Strengthening your gluteal muscles has more benefits than helping you get that dream beach body. If you sit all day in a chair at the office your gluteal muscles can feel numb or even a little sore due to the lack of exercise.
To avoid this issue and to help you get a sexy bottom we asked Minuca Elena to reach out to 40 fitness experts and ask them the following question:
Feel free to choose any of the recommended workouts or to select only some of the exercises that you like. There is no harm in combining the workouts according to your needs.
Because your butt is made up of three main muscles: the gluteus maximus (your cheeks), the gluteus medius (at the top of your butt), and the gluteus minimus (at the sides, towards your hips), this glute workout will have you building muscle and burning fat using fast-paced strength moves.
Round 1: Kettlebell swing to goblet squat – 3 sets of 12 reps, with 60 seconds rest between sets.
Kettlebell swings are a full-body power generator and just about the best exercise for butt strength you can find! Adding a goblet squat delivers an extra supercharge for your glutes and legs.
Round 2: Deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps, with 60 seconds rest between sets.
Deadlifts are the best glute burner and a booty-building classic – if you get the form right. Start by lifting only the bar to lock in good technique, and make sure you’re feeling it in your glutes and hamstrings before adding weight.
Round 3: Wide stance leg press – 3 sets of 12 reps, with 60 seconds rest between sets.
To strengthen your glutes in the gym and shape your lower body, be sure to pay a visit to the leg press machine. Taking a wide stance position shifts emphasis to your inner thighs and glutes, to deliver booty benefits similar to a sumo squat.
Round 4: Dumbbell deficit reverse lunge – 3 sets of 8 reps, each leg, with 60 seconds rest between sets.
Deficit training – when you add a platform to an exercise to increase the range of motion and the time your muscles spend under tension – is a variation we probably don’t use enough when it comes to growing glutes. Deficit lunges are a great way to pump up your posterior chain.
Two of my favorite glute-building exercises are variations of the lunge and step-up! The hip thrust gets a lot of attention and is a powerful exercise for building big, strong glutes, I really like the feeling of doing unilateral work and isolating one cheek at a time.
It helps me notice & correct imbalances from one side to the other and there are plenty of variations to keep things interesting.
I mostly do total-body workouts these days so I would use a lunge exercise and a step-up exercise to anchor two separate circuits and add in some push/pull exercises for the upper body to round things out.
After a full-body lift in the 6-12 rep range, I might add a quick glute burnout circuit using mini-bands or just bodyweight and higher reps to eek out a little more work, for example, 3 rounds of 25 frog pumps, 15 clamshells per leg, 20 donkey kick pulses per leg.
Table Top Kicks (optional weight)
Add the Diagonal: Table Top Lunge and Kick
S3: Simple Slow Squat
3 sets of 10-20 SLOW squats, with minimal resting time in between.
Option: Instead of lowering the leg, the focus is moving the leg backward. Starting in Low Lunge, simply and slowly bend and straighten the leg. Only your back knee is moving, the front lunge remains still while you focus on the back hamstring, moving back and out.
Be sure to stretch the backside of the body well after any muscle strengthening exercise.
Deep forward folds, a figure four with one foot near the knee cap (standing, seated or on your back), lunge side to side, ensure that you stretch the glutes from every angle.
I love adding Romanian deadlifts to my clients’ strength programs. They are one of the most effective exercises for building strong, sculpted glutes.
In addition to shaping your booty, deadlifts target your hamstrings, hips, lower back, and core. To really get the most out of this exercise, don’t be afraid to lift a little heavier!
But, if you’re a beginner, I’d recommend you start bodyweight or with light weights until you make sure you feel comfortable with the exercise, and your form is perfected.
Concentrate on the mind-muscle connection when you perform the exercise and squeeze your glute muscles while doing it.
When you include Romanian deadlifts in your weekly routine, you will be amazed at how much stronger you become.
Ah glutes!! Yoga is slim on poses for the glutes, with the exception of bridge pose.
Instead, I suggest that you get back to the gym and fire up your glutes with a variety of squats and lunges.
In your lunges, it’s okay to hinge slightly forward at the hip joint to target the back of the leg and buttocks. Keep your weight in your heels and knees aligned over your ankles to keep your knees happy.
Walking lunges, lunges, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, step-ups, goblet squats, curtsy squats…all these beauties are excellent for strengthening the glutes. Under the guidance of a trainer, add weight (your glutes will thank you).
After your workout, stretch your glutes with some yummy yoga poses such as reclined thread the needle, deer pose, gomukhasana (cow faced pose), and agnistambhasana (fire log pose).
Most people spend a lot of time sitting, which means their glutes are weak or underworked. If your glutes aren’t working properly, it affects your ability to move and can cause knee and low back pain.
Your glutes actually have three muscles. The gluteus maximus is responsible for hip extension and lateral rotation of the thigh. The gluteus medius controls the movement of your leg away from your body and balance.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three muscles and helps with walking and rotating your legs.
