There's a moment in the cult-beloved film Clueless when Tai laments that her buns feel nothing like steel after a workout literally called Buns of Steel. Let's just say that we relate to this so hard. Sometimes it feels like you're doing all the right butt-centric exercises… but you literally feel and see no change in your booty. So we consulted experts to see what workout moves will actually help you get a better butt—dare we say, a J.Lo-worthy butt? That's big talk, but these moves really work, according to trainers.
Ready to—ahem—round out your butt workout routine? Behold the best workout moves for a better butt.
"Bulgarian squats are really one of the best ways to activate the glutes, more than any other squat variation," says Courtney Watts, a trainer at Rumble in West Hollywood. "It takes pressure away from the knees and really isolates all the right muscles."
Here's how to do it, in Watts's words:
"Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms fully extended at your sides palm face each other.
"Place one foot on a bench, box, or stair, with the other leg straight (working leg). Be sure that the foot not elevated is far out enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee doesn't go over your toes.
"Lower your pelvis toward the ground, by bending from the knee of your working leg while squeezing the glutes. Pause, and drive through your front heel to return to the starting position."
Glute Bridge/Hip Thrust
"Glute bridges really are the mother of all booty exercises," Watts says. "They lay the foundation by teaching you to extend the hips while keeping a strong core and neutral spine."
Here's how to do it, according to Watts: "Start lying on your back with your knees bent and spine in a neutral position. Brace your core and lift your hips to the ceiling while driving through your heels. Pause, and reverse the motion back to the ground slowly."
For a more challenging version, Watts says to hold dumbbells or a barbell or to add in a resistance band.
A 3-Move Sequence
"The key to a desirable derrière is to work the entire bum while activating the correct muscles," says Lauren Kleban, founder of LEKfit. "The tendency for many people is to allow the hamstrings to do the heavy lifting."
She recommends doing this booty-firming sequence:
"Begin on all fours. Be sure to engage your core, keep your shoulders down, elbows soft, and weight off of your wrists. Use a supportive mat or towel and rest under your kneecaps.
"Tap the working leg back in a parallel arabesque. Lift to lower just enough to contract your glutes. Try 25 to 30 reps.
"Bend the same leg to a 90-degree angle, lower your knee to hover over mat, and lift up. (Remember not to lift too high.) Try 25 to 30 reps.
"Move to a 90-degree angle turnout so you are now in an attitude position. Your hips remain square to the mat, rotating from your hips. Lift and lower for 30 reps.
"Finish in a high plank, hold for 10 seconds, then rest in Child's Pose for 10. Complete the sequence on the other side."
"A great move for your glutes, this move also targets your triceps, hamstrings, abs, and shoulders all in one," says Sebastien Lagree, founder and creator of Lagree Fitness Method.
"Get into a tabletop position, knees on the floor under your hips and hands on floor lining up with your shoulders. Choose one leg to be your primary leg—you're going to lift it up, knee facing front (as if you were doing fire hydrants), foot flexed, and pinky toe toward the ceiling, and extend the leg back until it's straight," he explains.
"This works the back of the thigh. Make sure to keep your hands under your shoulders to support your spine. Slowly bend the leg at the knee to bring it back in. Repeat for two minutes, then switch legs. Keep shoulders stationary and core tight to target triceps. If you have ankle weights, this is a great option to add resistance and strength training."
"Curtsy lunges help build the shape of your butt by tightening and rounding, targeting those minor muscle groups that regular lunges or squats don't show love to," explains Watts.
Here's how to do them, in her words: "Begin standing tall. Cross your right foot behind your left, and lower into a lunge. You should feel your outer hip and glute engaging. Both knees should be at about 90 degrees. Return to standing, alternating legs."
"Plié squats are great, not just because of the ballerina in me, but because there is less stress on the back, and you can really get full range of motion to hit the booty," Watts says.
"Stand wider than hip-width apart, with your toes facing outward at a 45-degree angle. Sink your hips back while keeping your chest tall. Pause and drive back up through the heels to return to the start position."