7 Of The Best Exercises For Growing Your Glutes

best butt exercises for women

YouTube/Ashley Horner

Beauty trends come and go at the speed of light, and these days, it’s all about the booty. Everyone wants to know how to get a rounder, perkier behind. We’re game with this new fitness trend shift from skinny to strong, so we’re here to give you some tips on how to get those buns of steel that you’re dreaming of. In order to build your behind, you’ll want to focus on training that area for hypertrophy — a mode of exercise that will get your skeletal muscle to increase in size.

Below are the seven best exercises that’ll target your glutes most effectively. In order to get your booty muscles to grow, you’ll want to do between eight and 12 reps and three to five sets for each exercise. Remember, muscle hypertrophy happens when you lift heavier loads, so challenge yourself to lift a heavier weight that you can only use for a maximum of 12 repetitions before failing.

1. Barbell Hip Thrusters

A lot of us have a hard time firing up our glutes when doing exercises — we often compensate for weak butt muscles by overusing our quad muscles instead. But barbell hip thrusters isolate our glutes and by doing so force us to engage them. This is a great exercise for growing and strengthening your entire backside.

To do this exercise, begin seated on the ground with a bench behind you. Place a loaded barbell in your lap — you might want to use a pad or some towels for cushioning. Roll the bar so that it’s directly above your hips and lean your shoulder back on to the bench so that your shoulder blades are directly on top of it. Begin the movement by driving through your feet and thrusting your hips up towards the ceiling so that they become parallel to the floor — your weight should mainly be supported by your shoulder blades and by the heels of your feet. Squeeze your butt at the top, and then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position. This is one rep — you’ll want to do eight to 12 of them for three to five sets.

2. Barbell Sumo Deadlifts

Unlike the traditional deadlift which targets more your hamstrings — the sumo deadlift is great for growing and strengthening your booty. This exercise mainly targets your gluteus maximus muscle — the lower portion of your butt. To begin your sumo deadlifts, you’ll want to have a loaded barbell on the ground in front of you. You’ll want to stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart with your toes slightly pointing outward. Make sure that your feet are underneath the bar.

Bend at the hips to grip the bar, keeping your hands directly underneath your shoulders on the inside of your legs. Relax your shoulders and lower your hips even more, squatting down to a 90-degree angle or slightly below always maintaining the same grip. Look straight in front of you, keeping your chest up and shoulders down and back. Begin the movement by driving through the heels of your feet and pulling up the weight to standing, extending your hips and knees in the process — make sure that you squeeze your glutes at the top before you slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 12 reps for three to five sets.

3. Dumbbell Sumo Squats

This exercise is similar to the barbell sumo deadlift, except for the fact that it’s performed using a dumbbell instead of a barbell — so it’s slightly more suited for beginners. Sumo squats are great for targetting the outer portion of your glutes and your inner thighs. To begin, stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart and your toes pointing outward, holding one dumbbell with both of your hands in front of your chest. Bend your knees and lower your hips so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep the majority of your weight grounded into your heels. Slowly rise back up, straightening your legs completely and squeezing your glutes. This is one rep, again you’ll want to do this exercise for eight to 12 repetitions and for three to five sets.

4. Barbell Back-Loaded Squats

Although the primary muscles worked during this exercise are the quadriceps, the glutes are also heavily involved. Barbell back squats are great because they generally allow you to use more weight than other squat variations (like front squats and sumo squats). Begin standing at a squat rack with your knees slightly bent, hip-width apart and your shoulders directly underneath the barbell. Grasp the barbell with both of your hands and lift it off of the squat rack, positioning it slightly on the back of your shoulders. Lower down into a squat, keeping your knees over your toes and making sure that they don’t buckle in. Lower down until you’re knees are at or below a 90-degree angle. Drive through your heels to come back up to a standing position. This is one rep — repeat the exercise eight to 12 times for three to five sets.

5. Glute Hamstring Raise

This exercise’s great at working your entire posterior chain — from your hamstrings to your glutes to your lower back. The glute ham raise is performed using a glute hamstring developer machine (GHD), which you’ll find at most commercial and boutique gyms. If your gym doesn’t have this machine or you don’t belong to a gym, don’t worry! You can also do this exercise by hooking your heels underneath and immovable object, like a bench.

To begin, place your feet between the rollers of the GHD machine (or underneath your object of choice) lying face down. If you’re using a GHD machine, your knees should be directly behind the pad. Keep your back arched as you begin the movement by flexing your knees, driving your feet into the foot plate and squeezing your glutes as you lift your upper body until it’s completely vertical — make sure that you keep your back straight throughout the entire movement. This is one rep. Complete the exercise 15 to 20 times for three sets.

6. Bulgarian Split Squats

The main muscles involved in this exercise are the booty, the quads and the hamstrings. Since you’re performing this exercise with most of your load resting on a single leg, you’ll have to engage your core to keep yourself stable — so it’s also a good exercise for strengthening your midsection.  To perform the Bulgarian split squat you’ll begin in a split-squat stance, with your back foot elevated, resting on a bench or a box. If you choose to use a weight for this exercise — which we highly recommend since your goal is hypertrophy — you can either hold two dumbbells by your sides or one dumbbell in front of your chest.

Begin the movement by lunging down until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle and your front thigh is parallel to the floor, make sure to keep your front knee over your toe and your torso as vertical as possible. At the bottom of the movement, drive through the heel of your standing leg and extend your knee and hip to return to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat the exercise eight to 12 times for three to five sets.

7. Dumbbell Single-Leg Deadlifts

This exercise is great for targetting your entire backside, including your hamstrings, glutes (both Medius and Maximus) and lower back. It’s also great for working your core and improving your balance since you’ll be doing the exercise standing on one leg. To begin, stand with your feet together and your knees slightly bent. You can either hold a single dumbbell in your right hand in front of your right thigh or two dumbells — one in the right hand and one in the left.

Shift the bulk of your weight into your left leg, keeping your hips square and maintaining a slight bend in your knee. Raise your right leg straight behind your body, hinging at the hips and bringing your torso parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your chin tucked so as to not strain your neck. At the bottom of the movement your right leg and back should be almost entirely parallel to the floor — so make sure to keep your back straight the entire time. Then return to the starting position, keeping your right leg straight and slowly tapping it back to the ground. This is one rep. Repeat eight to 12 times for three to four sets.


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