Build a Better Butt – Here’s How

My biggest fear….not spiders, not heights, not even death…

It’s this ====================>butt pancake

Yes, the pancake butt is a frightening thing – and totally avoidable if you get off yours 🙂

My dear mother, God rest her, had the flattest bum around. She was too busy raising us on her own to be concerned with this first world problem that I fear. Clearly I probably have too much time on my hands to seriously have a flat bum phobia.

Butt (pun intended), since training is a big part of my life, I may as well do what I can to avoid my genetic predisposition.

I want to share some of my favorite butt enhancing moves.

Obviously, the best bum is built under a squat bar. So if you’re serious about building a bum…you need to get off yours and do some serious resistance training.

Squats need to be deep (and heavy if you can). I know there’s the age old philosophical debate as to the proper depth of squats. My theory, that’s helped me keep my butt from sliding down my legs is ‘ass to grass’ depth. Of course, impeccable form is imperative. The load must be congruent with form, as soon as form falls apart (even in the slightest way) the load must be lessened.

The beauty of the squat is that there’s so much variety, take a look at a few:

squats - diddly


  • plain old bodyweight squats (don’t discount the value of bodyweight moves!)
  • squat jumps
  • back squat
  • front squat
  • overhead squat
  • goblet squat
  • oh, the ‘diddly squat’ doesn’t count 😉

Then there’s the lunge. My preference is a reverse lunge hold. This can be done with bodyweight, a barbell or dumbell. I prefer to do one leg at a time and hold my balance at the top of the move for a few seconds. Of course, you can hold at the bottom and adjust rep speed in a number of ways to hit your hinny. In addition to the reverse lunge, here are a few more varieties:

  • forward lunges
  • walking lungesbums
  • Bulgarian split squats from the floor/with the foot elevated
  • swing lunges
  • jumping lunges
  • lateral lunges
  • goblet lunges
  • single RDL to single reverse lunge
  • weighted donkey kick back (check out the video for this – make sure NOT to weight your arms and your bum with thank you)

Man, I could go on, but I’ll stop there and tell you about my new favorite: the weighted glute bridge. This one is a bit awkward and it’s best if you have a pad of sorts to put on your hips. I’ve been moving a significant amount of weight with this move. Another thing I love about it is that when my knee is acting up, this is a brilliant move for targeting the glutes and hamstrings without aggravating my knees.

Speaking of a hip hinge move – the KB swing is another favorite. Many newbies are surprised that the KB swing targets the hips and not the upper body. In fact, if you feel your arms or shoulders when doing this move, you know you’re doing it incorrectly. Another tip is to ensure your abs are engaged as the KB rises (as if someone were going to punch you in the belly). This will prevent over extension at the hip and will protect the back. This is another fantastic move to hit your bum if your knees are sore.

Now I must not discount the benefits of deadlifts for the posterior. Regular, stiff legged, barbell, dumb bell – all good moves for your rear.

Get out your leg warmers Jane Fonda, the fire hydrant is an awesome move for working the glute med. I’ve noticed that some of my knee pain has been lessened significantly by strengthening my glute med’s. The key with this move is to ensure that there’s no weight transfer to the opposite arm. It will help engage your obliques and really target the glute med if you raise the opposite arm off the floor – so if you’re balancing on the right leg, elevate the left hand so that you can’t put any weight on it.

Bands are brilliant for engaging the glute med too. One move that I’ll throw in is a skater with a band around the knees. Often my fitness boot camp clients will grab a heavy band and allow their knees to roll inward as they step to the side – this is no buenos! Make sure to keep the knees over the toes; the hip action is outward rotation so don’t let the knees cave inward.

I love to train legs and I often get women in particular asking what they can do to keep their legs and butt’s perky. These are the moves that do the trick. Here’s a video summary with demonstrations of some of the moves:

Here’s a fun leg/bum workout for you that incorporates a few of these moves:

  • 30 second KB swing (no KB? Do a squat jump)
  • 10 reps KB goblet squat (or BW squat)
  • reverse lunge 10 steps each leg (optional load)
  • 10 reps BB glute bridge (or BW glute bridge)

Do 5 rounds. Rest as little as possible or as needed.

Finish with:

Tabata 20/10 x 4 sets:

  • Squat jump/static hold or pulse (no rest) for as many sets as possible

No rest and finish with 20/10 4 sets:

  • Skaters (band optional)

Workout variety is the KEY to success and continuous improvement.

Stay tuned for my latest program that will support you 24-7…called Shawna 24-7 😉

I’ll hold your hand thru nutritional challenges, help you flatten your tummy, build your bottom, lose your back fat – whatever it is you need, this new program will support you and your goals…stay tuned.