10 Exercises For Growing Glorious Glutes
Man or women, building strong legs and glutes is usually high on any fitness guru’s list. The exercises to grow your glutes are fun and rewarding when done correctly. The glutes are one of the largest muscle groups in the body, therefore it’s possible for just about anyone to add a little mass to their backside.
The key to building better glutes is doing compound exercises that target all three gluteal muscles (as well as the rest of your lower body) to stimulate muscle growth – this will help you develop strength and size. Also by isolating the glutes and performing exercises with a focus on angle and leg positioning, you'll be able to more effectively shape your booty.
Strong glutes, quads, and hamstrings are important because these muscle groups carry us through our daily activity. The stronger they are, the better you will feel. We will be skipping over your average squat and taking you straight to the good stuff and hopefully teaching you some new exercises you have never tried before. So get ready to set those glutes on fire!
1. Step Ups
Steps Ups are great for firing up your whole lower body and warming up the muscle groups, especially your glutes and quads. They also raise your heart rate for an extra bit of conditioning. making them an excellent exercise to kick off your butt routine.
To perform weighted step ups, stand facing a box, bench or step. The item should be tall enough that when you put a single foot on top, your knee forms a 90-degree angle and your thigh is parallel to the floor. Adding two barbell weights in each hand will increase resistance and make this glute exercise more effective.
Stand straight with your feet roughly hip-distance apart. Place your right foot on the step and press through your right heel as you push yourself into a standing position at the top of the step. Focus on engaging your glutes (mind to muscle - be aware of the muscles in use) and squeeze your glutes as you stand. Do not place your left foot on the bend at the top, but bend your right knee and lower your left foot back to the ground. Alternate by stepping up with your left foot. Perform three sets of 20 per leg.
2. Lateral Cross-Over Step Up
This is one of the compound exercises we were talking about that will fire up your entire lower body. It is a combination of a lateral step up and a curtsy lunge and will help target your gluteus medius - a muscle that helps with hip abduction and rotation. This exercise requires a bit of coordination and balance at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can be fun and challenging. We suggest adding weight to make it more challenging.
Stand to the right side of a box or bend with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Cross your right foot in front of you to place it on top of the box with your toes pointing slightly outward. Engage your core and glutes and press through your right foot to stand on top of the box while simultaneously bringing your left foot up and over the bench in a steady, controlled motion. Do not put your left foot on the box, rather bend your right knee, bringing your left foot to the ground on the opposite side. Then return your right foot to the ground in a standing position. Repeat the exercise, this time placing your left foot on the box to cross back over to the right side. Perform 40 total lateral cross-over steps (20 per leg) for 2 sets.
3. Goblet Squat With Resistance Band
While we wanted to stay away from your average squat, we did want to show you the best way to take your every day squat to a new level using a few simple tools. The squat is still one of the best compound exercise for building lower body strength targeting the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. While adding weight and a resistance band, we encourage proper squat form because while you hold a weight under your chin at your shoulders, you must maintain good posture and the resistance bands helps you keep your legs properly aligned and not over the toes.
To perform a goblet squat with a resistance band, simply grab a small band resistance band and step into the band pulling it up so it sits just above your knees. Stand tall, with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes angled slightly outwards. You should feel tension in the band, pushing your knees into the resistance. Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell, or weighted medicine ball in your hands with your elbows bent, cupping the weight at shoulder height or just under your chin. Look slightly upward and push your hips back, bending your knees to lower your butt towards the ground and keep your weight on your heels. Lower your glutes until your thighs are parallel to the ground and make sure your knees do not pass the tips of your toes.
From this position, press through your heels and straighten your knees to return to standing and really squeeze your glutes at the top of the exercise. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.
4. Romanian Deadlift
The goal in a Romanian Deadlift is to use as much weight as you can while maintaining proper form. If you don’t, you will need to do a higher amount of repetitions before you feel any of the targeted muscle groups fatigue. Start with a manageable weight and move up from there.
You can perform a Romanian deadlift using barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells.
Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart with your knees slightly bent. Hold the barbell in both hands in front of your thighs with your hands shoulder-width apart. Tighten your core, roll your shoulders back and keep your torso straight throughout the exercises. Do not hunch forward or overarch your back, you don’t want to pull a muscle doing this exercise. With knees bent and torso hinged forward, move to pick up the barbell. You should feel the tensions in the backs of your legs and glutes, these are the muscles that you should be engaged to pick up the barbell. When you feel a light stretch in the back of your hamstrings, stop the forward-hinge, tighten up your hamstrings and glutes, and use these muscle groups to pull your torso back to standing.