To build your glutes, you need to do exercises that target all three muscles.
Common exercises are squats (traditional and narrow), fire hydrant, single-leg step-ups, side squats, glute bridges (traditional and single leg), Bulgarian split squats, Romanian deadlifts, lateral pistol squats, sumo squats, squat jumps, and box jumps.
The best way to strengthen and grow your glutes is by consistently doing exercises that target them a few times a week.
Allow at least 48 hours after a strength workout for recovery and repair. Gradually increase your reps while maintaining proper former to prevent injury.
The best exercises and workouts to build your glutes are compound movements that allow you to lift heavier weights, such as squats and deadlifts, and then accessories exercises using lower weight and higher reps.
You will want to target your glutes at least 2-3 times each week on non-consecutive training days. Other exercises that can help grow your glutes are hip thrusters, Bulgarian split squats, hyperextension with a glute focus, and bridges.
While doing exercises with heavier weights is important, you’ll want to supplement with higher reps and lower weight by doing exercises like walking lunges, plie squats, and cable kickbacks.
In addition to tough workouts, ensuring you have enough rest and getting adequate amounts of protein and calories in your diet is essential to building your glutes.
The best exercise for building glutes is the barbell bridge (sometimes called a hip thruster). The barbell bridge is a progression from a bridge. Anyone who has exercises before has done a bridge.
But, most people do not bridge properly. They can do the motion just fine but they do not feel the movement in the proper area.
A bridge, and all of its variations, should be felt, almost exclusively, in the glutes (your butt). This is a must before loading up the bar for barbell bridges.
So, if you bridge properly, light your butt on fire with some barbell bridges.
Single-leg exercises like lunges and rear-foot elevated split squats (RFESS) are also great for smoking the glutes. But, like the bridge, too many people butcher the technique and develop knee pain, not more supple glutes, as a result.
To maximize the benefit, and minimize the risk, of the single-leg movements, focus on your hips and glutes throughout the movement. Understanding and demonstrating a proper hip hinge is critical for this but that is a different topic for a different day.
The muscles that make up the glutes are the basis for lower body strength and power as they act to extend the legs at the hip.
Also, with their rounded shape, they help to give the lower body a curved contour below the waist that is attractive and fashionable.
One should thus exercise the glutes for strength, whether for sports, recreation or performing daily chores and activities, and to improve their appearance.
The best exercise to develop the glutes is squats, where one descends deep enough so that the tops of their thighs are deeper than parallel to the floor. The glutes get the most work and development when you go deep through a full range of motion.
Squats can be done with just bodyweight, but you can squat with a dumbbell doing goblet squats or with a barbell on your back to do even more weight. Bodyweight and goblet squats should be done for two sets in the 10-12 repetition range.
Heavier barbell squats should be in the 6-8 rep range. They can be done twice a week, but allow at least three days between sessions so that your body can recuperate.
After squats you should do two sets of 10-12 reps of donkey kicks, with just using your body weight or by adding resistance with bands, 2 lb. ankle weights or a specialized donkey machine if your gym has one.
Finally, do five 20 yard sprints. Doing these will work your glutes from different angles and even give you some cardio benefit. After a month of this routine, you will begin to notice a bounce in your step and an improved appearance, which others will notice too.
There are a lot of great exercises if you are trying to build your glutes, but two of my favorite are the Bulgarian split squat and the glute bridge.
Also, I believe these exercises are a great glute-combo because they are a perfect pair together in a “superset.”
The Bulgarian split squat, also referred to as the rear-foot elevated split squat, is a single-leg exercise that has demonstrated incredible EMG activity for the glute muscles when researched.
The Bulgarian split squat is also great for hamstring and quadricep development and is one of the best leg exercises overall. You can do Bulgarian split squats with your bodyweight only, or you can hold weight in your hands.
The glute bridge is a simple bodyweight exercise that targets the glute and lower back muscles, and also helps with hamstring development.
The glute bridge is especially great for helping you learn to contract the glute muscles, and it is a great exercise to do before heavy exercises like the back squat or deadlift.
You can use a miniband around your knees or squeeze a medicine ball between your legs to make the glute bridge exercise a bit more difficult.
The glutes are an important muscle group involved in most big human movements – lifting, running, jumping, throwing, grappling, striking, and beyond.
As well as being a hefty power source, the glutes play a key role in stabilising the pelvis, protecting the spine while heavy lifting, and supporting general postural hygiene.
A few of my favorite ways to build glute strength include:
The squat is a fundamental resting position for fully able-bodied humans. It’s also one of the best ways to build glute strength and size.
Not everyone needs to perform heavy back squats to get the benefit.
Bodyweight and kettlebell goblet squats can be extremely valuable for both beginners and more advanced athletes.
All manner of deadlift variations and kettlebell swings provide a sizeable amount of glute activation.
They are also amongst my top picks when it comes to building or maintaining general strength, athleticism, and muscle mass.
