For building a strong shapely butt (your glute muscles) you can’t beat lunges.  I prefer step-up lunges. Stand facing an aerobic step or stair of about mid shin height or a little higher. Your feet should be a long stride away from the stair or step. Begin by taking an exaggerated step forward with your right leg, stepping with your foot onto the stair or platform. Bend the forward knee in line with the floor but keep your rear leg as straight as possible as you drop it down to stretch the glutes. Push back off the front foot (the front leg does all the work; the back leg merely helps your balance) and return to the starting position. Now step forward with your left leg onto the platform and repeat the exercise. Alternate legs and do 12-15 reps of two to three sets per leg.

You can do walking lunges using the same exaggerated lunge movement if you have the space in the gym or if you have access to a parking lot or track by your home. Holding a dumbbell in each hand as you lunge adds resistance to the exercise and makes it tougher (Photo by Anete Lusina).

Another great glute buster is the wide-stance squat. Any type of squat is sure to work the lower body, but wide squats will target the glutes most effectively. Stand erect, holding a barbell positioned on the back of your shoulders. The Smith machine can also come in handy here if you are doing squats on your own. Assume a stance with your feet spread wide apart and your toes pointed outward. Now squat down until your upper legs are parallel to the floor. As you descend keep your chest elevated, shoulders back and abdominals tight. Push back to standing position immediately upon hitting the low point, pausing when you reach the top to consciously squeeze the glutes one to two seconds. Perform three sets of 10 – 12 reps (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto).

Here’s an ass shaper that requires no weight, just a flat bench. Kneel on a flat bench with the left knee, holding the bench with both hands for stability. Hang the right leg toward the floor with the knee bent 90 degrees, keeping the back flat and your head up. Pause with the leg lifted as high, and as straight, as possible, then lower the leg back to the starting position. After 10-12 reps, switch legs and repeat the exercise. Do several sets per leg.

The above exercises are not only great for building a great butt, but they are also excellent overall exercises for your entire lower body. Be consistent with your training, keep good form, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.