Butt Ups Workouts Uncovered: Secret To a Perfect Butt

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: March 11, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Christiana Mikesch, CPT
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An essential aspect of any workout routine is strengthening the abs, as a strong set of abs supports your lower back, assists various movements, and helps you with daily activities.

In my decade-long experience training clients, I’ve discovered that one of the best ab exercises is the butt ups — a simple yet challenging workout that targets the entire core, including the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about performing butt-ups to achieve those six packs you’ve always wanted.

Quick Summary

  • To achieve a well-toned and firm butt, incorporate butt-ups into your workout routine, targeting the core, glutes, and hamstrings.
  • Butt-ups are a versatile bodyweight exercise that can be performed anywhere, requiring no equipment.
  • According to the National Institute of Health, butt-ups offer more abdominal muscle development than deadlifts, enhancing core and lower body strength.
  • Personally, I find butt-ups to be an effective and convenient exercise for those seeking to improve core stability and glute strength at home.

How To Do Butt Ups

Women doing butt ups exercise

Detailed instructions on how to perform the butt-up exercise are described below.

What Are Butt Ups?

Butt ups are a full-body weight exercise targeting multiple muscle groups, including the core, abs, lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.

In my journey with butt ups, I've found them to be a highly effective full-body weight exercise. What's great is that they require no equipment and can be easily done at home.

How To Perform the Butt Ups Exercise

Follow these steps to perform the butt-ups exercise: 

  1. Lie flat on the floor with your elbows resting on your arms, your legs bent, and your feet on the ground.
  2. Arch your back slightly instead of keeping them completely straight.
  3. Lift your glutes toward the ceiling while squeezing your abs tightly to close the distance between your ribcage and hips.
  4. Exhale as you squeeze your abs tightly, ending up in a high bridge position.
  5. Breathe in and move your legs to the starting position. This is one rep.

Muscles Worked

Showing ab muscles

The butt-ups exercise works three muscle groups: the lower body core muscles, including rectus abdominis and obliques; hip flexors; and lower back muscles.

  • Rectus abdominis: This is the primary muscle targeted in the butt-up. It’s responsible for flexing the spine and bringing the ribcage closer to the pelvis.
  • Obliques: The internal and external obliques form a muscle group on the side of the abdomen. They flex the spine as you raise your glutes and descend back to the starting position.
  • Hip flexors: They include the iliopsoas and rectus femoris, which are responsible for raising the legs off the ground when performing the butt-ups.

Lower Back: Most prominent among this muscle group is the erector spinae, located along the spine, which is engaged to some degree during butt-ups.

Related: Best Hip Flexors Exercises

Benefits

The benefits of butt-ups include: 

  • Abdominal muscle development: According to a study found on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website, butt ups use your body’s weight as you lift your glutes toward the ceiling and offer even more ab development than deadlifts for those looking to strengthen their core and lower body [1].
  • Easy to perform: They can be performed anywhere and require no equipment, making them a convenient option for those who don't have access to a gym.
  • Increased muscular endurance: According to the NIH, by doing butt-ups, you can increase the endurance of the muscles involved, improve athletic performance, and reduce the risk of injury and back and neck pain [2].

Drawbacks

The drawbacks of butt-ups include:

  • Butt-ups can cause lower back strain if improperly executed, especially for those with pre-existing back conditions.
  • They primarily engage lower abdominals and shoulders, potentially neglecting a more comprehensive core and full-body workout.
  • The exercise is challenging for beginners, requiring significant upper body strength, balance, and core stability.

Butt Ups Variations and Alternatives

Women doing butt up alternatives

I often introduce my clients to various variations and alternatives of the butt-ups exercise to add diversity and challenge to their workout routines.

1. Single-Leg Butt Ups

This variation is similar to the basic butt-ups exercise, but you raise a single leg a few inches and keep it straight while lifting your hips.

“When you exercise using one leg at a time, your stronger side can’t overcompensate for your weaker side.”

- Griffin Nykor, Exercise Physiologist

To perform single-leg butt-ups:

  1. Start by lying down on your back with your arms and elbows on the ground, and then raise a single leg straight up.
  2. Planting the arms firmly on the floor, keep the other leg bent and your foot on the ground, and then lift your glutes toward the ceiling while squeezing your glutes and abs tightly.
  3. Slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

2. Stability Ball Butt Ups

Man butt ups with ball

This variation adds an element of instability, requiring greater core engagement and balance.

Follow these steps to perform the exercise:

  1. Start with the lower back resting on a stability ball with feet on the ground.
  2. Lift the glutes toward the ceiling while squeezing the abs tightly and end at a chest-high bridge position.
  3. Slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

3. Reverse Crunch

This exercise is an alternative to the butt-up that targets the lower abs. 

Here’s how to perform it:

  1. Get to the starting position by lying on your back completely straight, bending both legs and arms behind your head; raise your glutes toward the ceiling.
  2. By raising your hips off the ground, tightening your abs, and curling your knees towards your chest, you can effectively build muscle.
  3. Slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

FAQs

How To Get Bigger Buttocks With Exercise At Home?

To get bigger buttocks with exercise at home, perform exercises like squats, lunges, and glute bridges using resistance bands or your body’s weight.

What Equipment Do You Need for Butt Ups Exercise?

You do not need any equipment for butt ups exercise as it is a bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere.

Does Squeezing Buttocks Make It Firmer?

Yes, squeezing your buttocks can contribute to firmer glutes by engaging and strengthening the muscles. However, for significant results, it should be combined with a comprehensive exercise routine including strength training and cardiovascular workouts for overall muscle tone and fitness.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21157393/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30856100/
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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