Did you know that your backside can make you look older than you are or that having a flat bottom can age you? We lose an average of 5% of muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35, which affects the shape of our butt. Also, as we age, fat naturally deteriorates, and skin becomes looser, making your bottom appear as though it is sagging.
The jeans you are wearing, you know – the old and faithful comfortable ones – could be aging you and making your butt look flatter than it is or giving you a pancake butt. Check out our favorite butt-lifting jeans; you might find a pair that suits you better. If you are open to making a minor fashion update, simply upgrading your jeans can get you great booty-building results before doing one squat! However, you won’t want to stop there.
Once I hit puberty, I was teased for having a “big butt” or a “bubble butt.” In my teens, I daydreamed about my rear end being smaller so that I could just fit in with everyone else. I remember my cousin Cathy drooling over a loaf of bread, talking about how much she LOVED bread and that eating it was what gave you a big butt. My cousin and I had it figured out in the 1980s that overeating carbs can and most certainly will add body fat, and often in places we don’t want it. In our teens, the fat pad, skin, and muscle were all still firm, so we could eat more of what we wanted (pizza and French fries) and still enjoy that perky and maybe slightly chunky booty!
As a young girl, I never would have considered that having a bigger backside was a good thing or that having a nice, thick booty would become trendy. After all, a nicely rounded bottom is womanly and youthful. So, whether you have what you would consider a big bottom, average buns, or flat butt, there are simple, bottom firming exercises you can do to wake up and build those gluteus muscles and bring on a more youthful butt.
Pancake butt is obviously a flat butt. It may appear elongated (so it looks long and flat) as you lose your underbutt. The underbutt is the part under your butt cheeks that rounds into the top of your hamstrings. Around the age of 50, if you start dealing with menopause, then your estrogen levels might begin to fall. You are losing fat in your butt and muscle mass, which means you are losing firmness. This process, unfortunately, starts in your 30s, so the earlier you can get started on a good bottom firming workout routine, the better it will be for you in your later years.
Have you ever been in line behind someone and can immediately judge their age before ever seeing their face? Some of this is due to choices in clothing and hairstyle, but much of it has to do with the physique. Your glutes are one of the largest muscle groups in your body, so they do command a lot of attention when you are being seen from behind.
I have been seriously fooled by a woman’s age when seeing her from behind, and I happen to notice a booty that is lifted and firm (oh come on, you know you do this too). Genetics will always play a part, but do not use that as an excuse to let it go. Most of us will not get a great butt by sitting on it.
A great posterior will give you a stronger core and better balance overall. The body is like a chain. The more we work to strengthen and build each part, the more we increase the chances that everything connected (and it’s all connected) will function and move as it is supposed to rather than compensating for the parts we’ve neglected over the years. If we don’t correctly work our gluteus muscles, then the things above and below it have to work harder and are out of proportion for what they’re designed to do.
I remember watching a classic black and white movie where the young actress was doing variations of a leg workout in her room before bed. Her husband looked at her like she was nuts, and she said, “In years, you’ll thank me for this…” (if you remember the movie, let me know). I have never forgotten that line. She was on to something. As the old saying goes, move it or lose it! We have shared the benefits of banded squats, and I want to remind you that these are awesome exercises to lift and tone that butt. Resistance bands are portable and affordable, so they are a great choice whether you are just getting started or looking to add something to your booty workout.
If you are a beginner, practice getting on the Stairmaster (it’s the machine in the gym that is the never-ending set of stairs). I have also referred to this machine as the hell stepper. I have noticed many women glued to the elliptical machines, but graduating to the Stairmaster is one quick tip that can both build your glutes and increase your cardio. If you have knee issues, you may not be able to make this transition, so you’ll always want to consult with a professional if you have concerns about what’s best for you.
There are variations you can do on the Stairmaster, but the absolute MOST important place to start is at a speed that’s comfortable for you where you can stand straight up so that your core and booty are being forced to stabilize. Do not lean forward on the machine. I see many people leaning on the handrails while using this machine, which can still be effective cardio, especially when you’re already wiped out, but you are losing the benefit of working the glutes to maximum capacity.
You have probably seen people in the gym doing weighted squats with the bar. This is likely not a great place to start as there are things to learn about proper form, and obviously, as you are working with heavier weight, there is a bigger risk of injury if you are not performing the exercise correctly. Have no fear! The basic squat is still a great exercise to build and firm your butt. You can do them with or without a booty band; they’re effective either way.
Another bonus to squats is that you can do them anywhere and everywhere. Make a habit of doing squats at home or when you’re taking a break from work. Do them between laundry loads or even while standing at the microwave – it’s an automatic, timed set. Get up from the couch and do a set (or a few sets) of squats while you’re watching TV. Once the basic squat without weight becomes easy, try adding weight. Pick up a kettlebell or a plate weight at the gym and go deep into that squat. It’ll burn. At home, look for something you can pick up and hold up for that added challenge.
Many people use a treadmill for a brisk walk or to run, but most don’t use the incline function. Many treadmills are set up to go from 0 degrees (a flat surface) up to a 20-30-degree incline. Ever climbed a steep hill or trail, and the next day you have been sore in strange and unusual places? That’s the incline! Walking on an incline targets your glute muscles big time.
If you are a beginner, try setting the incline to 20 degrees and walking at a speed of 1.0 or less – whatever is comfortable for you. Keep in mind here that the goal is to get uncomfortable, so think of it as a progression. As with most exercises, you can perform variations that will challenge your butt muscles more. However, be sure to start with the most important factor, which is to stand up straight and tall. Do not lean on the rails, or you will lose much of that booty-building benefit. Sometimes it is good to use the rails for balance, but leaning on or hanging onto the handles is not only an assist (making it easier), but it’s horrible posture.
You are also losing out on the full benefit of that exercise. Once you start compensating by leaning on the rails, it’s much harder to stop. Focus on the best form first before considering variations. When I need more of a challenge on the treadmill, I will slow the speed and add a lunge or pick up a medicine ball to increase my weight resistance.
If you’re still looking for more booty-building exercises, you can also check out our 5-Minute Barre series on YouTube for more workouts that will help lift and firm your back end. Watch below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more fitness videos.
There are many more aggressive glute exercises that will have you running all over the gym, loading up weights, and feeling like a pro, but it’s always good to start with the basics. Work on building some confidence (and booty), and then move on to more challenging movements. Sometimes when things are more complicated, we’re less likely to focus on the fact that the most effective workout is one that is consistent. Consistency in your workouts will always give you better results than a complicated routine that you will not do often enough to get results.
Remember to consult with your doctor if you have any health concerns that may prevent you from exploring routine fitness and receive recommendations on what activity level will be best for you. If you have questions about proper form and muscle function, we advise you to work directly with a certified personal trainer.