Does leg press work for building glutes? Glute Leg press explained

If you’re on a booty-building mission, you might be wondering how best to use the equipment in your local gym to maximise your gains.  Using a leg press can be a great way to strengthen your hamstrings and work several if your leg muscles at the same time, but does leg press work for building glutes?

does leg press build glutes

The truth is, having a varied workout with correct form is the key to building voluminous glutes, not to mention a protein-rich diet and adequate rest days. In this article, I’m going to explain how best to optimise your leg press workout to help you grow fabulous, shapely glutes at the gym.

What is a leg press?

A leg press is a piece of conventional gym equipment, typically used to work the hamstrings and quads. If you’re a regular gym bunny you’re probably already familiar with this type of equipment, which consists of a bench and a customisable press that can be adjusted – according to your strength level – with weight.

A leg press is performed by sitting on the bench and pushing the press with your legs. As you can probably imagine, this piece of gym equipment is great for leg day.

Do leg presses make your bum bigger?

Yes and no. It’s true that working the leg press is going to help you build all the muscles in your legs and by extension, help you to build your glutes and increase the overall lean muscle in your body. However, the best moves for building your glutes are going to be movements that isolate the glute muscle, forcing the fibers to tear and therefore forcing your glutes to repair and strengthen, thereby increasing in size.

Leg presses can still make your bum bigger, provided that you’re pressing a weight that challenges you and makes you sweat (without pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, of course.) But for optimal glute gainage, you’re going to want to combine excellent form with a varied lower body workout.

Leg press form: how to do a leg press for glute gains

Leg presses work the hamstrings, quads, and the gluteus maximus, but you can employ a couple of tricks to help you focus the movement on your booty muscles:

Narrow stance

One way you can try to shift the exercise to benefit the glutes is by adjusting your position while seated on the leg press bench. Rather than performing a wide angle stance, adjust your feet to be closer together, no more than 3.5 inches apart. Perfect the angle by pointing your toes slightly outward, and perform your reps as usual. This will help fire the glute muscle and direct your efforts to your bum gains.

Push with your heels

If you’re familiar with doing squats and deadlifts for glute gains, you’re probably already aware that keeping your weight in your heels is key to isolating the glutes. The same applies to the leg press – if you want to use the leg press machine to maximise your glute volume, you should avoid pressing with your toes and try to focus your energy in your heels.

Pushing with your toes is going to redirect the movement towards the muscles in your calves, rendering the movement useless for glute gains.

Lift heavy and perform low repetitions

The best way to grow muscles (rather than tone up or elongate) is to perform low numbers of repetitions (10-15) with a heavy weight and controlled movement. This is the only way to truly isolate the muscles and applies to all strength training exercises. If you’re using momentum to throw your legs up, you’re not giving the muscle a chance to fully engage.

Try a single leg press

Another way you can increase the pressure on your glutes is by performing single-leg presses and squeezing your glutes as you go. Make sure to adjust the weight if necessary, and focus on form, rather on how much weight you’re pressing.

Glute activation

If you’re going to perform a lower body workout but you want your glutes to be the focus of your strength training, it’s a good idea to perform glute activation exercises before starting your routine. You can find glute activation exercises on Youtube for free, and they shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes.

Don’t forget to actively engage your glutes while using the leg press – squeeze your glutes and control your movement, as this helps the exercise reach your gluteus maximus and therefore help you to grow your booty.

Best Exercises for Building Glutes

While the leg press is a great machine for performing lower body exercises, there are other movements that you can perform in the gym that better isolate the booty muscles and will quicken your gains:

Hip thrust

Hip thrusts are great at isolating the glutes, and they can be performed in the gym using a hip thrust machine. Make sure to put your weight in your heels when performing a hip thrust, and focus on low repetitions with challenging weights.


Squats are great for building the glutes, with lots of different variations possible to target the glute muscles from every angle. Try adding sumo squats, wide-angle squats and ski squats to diversify your lower body workout.


While a deadlift might seem much easier than a hip thrust or leg press, this movement can deliver killer results – the key is simply upping your weights! Begin progressively and increase your weights as you get stronger – and don’t forget to engage your glutes while performing the movement.

Don’t forget to feed your glutes!

While working up a sweat in the gym and lifting heavy is essential for growing round, full glutes, you also need to help your glutes grow with a protein-filled diet and frequent rest.

It’s no use exhausting yourself in the gym to then eat a calorie-restricted diet and never give your body the time it needs to actually repair the damaged muscles. Take a rest day every 2-3 workouts, and never strength train the same muscle group two days in a row. If you want to keep active, switch to toning exercises or low-impact cardio on your rest days.


I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.

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