12 best exercises for perfect glutes

Dreaming of lifted, rounded, and toned glutes? Then this article is for you - we’ve selected the most effective exercises for building perfect glutes to help you achieve your dream derrière.

First, let’s understand what the glutes are, and why keeping them in good shape is important (not only for your appearance).

What are the glutes?

Glutes (or gluteal muscles) are a set of 3 muscles that make up your buttocks: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

The gluteus maximus is the largest among gluteal muscles and one of the strongest muscles in the whole body. It makes up the shape of your hips and plays an important role in hip rotation, abduction, and extension.

Glutes not only support your body when you stand, walk, and sit, but also help maintain good posture, balance, and pelvic stability.

But that’s still not all – having strong, supportive glutes is critical for keeping your workouts safe and effective too. They reduce the risk of lower-body injuries by taking the pressure from your lower back, knees, and hips.

Let’s look at these simple exercises that will help you keep your glutes strong, firm, and toned.

Step 1: Warm-up

Start by activating your gluteal muscles with these simple warm-up exercises. This will prepare your muscles for the workout, making the training safe and more effective.  

Monster walk

• Place a resistance band around your ankles.
• Place your hands on your hips and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
• Bend your knees and squat slightly.
• Take around 10 steps backward and out, and then repeat the steps forward, maintaining tension in the band all the time.

Crab walk

• Place a resistance band around your ankles.
• Place your hands on your hips and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
• Bend your knees and squat slightly.
• Take around 10 steps to your side, maintaining tension in the band and keeping your feet parallel to each other.
• Then, make 10 steps to the other side.

Alternatively, you can make 1 step to one side and then 1 step to the other side to return to your initial position if your space is limited.

Hip bridge

• Place a resistance band above your knees.
• Lie flat on your back with your hands down by your sides and your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart.
• Bend your legs at around a 45° angle.
• Push through your heels, lift your hips up, and squeeze your glutes. Keep the pose for 1-2 sec and lower your back down. Do around 20 reps.

Step 2: Workout

There are several glute-shaping exercises you can choose from for a perfect glute workout. We’ve selected the 5 most effective among them, and put them in the order of their effectiveness.

5th place: Barbell back squat

Aside from shaping your legs and glutes, this strength-building exercise brings endless benefits to the whole body as it engages and trains every major muscle group. Barbell back squat is also a highly effective calorie burner which makes it a good addition to weight-loss workouts.

How to do barbell back squat:

• Step under the center of the bar and put your hands around it on each side of you.
• Take the bar out of the rack keeping it on your shoulders. Make sure it’s not placed on your neck.
• Take a step back. Stand with your feet around shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be pointing slightly outward.
• Keep your upper back tight. Squat down by moving your butt back, knees out. Continue to descend until your hip crease is below your waist.
• Move back up.

4th place: Deficit Reverse Lunge

Another great strength exercise is deficit reverse lunge. It trains the glutes, improves mobility, and makes your joints stronger.  

How to do deficit reverse lunge:

• Take dumbbells in your hands.
• Stand straight on a step platform or other elevated surface (around 15 cm in height) with both feet around hip-width apart.
• Lunge backward as you are stepping back off the platform onto the ground and place only your toes on the floor, not the whole foot. Lean forward with your body while you are taking the step.
• Bring the knee of the stepping leg down to the floor.
• Return to your initial position.

3rd place: Plie squats

Plie squads are an amazing strength-building exercise for the whole lower body. It not only helps to shape and tone up your glutes, inner thighs, and hips, but also strengthens your core, increases stability, and improves balance.

How to do plie squads:

• Stand up with your back straight and your feet more than shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be pointing outward diagonally.
• Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of you.
• Push your hips back and bend your knees in a squat. Your knees should point in the same direction as your toes while you are making a squat.
• Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
• Hold the pose for 1-2 sec and return to the initial position.

2nd place: Sumo deadlift

Sumo deadlift is another effective exercise for building your glutes. It helps strengthen muscles of the posterior chain, builds muscle mass, and is often used as a back-injury rehabilitation exercise. It is also a friendlier deadlift version for beginners than the standard deadlift.

How to do sumo deadlift:

• Stand with your feet around twice shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be pointing outwards at a 45° angle, towards the plates of the barbell. Keep your shins perpendicular to the floor, knees behind the bar, and back flat.
• Put your hands on the bar shoulder-width apart. The shoulders should be directly above the bar.
• Pull up the barbell slightly, without lifting it, and just creating a full-body tension.
• Lift the barbell by simultaneously extending the knees, hips, and back. Drive the pulling by pushing through your heels, not through your back.
• As you are lifting the bar, your hips will move forward, and the bar will reach the hip level. Lift the bar until your knees, hips, and back are fully extended.
• Stand like this for 1-2 sec and then carefully lower the barbell back to the ground. Make sure your back is flat during the whole exercise.

1st place: Hip thrusts

Hip thrusts are the most effective exercise for shaping and strengthening glutes in our list. And as a bonus, while they mainly target gluteus muscles, they also train the core, hips, and quads.

How to do hip thrusts:

• Sit with your back against a bench or other elevated surface which should be just below your shoulder blades. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground around shoulder-width apart.
• Push through your heels until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your legs form a 90° angle.
• Squeeze your glutes at the top.
• Return to the initial position.

Step 3: Finalizing the training

These 4 simple exercises will provide further toning to your glutes and wrap up your perfect glute workout.

Standing glute kickbacks

• Place a resistance band around your ankles.
• Stand straight with your hands on your hips and your legs hip-width apart.
• Shift all your weight to one leg and put another leg behind, keeping only its toes on the ground. You need to create tension in the band.
• Keeping the knee straight, kick your “back” leg as far backward as you can.
• Return to the initial position, keeping tension in the band.

Fire hydrants

• Place the band just below your knees.
• Get in a quadruped position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keep your back flat.
• Lift one of your knees out to the side until it reaches hip height. Keep tension in the band all the time.
• Slowly return to your initial position.

Hip Bridge Pulses

• Place the band just above your knees.
• Lie on the back with your hands by your sides. Keep your back flat.
• Bend your knees and keep feet flat on the ground hip-width apart.
• Lift your hips off the floor to the ceiling and squeeze your glutes.
• Push your knees out to the sides, and then move them back. Keep tension in the band.

Donkey Kicks

• Place the band under your left knee and just above your right knee.
• Get in a quadruped position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
• Kick your right leg up to the ceiling while keeping the knee bent.
• Keep your right leg on the top for 1-2 sec, and then lower it down to its initial position.

Do your glute workout 2-3 times a week, and you will enjoy firm and lifted buttocks while keeping the whole body toned. Don’t forget that your nutrition plays a key role in the success of your fitness routine, so make sure you follow a well-balanced, healthy diet to fuel your workouts.

If you want to achieve more, get an all-inclusive personalized fitness program that will give you everything you need to achieve your body goals – from a personal meal plan to a complete set of exercises chosen specifically for your needs.

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