10 Best Glute Exercises

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Your glutes are some of your biggest muscles in your body. They do consistent heavy lifting—carrying you around throughout the day! You already keep them engaged doing regular physical activities, but there’s more you can do to make them solid and strong. We’ve comprised a list of the best glute exercises to keep you powered up.

What Are the Best Glute Exercises?

Glute exercises can be the most powerful movements in your workout routine. Often these exercises will include moments when gradually go slow coupled with explosive movements. With all aspects, remember to keep the movements controlled movement and your form in check. These exercises will help you improve a number of goals, from balance and agility to stabilization and building strength.

How We Reviewed

We’ve reviewed these powerful glute exercises that will increase glute strength and give you a noticeable difference in how they look. These movements are more popular than ever as they provide intricate dynamic exercises that do what they're intended to do—strengthen your glutes. We've noted the key features and how to do them, along with tips about pros and cons for each of these glute exercises.

What We Reviewed

  • DUMBELL SQUAT TO PRESS
  • BULGARIAN SQUAT WITH SLAM BALL
  • LANDMINE SQUAT PRESS
  • BACK SQUAT
  • QUADRUPED HIP EXTENSION
  • KETTLEBELL SWINGS
  • DEEP SQUATS
  • BARBELL HIP THRUST
  • 4-3-1 SUMO DUMBELL SQUAT
  • HIGH STEP UP
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Dumbbell Squat to Press

FEATURES

The combination of a squat with a push press is also called a thruster. This is a total-body exercise that is perfect for conditioning while you target these specific muscles. You generate force from your glutes and lower body and use this momentum to further work out the upper body muscles.

HOW TO DO IT

Hold a dumbbell in each hand in the rack position while you stand with your feet apart at hip-distance. Keeping your butt back and down with your weight in your heels, slowly squat down, keeping the dumbbells steady. As you come back up out of the squat position and get back into the standing position, use your arms to press the dumbbells from your shoulders to overhead. Bring the dumbbells back to the front rack position and continue on to another squat.

Pros

  • Primarily targets your glutes, arms, and shoulders
  • Engages core throughout the movement

Cons

  • Must have dumbbells to do this variation 
  • Poor form may strain lower back

Bulgarian Squat with Slam Ball

FEATURES

This squat variation is one of the best glute exercises to work your butt while challenging your balance. As you try to keep your foot on top of the slam ball, you’ll be engaging your core to maintain control. As you balance with the slam ball, you’ll feel the extra tightening as you keep your foot from rolling off the ball.

HOW TO DO IT

Standing in front of the slam ball, you must step your right foot back as you place your toes on top of the slam ball. You want to maintain your weight through the heel of your left foot as you gradually lower your body by bending your right knee towards the floor. Similar to a lunge position, make sure your left knee is at a 90-degree angle to the floor and stacked above your ankle. Then attempt to stand up as high as you did at the starting position by straightening both legs without taking your left foot off the slam ball.

Pros

  • Helps your ankle mobility, agility, and reflexes
  • Will improve your split squat

Cons

  • May have trouble balancing
  • May not have a slam ball accessible 

Landmine Squat Press

FEATURES

This exercise includes the landmine, which consists of a barbell with one side anchored into the ground with a rotating base. The landmine is a safe piece of equipment for building stability and power.

HOW TO DO IT

Standing with your feet slightly more than hip distance apart, hold the landmine with both hands and have your arms extended out in front of you at a 45-degree angle from your shoulders. Maintaining control of the landmine, bring your body down into a squat with your weight through your heels, making sure your knees don’t go out further past your feet. As you bring the landmine to chest height, keep your chest upright while squatting. As you drive from your heels, press yourself back up to the standing position, bringing the barbell back to shoulder height.

Pros

  • Can help you work on range of motion 
  • Primarily targets glutes, legs, and arms

Cons

  • May accentuate stability issues
  • May not have access to a landmine bar

Back Squat

FEATURES

The back squat is a staple movement for your lower body and one of the most favored glute exercises. You'll want to do this to strengthen your glutes, and you'll want to have perfect form. Throughout the movement, keep your knees aligned with your feet and hips and go down as deep into your squat as much as your flexibility allows.

HOW TO DO IT

With your chest lifted and your shoulders back, stand with your feet hip-width apart while holding a barbel on your shoulders. Keeping your upper body as straight as possible, lower your butt toward the ground as you pull in your abdominal muscles. As you bend your knees, make you don’t lean forward. Once you go down as far as you can, straighten your legs in a controlled way to rise back up.

Pros

  • Targets gluteus maximus, hips, thighs, and calves
  • Stabilizes back and core strength

Cons

  • You many not be going low enough
  • Poor form if chest leans too far forward

Quadruped Hip Extension

FEATURES

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) did a study to see which glute exercises were most effective at activating your butt. The quadruped hip extension was at the top of the list! If you'd like to increase the difficulty of this exercise, then hold a light dumbbell behind your knee or add ankle weights.

