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Natural Bodybuilding w/Monica Ewing


Target Area: Buns

We at Body Builders Network welcome your nutrition questions. Go ahead, ask us for advice by emailing us at You will find our advice replies to you requests here, in our Buns Column.

Q: What's a good regimen to follow to target my butt?

Target Exercises Try these exercises for shaping, lifting, and strengthening the buttocks. You can superset two of these together or do a series of giant sets, or perform them individually. Options are endless. For those of you who have knee issues squats and deep lunges may be exercises you will want to avoid.


Squats are my favorite lower body exercise. They recruit more leg and glute muscles than any other exercise. You can do them with your own body weight, holding dumbbells in your hands, using a Smith rack, or with a barbell across the back of your shoulders (my personal favorite). Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, toes subtly turned out. As you begin your descent keep your back straight and head up. Focusing on a point high on the wall like the top of the mirror will help you keep your head up and back straight. Squat deep enough so that your thighs are parallel to the floor before beginning your ascent. At the bottom point use the mirror toassure that knees stay over the ankles or go beyond the toes. You want to straighten completely upward but never lock the knees. Unless you are a seasoned squatter it's always a good idea to have a spotter. Do up to 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

One-Legged Squats

Again these can be done using your own body weight or with the addition of weights or a Smith rack. Standing on one leg, extend the other leg behind you and place the top of your foot on a bench. Keeping the back straight and head up begin your descent. As your squat deepens be sure that the split between supportive leg and non-supportive leg is wide enough so that the knee of the non-supportive leg would touch the floor (if it touched the floor at all) well behind the heel of the supportive leg. Also, make sure that the knee of the supportive leg does not overshoot the toes. Use the mirror to see that the knee of the supportive leg is above the ankle (so that it's not rotating inward). Straighten upward but never lock the knee. Do up to 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions each leg.


Lunges are fun (and grueling) because there are so many different ways to do them. You can do walking lunges, standing forward lunges, standing reverse (backward) lunges, or elevated lunges (stepping onto a bench 2-8 inches above ground). The most important factor here is balance. Whether performing walking, standing or elevated lunges, hold the stomach muscles tight and keep the shoulders over or slightly in front of the hips. The lower back will mildly arch to accommodate this move. Just be sure you're not over arching or leaning too far forward. And just as in the squats, don't allow the knee to overshoot the toes. Lastly, if you've chosen the forward lunge, pushing back from the heel more efficiently activates the hamstrings and glute/hamstring tie-ins. Do up to 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions each leg.

Leg Kickbacks

This is an oldie but a goody. Start out on a mat on your hands and knees, weight evenly distributed. Draw one knee forward and underneath you and then extend your leg straight behind you, lifting the foot above body position, without overarching your back. When extending and lifting the leg, the work portion of the lift should come directly from the hip area. Do not overarch your back to elevate the leg. As this exercise becomes easier, wear ankle weights for more resistance. Do up to 2 sets of 15-25 repetitions each leg.

Leg Press

Most people wouldn't consider the leg press an exercise for the buttocks but it actually is; though the gluteal muscles are not primary movers. To incorporate greater activity from the gluteal region simply place your feet higher (further up) on the plate. Higher feet placement also increases the activity of the hamstrings as well. Do not fully lock the knees at the top of this move.


This is not a typical exercise you would see someone doing in a gym, because frankly, they're hard and tiring. If you have knee problems this one may not be for you. Step-ups are performed using a normal bench (or sturdy chair if at home) 18-24 inches tall. Stand facing the bench, place your right foot onto the bench and stand as if going up a step, bringing the left foot up and even. Keeping your weight on the right foot, step back down with the left foot and bring the right foot even with the left. Repeat on the same side or alternate right and left. It's important to keep the back straight, shoulders over the hips, and stomach muscles tight when executing this move. You can add resistance with dumbbells or if you're balance is really good, place a weighted bar across your back. Do up to 2 sets, 10-15 repetitions each leg.

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