gluteus maximus exercises

8 Undeniably Effective Exercises for Your Gluteus Maximus

June 07, 2021 1 Comment

Did you know that the largest muscle in your body is the Gluteus Maximus? That’s right, and it’s also one of the strongest. But, for many of us, it probably doesn’t feel that way. If you are lacking size and strength in the booty region, or you feel that your butt is too big (and not in a good way), it’s time to get down to business. We are going to teach you everything you need to know about training the gluteus maximus, which includes the best exercises, techniques for maximizing glute activation, workouts, and more.

Unlike most “Best Gluteus Maximus Exercises” articles that you’ll find, the exercises we have in store for you are complete, no-nonsense glute builders. We are talking about big, powerful lifts, not cupcake-type movements, as that’s what it takes to build bigger and stronger glutes for both men and women alike. It’s also what will help you to lose fat and keep it off. And while it’s ok to do some simple “isolation” exercises too, you are far better off putting most of your time into the compound exercises, as they will provide you the results you want to see for your buttocks. Remember, it’s the largest muscle in your body, so it’s requires exercises worthy of that ranking.

Rather than jumping right into the exercises, let’s get a better understanding of the gluteus maximus and what it takes to hone in on it.

best gluteus maximus exercises

WHAT IS THE GLUTEUS MAXIMUS?

You have three gluteal muscles, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Your gluteus maximus is the largest and outermost muscle of the three gluteal muscles, making up most of your butts shape and appearance.

The gluteus maximus muscle, of which you have two, one on each side of your buttock, is a thick, fleshy, quadrilateral-shaped mass with fibers that are directly obliquely downward and lateralward.

In the most simplest terms, the gluteus maximus starts at the top of your pelvic bone and it travels down connecting to the upper part of your femur (thigh bone). Obviously, on the posterior side. 

In more complex terms, the gluteus maximus has multiple origin points and two insertion points. For those who are more familiar with anatomy, it’s origin points are lateral/posterior surface of sacrum and coccyx, posterior side of ilium, thoracolumbar fascia, and sacrotuberous ligament, and its insertion points are Iliotibial tract, gluteal tuberosity of femur.

Out of the three gluteal muscles, the gluteus maximus has the most potential to increase in size and strength, considerably. In fact, it’s one of the easiest muscles in your entire body to develop (although genetics do factor into this as well)...that is, if you know what exercises to perform and how to maximize glute activation (which is why you are here).

Here is a picture so you can see where the gluteus maximus is located and where it sits in relation to the other gluteal muscles.

gluteus maximus

As mentioned, the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body. Interestingly, compared to other primates, the large size of our gluteus maximus is a very defining characteristic of humans. Being that we have a big and powerful gluteus maximus, we can maintain the trunk in an erect posture with ease, whereas other primates, which have flatter, punier gluteus maximus muscles, can not sustain standing erectly.

The ability to stand erect is a very important function of the gluteus maximus, but it is definitely not all the gluteus maximus does for us. So, let’s dive into the functions of the gluteus maximus.

WHAT DOES THE GLUTEUS MAXIMUS DO?

Besides determining the shape of your butt (and being one of the most instinctually attractive muscles on the human body, especially if strong and healthy looking), the gluteus maximus has many important functions.

Here are the main functions of the glutes:

  1. Stability: The gluteus maximus balances the pelvis and femoral heads (upper leg bones) to allow for an upright posture. It also assists in stabilizing the hips and knees when lifting one leg off the ground, walking, running, and so on.
  2. Hip Extension: The gluteus maximus, along with the hamstrings, is a primary mover during any movement that involves hip extension. Hip extension occurs when you walk, run, stand up from a seated position, climb stairs (the gluteus maximus really shows its power when sprinting, climbing, and coming up from a squatting position). All in all, any movement that lengthens or opens the front of your hip is hip extension. So, you are constantly performing hip extension, and thus using your glutes, day in and day out.
  3. Hip External Rotation: The gluteus maximus helps to move your leg laterally (outward, away from the body), which is hip external rotation.
  4. Hip Adduction/Abduction: The upper fibers of your gluteus maximus help abduct the hip and the lower fibers help to adduct the hip.

