Before Kim Kardashian West was a business mogul, a beauty influencer, and a pop culture icon, she was known for her legendary butt. Kim has always been proud of her assets — she once got a butt X-ray on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians just to silence the butt truthers who said it was fake.
These days, Kim has put down her problematic waist-trainer, and is laser-focused on working out and building strength with her trainer, Melissa Alcantara, aka @fitgurlmel. As the story goes, Kim found Alcantara through Instagram, and was inspired by her "ripped" body. Now, she shares snippets of their workouts on Snapchat and often tweets about the killer sessions. So, when Kim tweeted "My 7 Steps to a Toned Butt," as a Kardashian stan, I was dying to know what she does and ready to try it.
Before I jumped in, I wanted to do my due diligence and get another trainer's opinion on the routine, because Kim is definitely not a fitness expert. I ran the workout by Lacey Stone, a certified personal trainer and FlyWheel instructor in Santa Monica, CA, who also happens to appear on Khloé Kardashian's workout show.
Here's the thing: While Kim's post focuses on the aesthetic benefits of working your butt, Stone told me having strong glutes is really important to your overall health. Your glutes work to stabilize your pelvis and help your hip joints move properly, she says. "When they're strong, your lower back doesn't bear the brunt of your motion," so it can prevent back pain. And if you're someone who suffers from knee pain, having a stable pelvis and strong glutes can also take pressure off your knees and prevent injuries, she says. So, ending up with a Kardashian-like butt after this workout is just one benefit of many.
This workout starts with simple glute kickbacks, but you have to do a savage five sets of 30 on each side. By the end of this, I was ready to throw in the towel, but it turns out this was a solid way to get my glutes warmed up for the next exercise: back squats with a weighted bar. TBH, while dumbbells and strength training are a big part of my workout routine, I typically don't use barbells because they're intimidating. But for Kim, I decided to try. Guess what? It was totally chill. Nobody looked at me weird, and I felt like I knew what I was doing.
The next exercise in Kim's routine is a "sumo deadlift," which is not something I had heard of before. To do one, you basically do a deadlift with a barbell, but turn out your toes (like a sumo squat). According to Stone, having a wider stance will work different muscles in your hamstrings, which provides a different effect on your glutes. Deadlifts can be tricky, but I liked this variation a lot, because it felt easier on my lower back than the regular kind.
From there, you transition to the leg press machine, but instead of placing your feet hip-width apart, you put them close together so that your knees are touching. This instruction was a bit of red flag, because having your feet closer together can put more pressure on your joints and make it more difficult to move the weight, Stone says. "There is no major advantage to doing the leg press with your feet together; it just works different muscle groups," she says. For me, it was a little too hard to successfully do the leg press with my feet together. If you need a challenge on this machine, it's probably best to use a heavier weight and keep a neutral stance in your feet so you don't sacrifice form.
Next up is weighted hip thrusts. For this move, you need a bench and a weighted bar. Basically, you do a hip lift but you have your head, neck, and shoulders on the bench, and you have a weighted bar across your hips. The workout calls for four sets of 15 reps, and it was hard. I recommend placing some kind of pad between the bar and your hips, because the weight hurt my hip bones.
After that, you transition to the hip abduction machine. Some people say this machine can be somewhat dangerous, because it places a lot of weight on small muscles, and doesn't really mimic movements you'd do IRL. There are plenty of ways to work your butt and hips by just using your bodyweight, so that's something to consider. After all the butt work I had already done, this machine felt like a torture device.
To end the workout, you do four sets of 30 calf raises, which really brought me back to my days as a ballet dancer. Calf raises might seem random for a butt workout, but if you squeeze your glutes at the end of the movement, it does help stabilize your body and work more muscles. Finally, for the grand finale, you jump on the StairMaster for a brutal 20 minutes at level six. Walking up the stairs from the subway station felt just peachy after that.
So, is this actually a good workout?
The day after I did this workout, I was I-can't-walk-or-sit-down sore — it was that hard. By the third day, it felt significantly easier, and I'm definitely going to use some of these strength moves in my own workouts a few times a week. Truth be told, I hadn't really ventured into the weight room at my gym, because I prefer to hide in the studios where the dumbbells are. But Kim gave me the courage to pick up a barbell.
I've always admired the way the Kardashians prioritize fitness in their lives, but this routine gave me newfound respect for all the work Kim puts into her workouts. It kicked my wannabe-Kardashian ass.