Brooks said…

Thank you! ;-) I got those pants from a boutique near the beach. Congrats on losing half of your baby weight. You will get the last 20 off before you know it. Let me know how Volume 1 and the "butt" routine treats you. ;-) Enjoy that baby of yours. Wishing you best of luck recovering from that C-section. I know all to well how it is after 2 of them.

Take care,

Lauren Brooks said…

Thanks for writing. Diet tweaking could be a number of things. From eliminating wheat, dairy, soy, lower amount of meat. It really all depends on the persons food, stress levels, and current activity. From there we make an assessment and tweak few things.

Hope you find the right balance for yourself.

Take care,

Lauren Brooks said…

Amazing!! Going from pancake to butt is NOT an easy feat. It's one of the harder goals to achieve. I have never been in the pancake category, however, I have trained many and it definitely takes time to develop noticeable glutes. Great job for doing that for yourself.

Hard work pays off!

Thanks again!

Lauren Brooks said…

Thanks for writing from Sweden! I truly appreciate your kind words. Yes hard work for sure and smart selection of exercises. ;-)

Thanks again!

Unknown said…
Wowsers! That is one impressive butt, you have inspired me to get motivated now after seeing that!

All the best :)
Unknown said…
My sister is always whining about her butt. Thank God I came across your blog, I'll recommend it to her. I think this is something like she was looking for. Great work!
Anonymous said…
Hi Lindsay,
I love this post! So many of my friends complain about their flat behinds. I am definitely going to show this post to them. And a thumbs up to you for having the courage to post this.
Gerald Smith said…
I like the phrase "pancake to power butt." Beautiful lol. Great advice about how train to get better backside with out bulk. Strength training is the best way to look good.
Chloe said…
Hello, you have a great blog! Honestly really inspiring stuff!
I was wondering if you could help with a problem I have:
I'm 4'11, aged 18 and have always had a really large butt, a real problem for trying to get jeans to fit!
I go to the gym regularly and eat healthy but started to really work on my butt about 3/4 months ago, squats, cycling, leg exercises, everything! And the progress is good, my butt has lifted and toned up, but it has also gotten smaller, now I was led to believe it would stay big and just look more tight and sag less. I miss my big butt, obviously not it's droopiness, but it's general size. My partner misses it also and this had led to a drop in my self-confidence. I just feel like this hard work has almost been for something I don't want and I am lost to as what I should do next?
Alta said…
This is cool!
Big Ass Girl said…
Great article.Now i am already doing this ones.

Goblet Squat and Heavy Swings. But not easy to doing more reps. But I think I can do.

Thank you Lauren!

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