The gluteus maximus plays an important role in core stability, balance, bracing impact, and transferring force from the lower to upper body as well.

And while the gluteus maximus has many important functions, a lot of people’s gluteus maximus are underactive during these functions, requiring other muscles to compensate for its lack of activation.

For example, an individual may not utilize their gluteus maximus well for hip extension, relying mainly on their hamstrings to power the movement. This will cause underdeveloped glutes, muscle imbalances, and oftentimes it can lead to injury from overuse of the hamstrings or weakness of the glutes.

So, it’s important that you exercise your gluteus maximus regularly and build a good mind-muscle connection during workouts. This way your gluteus maximus will activate as it should during daily movements and sports. Having well developed, strong, well-functioning glutes is very important for the longevity of our bodies.

While the above information explains why the gluteus maximus muscle is so important, let’s discuss it with more focus on fitness and sports. We will also explain the causes and issues of weak glutes...

exercises for gluteus maximus

WHY ARE STRONG GLUTEUS MAXIMUS MUSCLES SO IMPORTANT?

It’s easy to become quad and hamstring dominant.

Pretty much any compound exercise that involves your quads or your hamstrings also involves your glutes. Think about it, your glutes are a primary mover for squats, deadlifts, lunges, leg presses, hip thrusts, and the list goes on. Your gluteus maximus is like the glue that holds all lower body movements together. The stronger your glutes are, the more strength you will have for any lower body movements.

This applies to athletics too. Your gluteus maximus powers movements like sprints, jumping, shuffling, acceleration and deceleration when shifting movements, and the list goes on. So, if you want to be powerful and explosive, you need strong glutes.

It’s not just about being strong, powerful and explosive when moving either. Your gluteus maximus and its two siblings play a key role in injury prevention, bracing impact, having good posture, hip stability, and maintaining a healthy low back.

All in all, the gluteus maximus is not the biggest muscle and one of the strongest muscles in your body for no reason. It has a lot of important responsibilities, and the stronger they are, the better you will move, feel, and look.

bodyweight gluteus maximus exercises

Causes and Issues of Weak Glutes

The most common causes of weak glutes are sitting too much, inactivity, and poor glute activation when exercising.

The first two are straight forward fixes, stop sitting down so much and be more active (workout!).

Poor glute activation, on the other hand, requires a little more detail.

Just because you are exercising, doesn’t mean you are activating your glutes as well as you should. This is especially true if you have weak glues to begin with. A lot of people start off with weak glutes and get into fitness and never learn how to activate the glutes properly. This leads to quad dominance and hamstring dominance, which creates muscle imbalance and significantly increases the chance of injury and decreases strength potential. 

Thankfully, it’s never too late, and for those of you who are just starting your fitness journey, you can make sure you don’t let this happen in the first place. All you have to do is place emphasis on glute activation, which we will get into in the section below.

gluteus maximus exercises to increase size

HOW CAN I GROW MY GLUTEUS MAXIMUS?

To increase the size and strength of your gluteus maximus, you must:

  • Perform the right exercises and make sure you have good glute activation.
  • Have the correct rep scheme, weight load, and time under tension. In other words, you must overload your gluteus maximus enough to stress it more than its use to.
  • Employ the progressive overload principle so that you can continually overload your gluteus maximus as time goes on.
  • Eat right, sleep right, and stay consistent.

Let’s quickly run through each of those points above...

Exercises & Glute Activation:

We won’t get into the best exercises just yet, as we have a whole section on the best gluteus maximus exercises a little further below, but what we are about to tell you is important so please continue reading...

Obviously, you should be performing lower body exercises like squats, hip thrusts and deadlifts if you want to build your gluteus maximus. But, just because you are doing those exercises doesn’t mean you are getting a good glute workout in.

When performing your lower body exercises, which the gluteus maximus is a primary mover for any compound movement, you must ensure your glutes are being activated properly.

So, how to activate your glutes?

