How To Grow Your Glutes: The 6 Best Glute Exercises

How To Grow Your Glutes: The 6 Best Glute Exercises

clock-circular-outlinePosted 17 Dec 2021

Building your butt to fill your lift contour shorts may sound like the dream – but getting there? Well, that’s a whole different story…

It’s hardly surprising, really. The glutes are the largest muscle in our body. So if doing endless glute bridges with little booty gains to show for it is you, then you aren’t alone!

Glute workouts aren’t easy (in fact, some of them are downright painful!), but with the right glute exercises and programming, even those of us who aren’t naturally blessed with a peachy behind can, in fact, grow our glutes.

How? Well, we’ve tried and tested the best compound glute exercises to build bigger, stronger, more powerful glutes – and we’re sharing exactly how to do them with perfect form.

All you need? A barbell, some dumbbells, and a bench (or box). Get ready for serious glute gains, with our best glute exercises.

Working out from home? Don’t worry: You can still grow your glutes at home! Try these Bodyweight Glute Exercises


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It's a dream come true, right? All that's left to do is add these glute exercises to your next glute workout in The Gymshark Training App: Record your sessions, track your progress, and watch your glutes grow.

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What Are The Glute Muscles?

We wouldn’t mind betting that most of you are reading this because you want to build a perky butt – and we don’t blame you!

But there’s so much more to the glute muscles than meets the eyes: As the gladiator-esque Latin name suggests, the Gluteus Maximus is something special

The glutes are made up of 3 muscles, all working together to provide form and function in daily activities and exercises.

The three glute muscles are:

  • Gluteus Maximus (largest)

  • Gluteus Medius

  • Gluteus Minimus (smallest)

Growing your glutes not only makes you look great but boosts your athletic ability. Strong glutes will help you run faster, jump higher and lift heavier – help you turn heads on the track and in the gym [1].

Plus, focused glute exercises help you stay injury-free – making you better able to absorb impact and reducing the chances of back pain and knee problems [2].

Example 1: When sprinting, the more power your glutes can produce to extend the hips after each stride, the faster you can take your next step—covering a greater distance in less time.

Example 2: During an Olympic lift such as the snatch, an explosive hip extension is crucial. The athlete transitions the body into full extension and propels the bar upwards.

How To Grow Your Glutes

Performance benefits aside, how do you achieve that sought-after ‘bubble butt’ shape? Well, you’ll want to include both upper glute exercises (create that booty ‘shelf,’ mainly by working the glute med) and lower glute exercises (responsible for the ‘under butt,’ mainly working the glute max and hamstrings).

The best way to achieve this is with compound lifts, which effectively hit both the upper and lower glutes, making them key to building a round butt.

Building your butt for scrunch bum leggings is one thing, but what good is it if you don’t know how to wear them? Learn the scrunch butt leggings hack.

How Many Reps And Sets For Glutes?

If hypertrophy (muscle growth) is your main goal for your glute workout, you’ll want to keep the majority of your lifts within the 8-12 rep range (with 60% to 80% of 1RM). That being said, there are still some benefits to including lower rep, higher weight training at the start of your workout for your big compound lifts to build strength (think hip thrusts or back squats), and implementing some higher rep, lighter weight work at the end of your sessions to help you feel the burn (mini bands are a great tool for this)!

Your glute workout structure may look something like this:

  • Glute workout warm up

  • Heavy compound lift e.g. hip thrusts (5 sets of 5 reps @ 80-90% 1rm)

  • Hypertrophy training using compound movements for a moderate weight for moderate reps (e.g. 3 sets of 8 each side Bulgarian split squat, superset with 10 dumbbell RDLs)

  • Finisher: Mini band glute work using high reps, light resistance with little rest between sets (e.g. 3 sets: 50 banded glute bridges)

  • Glute workout cool down

Progressive Overload

You can try every Alli Jo glutes and hammies workout under the sun, but if you don’t implement progressive overload (which means increasing the stimulus to progressively challenge the muscles to help them continue to grow) in your glute workout, you won’t see those sought-after glute gains so fast…

Progressive overload is usually achieved by increasing the load, but you can also increase the time under tension (by slowing the movement down or adding an isometric hold), decrease the rest time, or increase the reps. If you’re in the gym, increasing the weight is the most obvious solution, made easy by being able to record your weight in The Gymshark Training App, and make sure you add a little more next week.

How To Warm Up For A Glute Workout?

Just like any other muscle in the body, you need to properly warm up your glutes before training them. This will not only help prevent injury but also ensure that during your glute workout, your glutes do all the work rather than letting the other surrounding muscles help out!

We suggest elevating your heart rate with a form of cardio for 5 minutes (the bike, rower, or brisk hill walk on the treadmill are all good options).

Then, move on to a few rounds of some glute activation exercises, such as:

  • Lateral banded walk

  • Banded glute bridges

  • Kickbacks

Using a (light!) mini resistance band during your glute warm-up helps to prime the muscles before your main glute workout.

You could also try our Leg Day Warm Up Exercises.

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The Six Best Glute Exercises For Strength, Power, And Size

If you’re eager to grow your glutes fast, we’ve put together the best glute exercises that will not only build a perky behind but boost lower body strength and power, too.

These are all compound glute exercises, so you’ll likely need to be in the gym for these or have a good home workout set up.

You might also like: The Best Scrunch Butt Leggings To Make Your Glutes Pop

The Six Best Glute Exercises:

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Barbell Hip Thrusts

Starting with one of the best glute exercises in the book: The Barbell Hip Thrust. This should be one of your go-to's when looking for the best glute exercises (and they’re great for your hamstrings too!). This makes them a great lower glutes exericse.

Several studies have revealed a slightly higher level of Gluteus Maximus activation over other similar exercises, such as the back squat and split squat [3] – and you’ll certainly feel the burn as soon as you add these to your glute workout.

Aesthetics aside, hip thrusts also increase your strength, speed, and power by encouraging optimal hip extension. This means that incorporating hip thrusts into your glute workout will also help improve your squats and deadlifts—everyone’s a winner.

Tip: To make hip thrusts more of an upper glutes exercise, take a wider stance, or add a mini band around the knees and focus on driving the knees out. This will emphasize the upper glutes more to build your upper booty.

Back Squat

No surprise here: If you want to grow your glutes, back squats should be a staple part of any glute workout. They’re a great compound movement that will not only aid glute growth but help to develop and strengthen your entire body by engaging your hammies, core, and quads.

Don’t be afraid to go heavy on these: A study in 2017 found an increase in glute engagement when squatting with higher loads between 90% and 100% of your 1RM [4]– so grab a spotter and load up that bar!

If you’re new to squatting and don’t feel very confident on the squat rack yet, try using an empty barbell and doing some box squats – These help you understand the movement mechanics of a back squat, and teach you correct squat depth.

Still unsure about squatting with a bar on your back? Check out the Best Squat Variations For Every Level.

Front Squat

It may not be as popular as the back squat, but you really shouldn’t hit snooze on the front squat. Yes, you won’t be able to lift as heavy, and the front rack loading takes a bit of getting used to, but front squats are an exercise you should be including in your glute workout.

Take ego out of the equation, and the front becomes an excellent compound exercise for increasing lower body size and strength – particularly when it comes to glute growth! In fact, one study even found a greater level of glute activation when performing the front squat than in any other squat variation [5].

If you're new to front squats, take it easy and focus on technique. Focus on controlling the downward phase of the squat, then driving through the floor to create a powerful hip extension on the way up. And, most importantly, remember to squeeze your glutes at the top!

Finding it hard to hold the bar in front rack position without your chest and elbows dropping? Try these exercises to improve your front rack mobility.

Bulgarian Split Squats

The Bulgarian split squat is one of the best glute exercises because it involves training the legs unilaterally. This helps improve single-leg stability and can highlight (and help correct) muscular imbalances that are not addressed when performing only bilateral exercises.

They might be tough, but trust us, they’re worth the pain!

Bulgarian split squats help with glute growth and quad development, as well as developing overall lower body strength and power.

So, how do they compare to another glute exercise favorite, the back squat? Well, a study found that the Bulgarian Split Squat places less demand on the knee joint than a back squat and, therefore, may provide a sensible alternative for people who suffer from knee pain [6].

Conventional Deadlift

Deadlifts may not be the first exercise you think of including in your glute workout, but they are a key exercise for building all muscles in our posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae.

With proper technique, performing the deadlift allows us to add significant load to our training with an exercise that provides full-body activation, developing both upper and lower body strength, power, and size.

Not only that, mastering your deadlift can improve posture and grip strength, both easily transferable to other exercises.

Tip: Taking a wider, sumo stance will emphasise the work of the upper glutes more to build the top of your butt.

Need to brush up on your sumo deadlift form? Check out How To Sumo Deadlift.

Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift (or RDL) may be most famous for building strong hamstrings, but did you know that RDLs also target the glutes too? This makes them one of the best lower glute exercises. Plus, if you struggle with feeling your glutes activate during a regular deadlift, Romanian deadlifts are a great way to help.

RDLs can be performed using a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells or even a resistance band – but the technique always remains the same.

If you want to make these more challenging, try a single-leg Romanian deadlift to really test your stability and glutes.

Form tip: Remember to retract your shoulders throughout the whole set, and focus on squeezing and engaging your glutes as you maintain a steady tempo during each rep.

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Whether you want a round behind to fill your hoochie daddy shorts or scrunch bum leggings, or you’re looking to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier – you need to be dedicating time to these best glute exercises.

Our best glute exercises are all compound lifts – so you’ll likely want to lift heavy (just be prepared for possible DOMS the following day or two!). As someone once said, no pain no gain – and you’ll certainly be seeing the glute gains pretty quickly with these lifts!

Download The Gymshark Training App today to access hundreds of free glute workouts.

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Written By: Chris Beck

Chris Beck is Senior Editor at Gymshark, with a passion for writing informative conditioning and health content. Chris is an experienced Personal Trainer, and also holds qualifications in Nutrition, Sports Performance, and is a certified Crossfit Level 1 Trainer.

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  1. Miller, R., Balshaw, T.G., Massey, G.J., Maeo, S., Lanza, M.B., Johnston, M., Allen, S.J. and Folland, J.P. (2020). The Muscle Morphology of Elite Sprint Running. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 53(4). doi:

  2. Jeong, U.-C., Sim, J.-H., Kim, C.-Y., Hwang-Bo, G. and Nam, C.-W. (2015). The effects of gluteus muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on lumbar muscle strength and balance in chronic low back pain patients. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(12), pp.3813–3816. doi:

  3. Williams, M.J., Gibson, N.V., Sorbie, G.G., Ugbolue, U.C., Brouner, J. and Easton, C. (2018). Activation of the Gluteus Maximus During Performance of the Back Squat, Split Squat, and Barbell Hip Thrust and the Relationship With Maximal Sprinting. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 35(1), p.1. doi:

  4. Yavuz, H.U. and Erdag, D. (2017). Kinematic and Electromyographic Activity Changes during Back Squat with Submaximal and Maximal Loading. Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, 2017, pp.1–8. doi:

  5. Coratella, G., Tornatore, G., Caccavale, F., Longo, S., Esposito, F. and Cè, E. (2021). The Activation of Gluteal, Thigh, and Lower Back Muscles in Different Squat Variations Performed by Competitive Bodybuilders: Implications for Resistance Training. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 18(2). doi:

  6. MACKEY, E.R. and RIEMANN, B.L. (2021). Biomechanical Differences Between the Bulgarian Split-Squat and Back Squat. International Journal of Exercise Science, [online] 14(1), pp.533–543. Available at:

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