Best Glute Exercises to Increase Strength and Size
It's a common goal amongst women to grow bigger, rounder glutes. However, many don't know that it takes a lot of time and patience to strengthen and grow the glute muscles – but it's worth it!
Growing stronger glutes is beneficial for aesthetic reasons aside. For example, they play a crucial role in everyday activities such as walking, running, and jumping. Not to mention, a strong and toned backside can improve your posture, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance your overall athletic performance.
So, whether you're a fitness enthusiast or just looking to improve your daily life, building strong glutes is a worthwhile goal. In this article, we'll go over some of the best exercises for targeting your glutes and give you detailed instructions on how to perform each one. Get ready to fire up your backside and take your fitness to the next level!
Squats are a classic exercise that work the entire lower body, including the glutes. However, this variation is excellent at targeting the glutes because the wider stance keeps your hips externally rotate to promote greater glute activation.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground and your weight in your heels.
- Begin by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, as if you were sitting down in a chair.
- Go as low as you can while maintaining good form, then push through your heels to return to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Deadlifts are great at strengthening your glutes, but the Romanian deadlift is even better at targeting the posterior chain. So, definitely include deadlifts and this variation on your leg days!
- Stand with a shoulder-width or narrower stance on a shallow platform with feet flat beneath the bar.
- Bend knees and bend over with your lower back straight to grasp the barbell with a shoulder-width overhand or mixed grip, shoulder-width or slightly wider. Lift weight to a standing position.
- Begin to lower the bar to the top of the feet by bending the hips. Bend knees slightly during descent and keep waist straight, flexing only slightly at the bottom.
- With knees bent, lift the bar by extending at hips until standing upright. Pull shoulders back slightly if rounded. Extend knees at the top if desired.
Barbell hip thrusts
When it comes to glute growth, hip thrusts are a must! Hip thrusts are a more advanced exercise for targeting your glutes, but they are highly effective. If you're new to barbell hip thrusts, we suggest starting with glute bridges which are still a great glute-building exercise.
- Sit on the ground with your back against a bench or step and your knees bent.
- Roll the barbell back and center over the hips.
- Place your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Drive your hips up towards the ceiling, using your glutes to lift your torso off the ground.
- Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, then lower your hips back down to the starting position.
Bulgarian split squats
This is another squat variation that is great for glute growth, plus it is a single-leg exercise so it adds the challenge of working one leg at a time.
- Stand about two feet in front of a bench or stable surface (facing away from it) with your feet hip-distance apart.
- Place your right foot on the bench behind you and place the top of your non-working foot on the bench so the ankle is hanging off the edge.
- Check to make sure that your feet are roughly hip-distance apart or slightly wider. Being directly behind your front foot will make balancing difficult, so you may need to hop or move your front foot to find a well-balanced foot placement.
- Once you found your ideal foot placement, engage your core, keep your chest high, take a deep breath, and begin to bend your left knee so that your right knee and ankle naturally bend as you move down. You should feel a stretch in the front of your back-facing leg and in the glutes of your front-facing leg.
- Once your left quad is roughly parallel to the ground, use the back foot for balance and drive through your front foot to raise your torso back to the starting position. Focus on using your left quad and glute to power back up.
Step-ups are a simple but effective single-leg exercise for targeting the glutes. This exercise can be done with a bench, box, or step, and can be made more challenging by adding weights.
- Stand in front of a bench or step with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place one foot on the bench and press through that foot to step up onto the bench.
- Step back down with the same foot and repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch legs.
Lunges are an excellent way to isolate the glutes and target each side of the body individually. There are many variations of lunges, including forward lunges, reverse lunges, and side lunges. We recommend including all variations to target multiple muscle groups in your lower body.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold one on each hand at your sides.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and take a large step forward with one foot.
- Bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground, keeping your front knee directly above your ankle.
- Push through your front heel to return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
Cable glute kickbacks
Compound exercises are great for glute growth, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't include isolation exercises! Cable glute kickbacks help isolate the glutes so that other muscle groups don't come in and carry the heavy loads.
- Wrap an ankle strap around your right foot. Stand facing the weight stack and grasp the cable tower for support.
- With your knees slightly bent and your abs drawn in, slowly kick your right leg back until your hip is fully extended back with your glutes contracted.
- Pause for 1-2 seconds, then slowly bring your right leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps and switch to the other leg.
Resistance band lateral walks
This makes for a great warm-up exercise before you start training your glutes! They help isolate the gluteus medius and hip abductors.
- Place a resistance band slightly above your knees and place your feet at shoulder-width.
- Set a slight bend in your knees while you keep your chest up. Slowly step to the side with the right foot while doing a squat.
- Pause then step with the left foot in the same direction as the right. Do the same with another leg.
Remember to engage your core and maintain good form throughout each exercise. Aim to do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise, incorporating them into your weekly workout routine for best results.
Start maximizing glute growth!
Muscle growth takes time, and it's not any different for the glutes, but doing the above exercises will help get you on the right track to stronger and bigger glutes. But it's not only what you do in the gym, it's also what you do outside of the gym! Make sure to eat enough protein and healthy carbs to help sustain optimal muscle growth.
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