First of all, before you even begin your workout, you should do a warm up that emphasizes your glutes. Use your warm up time to build that mind-muscle connection with your gluteus maximus. Do slow and controlled bodyweight or booty band exercises that strictly target the glutes. For example, you could do squat pulses, as the pulse is performed in the range of motion where the glutes should be the most active. Frog pumps are also great.

Be slow and controlled and really hone in on your glutes when warming up. Do a few exercises that focus on glute activation and work in the range of motion that has your glutes in constant tension. This will greatly help those who have trouble activating the glutes. Eventually, you will build a good mind-muscle connection and you will never have trouble activating your glutes during your workout. But even then, it’s always good to do a little glute activation warm up before your workout to make sure your glutes are all warmed up and ready to fire off.

Note: You can also do simply things like squeeze the heck out of your glutes in a standing position for 10 seconds, then release. Keep doing this for sets of 10-20 seconds. Do it in-between sets of your glute activation workout and your main workout. Do this even at times when you aren’t about to work out. Build that connection. 

Examples of glute activation warm up exercises:

Donkey Kicks

glute activation
Glute Bridges
Squat Steps
gluteus maximus warm up

Now, in terms of when you are performing an exercise like squats or hip thrusts during your main workout, to get better glute activation, slow things down. Use a slow tempo and a lighter weight and really focus on your glutes. Squeeze the heck out of your gluteus maximus at peak contraction and feel the stretch by working in a full range of motion.

You may be able to easily perform a squat with X-weight, but if you aren’t activating your gluteus maximus properly and you are powering the movement with mainly your quads, then your gluteus maximus will never grow.

It’s not all about lifting heavy, it’s about moving effectively. Like any muscle, your gluteus maximus needs stretching tension and contraction tension.

An example of stretching tension is when you are lowering the barbell down during a stiff-legged deadlift. Your muscles are lengthening and thus stretching. Contraction tension is when you bring the barbell up to the top (as your muscles shortens). Focus on both phases equally. But let it be known, studies show stretching tension is actually more effective for building muscle. This means you need to really work on your mobility if you are unable to use a full range of motion during your exercises.

 

Variety & Training Variables:

In regards to exercises, it’s important that you have a good variety and you employ different training variables. Your gluteus maximus is a big muscle, so it needs to be hit from different angles to work it in its entirety.

To hit it from different angles, you need to do a variety of exercises, i.e. squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, lunges, leg presses and so on. Each of these movements works the gluteus maximus differently and together will be the variety you need to work all of its muscle fibers.

As for training variables...Training variable include load placement, body positioning, hand position, as well as rep schemes, weight load, volume and so on. The latter are obvious, and we will get into best practices for them in a moment, but let’s talk go over the less discussed variables of load placement, body positioning and hand placement.

Load placement has to do with where the load is placed in relation to your body. For example, a front squat, back squat, and zercher squat are all squats but they have different load placement. 

Body positioning has to do with your stance. For example, a split stance, staggered stance, and bilateral stance are different body positioning. Thus, staggered stance squats, split squats, Bulgarian squats (back leg up on a bench), wide stance, toes pointed outward, and regular bi-lateral squats are all examples of the body positioning variable.

Hand positioning is how you grip the weight, for example an underhand grip, overhand grip, neutral grip, as well as grip width. This training variable is more applicable for upper body movements, but there are ways to play around with it for lower body movements too.

By altering training variables like load placement and body positioning, or adding a level of instability to your lifts, you can overload your muscles and stress them in different ways.

Note: Our ‘best gluteus maximus’ exercises further below take variety into account, so you can be sure all of them together will ensure full glute development.

Can you isolate the gluteus maximus?

You can’t 100% isolate the gluteus maximus because the muscle feeds into the hamstrings. That said, certain exercises do well to really hone in on the glutes and there are ways to make big compound lifts more glute focused. For each exercise below, we will teach you how to make it more glute-centric to get more activation in your gluteus maximus.

Reps/Time Under Tension, Sets, Volume, Workouts:

The glutes respond best in a rep range of 6-12 reps and with heavy resistance, relative to your strength level, which should be about 70-80% of your 1RM.

