The 10 Best Exercises For Glutes

Maximize glute growth by implementing these glute exercises.

The 10 Best Exercises For Glutes
12 min. read 6/5/2024, 4:13 PM

When it comes to building strong, well-defined glutes, the right exercises can make all the difference. That's because the glutes are a huge muscle group comprised of three primary muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus) and six supporting muscles. These muscles work together to help stabilize your body when you stand up, walk, and/or twist your body. They play an integral role in functional everyday movements and in your entire training program.

Whether you're looking to enhance your physique, boost your strength, or improve your athletic abilities, targeting your glutes with effective exercises is key. In this article, we'll explore the 10 best exercises for glutes, providing you with a comprehensive guide to achieve your fitness goals. From gym-based movements to home-friendly alternatives, we've got you covered. So let's dive in and get ready to transform your glutes!

Paused Barbell Hip Thrust

Hip thrusts are by far the best glute exercise you can do! This exercise targets and activates the entire glute muscle groups, and if done with proper form, it can also work your lower back, hamstrings, abductors, and quadriceps. This is a regular barbell hip thrust, except, it has a pause at the top to increase the time under tension for better growth.

How to do it: Sit on the floor with the long side of the bench behind the back. Roll the barbell back and center over the hips—position upper back on the corner of the bench. Place feet on the floor approximately shoulder-width with knees bent. Grasp bar on each side. Raise the bar upward by extending the hips until straight. Pause for 5 seconds (or longer), lower, and repeat.

Alternative for home workouts: Try a single-leg hip thrust! Instead of putting your back against the bench, put it against a couch or sturdy box. Once you're in position, hold one leg at a 90-degree angle at the hip and drive the other foot into the floor to bridge your hips up while squeezing your glute. Do 10-15 reps on one leg before moving to the other.


Although this exercise is primarily known for targeting the lower back, it actually really fires up the lower part of your glutes and your hamstrings. Aside from that, incorporating this exercise into your routine can help improve your squats and deadlifts which in turn will improve your lower body strength!

How to do it: Lie face down on a hyperextension bench, tucking your ankles securely under the footpads. Adjust the upper pad if possible so your upper thighs lie flat across the wide pad, leaving enough room for you to bend at the waist without any restriction. Get a plate and hold it in front of you under your crossed arms. With your body straight, cross your arms in front of you (my preference) or behind your head. This will be your starting position. Start bending forward slowly at the waist as far as you can while keeping your back flat. Inhale as you perform this movement. Keep moving forward until you feel a nice stretch on the hamstrings and you can no longer keep going without rounding the back. Slowly raise your torso back to the initial position as you inhale.

Alternative for home workouts: There are two home workout alternatives you can try, one requires only your body and the other requires a stability ball. Supermans is an equipment-free alternative that involves laying the floor facing down with your arms and legs stretched outward and then lifting them in the air toward the ceiling – like your superman flying over the sky! Stability ball leg curls involve playing on the floor face up with your ankles placed on a stability ball, and then moving it towards you to perform a leg curl.

Romanian Deadlifts

The conventional deadlift is an excellent booty-builder, but don't neglect Romanian deadlifts (RDLs). This exercise fires up your entire posterior chain, mainly the gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Another great plus is that it also works your forearm flexors to help improve your grip strength!

How to do it: Stand with a shoulder-width or narrower stance on a shallow platform with feet flat beneath the bar. Bend your knees and bend over with your lower back straight. Grasp barbell with a shoulder-width overhand or mixed grip, shoulder-width or slightly wider. Lift weight to a standing position—lower bar to the top of feet by bending 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.

Alternatives for home workouts: If you have a pair of dumbbells try this exercise at home! Follow the directions above, but instead of holding a barbell, you'll hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your legs. If you don't have dumbbells but have a long resistance band try good mornings! This exercise involves placing the band and wrapping one end around your neck and the other end under your feet standing on it hip-width apart. You can grab the band on your shoulders and hinge back into the hips while maintaining your back neutral. Pause and then extend back up.

Single-Leg Deadlifts

Single-leg deadlifts are an excellent unilateral exercise that challenges your balance and stability while effectively targeting your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. This movement not only strengthens your posterior chain but also helps correct any muscular imbalances between your legs.

How to do it: Stand with your feet together and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand. Shift your weight onto your left leg and hinge at your hips to lower the weight toward the floor while extending your right leg straight behind you for balance. Keep your back flat and your core engaged. Lower until your torso is parallel to the floor or you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then return to the starting position by driving through your left heel and engaging your glutes.

