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Cardio for Your Butt, Hips and Thighs


Updated May 27, 2014

Your butt. You look at it, study it, poke it and even yell at it. You lament the effects of gravity, the donut you ate yesterday (the one that apparently bypassed every part of your body in favor of your butt) and even your parents for so thoughtfully passing on such a blubbery body part. There are some things, though, you can do to target your backside.

The Best Cardio for Your Butt

  • Walking

Walking activates your glutes and hamstrings, particularly as you walk up an incline (mountain, hill or treadmill). The plan: If you're on a treadmill, shake things up by increasing your incline periodically throughout your workout (i.e., increase your incline 1% every minute for five minutes, then reduce your incline in the same manner, repeating six or more times). If outdoors, find a long, medium-grade hill in your neighborhood and walk up it as fast as you can, then slowly walk back down and repeat 5 to 10 times. Add this type of workout to your weekly routine to burn more calories and work your butt and legs.

  • Sprints/Intervals

Have you ever noticed that sprinters have great butts? That's because sprinting is a powerful activity that requires incredible strength. You don't have to train like an Olympian to get a great butt, but you can introduce sprinting (also called "fartlek training") into your routine. The plan: On your next walk/run, choose an object in the distance and sprint to it as fast as you can. Slow to a walk until you're fully recovered and repeat about 5 to 6 times or try this interval workout.

  • Cycling

Riding a bike is an incredible exercise for your hips, thighs and glutes, whether you ride outside or indoors at a spin class or on a stationary bike. The plan: On your next cycling workout, pay attention to your technique; get your glutes involved by leading with your heel when you push down on the pedals. On the upswing, pull up on the pedal (if you've got foot straps) to make sure you're using every part of your legs during your workout. Isolations are another option: Increase your resistance, lift your butt off the seat and slowly pedal using ONLY your legs (your body shouldn't move or bounce).

  • Other Ideas

Other great cardio exercises that target your fanny include kickboxing and stair climbing. In kickboxing, all those kicks (side, roundhouse, back and fronts kicks) will target your butt, quadriceps and hamstrings. They will also help you with your balance and flexibility. Using the Stairmaster or Step Mill will also make maximum use of the glutes, hamstrings and quads.

While cardio is great for involving the legs, to really see results, you'll need some strength-training exercises. For ideas, check out these examples of exercises for the butt, hips and thighs.


Your Best Shoulders
Your Best Chest
Your Best Back
Your Best Biceps
Your Best Triceps
Your Best Butt


American Council on Exercise. (2003). ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 3rd Edition. San Diego, CA: American Council on Exercise.

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