3. Glute Bridges
The glute bridge or hip thrust can be a useful alternative or supplement to hinges and squats.
It involves laying down on the floor, placing a barbell across your pelvis, and thrusting your hips to the sky. Bands can also be used for additional resistance.
4. Split Squats
The split squat is an excellent tool for developing the glutes in a split stance position.
It’s also a useful prehab exercise for many athletes, helping to improve hip mobility and pelvic stability (when performed safely).
The split squat can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell or body weight. It can be made easier by elevating the front foot onto a raised surface of 1-2ft, or harder by elevating the rear foot.
Over many years of different physical training routines and fitness pursuits, I’ve found that a simple 2 move kettlebell workout is one of the quickest and most effective ways to build the glutes.
The workout is simple – alternate between kettlebell swings and kettlebell goblet squats, performing 10 reps of each for a total of 5 rounds.
These exercises target the glute muscles perfectly and if you remain consistent with this complex for a few weeks, you will definitely notice a change in your glute strength and size.
I love using exercise bands for glute work. The bidirectional resistance provided by the band, helps you connect with both abduction (moving a limb away from the body) and adduction (moving a limb towards the body).
Plus, the binding of the band in conjunction with its elasticity, can be a useful tool in exercising stability against movement.
Here are my go-to glute exercises:
1) Hairpin (with band) – Lay on your side. Bend your knees to about a 90-degree angle. Stack your hips, knees, and shoulders. Wrap the resistance band around the middle of your thigh. Stretch your top leg long, keeping it parallel.
Lift your top leg up one inch and down. Be sure to hover your top leg over your bottom one the entire time.
Do this for 30 reps. This exercise will target your abductor muscles (the muscles that move your leg away from your body)
2) Glute Kick back – Come down to hands and knees. Place the ends of the band under your hands, then place the band around the middle of your right foot. Start to press back your right foot until your leg is straight, then draw your knee back in toward the ground.
Do this for 2 sets of 20 on each side. This will work the hamstrings and gluteus maximus (the back of your leg)
3) Glute wraps – Come down to your side, propped up on your left forearm. Wrap the band around the center of your right foot and hold the two ends of the band with your right hand. Press your right hand into the ground for stability and stretch your top right leg long underneath you.
With your abdominals pulled in tightly, flex your foot, and begin to take tiny wraps back with your heel (to the wall behind you) This exercise will target the side of your leg (abductors) and the largest glute muscles in your back body (gluteus maximus).
Do this for 30 wraps on each side.
4) Clam shell – Lay on your side stacking your hips and shoulders. Bend your knees to about a 45-degree angle. Wrap the resistance band around the middle of your thighs.
Open and close your top knee. Press your outer thigh against the band on the way up, then slowly lower your leg with control, and against gravity on the way down.
Do this 30 times on each side. The press of the outer thigh against the band will challenge your external rotation as well as help you balance your strength between the inner and outer thigh. This will target the Gluteus Medius, the muscle that plays an important role in stabilizing your pelvis.
5) Bridge – Lay on your back with knees bent, feet hips width apart and parallel. Lay the center of the band across your hips. Press your hands into the band on the floor.
Lift your hips against the band squeezing the glutes. Then, gently lower them back down to the ground. This will target your lower posterior chain muscles. Do this for 2 sets of 30.
The best way to build glutes is to use your body weight for traditional movements. As you perfect your form, you can add weights to make the moves more challenging.
LUNGES: step back until the front knee stacks over the front ankle. Lower the back knee as far as is comfortable, then switch out legs and repeat. To add weight, use dumbbells, a weighted bar, or a barbell with plates.
TRADITIONAL SQUATS: separate your feet a little wider than hip-distance and sit back as you would into a chair. Keep the weight firmly in the center and the back of your feet.
Tighten your abs and point your tailbone toward the floor as much as possible. Inhale as you sit back, and exhale as you stand back up. Repeat as many times as you can. Increase weight with a weighted bar or barbell with plates.
ATTITUDE LEG LIFTS: This exercise can be done standing, on all fours, or laying belly down. Bend one leg and point the knee to the side and away from your body (so that your floating foot ends up behind the knee of the straight leg).
Lift your leg up and behind you, leading with your knee (not your foot). You will not be able to go very far, but that’s normal. This exercise will lift your lower glutes, and round out the top part of your butt. To increase weight, use ankle weights.
Lunges are the most underrated exercise to build glutes. While everybody knows the basics like squats or split squats, people frequently avoid the lunge.
Here’s the thing, lunges are one of the most important exercises you can do to not only build glutes and your whole lower body but avoid serious back pain.
Many of my friends that try to get big glutes in the gym frequently run into problems with lower back pain. The problem is, when you specifically target glutes and quads but ignore your hamstrings and hip abductors, you’ll run into serious back pain issues.
Lunges will fix this. Lunges help create that important ‘balance’ in your legs, they build your: glutes, hip abductors/adductors, hamstrings, calves, and balance.
