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7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt

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7 Best Glute Exercises

If you want to build stronger glutes, you’ll want to do exercises and activities that target those muscles. The “glutes” are actually three different muscles—the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle), the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Read on for 7 moves to try that will build your butt.

What Are Glutes?

The glute muscles are located under the fatty tissue of your buttocks. They consist of three muscles including the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Your glutes are large, powerful muscles that help you walk, run, sit, stand, and many other movements. You can increase the size of your glutes with strength training and proper nutrition at 7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt.

You can’t always change the shape of your glutes, but you can make them firmer and stronger with the right exercises. The key is working all the muscles from different angles with different exercises and cardiovascular activities. Try any of the exercises below to target and strengthen your glutes.

Squats

Squats are one of the best exercises to target the gluteus maximus—the largest muscle in the lower body. They also work your hips, thighs, calves, and core.1

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Squats should be a staple of any basic lower body workout. If the move hurts your knees, try alternative forms of the squat.

How to Do Squats

  1. Place your feet hip-distance apart as you stand. Hold weights at your sides or at shoulder height for increased intensity.
  2. Bend your knees and lower into a squat. Keep your knees behind your toes (imagine that you’re sticking your butt out behind you, but keep your torso upright and contracted).
  3. Press into your heels to stand.
  4. Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps

If you’re up for a challenge, try the Bulgarian split squat. The move requires you to balance on one leg while elevating the other on a bench or sturdy chair. The move shifts the workload onto the quads of the front leg, but the glutes are activated as well at 7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt.

Lunges

Lunges are a favorite butt exercise. In a staggered stance, you really have to use your glutes to stabilize your body. The stance also forces the glutes on the front of your legs to work even harder.2 Lunges also work other muscles including your hamstrings, quads, and calves.

How to Do Lunges

  1. Stand with your feet staggered, one foot forward and one foot back (about 3 feet apart).
  2. Bend both knees and lunge straight down, sending your back knee toward the floor.
  3. Try not to lunge forward over your front toes. Keep your front heel on the ground.
  4. Press into your heel to stand.
  5. Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 16 reps. For added intensity, hold some weights.

The fact that lunges come in so many different forms is one of its best features. It’s simple to switch things up to target different muscles. To truly test both legs, raise your rear foot, for instance, on a step or platform.

While lunges are a great move for the glutes and thighs, you’ll want to avoid the move if it aggravates any knee problems at 7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt.

Step-Ups

Step-ups are another great exercise to work your butt. To get started, make sure that you choose a platform high enough that your knee is at a 90-degree angle when bent. If that’s a little too much, use the second stair on a staircase and hold onto the rail for balance.

How to Do Step-Ups

  1. Stand in front of the step or platform. Place your right foot on the step.
  2. Pressing into your heel, step up, touching your left toes to the step.
  3. Keeping your right foot on the step, bring your left foot down to the floor. Bend your knee into a lunge for more intensity.
  4. Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 16 reps on each side. For more intensity, try holding weights or a resistance band under your standing foot.
  5. Push into your heel to lift the body and concentrate all your weight on your stepping leg.
  6. Lower down gently, barely touching the toes of your other leg to the ground. If you take it slow and concentrate on the working leg, you’ll really feel this move.

We’ve tried, tested, and reviewed the best resistance bands. If you’re in the market for resistance bands, explore which option may be best for you at 7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt.

Sidestep Squats With Resistance Bands

While the previous exercises mostly target the gluteus maximus, this move targets the smaller gluteus medius and minimus. Don’t worry, though, the gluteus maximus is still involved because you’re squatting.1

To turn this into a great whole-body exercise, hold the handles of the resistance bands with your arms bent for an isometric exercise for the biceps.

How to Do Sidestep Squats

  1. Use a band with medium-light tension. Stand on it, holding both handles.
  2. Take a wide step out to the right into a squat, keeping tension on the band.
  3. Step your left foot in. Continue stepping out and squatting to the right, all the way across the room (or as far as you can).
  4. Repeat the other way or for about 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 steps.

Hip Thrust / Glute Squeeze on Ball

The hip thrust on a ball is another great choice for working your glutes. The ball adds some instability and forces your entire lower body to work. Holding weights on the upper thighs adds more intensity to the exercise at 7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt.

How to Do Hip Thrusts

  • Begin in a bridge position with your head resting on the ball and your butt lifted. If you want, place weights on your thighs for added intensity.
  • Lower your hips to the ground. Try not to let the ball roll around.
  • Squeeze your glutes to lift back to your starting position.
  • Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps. Try lifting your toes for a more intense move.

Hip Extensions

While the previous compound exercises are the go-to choice for working multiple muscles at the same time, hips extensions are perfect for targeting the glutes in a more focused way. You’ll also benefit from some core and shoulder activation.

How to Do Hip Extensions

  1. Get on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Keeping the right knee bent, lift your right leg up until it is level with your glutes.
  3. Lower your leg.
  4. Repeat for 12 to 16 reps on each side.
  5. To add intensity, squeeze a weight in the back of your knee or use ankle weights.

One-Legged Deadlifts

Deadlifts are great for your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, but this one-legged version is an especially good butt workout. Doing anything on one leg adds intensity and it also involves your stabilizer muscles to keep your body balanced at 7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt.

Keep in mind that with deadlifts, proper form is critical. You should skip this exercise if you have back problems.

How to Do Deadlifts

  1. Holding weights, take your left leg back behind you (about a foot or so) and lightly rest on your toe.
  2. Tip from your hips and slowly lower the weights to the floor as far as your flexibility allows.
  3. Keep your back flat (or with a natural arch). Make sure you keep your abs contracted to protect your back.
  4. Squeeze the glutes of your working leg to bring it back up.
  5. Do 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps on each side.

Other Activities to Improve Strength in Your Glutes

The previous strength exercises aren’t the only moves for the glutes—cardio activities can also be an effective way to engage your backside. Try any of these fitness activities to improve your glute strength.

  • Walking up an inclineautomatically gets your glutes more involved. If you’re wearing a backpack, you’re getting even more of a workout at 7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt.
  • Kickboxinginvolves complex combinations that target your upper and lower body and abs to make them stronger. For instance, a 140-pound woman can burn up to 500 calories with 45 minutes of kickboxing.
  • Hiking works the glutes and also burns a ton of calories. Not only do you work harder if you are hiking uphill, but you’ll expend even more energy if there’s a change in altitude. A 140-pound person burns about 390 calories in about an hour while hiking. If you live in a flat area, try raising the incline on your treadmill to mimic trekking up a hill.
  • Biking is another great way to engage the glutes. If there are no hiking trails in your area, consider cycling (indoors or out).

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