5. Single Leg Deadlift
The single-leg deadlift is best performed with weight to increase results however it does require coordination and balance sou practice doing the exercise without weight first. This exercise will isolate each buttock individually with also stretching the opposing hamstring allowing for better mobility and better balance overall.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Shift your weight to your right leg and extend your left leg behind you. Keep your eyes on a fixed spot to help maintain balance and tighten your core while engaging your supporting glute. Hinge forward from your hips keeping your torso straight and pressing your glutes back as you simultaneously lift your left leg off the ground, raising it behind you. It will feel like a pendulum motion - your torso hinging forwards and leg lifting backward. When you feel a stretch through your right hamstring (one on the floor) your body should form a “T”. Tighten your supporting hamstring and glute and return your torso to an upright position while bringing your foot back to the floor. Repeat the exercise with the same leg 15 times and then switch to the other leg for 15 reps. Try to do a total of 3 sets.
6. Weighted Hip Thrusts
Weighted hip thrusts are an ideal exercise for specifically isolating and targeting the glute muscles. Taking away the use of your upper thighs, it forces you to only use your glutes to perform the exercise, making it a great glute building exercise without bulking up your upper thighs as well. Using a barbell with added weight is ideal for this exercise, however, you can also hold a heavy dumbbell or medicine ball on your hips as well.
Lie back on a bench with your shoulders positions along the very edge of the bench. Your needs will be bent at a 90-degree angle with feet flat on the floor. Your weighted barbell will lay across your hips. Engage your core and glutes so your body starts in a tabletop position, your hips lifted. From this position, hinge your hips downward, dropping your butt towards the ground as you bend your knees. Lower your hips as far as you can without letting your butt touch the ground. Then, squeeze your glutes and press your hips up, lifting your body and the weight back to the starting position. You should feel the exercise directly in your glutes if you keep them squeezed through the whole motion and hold at the top for two seconds. Repeat for 15 reps, as much weight as you can handle comfortably, for 3 sets.
7. Glute Pull-Through
While this exercise does require a cable machine, it’s such a great exercise for your glutes that it had to make our top 10 glute exercise list. This exercise is perfect for isolating your glutes and building strength by adding heavier weight than what you would be able to do with body-weight.
It is easy to do this exercise wrong and takes some practice to master but once you get it, it will definitely give you the gains you’ve been looking for.
To properly perform a glute pull through, set the appropriate amount of weight and make sure you have a rope attached to the grip. Stand about 3-4 feet away from the machine with your back towards the machine, while gripping the rope between your legs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointing out, and with a straight back. You will be hinging down through your hips and pulling the rope through using your glutes, and hip thrusters. As you hinge down, do not move too far down and engage too much hamstring. When you hinge back up, make sure your pelvis is fully flexed forward to complete the full range of motion. Squeeze your glutes at the top as your push your pelvis all the way forward.
8. Bulgarian Split Squat
If you think Bulgarian split squats look easy then you have probably never incorporated them into your workouts. This exercise is great for targeting your stabilizer muscles surrounding your glutes to give you that lifted, rounded look.
There is a definite sweet spot as to where your supporting leg should be placed while doing the Bulgarian split squat. Too far forward, and you will be engaging your lower back too much and not your glutes. Too close to the bench and you will be limiting your range of motion and causing your knee to point out over your toe. The sweet spot will be somewhere in between. Use a mirror and go through lots of test moves before beginning the real exercise.
To begin, place the top of your left foot on a bench and hop out to about 3-4 feet away from the bench with your right foot flat on the floor. Keep an upright torso, eyes looking forward with arms extended in front for balance if needed. Lower your butt down until your thigh is parallel to the floor, checking to make sure your knee isn’t too far forward (if it is, you are too close, if you can see too much of your foot, you’re too far away). Return to the upright position by pushing through your heel and engaging your glutes at the top. Perform 15 reps on the right foot, and 15 reps on the left for two sets.
9. Weighted Stepping Lunges
There are many names for this exercise, lunges, farmers lunge, walking lunge, stepping lunges, but whatever you want to call it, it is a “glutes on fire” exercise. To get the most out of it, we suggest adding weight so you do not have to do such a high amount of repetitions to feel the results.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, neutral spine and keep your arms straight at your side through the exercise. While holding your dumbells in each hand, step out with your right leg far enough so your back and your working leg create a 90-degree angle and drop your left knee to the ground but don’t let it touch. Keep your back straight but not overarching. Push back to a standing position using your right foot and engaging your hamstrings and glutes at the top. Alternate which leg you perform the exercise. Complete 20 reps each leg for 3 sets.
10. Cable Kickbacks
If you are new and recently on the road to growing glorious glutes then you actually can do this exercise off of a machine with no weights. But if you want to increase the challenge then do it on a machine with the proper weight
To perform a proper glute cable kickback, set up a cable machine with an ankle strap or one you can place your foot into. Stand to face the machine, bend at the hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor and your butt is in the air and grip the machine for stability. Starting with the right foot, extend your foot out and upwards keeping your supporting leg slightly bent at the knee. The idea is to push more upwards into the movement rath than just straight backward. Squeeze the glutes are the top and slowly lower back to the starting position without letting your foot touch the floor. Perform 20 reps then switch legs and do another 20. If you are using heavy weight do 2-3 sets, and if you are doing lighter weight, try going 3-4 sets.