The Best Glute Exercises for a Booty You’ll Love

There seems to be a lot of confusion on what exactly are the best exercises to grow your glutes. For years we’ve been told that squats are the key to an amazing butt. And I used to think so too. But it simply just isn’t true.

Squats area great staple exercise for building lower body strength and giving you nice strong legs. And don’t get me wrong, they do help build your glutes, but typically your quads are doing most of the work.

If you want to make your butt more round and bootylicious you’re going to have to do a lot more than squats to get there. The good thing is, there are plenty of exercises that are much more effective than squats to grow your booty. 

So we’re going to put the squats aside just for today, and focus on doing these exercises to grow glutes that are large and in charge.

The Best Glute Exercises for a Booty You’ll Love

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But first let’s talk glute activation.

I don’t see this talked about often and I really wish it was. It’s so important to warm up your legs, and especially your glutes, before a workout to get those muscles fired up and ready put in work. Glute activation can be done with or without resistance bands. But I prefer to do my warm up with bands to make my butt work a little harder. The best thing to do here is to keep it simple. Do 3 – 4 sets of a couple of these exercises and you’ll be good to go:

  • Banded Side Steps – 15 each side
  • Lying Side Leg Raises – 15 each side
  • Glute Bridges – 20 bridges
  • Donkey kicks – 15 each side
  • Froggy Glute Lifts – 15 glute lifts
  • Banded Clamshells – 15 each side

Once that’s done you can focus on these great booty builders.

Barbell Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are the number 1 booty builder. I don’t care what anyone else says. When you’re doing it right, you’re going to see MAJOR growth. To be honest people see major growth even if they don’t do it right, but I’m not recommending that. The most important points to remember when doing hip thrusts are:

  1. Make sure that the bar is in line with your pelvis. Use a bar pad for cushioning.
  2. Your shins need to be at a 90 degree angle with your feet.
  3. Feet should be hips width apart.
  4. Your shoulder blades need to be on the bench/chair that you are using to support your upper body.
  5. When you thrust up with your pelvis, your chin should be tucked, and your face and gaze need to be forward.
  6. Push through your heels to thrust up and remember to squeeze at the top.

I recommend doing 4 sets of 15- 20 reps with medium weight. If using heavy weight then 4 sets of 8 – 12 reps. You can also try doing other hip thrust variations as well and they’re all great. You can try them with bands, with dumbbells, single leg, etc.

Barbell Glute Bridges

Barbell glute bridges are pretty much the floor version of hip thrusts. I don’t consider them to be on the same level as hip thrusts because there is less range of motion, but it’s pretty close. The concept is still the same with only a could of minor tweaks. For glute bridges you start with your back on the floor instead of your back being elevated by a bench. A couple additional points to remember:

  1. Make sure that the bar is in line with your pelvis. Use a bar pad for cushioning.
  2. Your shins need to be at a 90 degree angle with your feet.
  3. Feet should be hips width apart.
  4. Try to keep your chin tucked when thrusting. If your neck starts to bother you, you can lay your head down.
  5. Lift your toes off the ground, push through your heels to thrust your pelvis up, and squeeze your glutes.

If you want extra glute activation then and a short resistance band around your knees and push your knees outward while you’re thrusting upward.

Frog Pumps

Frog pumps are great for focusing on your glutes and are just as effective with body weight as it is with heavier weight. It’s similar to doing a glute bridge. The only difference is that your feet are together and your knees are abducted outwards. This position is often commonly referred to as ‘butterfly’ position. With this exercise, it’s better that you do it with a dumbbell rather than a barbell  for more comfort and balance. When doing frog pumps it’s best to remember that:

  1. If adding weight, make sure that the dumbbell is in line with your pelvis. 
  2. Your feet should be touching together.
  3. Knees need to be bent and pointing away from each other.
  4. Try to keep your chin tucked when thrusting. If your neck starts to bother you, you can lay your head down.
  5. Push through your heels to thrust your pelvis up.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are one of my favorite exercises because they’re fun to do and with the right amount of weight they give you a nice glute pump. Don’t be afraid to go heavy with the kettlebell either. Since you’re focusing on your butt you don’t have to swing the kettlebell very high or use much of your arms AT ALL. Your glutes and legs will be doing all of the work. My biggest tips for kettlebell swings are:

  1. Make sure to keep your feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly out.
  2. It’s a hip hinge movement, not a squat, so bend mostly at the hips and less at the knees.
  3. Keep the kettlebell close to your body. When you swing it should look like you’re trying to hit yourself in the butt.
  4. Bend at the hips, push through your heels and swing 45 degrees upward.
  5. Use your glutes, legs, and momentum to help you swing the kettlebell. NOT YOUR ARMS.
  6. Be sure to squeeze your cheeks as you swing up, and try not lean too far backwards.

Banded Donkey Kicks

Banded donkey kicks are great as a glute activation exercise or as a finisher at the end of a workout. This is the type of glute exercise that you’re going to want to do a lot of reps to see the best results. Short resistance bands that are mad of fabric and not plastic are key to firing up your glutes. Important things to remember about this exercise are:

  1. The band should be place a few inches above the knees.
  2. Your back should be flat, not rounded or arched.
  3. Your legs should be bent at a 90 degree angle the entire time.
  4. Be sure to squeeze your glute at the top of the kick.

45 Degree Hyper Extensions

The funny thing about the hyper extension machine is that it’s typically meant for training your lower back, but it can actually be used for a great butt exercise. All it takes is a couple of adjustments to the movement. To focus on your glutes with this exercise, you need to remember to:

  1. Bringing the pad right below your pubic bone.
  2. Point your toes outward to activate more of your glutes.
  3. Actively round your back when you lean over so you are only using your glutes to lift.
  4. Don’t come up all of the way.

Seated Hip Abductions

Seated hip abductions are great because depending on how you position your body, you can focus on your hips or really focus on hitting your glutes or both. They can be done with a machine or a short resistance band. Either way you’ll get an amazing glute burn. Some tips to keep in mind with hip abductions:

  1. When doing machine hip abductions it helps to leave some space between your butt and the back of the seat
  2. When using a band, place the band a few inches above the knees and keep tension in the band the entire time.
  3. You can lean back and tuck your butt under, sit straight up, or lean forward. Or do all 3.

Elevated Split Squats

Okay so I know I said we’re going to put the squats aside but this one had to be included. And it’s technically more of a lunge anyway. Although this can be done to focus on your thighs, it can also be done if you want to focus on your glutes. You just need to adjust your stance. Here is what you need to remember to make this a great glute exercise:

  1. Lean forward slightly over the foot that’s in the front the entire time.
  2. Descend at a diagonal angle instead of straight down, in order to activate more of your glutes.

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1 Comment

  1. Skyler
    September 11, 2021 / 6:14 pm

    Your page is really doing me a big favor I love it thank you so so much

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Jazmin Salym