Don’t rush through the reps. You’ll see the best growth with time under tension being anywhere from 20-60%. For strength, it is considerably lower, with about 4-20 seconds of time under tension using a load of 80-90% of your 1RM.

The goal for each workout should be to hit your glutes for at least 10-12 sets, so that can be 2 big lifts done for 5 sets each or 3-4 exercises done for 3-4 sets.

If you want to see the greatest possible gains in your gluteus maximus, you should aim to work them twice a week, spread out evenly through the week. Studies show that targeting muscle groups twice a week is significantly better for hypertrophy.

With that, you’d get a total fo 20-24 sets per week for you glutes, with 6-12 reps each set. That’s a considerable amount of volume, and volume is what it takes to build muscle.

If you are doing gluteus maximus exercises without weights, slow down the tempo and increase the reps. 15-20 reps using a slow tempo or 10-15 reps explosively would be ideal. 

Note: the 6-12 rep range with weights has a considerable crossover between strength and hypertrophy, so you will see improvements on both fronts. Ideally, you could increase the weight load each set (after warming up to the working weight) and build both hypertrophy and strength during your workouts. We recommend doing this for the big compound exercises like squats, hip thrusts and deadlifts (and the variations) and for more isolated exercises, work in a higher rep range of 10-12 (and even as many as 15 reps), really focusing on time under tension.

Progressive Overload:

Building your dream glutes is not going to happen over night. It’s a long process that involves consistency. But it’s not just about staying consistent, you have to also continually progress.

Your muscles are incredible at adapting to the stress you place on them. The process of muscle adaption happens quickly. To continue placing enough stress on them so that they have to keep adapting, you need to use the progressive overload principle.

The progressive overload principle involves various techniques to ensure your muscles are getting enough stress as you gradually get stronger and bigger. Methods include increase the weight load, increasing reps, increasing the overall volume of your workout, increasing intensity, decreasing rest time, and doing exercises that are more difficult. 

All in all, it’s very important that you use progressive overload in your training if you want to see considerable results, especially if you are not a beginner to fitness. Focus on one or two methods for 4-12 weeks. The improvements should be gradual, although some weeks may be better or worse than others. After a training cycle, take a rest period of a week or so, then start a new plan, focusing on a new set of progressive overload methods. By taking a rest period every cycle, you will ensure that you are not overtraining and you can avoid plateaus.

Related: How to Progressive Overload Successfully

Eat Right & Sleep Right:

It should go without saying that if you want to build your glutes, you need to eat right and sleep right. Without enough protein and sleep, you will never grow your gluteus maximus no matter how effective your workouts are.

How to Make My Butt Tighter and Toner?

The good thing is, no matter if you are trying to grow your glutes or lose fat surrounding them, you should still follow the recommendations above and the exercises to come. The stronger and healthier your muscles are, the more of a fat burning machine your body will become. The only extra thing to note about specifically losing fat is to up the reps and decrease the rest time. This will ensure you are burning a lot of calories each workout. Also, do more cardio.

what exercises work the gluteus maximus

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEE RESULTS WHEN BUILDING THE GLUTEUS MAXIMUS?

Beginner will see changes to the size and shape of their butt quickly. Newbie gains are rapid because the body is hyper responsive to the stimulus provided by strength training. So, if you are just starting out or just getting back into fitness, you should see significant results in a matter of 3 months. In fact, if you stick with training for a long time, and you do things correctly right out of the gate, this will be the time when you see the most noticeable change.

Unfortunately, after your newbie gains, it will take a lot more work to see improvements. Moreover, it will take time.

Nevertheless, if you employ progressive overload correctly, you can continue to make progress in the development of your gluteus maximus. If you stick with training for 3 years, we guarantee you can achieve the booty you’ve always wanted. Not just a nice, shapely booty, but a powerful, strong, athletic one.

Note: Everybody is different. If you work hard, you can achieve your “perfect’ but in as little as a year. It’s really going to depend on your training, your diet, your sleep, and your genetics. In any case, no matter what, training your gluteus maximus will only benefit you, and not just in your buttock region, but your entire body as well. Strong glutes translate to a strong body.

glute exercises

WHAT EXERCISES TARGET THE GLUTEUS MAXIMUS?