Alternatives for home workouts: If you don’t have any weights at home, you can perform this exercise using just your body weight. Focus on maintaining balance and proper form. For an extra challenge, try holding a filled water bottle or a household item like a milk jug.

Goblet Squats

Goblet squats are a versatile lower body exercise that primarily targets the glutes, quads, and core. Holding a weight in front of your chest helps you maintain an upright posture, which emphasizes the glutes and quads more effectively.

How to do it: Hold a kettlebell or a dumbbell close to your chest with both hands, elbows pointing down. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up and core braced, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Go as deep as you can while maintaining a flat back. Drive through your heels to return to the starting position.

Alternatives for home workouts: You can perform goblet squats with a filled backpack or any other heavy object that you can hold securely against your chest. Bodyweight squats are also a great alternative if you don't have any weights.

Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squats are a fantastic unilateral exercise that targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings while also challenging your balance and coordination. Elevating your back foot increases the range of motion and makes the movement more effective.

How to do it: Stand a few feet in front of a bench or sturdy chair. Place the top of your left foot on the bench behind you. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides or keep your hands on your hips. Lower your body by bending your right knee, keeping your chest up and your right knee aligned over your toes. Lower until your right thigh is parallel to the floor, then push through your right heel to return to the starting position.

Alternatives for home workouts: Use a sturdy chair or a couch to elevate your back foot if you don’t have a bench. You can perform this exercise with just your body weight or hold household items for added resistance.

Good Mornings

Good mornings are an excellent exercise for strengthening the entire posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. This hip hinge movement is great for building glute strength and improving your hip mobility.

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell across your upper back, gripping it wider than shoulder-width. Keep your chest up and core braced. Hinge at your hips to lower your torso forward while keeping a slight bend in your knees. Lower until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor or you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Return to the starting position by driving your hips forward and squeezing your glutes.

Alternatives for home workouts: If you don’t have a barbell, you can use a broomstick or a long resistance band. For added resistance, you can hold a filled backpack across your upper back.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a dynamic exercise that targets the glutes, hamstrings, and core. This explosive movement builds power and endurance in the posterior chain, making it a great addition to any glute workout.

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees slightly to lower the kettlebell between your legs. Drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height, keeping your arms straight. Allow the kettlebell to swing back down between your legs as you hinge at your hips again, and repeat.

Alternatives for home workouts: If you don’t have a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell or a filled water bottle. Hold it securely with both hands and perform the same swinging motion.

Walking Dumbbell Lunges

Lunges are by far one of the best total lower body exercises! It not only targets your quads but also your hamstrings, glutes, and calves. However, for your glutes, we recommend a walking dumbbell lunge because it gives you a much deeper stretch and it's more difficult at the bottom of the movement which produces more muscle damage – and the more damage, the more growth there will be!

How to do it: Begin standing with your feet about hip-width apart and holding dumbbells in your hands down by your side. This will be your starting position. Step forward with one leg, flexing the knees to drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should be in line with your front foot. Do not allow your front knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint. Drive through the heel of your lead foot and extend both knees to raise yourself back up. Step forward with your rear foot, repeating the lunge on the opposite leg.

Alternatives for home workouts: Simply perform the exercise above without any weights! But there are so many more lunge variations you can try at home or at the gym, here are some of our favorites!

Cable Glute Kickbacks

Kickbacks in general are a great exercise for isolating the glutes, meaning other muscle groups can't come in and carry the load. And like hip thrusts, they work your entire glute muscles, while also challenging your core!

How to do it: 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 and repeat.

Alternatives for home workouts: Try banded glute kickbacks! Wrap a short resistance band around your thighs just above the knee, position yourself on all fours, and begin to kick your right leg up.

Incorporating these exercises into your routine will help you build strong, well-defined glutes. Whether you're working out at the gym or at home, there are effective variations and alternatives for each exercise to ensure you can keep progressing. Remember to focus on your form, progressively increase the resistance, and give your muscles adequate rest and recovery time. Consistency is key, and with these exercises, you'll be well on your way to achieving your glute-building goals!


How often should I train my glutes?

It is generally recommended to train your glutes 2-3 times per week, allowing at least 48 hours of rest between sessions to allow for proper recovery and muscle growth.

Can I train my glutes every day?

Training your glutes every day is not advisable as it can lead to overtraining and inadequate recovery. Muscles need time to repair and grow, so it's important to have rest days.

What's the best way to avoid injury when training glutes?

To avoid injury, always warm up properly before exercising, focus on proper form, avoid lifting too heavy too soon, and incorporate stretching and mobility work into your routine. If you're new to these exercises, consider working with a trainer to ensure you're performing them correctly.

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