Lunge your way to great glutes.
When building a bigger butt, lunges are a staple. The main functions of your butt muscles, or glutes, are to laterally rotate and extend your hips and to abduct your thighs. When you lunge, the hip extension that occurs causes your glute muscles to fire. Your glutes are activated even more when you do walking lunges since they are called upon to help you with the added element of balance.
Best Foot Forward
Start with bodyweight walking lunges before getting into the serious stuff -- more advanced variations. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward. Step your left leg out in front of you and lunge down until your right knee is just above the floor. Then, push forward forcefully and bring your right leg forward and then down in front of you for another lunge. Repeat this walking lunge pattern for a set number of reps or until you run out of room. Try to keep your knees facing the same direction as your toes, but don't necessarily fret if your knees extend over your toes; the idea that this is dangerous for everyone is a myth, according to Fabio Comana and Pete McCall of the American Council on Exercise. The amount of stress on your knee when moving past your toes depends on your limb length and range of movement and is different for everyone.
Once you have bodyweight walking lunges down, you can add more challenging variations to your routine. The dumbbell walking lunge is your next exercise. It is performed in exactly the same way as bodyweight lunges, but with the addition of a dumbbell in each hand. Barbell lunges are an even trickier customer, as you have to balance the bar across your upper back, which challenges your balance and control.
Stepping It Up
The challenge doesn't stop with weighted walking lunges. Holding a weight plate above your head makes for an even harder variation, while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell on one side puts you slightly off balance and can increase butt muscle activation of the weighted side. Just be sure to work both sides when doing this. Alternatively, trainer Ben Bruno of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning recommends the walking goblet lunge, performed in the same way but holding a dumbbell in front of your chest. For stronger individuals, Bruno also recommends wearing a weighted vest.
Your trailing leg only plays a minimal role on every step, so walking lunges work the muscles of your front leg much harder than stationary lunges, claims Tim Fritz in "Muscle & Fitness" magazine. To recruit your glutes even more, go for longer steps work rather than shorter ones, adds strength coach Christian Thibaudeau in "The Black Book of Training Secrets."