Essentially every compound leg exercise involves the glutes, just some more prominently than others. A lot of core exercises also engage the glutes in an isometric fashion.

The best leg exercises for the glutes are ones that bring the gluteus maximus through a wide range of motion, to both stretch and fully contract the gluteus maximus. This includes exercises that have the quads or hamstrings as a primary mover. So, a lot of the best exercises for the gluteus maximus will also be quad or hamstring focused. To make the exercises more effective for your glutes, you simply need to use the right range of motion and focus on glute activation. We will give you tips and techniques to ensure your glutes are being activated properly for the exercises below.

Remember, if you want to build your glutes, maintain a strong mind-muscle connection with your gluteus maximus to ensure the hamstrings and quads don’t overpower the movement.

8 BEST EXERCISES FOR GLUTEUS MAXIMUS

The best way to build the size and strength of your gluteus maximus is with free weights. So, assuming you have access to free weights like barbells and dumbbells, here are the 8 best exercises (following these 8 exercises we also have exercises for the gluteus maximus that don’t require any weights, so just your bodyweight alone).

1. Back Squats

best exercises for butt

The reason we chose back squats is because it places a lot more emphasis on your posterior chain than front squats, which is great if you want to target your glutes.

To get even more specific, low bar back squats place the most emphasis on your glutes. A low bar back squat has the bar sitting lower on your back than high bar back squats, as the name suggests.

Tips for getting the most glute activation from low bar back squats:

  1. Go as deep as you can. It’s better to go with a lighter load if it allows you to get deeper into the squat. By getting deeper into the squat (even lower than parallel), you will be creating much greater stretching tension in your gluteus maximus, which is a very important aspect of building muscle.
  2. Squeeze your glutes at the top. You want to move through the greatest range of motion possible, so just as you want to go deep, you want to come up and full contract your glutes at the top. To do this, drive your hips forward to a neutral position and squeeze, just be sure not to push your hips past natural as that will put pressure on your low back. This is not a hip thrust kind of squeeze, it is a contraction done like you would if you were just standing normally.
  3. Use a slow tempo, especially on the eccentric phase. Control the weight load as you go into your squat, moving deliberately slow. Eccentric contraction is considerably more effective for building strength and mass than the concentric phase. So, treat it as such.

If you are having troubles getting good glute activation, which you will surely know the day after your workout as the glutes should be sore, you can try box squats as well. This is a helpful variation for people who are quad dominant.

Note: You can also try squatting with a fabric booty band. People squat with booty bands for this reason exactly, because it helps produce better glute activation. They are called booty bands for a reason!

2. Sumo Deadlifts 

best booty exercises

While conventional deadlifts are good for your glutes, sumo deadlifts targets the gluteus maximus to a greater extent. This is because your foot placement and hip and knee angle causes a hip external rotation in addition to hip extension, both of which your gluteus maximus act on.

Tips for getting the most glute activation from sumo deadlifts:

  1. Get your butt down as low as you can while maintain a straight spine. This will require a good understanding of the hip hinge.
  2. Drive the force from your heels, not your toes, and use your glutes and legs to lift the bar up from the start, not your arms and back.
  3. Fully contract your glutes at the top once your hips are in a neutral position.
  4. Move as slowly as you can on the eccentric phase and remember to use a hip hinge to lower it down. If you are dropping the weight down because it is too heavy to bring it down slowly, you are really missing out on glute activation, and you should lower the weight. 

3. Stiff-Legged Deadlifts

best exercises for glutes

A lot of people confuse stiff-legged deadlifts with Romanian deadlifts (RDL), but the two are different. Stiff-legged deadlifts bring the weight down further, where RDLs bring it down to about shin level. So, with a barbell, you’d be touching the plates to the ground with stiff-legged deadlift. 

While RDLs are also good for your glutes, we chose a stiff-legged deadlift because it has a greater range of motion, and thus you get more of a stretch in your glutes. If you have trouble maintaining good form due to poor hip mobility (inability to do a deep hip hinge) then stick with RDLs until your hip hinge improves.

