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20 Best Bodyweight Glute Exercises to Grow Your Glutes at Home

The best bodyweight glute exercises give you the perfectly toned butt you want and help support your weightlifting goals. Which bodyweight glute exercises help best in achieving your goals? Not all glute bodyweight workouts will fit like a glove. 

Fortunately, our range of bodyweight glute exercises focus on a variety of goals, including no equipment or intense unilateral exercises. Let’s discover the best glutes bodyweight exercises for a toned yet strong butt.

What Is the Most Effective Exercise for Glutes?

Scientifically proven bodyweight glute exercises to grow your glutes include:

  • Glute bridge (4)
  • Hip thrusts (3)
  • Side leg raises (13)
  • Lunges (16)
  • Squats (16)

More glute bodyweight exercises grow those muscles. Let’s focus on the facts before diving into the top bodyweight exercises.

Can You Build Glutes With Bodyweight Exercises?

Bodyweight calisthenics are older than weightlifting, but can you grow muscle with bodyweight resistance? Which exercise is the best, and how much do you need to grow your glutes? Let’s answer your burning questions first.

Is it Possible to Grow Glutes Without Weights?

The evidence suggests you must be realistic about glute gains without weights. A comparative analysis from Norway found that bodyweight training with resistance bands had some benefits but couldn’t boost muscle gains as much as weightlifting (14). 

Also, a meta-analysis in the UK compared weightlifting to plyometrics and traditional resistance training to see which improved strength, speed, and power the most (5). Weightlifting improved speed and strength more than regular resistance training

However, it’s possible to grow glutes without weights. A narrative review from Norway suggests bodyweight training may help beginners grow lean muscle mass (15).

Some evidence suggests there can be lean muscle growth with bodyweight exercises. However, a Polish systematic review found that progression is the key to growing muscle groups, overcoming plateaus, and preventing training monotony (12). 

You must keep challenging yourself, progressing your loads and reps to grow glutes with hypertrophy. Beginners can start slow, building lean muscle mass. However, intermediate and advanced trainers should increase resistance, load, and reps to keep growing glutes.

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What Builds Glutes the Fastest?

There is debate around unilateral versus bilateral bodyweight resistance training and which builds muscle growth best. A Spanish study found that unilateral and bilateral resistance training similarly improved muscle growth and power (16). 

Individuals used lateral lunges for unilateral exercises and half squats for bilateral workouts. The only significant difference was that lateral lunges increased dominant power in both legs. Unilateral exercises are better to improve glute dominant power.

However, a Chinese meta-analysis found bilateral training improved overall power and performance (8). In summary, choose bilateral exercises to power up and grow glutes for performance, but use unilateral exercises to improve dominant power for progression.

Best case scenario: use both types to enhance muscle growth, performance, strength, and consciously use dominant form and technique for advancing to weights in a progressive bodyweight training program.

Is a 30-Minute Glute Workout Enough?

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory workouts that last 30 minutes, five days a week for a total of 150 minutes weekly (2). Some bodyweight resistance exercises double as cardio workouts to fit a 30-minute workout. 

Supersets with little rest can make bodyweight exercises like squats double as a cardio workout (15). In another paper, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends beginners train muscle groups for 8-12 reps per set maximum with 2-4 sets (1). 

Intermediate and advanced trainers can use a wider load over 1-12 reps with eventual heavy loading at 6-12 reps maximum, with 2-5 minute rest periods between 2-5 sets. Novice trainers can stick to resistance training 2-3 days weekly.

However, intermediate and advanced trainers can use heavy-load resistance training five days a week, focusing on different muscle groups on different days. Ultimately, training the glutes for 30 minutes a day 2-3 days a week fits the recommendations (2, 15, 1). 

Read more: 10 Best Glute Exercises To Add To Your Routine and Why

20 Best Bodyweight Glute Exercises at Home

The best bodyweight glute exercises target the area while you progress reps and sets and add weights or minimal resistance equipment at home after doing beginner bodyweight movements for some time. Let’s discover the best bodyweight glute exercises at home.

5 Best Bodyweight Glute Exercises (No Equipment)

First, let’s discover bodyweight glute exercises that require no equipment at home. Use the rep and set recommendations that are suitable for your training level(2, 1).

Glute Bridge

The single-leg glute bridge activates muscles in the glutes and hips (4). However, do a regular glute bridge to warm up or before trying harder variations:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and hands flat on the floor,
  2. Raise your glutes and hips into the air while engaging your core,
  3. Drop and repeat.

Lunges (Regular Lunges and Reverse Lunges)

Lunges and their variations work the glutes to improve strength and muscle gains(16).

Try the regular lunge as a beginner:

  1. Stand with your hands on your hips,
  2. Step one foot forward and lower yourself until your forward knee is bent at 90 degrees and you back knee is within several inches from the floor,
  3. Step back to standing and repeat on the other side.

Alternatively, use the reverse lunge for a better challenge:

  1. Stand with your hands on your hips,
  2. Step one foot backward and lower until the back knee nearly touches the ground,
  3. Keep the forward leg in place,
  4. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.

Squats (Regular Squats and Jumping Squats)

Squats and their variations work the glutes to improve strength and muscle gains (16). Let’s start with regular squats, using power and force when rising back up. 

  1. Stand with your legs hip-width apart,
  2. Bend your knees and sit your hips back as you enter a squat, raising your arms straight to chest height,
  3. Control how you rise back up as your arms drop and repeat.

Also, let’s show you how to do the jumping squats for added force:

  1. Stand with your legs hip-width apart,
  2. Enter a squat position while bringing your arms straight in front of your chest,
  3. Jump back into an upright position while bringing your arms back to your sides and repeat.

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3 Best Resistance Band Glute Exercises

Discover glute exercises at home using resistance support. Use the rep and set recommendations suitable for your training level (2, 1).

Banded Clamshells

Clamshells are well-known for activating the glutes and hips (17). That said, you can add resistance with simple bands at home. Follow these instructions:

  1. Lie on your side, resting on your elbow with your hand supporting your head,
  2. Place a resistance band around your knees as your legs lie flat on their side,
  3. Lift your top leg against the resistance in a clamshell motion as far as possible,
  4. Hold the tension in the band, release, and repeat.

Fire Hydrant

A fire hydrant uses a resistance band to activate the glutes and hips more than a regular clamshell (9). Follow these instructions:

  1. Get on all fours with a resistance band wrapped around your thighs,
  2. Look forward and keep your back aligned when you move,
  3. Lift one leg sideways until the band causes resistance,
  4. Bring the leg back and repeat on both sides.

Resistance Band Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks activate the gluteus maximus and medius (6). Use a resistance band to increase the force for a progressive glute exercise:

  • Get onto all fours while hooking a resistance band with one foot,
  • Keep your back straight and glutes tight as your banded leg moves back and up,
  • Pull the leg back toward your chest and repeat on both sides.


5 Best Exercises for Glutes and Hamstrings

Next, glute exercises that also work the hamstrings. Use the rep and set recommendations suitable for your training level(2, 1).

Deadlift (Romanian and Single-Leg)

Deadlifts activate the glutes, hamstrings, core, and back for a whole-body resistance workout (19). Also, you don’t need weights for deadlifts as a beginner, you can opt for a resistance band. Here’s how you do a deadlift without weights:

  1. Stand tall with your arms straight by your sides,
  2. Bend your knees and hips to enter a deadlift as though you’re putting a barbell down,
  3. Slide your hands down your legs as you descend,
  4. Rise the same way you went down and repeat.

Also, here’s how you do a single-leg weightless deadlift:

  1. Hold one hand on your hip with the other hand lying flat against your side,
  2. Hinge at the hips and move the opposite leg back and straight as you touch the free hand to the ground,
  3. Keep your body and spine straight before returning to the start and repeating.

Hip Thrusts

Barbell hip thrusts are famous for activating the hamstrings, glutes, hips, and quads (3). However, you can start with bodyweight hip thrusts before adding weights. 

  1. Sit with your back against a bench with your arms resting on the bench,
  2. Bend your knees to bring them closer before raising your hips,
  3. Enter a bridge-style position and hold before releasing and repeating.


Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Research shows that single-leg glute bridges activate the hamstrings, hips, and glutes (4). Here is to do the single-leg glute raise:

  1. Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other leg flat,
  2. Rest your hands on your sides as you raise the flat leg as high as possible,
  3. Raise your hips and glutes with your straight leg,
  4. Hold the leg and glute raise for 10 seconds to increase intensity,
  5. Return to the mat and repeat.


Step-ups activate the glutes, hamstrings, and quads in a cardio-resistance exercise (18). Increase the rep speeds for added force. 

  1. Stand in front of a step with both feet on the ground,
  2. Place one foot onto the step, press into the step to extend the leg and lift your body in the air and return to the ground,
  3. Repeat on the other side,
  4. Speed up the movements to look like you’re unsure of climbing stairs.

Read more: Glute Exercises For Men: Spice Up Your Workout Routine With These Glute-Busting Moves!

4 Unilateral Bodyweight Glute Exercises (Men)

Let’s look at bodyweight glute exercises that work for men using minimal support or no equipment seeking unilateral improvements. Use the rep and set recommendations suitable for your training level(2, 1).

Modified Leg Lifts (Leg Raises and Single-Leg Raises)

Leg lifts on the floor activate the glutes, hips,, and core (10).:

  1. Lay on the floor on your side with knees stacked and legs straight
  2. Lift the top leg as high as you can and slowly lower back down

Repeat a full set before switching to the other side

Lateral Lunges

Lateral lunges are proven to be effective as unilateral glute activators (16). Use these instructions for a glute building training exercise:

  1. Stand straight with your hands in a prayer form in front of your chest,
  2. Step sideways broadly while keeping the supporting foot firm,
  3. Sit into a one legged squat on the leg you stepped out with,
  4. Stand and bring the leg back and repeat on both sides.

Single-Leg Hip Thrust

Barbell hip thrusts activate the hamstrings and glutes(3). However, you can modify them without weights and only use one leg. 

  1. Sit with your back against a bench with your arms resting on the bench,
  2. Bend your knees to bring them closer before raising your hips,
  3. Raise only one leg with your hips while engaging the glutes,
  4. Go as high as you can and hold for 10 seconds before releasing
  5. Repeat on both sides.


3 Hardest Bodyweight Glute Exercises (Perfect Technique)

Here are bodyweight glute exercises that use minimal resistance support or no equipment with greater difficulty to execute. Use the rep and set recommendations suitable for your training level (2, 1).

Bulgarian Split Squats

Squats target the glute muscles perfectly (16). Try this modified version that could use light weights or no weights for a harder variation:

  1. Stand with your back to a bench at knee height,
  2. Rest one foot face down on the bench with the other firm on the ground,
  3. Hold light weights in your hands on both sides or keep them free next to you,
  4. Bend the front knee as you lower yourself into a lunge position
  5. Rise while keeping your upper body straight,
  6. Repeat on both sides.

Single-Leg Kickbacks

Single-leg kickbacks activate the same gluteus maximus and medius muscles as donkey kicks, but technique and form matter (6). You’ll need a resistance band for this exercise.

  1. Stand leaning slightly forward in front of a vertical pole or other stable surface,
  2. Have enough space between you and the pole to lean more forward,
  3. Loop a resistance band attached to the pole with one foot,
  4. Stretch the band backward as far as possible while leaning more toward the pole,
  5. Engage the glutes and core as you enter the rep,
  6. Release in a controlled manner and repeat on both sides.

Standing Side Leg Raises

Standing side leg raises target the glutes, hips, and quads (13). Note, this exercise is challenging to execute properly. Follow these instructions:

  1. Stand straight with your hands on your hips throughout the exercise,
  2. Tighten your core and glutes while shifting support onto one leg,
  3. Flex your foot as you lift the unsupported leg sideways as far as possible,
  4. Hold the position for a greater challenge before returning to repeat on the other side.

For more calisthenics:



  • Are 3 Exercises Enough to Grow Glutes?

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 8-10 exercises per muscle group for maximum results, hypertrophy, and muscle gains (2, 1). They also recommend 8-12 reps for novice trainers and 6-12 reps for intermediate or advanced trainers with a higher load per muscle group 2-5 times weekly.

  • Will My Glutes Grow if I Squat Every Day?

Your glutes will grow, but shouldn’t train them every day. A Spanish study found that squats and lateral lunges helped individuals gain lean muscle mass and strength in their glutes and legs (16). The American College of Sports Medicine only recommends 2-3 days of resistance training weekly for novice trainers and 2-5 days for advanced trainers (2, 1). 

  • Do Glutes Grow With Weight or Reps?

A small Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study found that healthy men using heavy loads with low reps gained as much muscle mass as men using low-weight and high reps (7). However, high-weight and low-reps improved strength more significantly, but high reps are as effective for muscle gain. Progression remains the key, even with reps (12).

  • Is it Possible to Grow Glutes Without Growing Legs?

It isn’t realistically possible to isolate specific muscles because they are connected to others, even with glute-specific exercises. The Spanish study shows how half-glutes caused muscle gains in the vastus lateralis and lateral gastrocnemius muscles, while lateral lunges caused gains in the adductor major and vastus medialis lower leg muscles (16).

The Bottom Line

The best bodyweight glute exercises improve endurance, strength, and mass similar to weightlifting, when completed with improved form and progressive load. Choose the right number of exercises, reps, and sets for your fitness level, and start growing those glutes today.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation, and Performance: A Systematic Review (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Building a Better Gluteal Bridge: Electromyographic Analysis of Hip Muscle Activity During Modified Single-Leg Bridges (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  5. Comparison of Weightlifting, Traditional Resistance Training and Plyometrics on Strength, Power, and Speed: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis (2022, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  6. Donkey Kick: 5 Exercise Variations (2016, healthline.com)
  7. Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men (2015, journals.lww.com)
  8. Effects of Unilateral vs. Bilateral Resistance Training Interventions on Measures of Strength, Jump, Linear and Change of Direction Speed: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. How to Do Fire Hydrants, the Exercise That Works Your Entire Bum and Core (2021, womenshealthmag.com) 
  10. How to Do Leg Lifts Properly: A Step-by-Step Guide (2022, health.clevelandclinic.org)
  11. Kinematic and Electromyographic Comparisons Between Chin-Ups and Lat-Pull Down Exercises (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  12. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  13. Move of the Month: Standing Side Leg Raise – Harvard Health (2023, health.harvard.edu)
  14. Multiple-Joint Exercises Using Elastic Resistance Bands vs. Conventional Resistance-Training Equipment: A Cross-Over Study (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  15. No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  16. The Effects of Unilateral and Bilateral Eccentric Overload Training on Hypertrophy, Muscle Power and COD Performance, and Its Determinants, in Team Sport Players (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  17. The Top 10 Benefits of Clamshells (n.d., americansportsandfitness.com)
  18. Video: Step-Up Exercise – The Mayo Clinic (2023, mayoclinic.org)
  19. What Muscles Does Deadlift Work? How-to, Variations, and More (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
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