What’s up girls?
Let me guess, you want a nice-looking butt huh? A booty that can stop traffic and make heads turn.
About 3 or so years ago, I was in terrible shape. It made sense, since I spent about 6 years not really giving a shit about my health, and let me tell you something… for a while there I looked like it too!
I fell into the common trap that many people do when they’re lazy or unmotivated to work out.
In this article, I will be going over the best glute exercises, rep ranges, and sets.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Top 10 Exercises to Grow Your Glutes
Here are the best exercise to grow your glutes:
1. Barbell Hip Thrusts
When it comes to getting bigger glutes, my #1 Exercise selection for growing your butt is barbell hip thrusts.
Sure there are other great glute exercises and variations (which we’ll get into later in this article), but when it comes to specifically targeting and building the glutes, nothing is more effective than hip thrusts.
The barbell version in particular targets your glutes as no other glute exercise do; They’re very easy to progress and regress, and they’re incredibly effective at building mass in the glutes.
Furthermore, there are no “bad angles” on your glutes with hip thrusts; All 3 heads of your glutes will get worked very well.
The only exception is if you don’t arch hard enough so that your pelvis tips backward (pushes your butt into the pad), but most people will naturally arch very hard on their first few reps. I guess you could say that hip thrusts are just that good at building mass in the glutes!
I would definitely recommend every woman start off her glute-building program with barbell hip thrusts. As for sets, this movement should be performed in a medium-high rep range.
I wouldn’t go super heavy on these so you can perform more reps per set, but at the same time don’t go too light either, because lighter loads won’t stimulate much growth either.
The sweet spot is a load that allows you to get 8-12 reps on your first set, but fail around the 6-8 rep mark on your 4th set. So if you’re doing 3 sets of hip thrusts, it should look like this:
Your first set will be around 20 reps (if not more), your second set will be between 8-12 reps, and your third set will be between 6-8 reps.
There are many different opinions on this, but I’m telling you the best way to do it in my opinion- Heavy first set (to get your glutes activated), medium second and third sets, and a fourth back-off set to failure with lighter weight.
This is what 99% of top bodybuilders who have great glutes do with the hip thrust, and it’s what you should do too if you want your butt to grow like theirs.
2. Walking Lunges
If barbell hip thrusts are #1 on the list of best exercises for building glutes, then walking lunges are right behind them; They’re one of the most under-utilized glute exercises by women (and men) yet also one of the most effective. And you can use them effectively either with dumbbells or barbells like I do.
I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about walking lunges; They’re very simple, they target your glutes and hamstrings without over-working your quads (unlike squats), and they’re great for building mass and definition.
Your glutes will be so sore after you do this exercise the first time, and when your glutes get sore from an exercise, that’s when you know it’s effective at building muscle!
The key with these is making sure you really control the weight on the way down and on the way up. You don’t want to just go down, bounce back up with no control whatsoever, and call it a day.
Rather you should lower yourself down slowly until your left knee almost touches the ground (or however low you can get), pause for a second or two, then press back up to starting position.
Another key with walking lunges is to not lean forward excessively; You want your torso as straight as possible and don’t allow yourself to lean forward or backward.
For some people, it helps to squeeze their arms together in front of them for balance, but I personally don’t do this. If you’re just learning the movement then it’s probably best to perform these with very light weights at first, just so you can get comfortable with the movement pattern. Once you feel comfortable then I would advise that you gradually increase your loading over time.
One thing I will say is don’t bother doing both barbell and dumbbell walking lunges in one workout; You should choose one or the other, not both.
If you chose dumbbells then do the barbell walking lunges first in your workout and follow up with dumbbell walking lunges (like I do in my glute workouts), but if you chose barbells for your main exercise then stick with that and don’t use dumbbells at all for this movement. If you decide to do dumbbells for this movement then I suggest using a lighter weight than normal, as your shoulders and back will already be fatigued from the barbell walking lunges.
One final note about walking lunges: keep in mind that you should not perform these on a slanted board. These should always be done on flat ground. If you do them on a slanted board, as you lower yourself down your body will naturally want to roll backward and this can cause injury; The same goes for variations such as split squats (aka Bulgarian lunges).
If you wish to perform these on an incline then I suggest using dumbbells and keeping your torso still throughout the exercise. In other words, the movement should be coming from your hips and NOT your upper body leaning backward or forwards.
3. Barbell Glute Bridges
One of the most effective exercises for increasing hip size that you can do is barbell glute bridges.
You need to use a moderate weight with these and go fairly heavy on them if you want to build nice glutes. If you don’t feel a good burn in your glutes, then it’s too light. You may want to use a pad on your hips for this movement (so that the barbell doesn’t dig into your hip bones) but I personally prefer not to use one.
The main thing with these is to make sure you push through your heels, not your toes. If you push off of your toes during this exercise it can alter the movement pattern and make the lift much less effective for glute growth.
If you’re doing these correctly then you should be feeling them not only in your glutes but also hamstrings as well.
If this is an exercise that you think is too easy then I advise adding weight or increasing the difficulty by putting your feet on top of plates. This will allow you to push through your heels more effectively.
4. One Leg Hip Thrusts
One-leg hip thrusts (aka one-legged glute bridges) are my second favorite glute exercise and my favorite for building up the glutes. These can be done with no weight (if you’re advanced), or you can use a band, ankle weights, plates, or barbell to increase the difficulty.
When doing these you want to make sure that you’re pushing through your heel and your glutes are squeezing at the top of each rep.
You can do these either on an elevated surface (such as a bench) or on the ground with your feet flat; I prefer to do them on an elevated surface as it makes the movement a lot easier and more comfortable. You can also try doing these on a physioball, as this increases the difficulty of the exercise as well as makes your glutes work harder to keep you balanced.
You may notice that I have not mentioned anything about reps or range of motion. This is because you can do these either way and they will still be effective.
You can increase the difficulty by adding weight or doing them on the floor, but for some people, this may make it a lot more difficult to perform the exercise properly. In this case, you should stick with building up your strength with bodyweight hip thrusts until you get to a point where you feel confident enough to try adding weight.
One final thing I want to mention about these is that they do not necessarily have to be performed with both legs simultaneously. This can often get old and boring, so it’s recommended that from time to time you do these on one leg at a time.
This makes the exercise a lot more difficult, but it’s great for making your glutes work harder to keep you balanced.
5. Weighted Glute Bridges
The first time I tried weighted glute bridges was when I used some free weights that someone had left on one of the benches at my gym.
I placed the barbell over my hips and then performed the exercise. The first rep was okay, but when I started going heavier and could no longer push through my heels I knew that this wasn’t an effective way of doing these anymore.
When you go too heavy on glute bridges then your hips will often drop closer to the floor and it becomes much harder to feel your glutes working during the exercise.
For this reason, I recommend that you try other exercises such as glute bridges with a weighted barbell or one leg hip thrusts, before trying these again with free weights.
6. Side Lying Leg Raises (cable pull-through)
Another great exercise for building up your glutes is side-lying leg raises. These are a lot harder than they look, and the motion you perform really hits your hip flexors as well as your glutes.
Just make sure that the motion is controlled and you feel it in your glutes rather than in your low back. If you find these too difficult to do on a cable machine then you can also try them with a resistance band.
7. Glute Kickbacks
Glute Kickbacks I’m not sure why these exercises are called glute kickbacks because you don’t actually need to go back like your kicking something behind you.
To do this exercise start with your legs bent 45 degrees on top of a bench or box, and then roll backward while simultaneously extending your leg. You’ll be using a resistance band for this exercise, and if you’re moving your leg at the same time as applying tension to the band then it shouldn’t be too difficult. Give these a go next time you perform glute kickbacks.
The key to this exercise is getting your leg up high enough, so make sure that when you are kicking back, the top of your foot is at least at hip height. Once you can perform these properly and with resistance, then you might want to start performing the move without the band as well to get a full hip extension.
8. Reaching Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
Another great exercise for building up your glutes is reaching single-leg Romanian deadlifts. Start by standing up straight with your knees slightly bent, and then slowly reach back with one leg while keeping the other one stationary.
When you can do this properly without rounding out at your low back or feeling it too much in your hamstrings, then you should start reaching back further until you feel it in your glutes.
9. Supine Glute Bridges
The final exercise I want to discuss for building up your glutes is the supine bridge. You can do these either on the floor, on a physioball, or on a bench. Using a large pad underneath your hips will make it a lot more comfortable to perform this exercise and you should feel it mainly in your glutes while performing them.
Just make sure that when you do these your spine is neutral and isn’t arching too much. You can also add resistance by putting a weighted plate on your hips.
Squats are one of the best exercises for growing your glutes. They target all the major muscles in your butt, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.
There are many different squat variations that you can do to target your glutes, such as sumo squats, goblet squats, and barbell squats.
If you want to grow your glutes, you need to make sure that you’re doing the right exercises and using the proper form.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
Do squats regularly. As mentioned, squats are one of the best exercises for targeting your glutes. If you want to see results, you need to make sure that you’re doing them regularly.
Use proper form. When you’re doing any exercise, it’s important to use proper form. This will help you target the right muscles and avoid injury. Make sure that you’re squatting low enough, keeping your back straight, and avoiding any excessive forward lean.
Add weight gradually. If you want to see results, you need to make sure that you’re challenging your muscles. One way to do this is by adding weight gradually. Start with bodyweight squats and then add weight in the form of dumbbells or a barbell.
Use a variety of squat variations. As mentioned, there are many different squat variations that you can do. This includes sumo squats, goblet squats, and barbell squats. Each variation targets the muscles in your butt slightly differently.
So, if you’re looking to grow your glutes, make sure that you’re doing squats regularly and using proper form. Additionally, add weight gradually and use a variety of squat variations to target all the muscles in your butt.
So there you have it, 9 great exercises for building up your glutes that you can try next time in the gym! You should aim to do 2-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions per exercise.
You can also add a weighted belt or hold something like a weight plate or dumbbell in your hands to make these exercises even harder to really get the best results possible.
Make sure that when you are performing these exercises, you are doing them in a slow and controlled manner so you can feel your glutes working to lift the weight.
If you do these exercises properly and with enough resistance, then you’ll be on your way to building up those glutes and developing a nice round bubble butt in no time!
🙂 Good Luck!