Having strong balance and strong hip abductors will help you squat heavier and easier, while simultaneously making your whole lower body look way better. The hamstrings really ‘complete’ the lower physique, and without them, your glutes won’t show as much.
Using lunges to build big glutes and hamstrings will seriously make your glutes ‘pop’ and show off your hard work.
My favorite way to work out my glutes is different exercises in yoga, Pilates, and barre. All three of those workouts include fantastic glute work.
In aerial yoga, you can use a hammock to work the glutes. You lay on your back on your mat under the hammock; put one or both ankles in the hammock; lift your hips to the sky and squeeze and hold or go up and down.
Your legs in the hammock in this way can either be straight or you can bend your knees. When doing this on the floor without the hammock, you bend your knees to push your hips up.
The inversion of the hammock is a way to turn the floor version up a notch. A way to do this at home would be to use something sturdy such as a heavy bench or chair to put your legs on.
Standing at a barre doing basic straight leg lifts and little leg circles while your leg is lifted to both the side and back (with toes both pointed and flexed) is another great go-to option and can be done anywhere.
If you’re having a busy day you could multitask by doing some simple barre exercises simply standing at your kitchen sink doing leg lifts and circles to the back and the side while you’re doing dishes.
Your glutes are powerful muscles whose primary job is to pull your leg behind you (the technical name for this move is hip extension).
Here are some of the most effective exercises that target your glutes:
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. Brace your abs (important, because you do NOT want to change the shape of your spine while you perform this exercise). Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to smoothly press your hips toward the ceiling.
If you’re strong and flexible enough, press your hips high enough so that there’s a straight line between your knees and your shoulders. Do not arch your back to push your hips up higher. Use good control as you lower your hips back down towards the floor — no dropping or flopping!
A weighted bridge, also known as a hip thrust, is also a very effective glute exercise.
Start in a similar position as the floor-based glute bridge, but this time your head and shoulder blades go on a bench or chair instead of the floor. Feet planted on the floor about hip-width apart, place a barbell or other weighted object across your hip bones (feel free to use a pad or towel for comfort).
Perform the same move as the floor bridge — brace your spine (do not arch!), smoothly flex the glutes and hamstrings to press your hips up towards the ceiling. Use good control as you lower your hips back down towards the floor.
The Romanian Deadlift is one of the great glute builders of all time. Begin in a standing position with perfect posture, feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees 20 degrees and keep them bent at that angle throughout.
Lean your hips and upper body forward (called “hinging at the hips”) keeping your spine stiff as a board — do NOT allow your spine or shoulders to round forward. When your pelvis can no longer lean anymore, flex your glutes and hamstrings to pull yourself back up into the upright position.
Everything from the bottom of your butt to the top of your head should remain as one stiff piece the entire time — no movement of the spine or knees.
A faster more explosive version of the Romanian deadlift is the kettlebell swing, so once you’ve mastered the slow, smooth Romanian deadlift, you can challenge yourself with the more explosive swing.
Getting “in tune” with your glutes can be challenging at first, since sitting most of the day can overstretch and weaken your glute muscles. For starters, try this glute activation drill:
Stand facing a wall, pole, car, or another sturdy vertical object. Stand on one foot (you can put a hand on the object for a little balance assist if you need it) and put your pelvis into a small anterior tilt (butt backward, hip bones tilt forwards). Now squeeze your glute to pull your pelvis upright (or even slightly backward if you can).
Do not arch your back or move your leg, it’s the pelvis that is supposed to move. Think of it as a clock pendulum with the round ball as your ‘sit bones’ (technically called the ischial tuberosities) and the other end as your hip bones (the superior iliac crests).
You tilt your pelvis back and forth like a pendulum, from anterior tilt to posterior tilt, the whole time really trying to feel your glutes engage to do the move. For extra credit, put one or two hands on the wall as resistance against the pelvic pendulum.
Don’t forget your “side butt” — the hip abductors! The easiest way to target these is to lie on your side and do straight-leg raises (just like Jane Fonda in the 1980s).
You can vary this exercise a little by changing the rotation of your thigh — do some reps with your kneecap and toes turned slightly inward (which is towards the floor when you’re lying on your side) and some with your kneecap and toes turned a little bit out (towards the ceiling).
Keep your pelvis perpendicular to the floor during all variations — the “cheat” is to turn your hips facing up.
If you notice a big difference in strength between left and right hips (very common), do more work on the weak side until it catches up to the other, then you can work both sides evenly. You can add ankle weights after 20 reps is too easy.
Brisk walking is great for the glutes, as are squats.
And consistency is key.
DO it regularly.
And of course, eat well too.
Building your “rear chain” of muscles, including your gluteus maximus, the largest muscle of the buttock and hips, helps you stay strong and upright.
Strengthening this muscle can help you avoid low back pain and hip problems, as well as help prevent knee issues.
There are many exercises that involve the glutes, and most start on the floor, in a non-weight-bearing position. Start with a bridge, which is a hip extension exercise. Lie on your back, feet flat and lined up with your shoulders.
