Losing fat from the butt is a common fitness goal. However, it is not possible to spot-reduce fat in a specific area. Reducing overall weight in a gradual, safe manner is the best way to reduce fat on the butt. Running, squats, and other exercises can also help tone the butt.

There are three major muscles in the butt. These are the gluteus maximus, the gluteus minimus, and the gluteus medius.

While it is not possible to spot-reduce fat loss in one particular area, cutting down on overall body fat with cardiovascular exercise, while toning the butt muscles with strengthening exercises can lead to leaner, better-defined buttocks.

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To help lose fat from the butt and tone the muscles in the thighs and glutes, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommend a variety of exercises. Some of these can include:

1. Running

Running is an excellent exercise for full-body weight loss. This aerobic activity improves heart and lung function and can also tone the leg and butt muscles, which gives the thighs and buttocks a more defined shape. Also, aside from supportive shoes, it requires no special equipment.

Running is better than walking for fat loss, as it burns more calories. However, if a person is unable to take up running, walking is also a very good option for burning calories and fat compared with resting.

2. High-intensity interval training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is also a popular option for helping with weight loss. HIIT exercise programs usually involve repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise, followed by periods of slower intensity or rest.

HIIT sessions tend to be shorter in duration than moderate-intensity activities. Evidence suggests that HIIT is as effective as moderate-intensity continuous training in inducing weight loss despite requiring shorter training sessions. People can apply them to a variety of exercises. For example, after a warmup period, HIIT may involve the following:

  • running on a treadmill at 7 miles per hour (mph) for 1 minute
  • running for 2 minutes at 5 mph
  • repeating this pattern for 15 minutes or so before cooling down

3. Step-climbing

Climbing steps is an easy way to tone the glutes while also keeping the heart and lungs healthy. Step-climbing boosts strength and muscle tone in the butt and upper legs. There are various ways to work these muscles:

  • using stepping machines at a gym
  • walking up flights of stairs
  • hiking uphill
  • using a climbing or bouldering wall

The ACE note that step-ups are an effective exercise for working the butt and thighs. Additionally, a 2017 study states that stair climbing is a practical and time-efficient strategy to help improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

4. Squats

Squats are a major part of many exercise plans. This is likely due to their ability to work several muscles in the butt, legs, and abdomen at the same time.

There are many variations of a squat that a person can perform to help target different muscles and increase difficulty. For example, regular squats are an effective exercise. To do these:

  1. Extend the arms in front of the body. Keep the feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly lower the butt as close as possible to the floor, without losing balance. The back should be straight, and the knees should not travel out in front of the toes.
  3. Return to the starting position. Repeat several times.
  4. To increase the intensity, hold weights in the hands while squatting.

To increase the difficulty, a person can try variations of a squat, such as a single-leg squat. To perform a single-leg squat:

  1. Extend the arms in front of the body.
  2. Stand on the left leg and extend the right leg straight in front, as high as possible.
  3. Slowly lower the butt as close as possible to the floor while keeping the leg elevated. The back should be straight and the left knee in line with the left foot.
  4. Return to the starting position. Repeat several times before switching to the right leg.

Another variation is the split-squat, during which a person performs squats with their legs apart. A small-scale 2017 study found that split-squats had the highest impact on the gluteus maximus, compared with deadlifts and good-mornings.

5. Lunges

Lunges are another lower-body strength exercise that activates and tones the gluteus maximus. Variations include sideways, forward, and transverse lunges.

The basic forward lunge also works the thighs and calves. To perform a lunge:

  1. Stand with the feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Take a large step forward with the left leg.
  3. Slowly lower the body, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Do not allow the right knee to touch the ground or the left knee to travel past the toes of the left foot.
  4. Return to the standing position. Repeat several times.

6. One-leg deadlift

Deadlifts work the lower body, improve balance, and strengthen the abdominal muscles and lower back. Doing one-leg deadlifts also activates the gluteus muscles.

Follow these instructions to do a one-leg deadlift:

  1. Stand on one leg with the hands by the sides.
  2. Stretch the other leg out behind. Keep the back flat and the shoulders back.
  3. Lean forward from the hips until there is a stretch in the hamstrings. Do not let the chest drop below the hips.
  4. Return to the starting position. Repeat several times, then switch sides.