Tips for getting the most glute activation from stiff-legged deadlifts:

  1. There should be a slight bend in your knees as you lower the weight down, but you are not bending your knees to bring the weight to the floor, you are performing a deep hip hinge. Your low back should not arch if you have a good hip hinge pattern. The deep hip hinge will allow you to get incredible stretching tension in your glutes.
  2. As you come up, drive your hips forward by squeezing your glutes and once you reach the standing position, really squeeze the heck out of your glutes. A lot of people don’t remember to really squeeze at the top. Also, there is no need to push your hips past neutral to get good gluteus maximus contraction.

4. Hip Thrusts

best exercises for buttocks

The hip thrust is about as glute-centric as a compound movement gets. Yes, your hamstrings are powering the movement too, but you can really hone in on your glutes with this one. It is one of the best exercises for gaining strength and mass of the gluteus maximus. This is because it allows for incredible contraction tension. In fact, hip thrusts provide significantly greater glute activation through contraction than any other exercise, which makes up for the lack of stretching tension.

Note: By wearing a fabric booty band above the knees, you can further increase the tension on your gluteus maximus and gluteal muscles as a whole.

Tips for getting the most glute activation from hip thrusts:

  1. You may have to play around with your stance to move the tension more from your hamstrings to your gluteus maximus, but generally speaking a wider stance with your feet rotated slightly outward will place greater emphasis on your glutes.
  2. Complete full reps by achieving a posterior pelvic tilt and driving your hips forward to the top and up as high as you can (while maintaining a stiff torso). 
  3. Once you reach peak contraction, really squeeze your glutes and hold it for a second or two.
  4. Drive the force from your heels, not the balls of your feet.

5. Weighted Step Ups

how to target gluteus maximus

Steps ups are great for your legs and glutes, but they can be made even greater for your glutes if you use an even high platform to step up on. So, to make this exercise more effective for your glutes, step higher! With the higher step up, you get a greater range of motion for your gluteus maximus.

Note: You don’t have to start with a very high step up, but try to do higher steps as you progress. Even with a lower step up your glutes will be working.

Tips for getting the most glute activation from weighted step ups:

  1. Make sure you are pushing yourself up by the heels of your feet, not the balls of your feet.
  2. Move slowly on both the eccentric and concentric phase so you can focus your mind on your glutes.
  3. Again, use a higher step up for more glute activation.

6. Bulgarian Split Squats

how to build my gluteus maximus

Both Bulgarian split squats and standard split squats are great for your glutes. However, Bulgarian split squats will help you get greater glute activation because they are harder. 

One of the great things about both Bulgarian split squats and split squats is that they help you to work on muscle imbalances AND you get great activation in all of your gluteal muscles at the same time because it requires more hip stability.

The reason we chose split squats over lunges is because with split squats, you have greater (and more consistent) tension on your gluteus maximus.

Note: One thing that can make split squats better than Bulgarian split squats is that you can use a heavier weight load. With Bulgarian split squats, you generally won’t go too heavy and you will use dumbbells, but with split squats, you can perform them in a squat rack with a barbell. You should be able to split squat around 50% or so of your normal back squat working weight, which is usually more than what you will do with a Bulgarian split squat. So, we do recommend that you do both split squats and Bulgarian split squats. 

Tips for getting the most glute activation from Bulgarian Split Squats:

  • Use a more narrow and slighter wider stance to get more glute activation. The more forward your front foot goes, the more quad focused the exercise becomes.
  • A lot of people don’t use a full range of motion with split squats. While pulse like split squats will keep tension on your glutes, using a full range is better overall.
  • You can do split squats with a single dumbbell or a kettlebell by holding it at your front near your chest, but it’s better to have two dumbbells held at your sides or a barbell on your back, as this load position is better for your posterior side.
  • Keep your back straight, don’t lean forward.

7. Single Leg Press

how to grow my glutes

Two-leg leg presses won’t give you considerable glute activation unless you go very low, using the fullest range of motion. But, with a single-leg leg press, your glutes will be activated in a significant way due to hip stability.