Lift your hips up from the floor counting to three (do not arch excessively) and hold the position lower slowly with a count of 3. Repeat.
Squats are another way to work the opposing muscle group, the quadriceps, and also work the gluteus Maximus.
To work more of the glutes in a squat, stand with your feet just outside shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly (10 degrees) so that when you bend your knees out, they extend over your feet but not beyond them.
Do this with a chair behind you (stabilized) until you develop muscle strength, so that as you push your hips backward and your butt backward as you lower (as if sitting in the chair).
Keep our knees out, rather than allowing them to turn inward, and focus on squeezing your glutes as you rise back up.
This takes practice, but as you get more confident, you can increase your range of motion until your thighs are parallel with the floor at the lowest point of the squat.
It’s not so much what exercises you do, but rather how you do them. Squats are always a great default to building better, stronger glute muscles.
But to turn up the heat on a squat, try adding an element of balance to it, like lifting one or both heels in varying foot positions, and always ensure you sit back rather than forward in your squat to load the glutes more effectively.
Secondly, I love Heel Beats. Lying prone with an engaged core, lifting your legs, and moving from the hip bring your heels to touch. Pulse fast, pulse slow, pulse narrow, pulse wide, and to top it off, bend your knees to 90 and raise the roof by pressing your heels to the ceiling.
Finally, as a yoga teacher, Warrior III is a fantastic booty builder when done correctly.
Pro tip: When practicing Warrior III, bend the base knee and work to square the hips down to the floor and then draw out on the base hip fold to enhance glute activation. Now flex the floating foot and rotate the knee and toes to point down.
Most clients I see spend too much time doing squats and other exercises that strengthen their quadriceps or thigh muscles. Focusing on our glutes is a good way to improve our overall strength, our ability to move, even our posture.
Two of the best exercises to strengthen the glutes are straight leg deadlifts and glute bridges.
The straight leg deadlift is a hip hinge. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forward, keeping your back straight. Your knees will bend slightly. You should feel stress in your glute muscles.
If you feel most of the work being done in your lower back or hamstrings, adjust the depth of your knee bend. You are essentially pushing your hips back, then pulling them forward.
With a glute bridge, lie on your back, knees up and your heels as close to your butt as possible. With your arms at a 45-degree angle on the ground, lift your hips up as high as possible.
Squeeze your glutes like you have gas in church and hold for as long as you can. If that becomes easy, lift one leg in the air and lift your hips off the ground with the other leg.
My top two favorite glute exercises.
Single-Leg Roman Deadlift: In this exercise, the individual will hold a weight anywhere from 3-10 pounds with both hands. Then the individual will stand and balance on one leg. While balancing, the person will hinge forward on the hip, keeping the knee and back straight.
The individual will hinge forward and feel a pull in the glutes and hamstring. Then while maintaining form, the person will come back to upright while balancing on the leg. This will be repeated 15 times on each leg and repeated for 2-3 sets.
This exercise works the glutes eccentrically, making them stabilize the body and extend it back to upright. This exercise is also used for high-level core stabilization training.
Single Leg Step Down: To perform this exercise, start by standing on a chair or workout bench. Hang one leg back off the edge of the bench and balance on the other leg. While controlling the knee and staying upright, slowly bend the knee (of the balancing leg) lowering the body towards the floor.
Then before reaching the floor, engage the glutes and straighten the knee. This exercise works the glutes by using body weight and balance.
Back Squat: The back squat has greater forward lean than the front squat increasing the muscle activity and involvement from the glutes
Semi-wide stance Romanian Deadlift: A slightly wider stance during the Romanian Deadlift leads to greater glute activation compared to a narrow stance.
Hip Thrust: The hip thrust elicits the highest glute activation compared to the back squat and split squat. It can also be loaded the heaviest leading to potentially greater tension of the glutes.
Best Glute Workout
A1) Hip Thrust 3 x 8, 1 x 15
B1) Back Squat 3 x 8
C1) Romanian Deadlift Wide Stance 4 x 10
It’s best to attack glute training from multiple angles.
First, they are one of the most useful muscles groups in the body, helping us with balance, speed, power, strength, and looking good. As such, we should train them in larger, more complex movements, such as deadlifts, squats, and lunges.
Deadlifts, squats, and lunges are best placed in the first half of a workout. You want your body to be fresh when doing multi-joint, large muscle movements. This ensures the best possible lifting technique for maximizing glutes and staying healthy.
Once the whole body is tired at the end of the workout, simpler movements are necessary to push the glutes to maximum fatigue.
Isolation exercises such as the glute bridge, single-leg glute bridge, and hip thrust work well here. They are easier to perform correctly and allow a tired trainee to push their glutes to the limit.
The key is to keep tension on the glutes.
The biggest mistake people make is that they arch the low back which causes less glute recruitment and more risk of injury.
