Exercises for the Butt & Thighs

Butt and thigh muscles can be easily toned at home with or without weights, using a variety of different exercises. The best exercises work the butt and thighs together in one optimized movement. Whether male or female, one of the most effective exercises you can do is the lunge, with its many variations. In addition to lunges, squats also target the legs and glutes. Add dumbbells to your lunges and squats to increase intensity. Perform two to three sets of each exercise or one set of each and repeat the entire sequence.

Stationary Lunges

Perform stationary lunges from a standing position. You can alternate the lead leg or work one leg at a time. Stand with legs hip distance apart. Lunge your right leg forward, bending the front knee to a 90 degree while simultaneously bending the back knee toward the floor until it is also in a 90 degree. Your back heel should come off the floor; align your front knee over your second toe, so the knee is moving in the same direction as the ankle joint. Squeeze your butt muscles in, keep your spine straight and your abs contracted. Shift your weight to the back leg as you push off the front leg and return to standing. Repeat lunge with the left leg leading. Alternate lunges for a total of 8 to 12 lunges. For increased intensity, hold 10 to 15lb. dumbbells in your hands with your arms hanging down by your sides.

Wall Ball Squats

Perform this exercise from a standing position with your back pressed against a stability ball positioned against a solid wall. Lean your back against the ball ; it should fit comfortably between your shoulder blades and lower back. Your legs need to be a little wider than your hips with your feet visibly seen in front of your knees. Pressing your back into the ball and squeezing your glutes, slowly lower yourself down the wall by squatting until your legs are at a perfect 90 degree. Hold the squat for a count of 5 to 10 seconds. Tilt your pelvis, contract your buttocks muscles and return to standing position. Without weights, try for 20 to 25 squats; with dumbbells in hands, 12 to 15.

Reverse Elevated Lunges

The reverse elevated lunge requires a 6 to 8 inch high step, stair or hearth. Stand with your back facing the step. Place your right foot behind you on the step, pressing onto the ball of the foot with your heel up. Position your left or front leg in front of you so that when you bend your back knee, your front leg will be at a 90 degree angle without the knee going forward beyond the toe. Stand up straight with shoulders back, pelvis tilted and abdominals tucked in. Slowly lower yourself by bending your back knee until it reaches a 90 degree angle. Hold for a second and return. Lower and raise for 20 to 25 repetitions without dumbbells or 12 to 15 with weights in hands. Change legs and repeat sequence.

Walking Lunge Chair Pose Squat Combo

The ultimate quadriceps and gluteus maximus combination exercise is the walking lunge with squats. Use either a body bar or dumbbells. If using a body bar, hold it behind your head, resting it across your upper back with your arms resting over the top of the bar. If using dumbbells, hold in your hands hanging by your sides. To perform this exercise, you will need a long straight area to travel, as in a hall or walkway. Stand tall with legs side by side hip distance apart. Lunge with your right leg. Bring your left leg up to meet your right and then bend at the hips as if trying to touch your butt to a chair. Lunge with your left leg, bring your right leg up next to the left and perform another chair pose squat. Continue the lunge squat sequence until you reach the end of the hall or have performed 20 to 25 complete sets of two lunges, two squats.

About this Author

Alison Stellner, owner of Body Tune Personal Training, is a fitness instructor and freelance writer with more than 25 years in the health and fitness industry. Her first professional article was published in “Idea Today Fitness Magazine” in 1993. She majored in music and business administration at the University of Oklahoma.