If you’re looking to give your glutes a serious boost, you’re not alone. A strong, well-toned butt isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also a key factor for overall body strength, good posture, and even injury prevention. The gluteal muscles—the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus—are among the largest and most powerful muscles in the body. Engaging them properly through exercise can lead to improved performance in sports, better support for the lower back, and, of course, a more shapely rear view. Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or a home-workout enthusiast, there are numerous exercises that target the gluteal muscles. Here’s a breakdown of the best workouts for your butt, why they work, and how to do them correctly.
Why They Work: Squats are the quintessential exercise for glute building. They engage the entire lower body and core, including your glutes, thighs, and calves.
How to Perform: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as though sitting back into a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees behind your toes. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Variations: Try sumo squats, split squats, goblet squats, or barbell back squats for added difficulty and engagement.
Why They Work: Lunges are superb for targeting the glutes and are especially good for working on balance and coordination.
How to Perform: Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. The back knee should hover above the ground. Push through the heel of your front foot to return to the start.
Variations: Add walking lunges, reverse lunges, or lateral lunges to your routine to keep it challenging.
Why They Work: Deadlifts are excellent for developing the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, contributing to a stronger posterior chain.
How to Perform: Stand with feet hip-width apart with a barbell or dumbbells in front of you. Bend at your hips and knees, take hold of the weight, and lift up by straightening your hips and knees.
Variations: Romanian deadlifts and single-leg deadlifts can provide a unique challenge to your glute workout.
Why They Work: Hip thrusts isolate the glutes without over-engaging the thighs, making them one of the most effective exercises for glute development.
How to Perform: Sit on the ground with a bench behind you. Roll a barbell over your hips and lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it. Drive through your feet, extending your hips vertically. Squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the movement.
Variations: Single-leg hip thrusts or using resistance bands can increase the intensity of the exercise.
Why They Work: Step-ups are fantastic for mimicking real-life movements and improving functional strength, directly targeting the glutes and hamstrings.
How to Perform: Find a step or bench, and place one foot on the elevated surface. Push through your heel to lift your body up, bringing the other leg to meet your leading leg.
Variations: Add a knee raise at the top of the step-up to increase the difficulty and add a core challenge.
Why They Work: Similar to hip thrusts, glute bridges activate the glutes in a way that many other exercises cannot match.
How to Perform: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
Variations: Elevating your feet or shoulders can intensify this movement, as can adding a weight plate or dumbbell on your hips.
Why They Work: Clamshells target the often-neglected gluteus medius and minimus, essential for hip stability and side-to-side movements.
How to Perform: Lie on your side with your legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Keeping your feet together, raise your upper knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis. Pause, then return your knee to the starting position.
Variations: Add a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees to make it more challenging.
Why They Work: This unilateral exercise greatly challenges your balance and coordination while providing an intense workout for your glutes.
How to Perform: Stand a couple of feet from a bench or raised platform. Extend one foot back and rest it on the bench. Squat down by flexing the knee and hip of your front leg. Your torso should remain upright and your front knee in line with your foot.
Variations: Hold dumbbells for added resistance or adjust the height of the rear platform to change the intensity.
Why They Work: Cable kickbacks target the gluteus maximus and help in sculpting the backside by providing constant tension through the cable machine.
How to Perform: Attach an ankle cuff to a low cable pulley and then to your ankle. Facing the machine, brace your core and kick the cuffed leg straight back as far as you can without moving your lower back.
Variations: Perform this exercise using a resistance band if you don’t have access to a cable machine.
Why They Work: Fire hydrants are excellent for targeting the outer glutes and hips, as well as improving core stability and strength.
How to Perform: Get on your hands and knees (in tabletop position). Keeping your knee bent, raise one leg out to the side, keeping the hip stable. Lower it back to the starting position.
Variations: Add a resistance band around your thighs or ankle weights to increase the difficulty.
Why They Work: Box jumps develop explosive power, cardiovascular fitness, and engage the glute muscles in a dynamic and powerful way.
How to Perform: Stand in front of a sturdy box or platform. Bend into a quarter squat and then propel yourself up onto the box. Land with both feet on top, then step back down and repeat.
Variations: Vary the height of the box to adjust the intensity or add weighted vests for an extra challenge.
Why They Work: Both disciplines include movements that are excellent for toning the glutes while also improving flexibility and core strength.
How to Perform: Incorporate poses and movements like the Pilates single-leg kick, yoga’s warrior series, and the bridge pose.
Variations: Use props such as yoga blocks or Pilates rings to enhance the exercises and provide more resistance.
Building a better butt with workout is not just about the aesthetic benefits—it’s about health and functional strength. Incorporate these exercises into your regular fitness routine to target all three gluteal muscles from different angles and with various intensities. Remember, the path to achieving your best butt is not only about the exercises you do but also how you do them, what you eat, and how you recover. Stay consistent with your workouts, be patient with your progress, and most importantly, listen to your body to prevent injury and promote longevity in your fitness journey.
Stay up to date on the latest men’s health, fitness and lifestyle trends and tips.
Men’s Fit Club was started with the goal of empowering men to get the most out of their lives. This meant going beyond exercise and diet tips to really address the broad range of issues that men face on a daily basis – topics like recreation, finding love, sexual health and even sound fashion advice.
© COPYRIGHT MEN'S FIT CLUB 2023. All Rights Reserved