So remember, to maximize your glutes: start with bigger movements like deadlifts, squats, and lunges, then move to isolation movements like glute bridges and hip thrusts.
Everyone wants a tighter rear and often wind up feeling frustrated with lack of results. Here’s a big tip.. you’ve gotta turn the glutes on first!
Often our glutes get weak and when that happens, our quads love to take over and we wind up with imbalance with our lower body muscles even with consistent exercise.
Most have heard squats and lunges are great for your buns and thighs and I won’t argue with that.
However, activation of those glutes before those exercises will really help maximize your glutes firing and working, enhancing greater range of motion while supporting stronger, safer lifts.
Try these simple exercises: lateral banded steps (choose moderate intensity with band), floor or stability ball bridges ( be sure to tighten/squeeze your glutes before pressing up; think pinching a penny with those buns).
Other glute activation exercises would be banded hydrants and banded donkey kicks/rear leg extensions. Performing these glute activation exercises will help maximize results with squats and lunges supporting all of your lower body muscles getting a workout.
Make no mistake, glute activation is an awesome way to ensure your glutes get a great workout!
When it comes to building glutes, it’s best to remember that they respond well to variety. This means a variety of repetition ranges as well as exercise selection.
Since the glutes are made up of three muscles that all work together, they perform a few different functions. For best results, you want to target multiple functions throughout the week.
Below are three wicked glute exercises that can be done in a gym or at home.
This can be done with a dumbbell, barbell, resistance bands or all on it’s own. It primarily targets the gluteus maximus (the largest glute) and can be used with other training methods (adding pauses, training unilaterally, etc).
Place your back against a bench (or couch) so that the end of the bench lines up roughly with the mid to upper back.
Hips should be hovering over the floor. Push through the heels, squeeze the glutes, and lift the hips towards the ceiling. Keep your eyes facing forward so that the upper back is slightly rounded and not extended over the bench.
Squeeze the glutes to lockout and then release the tension and bring your hips towards the floor.
Another exercise that can be done using weights or just your own body weight.
Using a bottom step or yoga blocks, stand upright on the step.
Step one foot backwards onto the floor and begin bringing the knee down towards the floor as you hinge the upper body forward slightly. Pause at the bottom and then reverse the movement extending the hips back into standing position.
For this exercise, you’ll need a mini loop or resistance band.
Standing upright you can place the band around the top of the knees, below the knees or over the shoelaces for different tensions.
Hinge forward slightly keeping a flat back. Stand on one foot as you move the other foot sideways using your glutes to push against the band. Step down and continue this process one way before completing the same motion on the other side.
The best way to grow your glutes is to practice building strength with compound lifts and adding in additional volume. This means you’ll challenge yourself at low, medium, and higher rep ranges.
Three exercises that are great for growing the glutes are the barbell back squat, walking lunges, and reverse hyperextensions. Use each exercise in a slightly different load and rep range to get the best results.
Take the time to learn the back squat, and it will pay you back in spades. Use the squat as the foundation of your strength, lifting heavy in the range of 2-5 reps
Walking lunges allow you to get quality volume. As you lunge, focus on pressing your big toe into the ground and driving up with the glutes. Hold dumbbells when you are ready for extra resistance. Aim for 8-12 reps per leg.
Reverse hyperextensions are fantastic for your posterior, both for physique and building strength to prevent injury. Quality reverse hyperextension machines are hard to find in commercial gyms, but it is worth finding a gym that has one. Aim for moderate weight and impeccable form in the 8-10 rep range.
For a long time, squats were considered the gold standard glute exercise by fitness experts. In today’s fitness circles hip bridges have surpassed squats in the battle of booty-building, but you really need both because they’re complementary exercises.
Studies comparing glute activation in squats and hip thrusts via EMG have shown that squats are most effective for strengthening the glute max in a lengthened position while hip bridges (especially banded hip bridges) are best for improving glute max strength in a shortened position.
So while you can get away with doing just hip bridges or just squats, if you want to maximize your glute max workouts you’re going to need both an exercise that works the glutes in a lengthened position (i.e. squats, lunges, or Romanian deadlifts) as well as one that works them in a shortened position (i.e. banded hip bridges or modified side planks).
Final note: if you’re hitting the glutes solely for the booty gains, squats should be your main focus as studies have shown that squats lead to twice as much glute hypertrophy (growth) as hip thrusts/bridges.
While the movements are an important component, you aren’t going to get the booty you’re working for if you ignore the mind-butt connection.
Anytime during the day that you’re standing, like while you’re doing the dishes, practice contracting the muscles of one butt cheek so that your body gets used to this movement.
When you kick into workout mode, your first move should be activating those glutes the same way and keeping them activated through each move. Barbell hip lifts will kick your butt into shape the fastest because they target solely the glutes. Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat.
Lean your upper back against a bench. Place a barbell across your hips and hold it with both hands. Pushing through your heels, raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Slowly lower the weight back to start. That’s one rep.
