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9 Exercises To Grow Your Glutes

woman activating glutes with workout on exercise

How to grow your glutes

Whether you’re growing your glutes for strength reasons or because you want a peachy-looking bum, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll help you learn how to increase the size and strength of your glutes by using a range of different exercises, from classic squats to glute bridges. Plus, you’ll find out how to recover after your booty-based workout and how your diet can help build your bum.

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What are your glutes?

The largest muscle group in the body, your glutes include three different muscles: the gluteus minimus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus maximus.1 The latter of which is the biggest, but the gluteus medius is pretty big too.2 We use them for almost every movement - whether that’s sitting, standing, walking, running or jumping – so it’s safe to say they’re pretty important.

How to grow your glutes

Want a bigger bum? From the recent trends in the online fitness world, it seems like a lot of others do too. Certain types of exercises may be helpful in increasing the strength and size of the gluteus maximus, like step-ups and bilateral movement, so, we’ll give you plenty examples of those below.

Nine exercises to build your glutes

Thinking of adding some new exercises to your workout routine for targeting your glutes? We’ve got plenty for you to choose from, whether you like working out at the gym or from the comfort of your own home, below…

Squats

Starting off with a classic exercise, squats are one of the best for building your glutes as they help to activate all three glute muscles in one movement.3

Location: Gym or home

How to do a squat:

  1. Stand with your feet so they’re slightly wider than your hips.
  2. With your hands on your hips, slowly hinge at your knees. 
  3. Lower yourself as if you were going to sit in a chair, while keeping your back straight.
  4. Go as deep as you can (comfortably) and make sure your knees are in line with your feet.
  5. Without locking your knees, straighten your legs until your back to standing position. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.

Glute bridge

A regular move in Pilates workouts, glute bridges are another great exercise for helping to strengthen your bum. This one takes place on the floor so try to have an exercise mat ready for you to use.

Location: Gym or home

How to do a glute bridge: 

  1. Sit on your mat and lie back fully. Bend your knees and bring your heels closer to your glutes, feet planted on the floor.
  2. With your palms placed on the mat, engage your core and press into your heels to lift your bum off the floor.
  3. Pause once your torso is in a straight line, hips lifted towards the ceiling. Contract your glutes, release, then slowly lower to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.

Deadlifts

Despite the scary sounding name, deadlifts are actually pretty simple once you get the hang of them. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning published research which stated that deadlifts help to train the gluteus maximus, so we couldn’t leave them out of the round up. There are many different variations, but we’ll explain how to do a Romanian deadlift with dumbbells.

Location: Gym

How to do a deadlift:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Keep your legs straight and hinge forward from your hips, lowering the dumbbells as you go.
  3. Keep lowering them until they’re just below your knee.
  4. Engage your glutes and your core, then stand up straight again.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.

Clamshell

Another Pilates posture, the clamshell is another great exercise to target the deep glute muscles – aka the gluteus minimus and medius. This move mimics the appearance of clams, moving your legs in a way that looks like a clamshell opening and closing.

Location: Gym or home

How to do a clamshell exercise:

  1. Lie on your exercise mat, on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other and rest your head on your lower arm. Place your upper arm on your hip.
  2. Bend your hips and knees so that they’re in a 90-degree angle, with your shins in line with the long edge of the mat.
  3. Contract your core muscles then lift your upper knee as high as you can, but make sure to keep your feet touching.
  4. Keep your lower knee on the floor and try not to rotate your hips as you move. 
  5. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.

Weighted lunge

Lunges are a great way to build your booty, but if you add weights it provides further work for your upper leg muscles and glutes.

Location: Gym or home

How to do a weighted lunge:

  1. Stand up tall with a dumbbell in each hand, feet hip-distance apart. Keep your arms by your sides and palms facing inwards.
  2. Take a large step forward with your right leg, landing heel to toe.
  3. Bend your knee and when your right thigh is parallel to the floor, step your right foot back so your back to standing position.
  4. Do the same action on your left leg and repeat 8-12 times for three sets.

Donkey kicks

Focusing on all three glute muscles, donkey kicks are great if you want to work to firm up your bum and not much more.

Location: Gym or home

How to do donkey kicks:

  1. Get onto all fours on your exercise mat, with your knees hip-distance apart and your hands flat on the floor, directly under your shoulders. Keep your spine neutral and your back flat.
  2. Engage your core and keeping your knee bent, then lift one leg off the floor and move your foot towards the ceiling.
  3. Once the bottom of your foot is parallel with the ceiling, squeeze your glutes. 
  4. With your hips stable and pointed at the floor, slowly return your leg to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.

Banded side steps

This move requires you to have access to a resistance band that fits around your lower legs. A similar movement to squats, side steps are another glute-focused exercise that you can add to your workout routine.

Location: Gym or home

How to do banded side steps:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart.
  2. Put a resistance band around your ankles or just below your knees to feel the resistance on the outside of your glutes and legs.
  3. Bend your knees and lower your bum slightly.
  4. Step to the side with one foot, then bring it back to centre.
  5. Repeat 10 times on each side for three sets.

Step ups

One scientific study from 2015 highlighted step ups (and their variations) as one of the best exercises for gluteus maximus activation.4 So we’ll take you through how to do a simple step up to get you started.

Location: Gym

How to do step ups:

  1. Stand in front of a step or a plyo box.
  2. Step up onto the elevated surface with one foot and press through the heel to lift the other leg up to the step as well.
  3. Bend your knee of the leading leg and step back down with the other foot.
  4. Bring the leading foot down too so you’re at starting position.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times on each leg for three sets.

Kettlebell swing

The kettlebell swing is a fantastic way to work on your strength and cardio at the same time. Working your core and abs in addition to your glutes, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this move.

Location: Gym or home

How to do a kettlebell swing:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-distance apart.
  2. Lower yourself into a half squat to pick up the kettlebell with both hands, palms facing your body.
  3. As you extend your legs, engage your core and swing the kettlebell through your legs up to chest height.
  4. Swinging back to the starting position, do another half squat as the kettlebell moves between your legs.
  5. Repeat 8-12 times for three sets.

How to recover after a workout

After completing a mega glute workout, it’s important to prioritise recovery. Rest and good nutrition are key, so it’s good to make sure you get plenty of muscle recovery foods in your diet. In addition to this, it’s worth thinking about recovery before you even start your workout. For example, doing some static and dynamic stretches beforehand help to get your muscles warmed up before you get your pump on.

Using a foam roller may also be beneficial for muscle recovery as it can help prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), so it may be something worth investing in! Another handy tool is an electric muscle stimulator, especially if you have muscular injuries that you’re working with.

How your diet can help build your glutes

When it comes to building muscle, protein is arguably the most important nutrient to include in your diet.5 But complex carbs, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables have an important role too as they can help to fuel your cells, reduce exercise-induced inflammation and enhance recovery.6,7,8

The final say

It goes without saying that every body is different, so try not to compare your own to anyone else’s. But we hope you’re feeling inspired to try these exercises to help you build a bigger booty and strengthen your glutes. Just remember to have patience and stay consistent as results can take a little longer to show than you might think. Interested in learning more about your muscles? Check out our complete guide to muscle health for a top-level overview.

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