The glutes – better known as the butt – is one of the most important muscle groups in the body. These large muscles are responsible for much of the power generation for the body, and most people would agree it’s important to have toned and strong glutes for appearances as well. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to figure out the best way to improve the glutes. That’s why we assembled a list of some of the best glute exercises you can do. These exercises will challenge the posterior chain and will lead to strength and muscle gains like you have never seen before
Bulgarian Split Squat
This lift is sort of a mashup between squats and lunges with a barbell weight thrown in the mix. In order to do it properly, you’ll need a flat bench and a barbell. Follow along with the quick instructions below to go through the exercise.
Doing the Move:
- Load the barbell with your weight
- Get the barbell up into a back squat position
- Stand in front of a flat bench facing away from it.
- Lift one leg and rest the top of your foot flat against the bench
- Go down into a position similar to a lunge with the front leg bending into a strong 90-degree angle and the knee on the rear leg going down toward the floor while maintaining the foot up on the bench.
- Raise back up into the starting position to complete a single rep
- Perform the exercise with the same leg out in front for a set and then switch the leg in front to work the other side
Barbell Hip Thrust
This power-generating movement is awkward at first but leads to excellent glute isolation. You’ll likely want a towel or a bar pad to perform the exercise because the bar will be sitting right on top of your upper thighs as you perform the movement.
Doing the Move:
- Put a towel or pad in your lap for protection
- Stand in front of a flat bench facing away from it
- Squat down in front of the bench with your loaded barbell in your lap. Slowly tip your back down until the top edge rests flat on the bench
- Walk your feet forward at the same time to create a kind of body bridge with the weight resting on your upper thighs (be sure to tighten your abs for stability and to maintain a flat back)
- Start off with your knees bent and your butt sunk down toward the floor and your back pressing against the angled front edge of your flat bench
- Now thrust your hips up toward the ceiling pressing the weight upwards and putting your back flat on top of the bench
- Finish the movement by resetting back to that sunk down position while maintaining a flat back
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There’s a reason that the traditional back squat is such a popular exercise still to this day. Even though it’s been used forever, it’s an excellent move for really pushing the glutes, the quads and the hamstrings to work hard and get better and generating power. This exercise is best performed with a squat rack and a barbell.
- Start by standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart and a barbell over your back. Normally lifters rest the bar between the starting edge of the shoulder blades and the neck muscles for a nice comfortable holding point.
- Grip the barbell while dropping your butt down toward the floor in a controlled manner being careful to keep the weight centred over the top of your heels while doing the movement. Start the movement with your hips and slowly move into your knees near the lower end of the dropdown. Be careful to keep a nice flat back throughout the movement and never round forward at any point or you risk putting stress on the spine.
- Squeeze the glutes hard at the lower end of the lift to push the bar upwards and to move back to a standing position. Repeat the movement for several reps to effectively work the glutes and the rest of the large leg muscles in the process.
Sumo Romanian Deadlift
This powerful movement is a variation of the traditional deadlift that puts more pressure on the glutes themselves. To start off you’ll need a barbell and plenty of space to perform the movement. No rack or bench is needed for this power-building move.
Doing the Move:
- Spread your legs past shoulder-width apart and angle your toes so that they point outward about 15 degrees.
- Set a barbell just in front of your toes laying on the floor with your weight loaded up.
- Tip forward maintaining a powerful slightly arched back making sure not to round it.
- Reach down with straight arms and grasp the barbell with your hands positioned in between your spread legs.
- Grip the bar and tighten your glutes while lifting your back and the bar back up from the floor to the starting position.
- On the following rep lower the weight back toward the floor, but don’t go low enough to touch the bar to the floor, instead lower until the bar is just lower than knee height and go back up again to complete the next rep
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge with a Deficit
This movement seems odd at first but it lifts up the front leg of a lunge on a box to put more pressure on the glutes. You’ll need a set of dumbbells and a short wooden box to perform this exercise.
Doing the Move:
- Begin by placing the wooden box in front of you
- Grasp your dumbbells at your side in a relaxed position with your elbows just slightly bent
- Stand with both feet on the box
- Carefully perform a lunge movement backwards with a single foot
- Step backwards touching the toe to the floor and then lowering the leg down until there is a 90-degree bend in the lowered knee
- Bend the top knee in a 90-degree angle at the same time as the lower knee
- Reverse the movement and step back up onto the box with the lowered leg to finish the rep
Best Glute Exercises Takeaway
These exercises are challenging to master, but each is very good for pressing the glutes to grow and develop. Try adding one or more of them to your current workout routine to develop glutes worth showing off. You’ll be amazed at the increase in power these lifts can help you develop, and stronger glutes should help make your other lifts more stable and powerful as well.
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Hi, I’m David and I believe absolutely anyone can achieve the body of their dreams. I’m a qualified health and fitness coach and have been helping clients achieve their dream bodies for 15 years. Whether you are looking to get beach body ready, compete in a bodybuilding show or simply to improve your confidence and wellbeing, I can help.