You want to do eight to ten reps for four to five sets, gradually increasing the weight throughout until you reach muscle fatigue.
The best exercises that build glutes are a combination of movements that include all planes of motion, levels of resistance, and repetition schemes.
Moving forward & back, side-to-side, and rotating helps develop your glutes at different angles. Utilizing bands, your bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells can provide tons of variation for training.
Lastly using strategies as eccentrics, pauses, pulses, drop-sets, pyramids, partial reps, and clusters are just a small sample of how you can alter your intensity for your workouts.
My top three exercises for developing glutes are: kettlebell swings, seated band abductions, and barbell hip thrusts.
With kettlebell swings, make sure to avoid squatting the motion. The goal should be to swing that kettlebell where “the sun doesn’t shine” and thrusting with your hips while driving on to your heels to swing the kettlebell forward. You shouldn’t be concerned how high the kettlebell swings up – focus on the contraction and glute squeeze.
Seated band abductions offer more development of the top of your glutes, particularly if you can push yourself to that burning point.
Barbell hip thrusts allow one of the greatest opportunities to load up with resistance in a hip-dominant movement. Even though it is predominantly a bilateral movement, the variations mentioned can provide a training environment that never makes you bored when working out.
One of my personal favourites for pumping glutes is the lesser-known Romanian deadlift. This variation of the popular workout targets your posterior chain, in particular, hamstrings and glutes. The best way to do it is by adding some weight to the table, be it a barbell, dumbbells, or whatever you have at your disposal.
My advice would be to apply anywhere between 60 to 80% of your single rep max. Do sets of 8 to 15 repetitions.
Instead of going all the way down, as you do with conventional deadlifts, go down until you feel your glutes stretching. Between the stretch and resistance training, your bum will grow and curve the way you want it.
Other popular exercises worthy to mention include:
Glute exercises do so much more than just lift and tone your bottom, but also reduce back, hip, and knee pain, stabilize your hips, and simultaneously support your torso for a straight, and strong posture. The secret is to work the bigger and smaller glute muscles in one glute workout.
The outer layer muscles, such as the Gluteus maximus, give a beautiful, lifted, firm, and strong shape to the bottom, while smaller muscles such as the Gluteus Medius are often neglected,
A great combo series is to start with the clam exercise focusing on your Gluteus Medius, followed by classic squats with a resistant-enough band wrapped around your legs to target the Gluteus Maximus while also indirectly targeting the Gluteus Medius.
Well, it’s hard to separate the glutes from the hamstrings as both will work together in most exercises.
If you have a glute day, do at least one exercise that involves a hip extension (e.g., Romanian deadlift) and one that involves a knee flexion (e.g., leg curl). Here are some great glute exercises, though of course other muscles will get involved too.
In a nutshell,
I wish you the best, smart gains.
There are numerous exercises one can do to build up and maintain beautiful glutes. Some of the easiest ways to do this in a gym setting are by running or using an elliptical machine.
If you like outdoor exercise through seasonal sports this can also be achieved by activities such as snow boarding or ice skating in the colder months or by rollerblading and bike riding in the warmer weather months.
And if you want to build glutes without even leaving the comfort of your home you can do this by simply doing squats. And to kick it up a notch you can use a weight when doing your squats to bulk up and add more resistence.
With the building popularity of the fitness industry and its aesthetic appeal, it’s seemingly more common for clients wanting to build their glutes. So, here’s the best way to build them!
Firstly, break your glute training up into 3 different planes: vertical, horizontal, and rotational/lateral.
This ensures you train all fibres of each of your gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, & gluteus minimus).
The planes of movement
1. Vertical glute training exercises: Squats, step ups, bulgarian split squats, walking lunges.
2. Horizontal glute training exercises: Deadlifts, hip thrusts, glute bridges, frog bridges, cable pull through, standing cable kickbacks.
3. Rotational/lateral plane exercises: Banded lateral walks, clams, side lying leg abductions, standing cable side kicks, seated hip external rotation machine.
How many exercises from each plane
Combine an even number of exercises each to build symmetry in your glutes, e.g. 2 from each plane, making a total of 6 glute exercises for your workout.
How much to do of each exercise
Vary your intensity of load and reps – perform an even split of high load low reps (1-5 reps), moderate load with moderate reps (8-15 reps), and low load with high reps (20 reps +). I.e., perform 2 exercises in each rep range.
Hope this helps you to build bigger glutes & design your own workout!
In order to build your glutes, you need a combination of exercises to address what the glutes do and hit them in different positions. This means we want to perform some sort of squat or lunge movement, a hinge or deadlift movement, a bridge, and then an isolation-type exercise.
This will cover all the actions our glutes perform and hit the muscles in different ways.
To fill each of these categories we can do the following:
1. Goblet Squat
2. Single Leg Deadlift
3. Barbell Hip Thrust
4. Lateral Band Walks
Besides your traditional squats or weighted squats, think about doing Bulgarian split squats or pistol squats.
