What exercises target the butt and thighs?

  My favorite exercise is the squat.  This one exercise targets the glutes, quadriceps and to a lesser extent the hamstrings.  Depending on your level of fitness you can perform the squat using just your body weight and progress to using either dumbbells or a barbell.  To perform the squat, with just your bodyweight, start with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing straight.  Keeping your back straight perform a deep knee bend making sure your knees are aligned with your toes.  Lower yourself to a point that your thighs are slightly higher than parallell to the floor.  Contract your glutes and quadriceps and return to the starting position.
Target your butt and thighs with an NASM classic "Leg Circuits". These circuits are not for the beginning exerciser but they will get your butt and thighs working instantly and give you a burn in your legs that let's you know they are really working.
The Leg Circuit is a functional routine that does not require any equipment. It begins with simple movements and gets progressively more dynamic with each exercise.

The Leg Circuit
Prisoner Squats  x 20 reps (Bodyweight squat with hands clasped behind head)
Side Lunges x 20 reps (10 each leg)
Front Step Ups x 20 reps (10 each leg)
Squat Jumps x 10 

Coaching Tips

- Perform the exercises in succession with no rest
- Keep a constant pace with each rep
- Maintain control and proper technique with each exercise
- As you fatigue focus on keeping your chest up throughout each movement
- If you have enough left for a second Leg Circuit rest 90 seconds between sets
- To spice up a regular workout try a Leg Circuit at the end of a workout as a quick leg routine and cardio conditioning circuit 
Eric Beard
Sports Medicine

Deadlifts and lunges! There are numerous variations to each of these exercises. If I were short on time I would use them in supersets (performed back to back with no rest in between) or as part of a circuit (performed consecutively with one or more other exercises).  You can use almost any form of resistance; bodyweight, dumbbells, barbell, kettlebell, exercise bands, sand bags etc. Try changing your repetitions, sets, speed of movement and rest period every couple of workouts.


Try this; hold a floor bridge for 60 seconds while engaging your glutes and abs, then perform 12 slow deadlifts followed by 6-12 slow alternating front lunges on each leg.


Rest for 45 seconds then perform 12 slow deadlifts followed by 6-12 fast alternating side lunges on each leg.


Rest for 45 seconds then perform 12 quick squat jumps followed by six slow rotational lunges to the right, then six slow rotational lunges to the left and cap it off with 12 slow deadlifts. This should give your butt and thighs all they can handle!


When it doubt HFPN coaches can guide you with an individualized program.

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
There are approximately 30 + muscles that make up the butt and thighs.  So, to get an overall workout I recommend supersetting (one exercise after the other) the following exercises:
Day 1
1. Bodyweight Squats
2. Front lunges
3. Side step ups

Day 2
1. Single leg squats (holding on to door frame for support)
2. Side lunges
3. Side Step ups

Day 3
1. Single leg squat touchdowns
2. Turn lunges
3. Front step up to balance

Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise. 

Exercise Tips:
1. Keep your belly button pulled into your spine during all exercises
2. Keep your feet straight
3. Keep your knee caps aligned with your second toe
4. Go slow on the way down
5. Focus on squeezing your butt muscles on the way up

NOTE: if you have questions please ask an HFPN coach for assistance
The best exercise by far is the squat.   You don't need weights to develope your glutes and quads.  The technique is easy to master and once you arr comfortable with them you can advance to jump squats to really fire it up.  Please make sure you have good form and balance before advancing.  

You don't have to be a fighter to feel like one. So let's train! 
Here is something to consider, when thinking of exercises that target your butt (big-house) and thighs. Think in terms of gravity against the muscles you desire to develop. It’s the ground's gravity along with the weight placed against the targeted muscles that causes the muscles to fire. So to get the most out of developing your butt (big-house) and thighs perform exercises that trigger the greater resistance without overloading the joints surrounding those muscles. For example, any squatting exercises whether using both or one leg will create the greatest resistance. To experience this, find a door with handles on either sides, or a pole you can hold onto. Place your left hand on one side and the right on the other. Lower your hips down towards your heels making sure your heels don’t lift off the ground. Notice how your thighs begin to fire on the way down. Now on the way up squeeze your butt (big-house) and thighs. Now notice how the resistance increases both in your thighs and butt (big-house).

Overtime, progress away from the door and perform the same movements without holding onto the door. Add artificial weight when you feel comfortable with the movements. The greatest resistance is when you progress to performing these movements with one leg fully extended in front of your body while lowering and raising yourself with the other leg.
Tina Whitlock

The single leg squat touch down is one of my favorite exercises for toning and strengthening the thighs and butt as well as improving balance.

Stand with feet parallel to each other shoulder width apart, place hands on hips with chest lifted and chin tucked in.  Squeeze you butt and balance on one foot, squat by bending at the hip and knee making sure to keep your feet and knees in line, now touch your toe with the opposing hand and return to starting position.  If you’re just starting out try doing 5 repetitions on each side daily until you can work your way up to ten and so on.

There are a variety of exercises that target the butt (glutes) and thighs (quadriceps).  

The glutes can be targeted by the following exercises:
- lunges (front and side)
- squats
- dead lifts
- step ups
- hip extensions
- superman
- glute bridges 

The quadriceps can be targeted by the following exercises:
- squats
- lunges
- leg extensions
- leg press

There are a variety of modifications (regressions and advancements) for each of these exercises.  Consult a Certified Personal Trainer for detailed instruction on how to perform each of these exercises safely. 
Fortunately, there are a multitude of exercises that target the butt and thighs. Squats, lunges, and step-ups are among some of the most common exercises selected to work the lower body. These exercises provide a challenge of using strength, balance, and core stability when performing them and have many different variations that can be selected to match any fitness level. The legs perform movement in all three planes of motion including sagital, frontal, and transverse movements (forward/back, side to side, and rotation). A comprehensive lower body program should include exercises from all three categories to help achieve the best results.

An example exercise would be a Dumbbell Wall Squat with a Stability Ball. Stand with feet spaced hip distance apart and place a Stability Ball against a wall and the arch of your lower back. Hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand at the side of your hips. Keep the feet parallel, lift the chest, draw-in your belly and squeeze your glute (butt) muscles. Flex at the hips and slowly sit or squat down to the height of a chair for four seconds. Press the heels into the floor, squeeze the glutes and press the hips back up to a fully extended, standing position while maintaining proper back posture. Repeat and perform for 12 to 15 repititions for 2 to 3 sets. For a more advanced challenge, perform this same exercise without the stability ball or by standing on one leg.
I am a strong believer in isolating muscles and giving them a deep burn in a little amount of time. To work your quads, put your back on a flat wall and slowly slide down until your legs are at a right angle. Make sure your knees are above your ankles. Now you are in IMAGINARY CHAIR. Bring your hands into prayer in front of your chest and stay there for up to 3 minutes. For variety wiggle your knees side to side one inch. Make sure your back is pressing flat against the wall and you are not shrugging your shoulders. To burn your butt, lie flat on your back and bring your knees up. Now your feet are flat on the ground. Cross your hands on your chest and bring your tailbone up as high as you can. Then drop it one inch—this is your highest point. Tap your butt back on the mat and bring it back up, every time curling your tailbone up-really squeeze. Do 50 of these. Then hold it up and pulse for 50, for variety leave your heels off the ground entire time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.