Strength Exercises for the Butt & Lower Back

The muscles in the buttocks and lower back are known as the gluteus maximus and erector spinae, respectively. Strength exercises for these areas can be done with free weights or body weight. Certain exercises have a crossover effect and work both muscles simultaneosuly. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions and three to four sets of your exercises and work out two to three times a week.

Barbell Squat

Barbell squats are power exercises that target the buttocks and the rest of the leg muscles. Duck under the bar in a squat rack and place it across the tops of your shoulders behind your neck. Place your hands in a wide grip and push into the bar to lift it up. Step back three steps to clear the safety pins and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Look forward, tighten your core and keep your back straight as you lower yourself toward the ground. Stop when your thighs parallel the floor, stand back up and repeat.


Deadlifts are similar to squats in that they work the buttocks and legs but also work the lower back. Stand behind a weighted barbell that’s on the floor. Bend down and grab the bar with a wide grip. Keep your core tight, back straight and gaze fixed forward as you lift the bar and come to a standing position. Let the bar rest against your thighs for a second, lower it back down and repeat.

Split Squats

Split squats put emphasis on your buttocks and can be done with a set of dumbbells. Step forward with your right foot and hold the weights at your sides. Keep your back straight and core tight as you lower your body toward the ground. Stop when your right knee forms a 90-degree angle and your left knee is an inch above the floor. Stand back up and repeat. Do a set of repetitions, switch your lead leg and do another set of reps.

Single-Leg Deadlift

Single-leg deadlifts work your lower back and glutes at the same time. Hold dumbbells in your hands and stand on your left foot with your right foot raised and slightly behind you. Bend forward at the hips and lower the weights toward the floor. Raise your right leg in the air behind your body as you do this and try to get it parallel to the floor. Bend back up to the starting point and repeat. Do a set of reps and switch legs. Keep a slight bend in the knee of your planted foot when you do this exercise.

Back Extensions

Back extensions are performed with an exercise ball. They emphasize your lower back muscles. Lie face-down on the ball with your hips just lower than the apex. Place your hands on the sides of your head and brace your feet against a wall. Lower your body over the ball and lift up by contracting your lower back muscles. Hold for a second, lower yourself and repeat.

Alternating Superman

Alternating supermans are done with the weight of your body. Lie face-down on the floor with your arms straight in front of you. Lift your right arm and left leg up as high as possible and hold this pose for a second. Lower your arm and leg and repeat this with your left arm and right leg. Lower them and continue in this alternating fashion for a set of reps.

About this Author

Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.