How to get started

Let’s face it: We weren’t all blessed with Beyoncé hips at birth. But don’t fret!

If a shapelier booty and hips are your goal, know that it’s possible with hard work and consistency. You won’t get it overnight, but you can tone your hips and derriere over time, shedding fat and achieving a firmer, rounder look.

All you’ll need to start is a light- or medium-weight dumbbell. If you’re a beginner, use only your bodyweight until your feel comfortable.

Then, pick five of the exercises below and complete them three times a week. Make sure you hit each at least once in a week’s rotation. Be sure to rest 30 seconds to 1 minute in between sets, too.

When these moves start to get easy, up the weight or add a set to continue to challenge yourself — your new booty will thank you.

Before we start: Reps are how many times you repeat an exercise. A set is the group of times you do that exercise. So if you did 10 reps for 3 sets, that means you did an exercise for a grand total of 30 times. Now let’s get going!

1. Side lunge with dumbbells

Working in different planes will help make the booty shapelier all around. Our bodies have three different planes of motion: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. Depending on which joint you move will determine which plane of motion your body is working. For example, this exercise will work the frontal plane.

  1. Start by standing straight, feet together, with a light- to medium- weight dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Leading with your right foot, begin to step out wide, directly to your right.
  3. Bend your knee and push your hips back. Drop your arms so they’re sandwiching your right leg.
  4. Keep your gaze forward.
  5. Prepare to return to start: Push off with your right foot and shift your weight to your left leg, returning to standing at center.

Do 12 reps on each side for 3 sets.

2. Side dumbbell abductions

This move directly targets your core and outer thighs.

  1. Start with your feet together with a light- to medium-weight dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Keep your right leg straight and begin to raise your leg directly out to your side. Allow the weight of the dumbbell to rest against your leg. Go slow and controlled, as high as you can take your leg.
  3. Slowly return back to center and repeat.

Complete 12 to 15 reps on each side for 3 sets.

3. Side leg lifts

Side leg lifts are similar to side dumbbell abductions, only you’re lying down instead. This move targets the hip and glute more directly.

  1. Lie down on a mat on your right side with your back, neck, and head in a neutral position.
  2. Rest your head on your arm, which should be extended above your head.
  3. Stack your legs on top of each other.
  4. Brace your core and begin to raise your left leg as high as you can. Pause at the top.
  5. Slowly return to starting position.

Do 15 reps with each leg for 3 sets.

4. Hip raises

This exercise is also known as a bridge. It’s great for your glutes.

  1. Start by lying on the floor. Keep your back straight and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be flat on the ground.
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing down.
  3. Breathe in and push through your heels. Lift your hips up by squeezing your glutes, hamstrings, and pelvic floor.
  4. Rest your upper body on your back and shoulders, forming a straight line down to your knees.
  5. Pause for 1 to 2 seconds at the top and return to the starting position.

Complete 15 reps for 3 sets.

5. Squats

This is one of the most fundamental moves to tone the lower body.

  1. Start in an upright position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your toes should point out slightly.
  2. Bend your knees and push your hips and butt back as if you’re about to sit in a chair.
  3. Keep your chin tucked and neck neutral. Drop down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Be sure to keep your weight in your heels and knees bowed slightly outward.
  5. Extend your legs and return to an upright position.

Complete 15 reps for 3 sets.

6. Squat kicks

These kicks can be a cardio move, too, so you get more bang for your buck.

  1. Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and arms bent out in front of you.
  2. Squat down, pushing your hips and butt back, until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. On the rise, kick your right foot out to the side as high as it’ll go — think kickboxing.
  4. When your right foot comes back to the ground, immediately squat again.
  5. Repeat with the left foot.

A single rep is 1 right kick and 1 left kick. Do 10 reps to start for 3 sets. Then move up to 15 reps for 3 sets.

7. Dumbbell squats

Follow the same steps as for squat kicks, but hold a dumbbell in each hand. The dumbbell should rest on your shoulders, just below your chin. This is a more advanced move, so start light if you’re a beginner.

  1. Start in an upright position, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed out. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Bend your knees and push your hips and butt back as if you’re going to sit in a chair.
  3. Keeping your chin tucked and neck neutral, drop down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. You should keep your weight in your heels and knees bowed slightly outward.
  4. Extend your legs and return to an upright position.

Complete 10 reps for 3 sets.

8. Split leg squats

These are also known as Bulgarian split squats. They work the legs and glutes and increase your stability.

  1. Split your stance and stand lunge-length in front of a bench.
  2. Rest the top of your left foot on the bench.
  3. Lunge on your right foot, keeping your chest up, until your left knee nearly touches the ground and your right thigh is parallel with the ground.
  4. Return to standing.

Complete 10 to 12 reps, then switch legs. Do 3 sets.

9. Sumo walk

This move is a great way to strengthen your quadriceps.

  1. Assume a squat position with your arms comfortably bent in front of you.
  2. Maintain the squat position and begin to step to the right.
  3. For an intense burn, stay low for as long as you can.

Walk 10 steps to the right, then 10 steps back to the left. Do 3 sets.

10. Hip-lift progression

When a standard hip lift gets easy, try a single-leg hip lift.

  1. Start by lying face up on your mat with your knees bent. Keep your feet on the floor. Face your palms down at your sides.
  2. Lift your right leg up off the ground and straighten it out in front of you.
  3. Keep your left leg bent.
  4. Press your left heel into the floor and lift your pelvis up toward the ceiling.
  5. When you reach a stiff bridge position, squeeze.
  6. Slowly lower back down to the ground.

Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch, and complete 30 seconds with the opposite leg up to round out this exercise.

11. Donkey kick

For optimal results, make sure that your back doesn’t sag so your glutes are doing the work.

  1. Assume the starting position on all fours, with your knees hip-width apart, hands under your shoulders, and neck and spine neutral.
  2. Brace your core and begin to lift your left leg. Keep your knee bent, with your foot staying flat and hinging at the hip.
  3. Use your glutes to press your foot directly toward the ceiling. Squeeze when you reach the top.
  4. Make sure your pelvis and working hip stay pointed toward the ground.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Complete 20 reps on each leg for 3 sets.

12. Chair and other yoga poses

A number of different yoga poses can target your glutes and hips, like chair pose. To practice Chair Pose:

  1. Start standing straight with your feet together and arms down by your sides.
  2. Keeping your feet stationary, bend your knees and send your arms straight out overhead. Your thighs should be as close to parallel as they’ll go.
  3. Keep your gaze straight ahead.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

Other yoga poses to incorporate are:

  • Locust Pose, which is great for strengthening lower back and glutes
  • Warrior I, which is basically a stationary lunge
  • Side Plank, which directly targets your hips

The bottom line

In addition to the right workouts, diet and genetics play a crucial role, so talk to your doctor and trainer about what’s possible for you. Be realistic about your expectations, but know that you can achieve your own Beyoncé body if you put in the work!


Nicole Bowling is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue.