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Brazilian Butt Lift Exercises

Brazilian women are admired around the world for their curvaceous figures, often idealized for having small waists and voluptuous rounded backsides. The fitness world has taken note, and workout routines aimed at giving followers the Brazilian butt of their dreams are increasingly popular.

While some of these programs make outrageous claims, some of them offer exercises that really work. Do these exercises regularly -- in combination with cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet -- and you'll be Brazilian bikini ready.

Butt-Lifting Exercises

All of these exercises have the same thing in common: they target the glutes, a muscle group comprised of three muscles, including the gluteus minimus, medius and maximus. Building these muscles by doing challenging exercises that target all angles of your backside will get results. They also target other muscles in your legs -- hamstrings, quadriceps and calves -- and your abs to give you a shapely midsection and lower body.

Doing these exercises with your own body weight is challenge enough. But at a certain point you might be ready for more. You can do more reps or more sets, or you can add weight to any of these exercises.

Explosive Lunge

What it does: Builds all the muscles in your legs and glutes and torches calories.

How to do it: From standing, take a big step forward with your right foot. Drop your back knee and bend your front knee to 90 degrees, keeping the front knee aligned over front toes. Jump up, pushing off the floor. Switch your legs in the air and land in a lunge with the opposite foot forward. Repeat for three sets of 12 to 20 reps.

Add weight by holding a medicine ball at chest height.

Butt Thruster

What it does: Zeroes in on the glutes and hamstrings.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Press into your heels and lift your toes up. Push through your heels and lift your hips up in line with your knees. Squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower back down. Repeat for three sets of 12 to 20 reps.

Add weight by placing a heavy bag or weight plate across your hips.

Quadruped Hip Extension

What it does: Fires up the backside and hamstrings, as well as the core muscles. The quad hip extension is one of the most effective glute exercises you can do, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise.

How to do it: Start on all fours with a neutral spine and contract your abs. Lift your right knee off the floor, and keeping it bent to 90 degrees, press it up and back. Keep the sole of the foot flexed and pointing towards the ceiling, and lift your leg until your thigh comes parallel to the floor. Bring the knee back down and repeat for 12 to 20 reps, then switch sides. Do three sets total.

Add weight by tucking a dumbbell behind your knee.

Fire Hydrant

What it does: Targets the glute medius of the outer hips.

How to do it: From all fours, lift your right knee up and open it out to the side keeping the knee bent to 90 degrees. Keep your spine neutral and your abs engaged. Lift it up as high as you can, keeping your arms straight and pelvis and shoulders level with the ground. Return to center and repeat for 12 to 20 reps. Switch sides. Do three sets total.

Add weight by tucking a dumbbell behind your knee.

Lateral Slide With Towel

What it does: Works the glutes, hamstrings and quads on the standing leg and works the outer glutes and inner and outer thighs of the sliding leg.

How to do it: Stand on a smooth, non-carpeted floor with a towel under your right foot and your feet hip-distance apart. Put your hands on your hips or extend your arms straight out in front of you. Bend your left knee and slide your right leg out to the side keeping it straight. Keep your torso erect and send your hips out behind you. Lower down until your left thigh is parallel to the ground, then push through your left foot to rise back up, sliding your right foot back in. Repeat for a total of 12 to 20 reps, then switch sides. Do three sets.

Add weight by holding a kettlebell, a weight plate or dumbbells, or placing a barbell across your shoulders.

About the Author

Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta, GA. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland, and she is a certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and yoga teacher. She has written for various online and print publications, including Livestrong.com, SFGate, Healthfully, and Chron.com. Visit the writer at www.JodyBraverman.com.

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