The Best Work Outs for Thighs & Butt

The Best Work Outs for Thighs & Butt

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Strength training is key for building better thighs and butt.

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Developing lean thighs and a curvaceous butt cannot be attained through countless hours of cardio. To achieve your dream physique, you'll need to make strength training your top priority. Strength training will re-shape your lower body and ensure that you're burning calories throughout the day by speeding up your metabolism. Learn proven techniques for building a better-looking lower body.

Dumbbell Goblet Squat

The goblet squat works the quadriceps located on the front of the thigh, the hamstrings located on the back of the thigh and the gluteus maximus, which is the large muscle of your butt. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in the goblet position -- in front of your chest, just below your chin. Set your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your hips and knees while maintaining a flat back, chest up and knees pointed in the same direction as your feet. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Extend your knees and hips to return to the standing position. Repeat for three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

Barbell Deadlift

The barbell deadlift is known as one of the most effective exercises for the posterior-chain -- that is, the gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Place a barbell on the floor with your toes directly under the bar. Squat to grab the bar just wider than shoulder-width, with an overhand grip. Brace your core by squeezing your glutes, abs, obliques and lower back. Maintain a flat back, chest up and head looking straight forward as you extend your hips and knees to pull the barbell to a standing position. Slowly lower the barbell to the floor. Repeat for three sets of eight to 12 reps.

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat, also known as the rear foot elevated split squat, stands as one of the best quadriceps developers. Although you'll feel it mostly on the front of the thigh, don't underestimate the gluteal and hamstring burn that's packaged with this exercise. Stand facing away from a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Take a sizable step forward and place the top of your foot on the bench behind you. Squat until the thigh of the front leg reaches parallel to the floor. Extend the hip and knee of front leg to return to the standing position. After completing eight to 12 reps, switch legs. Complete three sets on each leg.

Shoulder Elevated Hip Thrust

If you were limited to one exercise for building a better butt, the hip thrust is your best option. According to EMG studies, the gluteals fire two to three times harder in a hip thrust compared to a squat, notes strength and conditioning specialist Brett Contreras. Place your upper back on a bench with your hips bent and feet flat on the floor. Press through your heels to extend your hips and bring your torso parallel to the floor in the top position. Ensure that your knees are at a 90-degree angle in the top position. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Body weight will suffice to begin. More experienced exercisers will hold a kettlebell just above the pubic bone for extra resistance.

Tips and Considerations

For best results, perform a five-minute dynamic warm-up -- jogging, jumping jacks, butt-kickers and body-weight squats -- prior to exercise. Every exercise should be done with proper form. Never take a set past technical failure, the point at which form begins to deteriorate. Choose a challenging weight that will allow for eight to 12 repetitions. If you're using a weight that allows for more than 15 reps, the weight is too light. Refrain from performing all four lower-body exercises during one session unless your an advanced exerciser. Beginners will choose two lower-body exercises per workout. Perform workouts two to three days per week on non-consecutive days. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your exercise program.