Did you know that doing exercises for a bigger backside could be a good thing? Oxford University researchers found that women who have more thighs and butt have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other obesity-related conditions.

“The protective properties of the lower-body fat depot have been confirmed in many studies conducted in subjects with a wide range of age, BMI and co-morbidities,” the researchers wrote in the International Journal of Obesity.

Furthermore, the study showed that having more “junk in the trunk” is associated with higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help with brain function, and leptin, a hormone that helps regulate hunger signals.

It seems that women have become obsessed with getting a perfectly rounded, lifted booty, but maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. Of course, you should love your body regardless of its shape, but if you want to have a more muscular, toned butt, we have the perfect exercises for you to reach your goals.

Here are 6 of the best exercises for lifting and rounding your butt:

1. Glute Bridges

This exercise is pretty simple. Just lie flat on your back with your knees bent and arms either at your sides or clasped on your tummy. Then, lift your butt, lower back, and upper thighs off the floor and squeeze your butt muscles. Make sure your keep your ab muscles tight and lift your body until your hips are parallel with your knees. Hold this for a few seconds, and then bring your body back down. Repeat this for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

2. Donkey Kicks

Another simple, yet effective, exercise. Get down on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under the hips. With your left leg on the floor, lift your right leg at a 90 degree angle until your foot is parallel with the ceiling. Make sure to keep your right foot flexed and squeeze your butt muscles. Bring your leg back down without touching the floor and repeat for 10-12 reps. Switch to the other side and repeat for 3 sets on each side.

3. Sumo Deadlifts

For this exercise, you’ll need a dumbbell or barbell. It also might be helpful to look up a video for this exercise, because form is key. Start with your feet wide apart, toes pointed out, and your barbell next to your feet. Bend your knees and reach down for the barbell, making sure you keep your back and chest straight. Press through your heels and bring the weight up near your hips; remember to thrust your hips forward and squeeze your butt muscles. Then, bring the weight back down slowly and repeat for 4 sets of 8-10 reps.


4. Bulgarian Split Squats

This exercise might feel a little strange, but it’s certainly worth it. Simply grab a chair and rest the top of your left foot on it. Bring your right leg out in front of you at a lunge-length. Then, lower your body into a lunge position until your left knee almost touches the floor and your right knee is parallel to the floor. You can choose to use dumbbells if you feel comfortable, but you don’t have to.

5. Swimmers

This is a tough exercise, but that’s what makes it so effective. Lie down on your stomach and raise both legs off the ground, squeezing your glutes as hard as you can. Reach your arms forward with your palms facing downward a few inches above the ground. Lift your left leg and right arm into the air, as if you’re swimming. Repeat on the other side, switching back and forth rapidly. Try to do this for 3 sets of 45 seconds each, resting for one minute in between.


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6. Walking Lunge Exercises

We know you’re probably sore and exhausted by now, but you’ve made it to the last exercise on the list! Almost time for a break now. For this one, you can choose to use dumbbells, but you don’t have to. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your hips or down by your sides. Then, step one leg forward and descend until your rear knee almost touches the floor. Make sure your front knee doesn’t extend beyond your toes, and keep your torso and chest upright. Then, bring your rear foot forward and stand back up. Bring the opposite foot forward and repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each side.