7 Best Squat Variations for a Stronger Butt
You want that strong, built look but you’re not sure where to start? Believe it or not, a great foundation starts with a strong butt, and here are some of the best squats for glutes to help you build that strength.
7 Best Squats for Glutes
1. Wall Squats
If you’re new to the world of squatting, then the wall squat can help you get started. This type of squat works both the front of your legs as well as the back of your legs and the all-important booty area. It’s important to develop strength in your legs so you can more easily perform the other squats listed below. This is also a great way for those with hip or knee issues to learn to move in all planes as they strengthen those weaker or injured areas.
Start by standing with your feet far enough away from the wall, so when your knees are bent, they are directly above your ankles. (This can vary depending on how tall you are or how long your legs are.) Your feet should be about hip-width apart with your toes pointed ever so slightly outwards. Lean your torso slightly forward as you push back through your hips and bend at the knees. This will roughly simulate the motion of sitting down in a chair. Your head should be straight and you should be looking straight ahead.
Continue bending at the knees while pushing your hips back. Once your thighs are parallel with the ground, try to hold this pose for a moment before pushing back up to the standing position.
Make sure your knees stay in line with your ankles and don’t move too far forward past your toes as this can cause undue stress on your knees.
Push up through your heels while using the glutes, hips, and leg muscles to bring yourself back up to a standing position.
Pro Tip: When you progress to holding dumbbells or putting a barbell on your shoulders, you’ll want to ensure that you stick your chest out and roll your shoulder blades backward to properly accommodate the weight.
2. Body Squats
Also known as an “air squat,” these squats can be done literally anywhere at any time.
Begin by standing with your feet about hip-width apart. You can place your hands wherever they are comfortable. Begin to bend at the knees while simultaneously pushing your hips backwards (as if you were about to sit down). Your torso will tilt slightly forward, but keep it as upright as you can throughout the movement. Once your thighs are parallel with the ground, push back up to the standing position using your legs and glutes.
You will use this same basic movement for all of these best squats.
3. Sumo Squats
This is a fun and effective version of the squat that can really work those glutes. The stance of your feet (legs very wide with knees and feet pointed outward) allows you to really hone in on your butt muscles and squeeze them throughout the movement. You can do this squat with no weight, holding dumbbells, or with a barbell on your shoulders. Use the same general movement you did for the body squat, but be sure your knees track outward across your toes as you bend.
Pro Tip: If you feel flexible enough and don’t have any knee pain, you can drop down below parallel on this wide squat to get an extra stretch in the glutes. Sumos are one of the best squats because they also require you to engage your core more so than a regular squat.
4. Goblet Squats
Want to get a nice burn in those glutes? Then the goblet squat is for you! Similar to the Sumo squat, your feet will be wider than hip-width apart (though not as wide as when doing sumo squats) with your toes pointed ever so slightly outward. Hold a dumbbell from the end in front of you with both hands.
Keeping the weight balanced in front of you, drop down into the squat position by bending your knees and hinging backward at the hips as you normally would. Push back up through your heels, using your leg and glute muscles to return to the starting position.
5. Split Squats
This type of squat can be done with a dumbbell in each hand (or with no weight at all). Begin by standing with your feet together, arms straight down by your sides (or on your hips if you’re not using dumbbells). Take a giant step forward with your right leg and bend at the knee until your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Push back up through your right heel to a standing position. Switch legs and repeat.
6. Bench Squats
While it may sound easier than a normal squat, it isn’t! The bench will basically just be a guide as to how far you should bend. Begin with dumbbells in your hands or a barbell on your shoulders. You should have the end of a bench lined up behind you so that when you sit down, just the edge of your hips touch the bench.
There are three ways to perform this exercise:
- One, you can let your butt do a quick fly by on the bench, meaning just touch to the bench and pop right back up.
- Or, you can do a very slow decent until you get to the bench, holding that position and never putting your full weight on the bench.
- Lastly, you can do what’s called a “dead stop” squat where you do sit on the bench and stop all momentum before immediately pushing back up into a standing position.
Try all three versions to mix it up and keep it fresh and challenging.
7. Side Squats
This squat will help you work and strengthen all sides of the hips and glutes. Remember, muscular balance is important to stability and health, which means you want to focus on working entire areas of the body. The side squat will help to round out your butt and glute workout while also shaping the legs and core.
Start with your legs about hip-width apart and your hands clasped in front of you. Instead of taking a large step forward as you did with other squat versions, you’ll take a giant step out to the right (with your right leg) while facing forward. Squat down as you do this move and then push back up through your legs and glutes to return your body to the center standing position. Repeat on the opposite side.