Get a Toned Butt With These 6 Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

Every article of clothing from a bikini to a pair of basic jeans looks infinitely better when covering a perfectly toned butt. And this is true for both men and women, so it’s time to get your rear in gear with some exercises designed to strengthen your glutes. By targeting this muscle group, you’ll also reduce your risk for a whole host of injuries.

With the right moves, these weights are all you need to achieve a toned butt.

1. Walking dumbbell lunge

dumbbell lunges

Walking dumbbell lunges are excellent for your glutes. | iStock.com

To perform walking lunges, start with a set of dumbbells that are on the light side. Begin standing with your feet spaced hip-width apart while grasping one weight in each hand with your hands at your sides. Keeping your back flat and your torso upright, step your left leg out into a lunge. As you sink into the lunge, your left knee should end up directly over your left ankle and your right knee should be hovering just above the ground. From here, push off the ground to step your right leg forward, ending in the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side so you walk forward while alternating legs.

2. Dumbbell step-up

fitness class stepping onto benches with dumbbells

These step-ups will raise your heart rate in a pinch. | iStock.com

You’ll need a set of dumbbells and a bench or other elevated platform. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, step your right foot onto the bench. Without moving your foot, push straight up through the ball of your right foot so you finish standing fully upright. After a brief pause, slowly lower your left foot back to the ground. Repeat all your repetitions on one side before switching legs. You can see a great visual of this move by heading to Shape.

3. Weighted donkey kick

close-up of a man's hand as he chooses a dumbbell

Donkey kicks are tough, but effective. | iStock.com

For this exercise, start on your hands and knees with your knees directly below your hips and your hands directly below your shoulders. Arrange your dumbbell in the crease behind your right knee and squeeze it into place by bending your knee. Keeping your torso stable and your weight evenly distributed, lift your right leg back by contracting your glutes as high as you can without compromising your form. Carefully lower your leg back to the ground and repeat.

4. Dumbbell deadlift

man doing dumbbell deadlift

You’ll feel these dumbbell deadlifts the next day. | iStock.com

Get into position by standing with a moderately heavy dumbbell in each hand with your hands just in front of your hips and your feet spaced hip-width apart. Keeping your back flat, hinge at the hips and bend your knees as you lower the weights toward the ground. Maintaining the same tight core and flat back, lift back to the starting position. Check out this lift in action over at Muscle & Fitness.

5. Goblet squat

man using a kettlebell weight at the gym

Try a different squat variation with these goblet squats. | iStock.com

Often done with kettlebells, goblet squats work equally well with dumbbells. Grab your weight, then cup it with both hands directly under your chin so the weighted ends point up and down. With your feet spaced about shoulder-width apart, squat down as far as you can without curving your back or letting your knees come too far forward. As long as you keep the dumbbell close to your body, your form should be good. Next, push straight back to standing.

6. Curtsy kick

close-up of a woman's upper body as she exercises with dumbbells

Curtsy lunges target right where you want. | iStock.com

For this exercise, hold a set of dumbbells directly in front of your shoulders as you stand with your feet close together. Step your right leg back and diagonally to the left so it crosses past your left foot as you lunge down toward the ground. Push back up through your left foot as you swing your right leg out to the side, then back to the standing position. Complete your desired number of repetitions before switching sides. SELF has a great demonstration if you need some more pointers. You’ll be on your way to an injury-proof, toned butt in no time.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec