Blog Fitness Workouts 10 Best Glute Exercises To Add To Your Routine and Why

10 Best Glute Exercises To Add To Your Routine and Why

The glutes are a group of three muscles that make up your buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Each of these muscles plays a crucial role in maintaining your body’s overall balance and stability.

Aside from contributing to a well-rounded physique, strong glutes are also essential for many functional movements and activities.

They power our stride when we walk or run and assist with explosive movements, for example, jumping or sprinting. In addition, they help maintain proper alignment of your lower back, hips, and knees, reducing the risk of injury.

This means having the right glute exercises in your fitness routine is more than just about aesthetics—it’s about improving your strength, performance, and health.

Read on to discover the 10 best glute exercises to add to your routine and why they’re so beneficial.

What Are The Best Glute Exercises?

The best glute exercises are any that target the glute muscles and activate them effectively. Though there are countless exercises that target the glutes, we’ve selected the top 15 based on their ability to activate the glute muscles, safety, and equipment requirements.

Barbell Back Squat

The Barbell Back Squat is a classic compound movement that engages and relies on the gluteus muscles but also works the quads, hamstrings, and core (9). The barbell is positioned on the upper back, allowing for a more upright posture and better control. 

Maintaining an upright torso and optimal posture is important for proper muscle recruitment and distribution. An upright position exerts less stress and loading on the lower back, maintaining the optimal load distribution to be emphasised on the lower body. Proper technique is essential, particularly for individuals with lower back issues. This exercise does require a barbell and a squat rack.

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How to do it:

  1. Place your hands slightly outside of your shoulders and position yourself under the barbell with a tight grip. 
  2. Make sure the barbell is resting on your upper back, just below your neck bone. 
  3. Position your feet shoulder-width apart.
  4. Brace your core by taking a breath in and filling your torso with air, hold this tension to establish a strong midline.  Keep your eyes up and look straight ahead.
  5. Begin by pushing your hips back, as if sitting back into a chair.
  6. Bend your knees and lower your body as far as you comfortably can, keeping your back neutral and torso upright. .
  7. At the lowest point, your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
  8. Push through your whole foot to return to the starting position.
  9. As you stand up, you can slowly exhale or exhale fully at the top. Inhale at the top and brace your core before performing another rep..
  10. Repeat the process for the desired number of repetitions.
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Sumo Romanian Deadlift

The Sumo Romanian Deadlift is a unique variation of the traditional Romanian Deadlift, distinguished by the wider stance (hence the term ‘Sumo’). 

This exercise allows for engagement of the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, hamstrings and back stabilizer muscles. (2). 

The wider stance may also reduce the strain on the lower back, making it suitable for individuals with lower back issues. The exercise requires a barbell or a pair of dumbbells.

How to do it:

  1. Position yourself with a wide stance, feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outwards.
  2. Hold the barbell or dumbbells in front of you, arms fully extended and palms facing towards you.
  3. Keeping a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the hips to lower the weight down in front of your body.
  4. Lower the weight until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, maintaining a neutral spine throughout.
  5. Push through the ground with your feet and use your glutes to power your hips forward and lift the weight back to the starting position.
  6. Keep your chest proud and gaze forward throughout the movement, resisting the urge to round your back.
  7. Remember to focus on the mind-muscle connection, concentrating on your glutes as you lift the weight.
  8. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

best glute exercises 

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a single-leg exercise that demands balance, coordination, and stability, making it excellent for unilateral training. 

The elevated back foot allows for greater range of motion, leading to greater glute activation. The movement isolates the gluteus maximus as well as the quads (6). It requires a bench or a step and a pair of dumbbells.

How to do it:

  1. Stand approximately two feet in front of a bench, facing away from it.
  2. Extend one leg behind you and place the top of your foot on the bench.
  3. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms fully extended at your sides.
  4. Lower your body by bending your front knee, keeping your torso upright and core engaged.
  5. Continue until your front thigh is approximately parallel to the ground.
  6. Press through your front foot to stand back up to the starting position.
  7. Focus on keeping your knee in line with your foot and not letting it veer inward.
  8. Complete all repetitions on one leg before switching to the other.
  9. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
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Hip Thrust

The Hip Thrust is a glute exercise that predominantly targets the gluteus maximus, with secondary involvement of the hamstrings and core. This unique positioning, with the back elevated and a loaded barbell placed directly over the hips, allows for targeted activation and strengthening of the glutes. This exercise requires a bench and a barbell (5).

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the ground with a bench directly behind you and a loaded barbell over your hips.
  2. Lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it.
  3. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. They should be shoulder-width apart.
  4. Pushing through your feet and bracing your core, lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  5. At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes for a second.
  6. Lower your hips back down to the ground, controlling the motion.
  7. Repeat the process for the desired number of repetitions.

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Single-Leg Hip Bridge

The Single-Leg Hip Bridge is an effective bodyweight exercise that targets the gluteus maximus. The unilateral movement also engages the core and improves balance and stability. No equipment is needed for this exercise (3).

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  2. Extend one leg towards the ceiling, keeping the other foot on the floor.
  3. Push through your grounded heel and lift your hips off the floor, keeping your leg raised.
  4. At the top of the movement, your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your knee.
  5. Lower your hips back down, controlling the movement.
  6. Complete all repetitions on one leg before switching to the other.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Goblet Squat

The Goblet Squat is named for the way the weight, typically a kettlebell or dumbbell, is held at chest height, as if one was holding a large goblet. This posture promotes a more upright torso, which can help mitigate forward lean and place less stress on the lower back (5). 

The position of the weight also challenges the core and upper body, adding a multi-faceted training element to the movement. It does require either a kettlebell or a dumbbell.

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How to do it:

  1. Start by standing tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at your chest, with both hands supporting the weight.
  3. Begin the movement by pushing your hips back, as if sitting into a chair.
  4. Continue to descend, keeping your chest up and knees tracking over your midfoot , until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  5. Press through your heels, keeping the weight stable, to return to the standing position.
  6. Maintain a straight back and an engaged core throughout the movement.
  7. Ensure that the weight does not pull your torso forward or compromise your posture.
  8. Give your glutes an extra squeeze at the top of the movement.
  9. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Glute Bridge Walkout

The Glute Bridge Walkout derives its name from the “walking” movement of the feet while in a bridge position (3). This exercise provides a dynamic aspect to the traditional glute bridge, challenging the gluteus maximus and hamstrings as the leverage changes. This exercise uses bodyweight, requiring no additional equipment.

How to do it:

  1. Begin by lying on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Push through your heels to lift the hips off the ground, forming a bridge.
  3. From this position, “walk” your feet out by taking small steps, going as far as you can while maintaining the bridge.
  4. “Walk” your feet back to the starting position without dropping your hips.
  5. Lower your hips back to the ground.
  6. Keep your hips level and core engaged throughout the walkout.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

best glute exercises  

Lateral Band Walk

The Lateral Band Walk is named for its side-to-side movement pattern, combined with the use of resistance bands. This exercise effectively targets the gluteus medius and minimus, muscles crucial for hip stability and injury prevention. It requires a resistance band.

How to do it:

  1. Place a resistance band around your ankles.
  2. Lower yourself into a half-squat position, keeping your chest lifted and back neutral
  3. Step your right foot to the right, followed by the left foot to meet it, maintaining tension in the band.
  4. Continue stepping to the right for a set number of steps, then repeat the movement to the left.
  5. Maintain a constant half-squat position and avoid tilting the body to either side.
  6. Keep the steps small and controlled, focusing on the lateral movement of the hip.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
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The Step-Up earns its name from the simple action of stepping up onto a raised platform. This movement mimics everyday activities, making it a functional exercise. It mainly targets the gluteus maximus and the quadriceps, and requires a bench, box, or step.

How to do it:

  1. Stand upright in front of a bench, box, or step.
  2. Step up onto the platform with the right foot, pressing through the whole foot to lift the body.
  3. Follow with the left foot to stand on the platform completely.
  4. Step back down, leading with the right foot.
  5. Maintain a tall posture and engaged core throughout the movement.
  6. Avoid pushing off with the back foot when stepping up.
  7. Complete all repetitions on one side before switching to the other.
  8. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Cable Pull-Through

The Cable Pull-Through is so named because of the action of pulling a cable through the legs from behind. The cable’s constant tension provides a unique challenge to the posterior chain, primarily targeting the gluteus maximus. It requires a cable machine and rope attachment.

How to do it:

  1. With your back to a cable machine, stand feet shoulder-width apart and grasp the rope attachment between your legs.
  2. Walk forward to create tension in the cable.
  3. Hinge at the hips, bending forward while keeping the spine neutral.
  4. Drive the hips forward, pulling the cable through your legs and extending your hips.
  5. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  6. Maintain a straight back and avoid rounding the shoulders.
  7. Keep your head in a neutral position, aligned with your spine.
  8. Control the cable as it retracts, returning to the hinged position.
  9. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

What Is The Best Exercise for The Buttocks?

The best exercise for glues for both men and women, in terms of effectiveness, is the glute bridge (3). This exercise targets all three of the major muscles in the glutes: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. Glute bridges are also a versatile exercise that can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and equipment availability.

Other exercises that are highly effective for strengthening and shaping the buttocks include squats, lunges as listed above, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. These exercises all target the glutes as well as other lower body muscles.

How Do You Hit All Three Gluteal Muscles?

Hitting all three gluteal muscles requires a combination of compound and isolation exercises. The idea is to target the glutes from different angles and with different types of resistance to fully engage each muscle.

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This can include exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and hip thrusts for compound movements, as well as exercises like glute bridges, lateral band walks, and cable pull-throughs for isolation.

It’s also essential to vary the range of motion and intensity of the exercises, whether it be through altering weight load or adding equipment like resistance bands. By hitting the glutes from different angles and with varying levels of resistance, all three muscles can be effectively targeted and strengthened.

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What Is The Most Effective Glute Workout?

The most effective glute workout has four distinctive qualities; it targets all three gluteal muscles, uses a variety of exercises and equipment, includes both compound and isolation movements, and incorporates consistent progressive overload.

Targets All Three Muscles

As mentioned, targeting all three major muscles in the glutes is essential for an effective workout. This ensures that each muscle is engaged and strengthened to its full potential.

Uses A Variety of Exercises and Equipment

Incorporating a variety of glute exercises such as squats, lunges, hip thrusts, and glute bridges allows for comprehensive stimulation of the glutes. Equipment-wise, knowing how to use resistance bands, dumbbells, barbells, and cable machines effectively adds another layer of variety and intensity to the workout.

Includes Both Compound & Isolation Movements

Compound exercises like squats and lunges target multiple muscle groups at once while isolation movements such as glute bridges focus specifically on the glutes. Including both types of movements allows for a well-rounded and effective workout for the glutes (8).

Incorporates Consistent Progressive Overload

To continue seeing results in glute strength and growth, progressive overload is crucial (7). This means gradually increasing the applied stimulus through weight load, intensity, or number of repetitions over time to continually challenge the muscles and stimulate growth.

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best glute exercises  


  • Do Squats Grow Glutes?

Squats can contribute to glute growth by targeting the glute muscles as well as other lower body muscles (7). However, to see significant growth in the glutes it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises and follow a well-designed program following the principles of progressive overload.

  • Will 100 Squats a Day Grow My Glutes?

While doing 100 squats a day may improve overall lower body strength and endurance, it may not be enough to significantly grow the glutes.

It’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises and increase resistance over time for optimal glute growth. Overdoing it with one exercise can put you at risk of injury and hinder progress.

  • Are Big Glutes Good?

Having a strong and well-developed gluteal muscle group is beneficial for overall health and functional movement. The glutes play a significant role in stabilizing the hips, pelvis, and lower back, which can help prevent injuries and improve posture (1). 

Additionally, having strong glutes can enhance athletic performance in activities such as running, jumping, and lifting weights. 

However, beauty standards and personal preferences vary, so the definition of “big” glutes may differ from person to person. It’s important to focus on overall strength and functionality rather than just size.

  • What Causes Flat Buttocks?

There can be several reasons for having a flat buttock appearance, including genetics, sedentary lifestyle, and muscle imbalances. 

Genetics play a significant role in the shape and size of your glutes as some individuals may naturally have less developed glute muscles. 

A sedentary lifestyle with minimal physical activity can also contribute to weak and underdeveloped glutes. 

Lastly, muscle imbalances can occur if certain muscles in the lower body are consistently overworked while others are underutilized. This can lead to a lack of overall glute strength and development.

The Bottom Line

Overall, an effective glute workout should target all three major muscles using a variety of exercises and equipment, include both compound and isolation movements, and incorporate progressive overload to continually challenge the muscles. Over time these workouts can lead to stronger, more defined glutes.


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. 3 Reasons Strong Glutes are Important (n,d,
  2. An Electromyographic Analysis of Romanian, Step-Romanian, and Stiff-Leg Deadlift: Implication for Resistance Training (2022,
  4. Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation and Performance: A Systematic Review 
  5. Goblet Squat (2021,
  6. Muscle activity of Bulgarian squat. Effects of additional vibration, suspension and unstable surface (2019,
  7. Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exercise (2017,
  8. Single vs. Multi-Joint Resistance Exercises: Effects on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy (2015,
  9. The back squat: A proposed assessment of functional deficits and technical factors that limit performance (2014,
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