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Five Must Do Glute Exercises

Five Amazing Exercises To Tone & Grow Your Butt!

By Erica Stibich Published 

Your buttocks are composed of three muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. This group of muscles is not only some of the most powerful in your body playing a critical role in foundational movements such as jumping and sprinting, but they also determine the shape and appearance of your buttocks. If you are looking to increase muscle mass or tighten your glutes, here are 5 great exercises to incorporate into your routine:

  1. Squat
  2. Dumbbell Walking Lunge
  3. Barbell Glute Bridg
  4. Glute Kickback
  5. Bulgarian Split Squat


The squat is a foundational exercise that works your full body but targets primarily your thighs and butt. Proper form is extremely important when performing squats so make sure you practice without weights and perfect your body positioning before moving on to weighed squats.

  • Position your hands evenly on the bar. Make sure you are looking at the center of the bar to evenly distribute the weight.

  • Duck under the bar and place it at the desired position: high bar (bar rests on the top of the posterior deltoids at the base of the neck) or low bar (bar rests at the lower portion of the junction of the trapezius and posterior deltoid region).

  • Lift the bar with your legs and not your back.

  • Take a step back and align your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart.

  • Start the lowering phase of the movement by unlocking your hips and pushing the backwards until your knees start to bend.

  • As your butt sticks out, lower your body while keeping your back straight and your chest upright.
  • Lower your body all the way to the ground focusing on opening your knees wide to prevent knee injury. You should go as low as your flexibility allows and progress towards getting your hips below your knees.

  • Make sure to look straight ahead to maintain a neutral spine.

  •  Bring your body back up by pushing through your heels.

  •  Repeat the movement 10 – 15 times.

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You can perform this exercise using your bodyweight but for an added challenge, increase the resistance by using a weighed vest or dumbbells.

  •  Start by picking up a pair of dumbbells or putting on a weighed vest.

  • Stand up with your feet parallel under your hips or about 1.5 feet apart.

  • Take a giant step forward with your right leg. Keep in mind that longer steps target your gluteus maximus while shorter steps create more quad activation.

  •  Lower your body until your knees are bent 90 degrees while keeping your forward knee above your forward foot.

  • Push your body back up using your forward heel.

  • Repeat the movement with the left leg.

  • Target 10 - 15 repetitions for each leg.

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Glute bridges are a great glute activation exercise and can be performed with one or two legs. In this case, you will be adding resistance to stimulate muscle growth.

  • Set up a barbell with the desired weight.
  • Lie on your back and pick up the barbell placing it across your thighs close to your hips. Depending on the amount of weight on the barbell, you might need assistance. If you are unsure, always take the safe route and have a spotter pick up the barbell and assist you with its placement.

  • With the barbell in place, bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor, hip-width apart.

  • Tighten your core to help your back stay flat on the floor. Keeping the core muscles engaged will also prevent back overextension during the upward phase of the movement.

  • Using your heels, slowly push your hips off the ground tightening the glutes and hamstrings until you've created a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. In order to prevent lower back injury, do not over arch your back which will typically happen if you try to go as high as possible.

  • Return to the floor slowly.

  • Repeat 1-0 – 15 times.

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Thee movement on this exercise directly targets your butt muscles. Start by using your bodyweight but, as you progress, make the exercise more challenging by using resistance bands or ankle weights.

  • Start in quadruped position (on your hands and knees).

  • Contract your core to stabilize the spine.

  • Lift the right leg as high as you can while keeping the knee at a 90 degree angle.

  • Keep your glute contracted the entire movement.

  • Lower the right leg back to the original position.

  • Repeat the movement 10 – 15 times.

  • Switch to the left leg.

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This is exercise increases the challenge by placing constant tension on the working leg as you keep the second leg on top of a bench. In order to target your glutes, the working leg should be placed as forward as possible from the bench, otherwise the quads will do most of the work.

  • Pick up a pair of dumbbells and hold one in each hand.

  • Stand with your back to a bench.  

  • Place one foot up on the bench.

  • Move your front foot forward until you are in a lunge position.

  • Slowly lower your body until your back knee is close to the ground and your front leg is at a 90 degree angle. Make sure your forward knee stays above the forward foot to prevent knee injury.

  • Push your body upwards using your front heel until you return to the original position.

  • Repeat the movement 10 – 15 times.

  • Switch to the other leg.  

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