If this is too intense, lightly rest the non-supporting leg on the floor. To increase the exercise intensity, use hand-held weights.

7. Side-lying hip abduction

Side-lying hip abduction exercises are effective for strengthening the gluteus medius muscle. To do this exercise:

  1. Begin by lying on one side and supporting the head with the arm or hand. Keep the knees straight and feet together.
  2. Slowly raise the top leg as high as possible without turning the pelvis backward or forward.
  3. Lower the leg slowly to return to the starting position. Repeat several times on each side.

Use ankle weights to increase the intensity of this exercise.

8. Lateral band walk

Strengthen and stabilize the hips and knees with a lateral band walk, which also works the gluteus medius muscle. This exercise is a useful warmup activity before running, jumping, and other activities.

To do the lateral band walk:

  1. Take a loop resistance band and place it under the balls of the feet. Ensure that the band stays flat against the shoes.
  2. Stretch the legs to shoulder-width apart. Distribute the weight evenly over both feet.
  3. Bending the knees slightly to achieve a semi-squat position, squeeze the glutes and core muscles.
  4. With one foot, take a small step of around 3 inches to the side. Move the other foot in the same direction, again approximately 3 inches.
  5. Take 10 steps like this, then do the same in the other direction.

To make this exercise more difficult, choose a band with a higher level of resistance.

For the best results, combine the activities listed above with these other tips for weight loss:

9. Work out regularly

Consistency is key to seeing results. Maintain an exercise routine that combines aerobic exercises and strength training for the best whole-body benefits.

The Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee suggest that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, weekly. They also recommend muscle-strengthening activities at least twice weekly.

10. Eat a balanced diet and practice portion control

To lose weight, a person must take in fewer calories than the body burns. This is called a calorie deficit. Practicing portion control is a quick way to do this.

Simple strategies for staying satisfied on a healthful diet may include:

  • filling up on fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils
  • eating lean sources of protein, including fish, tofu, and legumes
  • adding a source of beneficial fats to meals, such as olives, nuts, seeds, and avocado
  • avoiding processed foods and takeout meals
  • skipping sugar-filled foods and sodas
  • swapping refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, or white rice) for wholegrain versions (wholegrain bread, brown pasta, or brown rice)
  • drinking a glass of water before meals
  • chewing food slowly

11. Reduce stress

Experiencing stress can result in weight gain. A 2022 review notes that stress can cause weight gain by increasing levels of hunger hormones, disrupting sleep, and depleting energy levels.

The following tips can help a person reduce stress levels:

  • getting regular exercise, even if just a daily walk
  • eating a balanced diet
  • practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • breathing deeply
  • trying progressive muscle relaxation
  • spending time in nature
  • evaluating priorities and reducing sources of stress

12. Get enough sleep

Poor sleep quality may negatively affect metabolism and hormone levels in the body. Being tired can also lead to cravings for junk food and fast food. Together, these effects increase the risk of weight gain and make it more difficult for a person to lose weight.

A person can try to improve their sleep quality and duration by establishing a regular nightly routine. This may include aiming to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.

Some FAQs about losing butt fat may include:

Do squats make your butt smaller?

Squats are a suitable exercise for toning the butt. If a person is on an exercise regimen to lose body fat, performing squats may make the butt look smaller. However, if a person is on a workout regimen to gain weight, their butt will likely look bigger due to gaining muscle.

How can I slim my hips and thighs?

To help slim the hips and thighs, it is advisable to combine cardiovascular exercises and lower-body exercises that target the hips and thighs.

Can I get a bigger bum if I’m skinny?

It is possible to get a bigger bum with a skinnier frame. To do so, it is advisable to regularly perform strengthening exercises that target the glutes.

How can I tighten my loose bum?

To help prevent saggy buttocks, a person can perform exercises that aim to strengthen, tighten, and tone the gluteal muscles.

Specifically targeting fat loss on the butt is not possible. However, with regular exercise that includes aerobic activity and targeted toning exercises, losing butt fat is an achievable goal. For the best results, a person can use specific exercises, physical activity, and diet and lifestyle changes.

If these methods do not work, even with exercise and a healthful diet, a person may want to consider seeing their doctor. There may be an underlying reason for this, such as a thyroid disorder. It may also be helpful to work with a dietician, personal trainer, or both.