You think butt workouts on land are hard? Swimming is already a full body workout that uses almost every muscle group, including the three muscles that make up the butt: the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. Movement through water, whether swimming, kicking, jogging or treading, presents your muscles with resistance, which helps to strengthen them. You can recreate a lot of cable resistance exercises in the pool because of the way the water resists you. No matter which direction you move in, it’s always pushing against you as opposed to gravity, which is always pulling you down.
If you plan to use swimming exercises to firm and shape your booty, target the butt muscles using a variety of swimming strokes, drills and other in-water workouts. Remember to stretch before working out, even if it’s in a low impact environment like the pool. Most people tend to underestimate the importance of warming up before exercising. Although it is tempting to jump right into the pool and just start swimming, there are many reasons to spend time warming up before you take the plunge. We explain the importance of a dynamic warm up here and provide the best warm up exercises for swimmers. Now that you’ve warmed up, it’s time to try these butt workouts out!
1. Tread Water
A variation to treading water, this exercise can help firm and tone your butt. To perform this exercise correctly, get into the deep end of the pool. With a slight bend in your elbows, hold your arms out to your sides, cup your hands and tread water by sculling. To scull, making small infinity circles with your hands. While keeping your left leg straight, lift your leg until it is parallel to the bottom of the pool. Keep you right leg straight and perpendicular to the bottom of the pool. Point your toes and hold the position for five seconds. Quickly switch your legs and hold for five seconds. Continue to alternate your legs ever five seconds for a total of 30 seconds. Concentrate on tightening your butt muscles throughout the exercise.
2. Kick Your Butt Off
This exercise focuses on your lower-rear core muscles, the glutes, and can also help improve your kicking technique. Start at the shallow end of the pool with a kickboard. Hold the bottom edge of the kickboard with both hands and position the kickboard flat on the surface of the water in front of your body. Extend your arms and push off the wall of the pool with your feet. Keep your head above the water, perform a flutter kick and propel yourself to the opposite end of the pool. Keep your kicks small and fast. Envision holding a large coin between your butt cheeks and keeping it there for the length of the pool. This only requires a light squeeze of your butt muscles. When you reach the opposite end, rest one minute and repeat the exercise back to the shallow end. Perform five laps.
You can use more than one kicking style for a challenging butt workout. Dolphin kick, a kick used for the butterfly stroke, provides a continual though not as strenuous level of resistance to the gluteal muscles. However, the best kick to use is the freestyle or flutter kick mentioned above as it uses the gluteal muscles and the hip flexor muscles continually.
3. Noodle Frog Kick
The kick of the breaststroke (frog kick) targets the upper butt and outer butt into the hips. Most of us learn to focus our strength in the upper body, so if you have trouble switching up remove the arms entirely by using a noodle or kickboard to support the upper body while you work out. Your glutes and quadriceps are primary used during this kick. So squeeze your glutes and thighs tight as you kick, create movement from kicking your lower legs.
This exercise is performed in the shallow end of the pool from one side to the opposite side. Place the noodle under your armpits and across your chest. Lean forward into the water and lift your legs to see if one noodle is sufficient to keep your upper body afloat. If not, place a second noodle under your armpits. Lean forward into the water and extend your arms straight out ahead of your body. Push off the bottom of the pool, keep your head above the water and perform the frog kick to propel yourself through the water. Turn around and return to the starting side of the pool. Perform five laps. If you don’t have a noodle, hang on to the edge of the pool and perform the frog kick.
4. Use Fins for Fitness
Step up kicking your butt off with fins. Fins are a great way to add even more resistance to your butt workouts. Fins can be worn during the flutter or dolphin kick. Use fins while swimming or while doing kicking drills, but be sure to add extra distance to your workout to account for the faster speeds achieved by using fins.
An alternative way to use fins in the water is to tread water, essentially kicking in an upright position. With your head out of the water and your body in a vertical position, alternate leg movements to do a flutter kick, or move both legs in unison to do the dolphin kick. Both kicks work out your gluteal muscles as well as your thigh muscles, which may help to create the look of a toned butt. For an added challenge use short blade fins, a special fin designed to mimic the shape of the foot, improving endurance and increasing leg power.
5. Jog It Off
A long-time favorite of competitive runners, water jogging uses the same movements of regular jogging with the added resistance of moving through water. Use a flotation belt to stay afloat and focus on your technique. For a challenge, try jogging without a belt. Like other swimming and kicking strokes, an effective water jogging workout uses intervals of different speeds to push your endurance and strength to the limits. Water jogging exercises the gluteal muscles as each leg extends in front and behind you.
6. Underwater Skiing
Your buttocks, arms and thighs are targeted with this butt workout. You move your legs and arms in a similar way to cross-country skiing, except the movements are done underwater. Start this exercise by standing in chest-high water with your feet hip-width apart. Push off the bottom of the pool and simultaneously move your right leg forward and your left leg backward in a scissor-like motion. At the same time, move your left arm forward and your right arm backward slightly behind your body. When you feel your feet contact the bottom of the pool, hop up and switch your legs and arms. Continue to hop and switch your legs and arms for three minutes. Concentrate of keeping your butt muscles tight while performing the exercise.
7. Jump Squats
The pool makes jumping exercises, such as the jump squat, easier on your joints. When you land, there’s very little impact on your knees and back. When you jump up the water gives you some extra resistance, so your glutes have to work a little harder than with a normal jump.
Body-weight squats work your glutes when you’re on dry land, but there isn’t enough resistance when you’re in a pool. That’s why you have to make them more intense by jumping. The water absorbs most of the impact from the jump, which means these are very joint-friendly.
In waist deep water, start in a sitting position with your legs spread comfortably. Bend at the knees and keep your back upright. Jump and come back down into the same position, do 10 reps at a time.
8. Leg Lift (Kick Back)
You can do this with a pool noodle or with the wall of the pool. Stand next to the side of the pool and hold on with one hand to your side. Flex your butt muscles to really make the most out of this workout. Lift your leg out behind you, keep it straight and hold the position for five seconds. Lower your leg slowly, don’t touch the pool floor, hold it there for a second. Still without touching the floor, lift the leg out to your side, keep it straight and hold the position for five seconds. Bring your leg down again, holding for a second before lifting your leg out behind you. Repeat the lift and lowering motions to the back and side. Do 10-20 reps on each side.
Don’t forget to stretch post-workout. Stretching post-workout is important because when we swim, we use all of our muscles rigorously. You don’t want to be in pain during your future butt workouts. When we leave the water, our muscles are left in a warm and contracted state. If untreated, they can feel sore and stiff later on in the day. Therefore, it is important to relax and reset your muscles to their natural position by stretching for 10-20 minutes after each session. Check out our article on post-workout stretches to learn more and see which stretches you should do!