HOW TO DO IT

Getting into a hands-and-knees position, tighten your arms and keep your back neutral. Drive your right leg upwards with your foot facing the ceiling, keeping a 90-degree angle at the knee throughout the movement. Keep your hip, thigh, and knee parallel to the floor and in alignment with each other. After reaching alignment, lower your leg back down and switch to left leg when you've completed all reps.

Pros

  • Targets each glute muscle individually
  • Stretches your core with the movement

Cons

  • Will have poor form if back is arched
  • May not keep hip, thigh, and knee aligned

Kettlebell Swings

FEATURES

This is another standard full-body movement that also serves as one of the best glute exercises. Remember to have the motion come from your hips and not from your arm strength. Use the momentum from thrusting your hips rather than trying to swing your arms for momentum.

HOW TO DO IT

Place your hands on the kettlebell as you lean forward with your back flat and core engaged. With your feet just wider than hip-distance apart, lift the kettlebell up as you maintain a slight bend to your knees. Bring your hips back, and, in a fluid motion, explosively drive them forward as you swing the kettlebell above your head with extended arms. Keep your glutes and core engaged the entire time.

Pros

  • Little stress to lower back 
  • Glutes are fully engaged throughout the movement

Cons

  • May not have good hip mobility
  • If not using hips, can stress lower back

Deep Squats

FEATURES

Since squats are the most go-to choice for glute exercises, let's see how low you can go! When compared to partial and parallel squatting, a deep squat will give you greater activation of your gluteus maximus. You may even want to try reps in which you hold for 5 or 10 seconds when you are in the bottom of your squat.

HOW TO DO IT

You should have a barbell resting behind your head on your shoulder, with your chest up and out and your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. With a tightened core, lower your butt back and down while keeping the weight in your heels. Keep going below parallel into your squat as long as your back stays straight, ensuring that your pelvis doesn't tilt as you go deep. Push your heels into the ground to drive yourself to stand up, squeezing your butt in the process.

Pros

  • Takes the focus off using your quads
  • Greater activation for your glutes

Cons

  • May not have a bar to use
  • Range of motion may be tight

Barbell Hip Thrust

FEATURES

This movement will activate your glutes to as great of a degree as any other glute exercise. Progress for this exercise will be to move on to using the bar once you've perfected the movement with your own body weight.

HOW TO DO IT

You should place your upper back against a bench with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Put a padded barbell across your hips, keeping your glutes near the floor. Without arching your back and keeping your back neutral, squeeze your glutes to raise your hips until they are aligned with your body. Load the barbell higher if you’re able to do all reps with ease.

Pros

  • Activates the lower and upper glutes
  • Engaging your hip flexors

Cons

  • May be unaware of arching back
  • May not have access to a padded bar

4-3-1 Sumo Dumbbell Squat

FEATURES

4-3-1 is the tempo that you’re going to use to maximize your work in this exercise. You will have a 4-second lowering of the dumbbell, a 3-second pause at the bottom of the movement, and a 1-second concentric phase. This glute exercise has a built-in reminder for you to be mindful of each phase of movement and to remember to hold and squeeze when needed.

HOW TO DO IT

Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and flared out, and have the dumbbell placed at waist height. Lean your torso about 30 degrees forward, with your weight pushing through your heels. Maintain this angle throughout the sets as you bend your knees and squat down on a four count. As you reach the bottom of the movement on four, you the hold the squat position for a three count as you squeeze your glutes, then stand up.

Pros

  • Allows your glutes to burn as you pause
  • Core is engaged the whole time

Cons

  • May be challenging to maintain the correct angle
  • May not have access to dumbbell

High Step Up

FEATURES

It almost seems too easy, but the Step Up is one of the most reliable butt-building exercises to do (and the higher the better). Maybe you can start with a box that is 30 inches tall. Go as high as you can go without rounding your back or having your hips shift to one side. Once you feel you have the movement down comfortably, you can hold dumbbells in your hands or increase the box size to add difficulty.

HOW TO DO IT

With one foot on the box in front of you, place your body weight toward the center of your foot. As you slowly start to stand up straight, push your hips back and squeeze the glute of your supporting leg. Make sure to hold this position as you keep body upright with your hips and shoulders square. Then you push your hips back and slowly lower your non-supporting foot to the floor.

Pros

  • An easy-to-do, familiar motion
  • You work with your body weight and gravity

Cons

  • You don't want hips to shift to one side
  • May not have a sturdy step to use

The Verdict

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When putting together your next fitness workout, try a combination of standard glute exercises along with some complex movements that include the rest of your body as you work your butt and core. These glute exercises will completely activate your glutes and allow you to make some big gains with effective movement in concise amounts of time. You'll enjoy doing them, and you'll see results!

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