These two types of squats only use one leg, which means in addition to working on your gluteus maximus, you will have to use the gluteus medius and minimus as well, among other leg muscles.
Bulgarian split squats are easier to do than pistol squats, you can do both with just bodyweight or add dumbbells or kettlebells to increase the difficulties. Both exercises can be also be done anywhere you wish.
You can start doing 3 sets of 10 reps of Bulgarian split squats or 2 sets of 5 reps of pistol squats and you will be able to see a difference.
The best exercises to build glutes are compound exercises and explosive leg movements. Anyone who wants to emphasize their glutes, whether for strength or size, cannot overlook such workouts.
It’s widely acknowledged that our gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle across our body, and with that size means access to more power.
Don’t underestimate how much weight your glutes can handle and aim to overload them with compound and explosive leg-targeted exercises such as squats, lunges, jump squats, sprints, and any other jump or explosive motions.
Outside of hitting the genetic jackpot, it’s not coincidental that short distance runners (that is 50 to 400 meters runners) have some of the best glutes you’ll ever lay your eyes across.
Their sport involves a lot of explosive and burst motion, and all that comes from strengthening the legs and glutes to be able to build that power.
If you’re short on ideas on what exercises to do, looking up some of these athletes’ workouts can be a great reference point.
The rear foot elevated split squat
This exercise challenges your balance, which gets you working your core. Your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes are challenged unilaterally, which is helpful for your running, which requires you to drive off of one leg with each stride.
This exercise is similar to Pilates and a strength workout, building strength in the back, core, hamstrings, and glutes. It can be less evident but there is also a stretch that occurs in the hip flexors, quads, and torso.
Once again building the glute and hamstring strength. Stronger back and core muscles will improve your posture, keeping you upright as you fatigue which keeps you running and breathing more efficiently.
Exercises I saw have the best results in terms of building glute strength and shape were:
These exercises place a great deal of emphasis on the glute muscles, as the deeper you go into a squat movement the greater the glute activation. Curtsey lunges not only effectively work the glutes but increase stability and muscular proprioception.
I would typically put these exercises into groups of 3-4 sets of 10 to 20 reps. The 10 set rep ranges were used for people wishing to increase the strength and size of the glutes, whereas higher rep ranges were used for weight loss related goals.
Glute bridges were my firm favorite, as they allow a large amount of weight to be placed specifically through the glutes, which as the largest and strongest muscles in the body, require a great deal of volume to elicit gains in size and strength, and in turn, improvement in shape.
There are several ways to build that perky booty that is all the rage these days. However, doing hundreds of reps of lightweight or banded exercises simply is not going to get you the results you want.
If you truly want to build some beautiful glutes, you need to pick up some heavyweights. Some of our favorites include sumo deadlifts, squats, Bulgarian split squats, and barbell glute bridges.
While some lighter exercises (ex. banded clamshells and lateral band walk) are great for strengthening specific glute muscles and preventing injuries and muscle imbalances, without the heavier exercises, you will never get the glutes you are hoping for.
Finally, we need to touch on cardio. Cardio will not help on your quest to build nice glutes. In fact, many types of cardio will have the opposite effect!
For example, running is a very popular way of getting in some cardio. However, running, especially long distances, will actually BREAK DOWN muscle….including in your glutes. The result is a flat, droopy, “pancake booty” that no one wants!
In summary, if you want great glutes, pick up some heavyweights, make sure you are eating enough (especially protein!), and don’t overdo the cardio.
The best exercises and workouts to build glutes are compound exercises that involve hip extensions, such as leg presses and barbell squats. Alternating between squats and leg presses is a good plan. For example, do squats for a month, then do leg presses for a month.
Compound exercises (moving more than one joint) stimulate more growth hormone and testosterone than isolation exercises. The optimal range of repetitions for building muscle mass is 6 to 12. Resting at least 2 minutes between sets will allow you to handle a greater load and build more strength and muscle.
The best time to do strength training is between 4 pm and 6 pm; this is when the body temperature peaks and the muscles are most pliable. The resistance should be increased in small increments weekly.
Doing cardiovascular exercise and strength training on different days will allow for better strength and muscle mass outcomes since cardiovascular exercise interferes with strength training if done in the same workout, or on the same day.
One exercise I highly recommend to my students is hand and knees leg raise pulse. Regular pulsing helps in tiring the muscles around the glute area while activating them. This brings proper blood flow to the lower region of your body which helps in building glutes.
This yoga works on the whole body while targeting the glutes and core to give it a chiseled and toned look. This works by helping you burn calories and giving your muscle flexibility.
Since it targets the muscle around your core, glutes, and back, your posture gets corrected which helps you to get a neutral spine. Through this, you won’t don’t only get stability but also increase muscle strength. This might be a little tough if you’re a beginner as it needs a high level of firmness to help relax your rigid muscle.
With regular practice and dedication, you’ll see a visible difference in a couple of weeks. Doing this even 10 mins a day can do wonders for your whole body.
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