Tips for getting the most glute activation from single-leg leg presses:

  1. Place your foot slightly higher than you would with a two-legged leg press. Also, try turning your toes slightly outward.
  2. Press through the heels of your feet.
  3. Use higher rep ranges than you would for free weight exercises. 12-15 reps is best.
  4. Move slowly on the eccentric phase.

8. Kneeling Squats

butt exercises

This exercise is two-fold in its benefits. First, it is a great way to focus on your glutes. Like hip thrusts, it’s almost what one could consider a glute isolation exercise as it takes the quads out of the squatting equation. Second, it will help you get better glute activation during your back squats as it teaches you how to use your gluteus maximus for hip extension during a regular squat.

This is a great exercise for people who have trouble activating their glutes during squats. After doing this exercise for some time, you will surely get better glute activation when performing back squats.

We know this is more of a lady-friendly exercise, but for men who are not embarrassed to do this exercise, your glutes will thank you! This is a good exercise to do towards the end of your workout, when your glutes have already been worked by bigger compound lifts. 

Tips for getting the most glute activation from kneeling squats:

  1. Sit back until your butt touches your calves. Then squeeze your glutes to extend your hips forward, driving your body upright.
  2. Squeeze the heck out of your glutes at the top. There’s no need to push your hips past neutral to get a good squeeze.
  3. Use a smith machine so you don’t have to worry much about stability and you can really just focus on your glutes.

Gluteus Maximus Exercises At Home

If you train at home without weights or you simply prefer to just do bodyweight exercises, you can still train your gluteus maximus effectively. BUT, you will need the right approach.

Just because you are training with bodyweight exercises doesn’t mean progressive overload gets thrown out of the window. You just have to focus on the methods that apply to bodyweight training, which includes adding more volume to your workouts, increasing time under tension, and decreasing rest time (i.e. use 30 seconds of rest time rather than the standard 60-90 seconds for hypertrophy with free weights).

It should also be noted that just because your don’t have free weights at home doesn’t mean you can't increase the load. Anything can be used to add resistance to your bodyweight. For example, you could fill a backpack up with books, you could hold onto 1 gallon jugs of water, you could grab a rock from your yard, etc. It’s not as easy to gradually increase the weight this way, but if you had a scale, it can be done. 

Anyway, the point is, just because you don’t have conventional free weights doesn’t mean you can’t build a stellar butt.

As with training at the gym, you need to focus on the right exercises. The following exercises will be great do building your gluteus maximus. Remember to focus on full range of motion, creating maximum tension in your gluteus maximus, and performing sets with an adequate amount of time under tension (minimum of 30 seconds but ideally around 45-60 seconds for bodyweight exercises).

Single Leg Glute Bridges

Bum exercises to get a bigger bum

Hip Thrusts

buttocks exercises

Curtsy Lunges

gluteus maximus exercises at home

Lateral Lunges

buttocks exercises at home

Bodyweight Squats, Jumping Squats & Pulse Squats

glute exercises at home

Jumping Lunges 

rounder butt exercises

Kneeling Squat Jumps

glute exercises at home

Step Ups

booty exercises without weights

Reverse Plank

gluteus maximus hypertrophy

Sprints

gluteus maximus exercises strength

Tip: Make sure you warm up the glutes properly before working out. Just because they are bodyweight exercises doesn’t mean you should skip a warm up. And really focus on both stretching tension and contraction tension with each rep.

Get yourself some 41 inch loop resistance bands. They are inexpensive yet very effective and they can be used in so many ways. You can replicate any exercise you do with barbells or dumbbells, plus you can use them for warming up, stretching, and assistance exercises!

GLUTEUS MAXIMUS STRETCHES

Gluteus maximus stretching exercises should be done after your workout or on off days. This will help you relieve tightness and tension, and it will increase your flexibility and range of motion, which will not only improve your resistance training, but it will also reduce your risk of injury.

While there are many good stretches, here are a few of our favorite gluteus maximus stretches:

Pigeon Stretch

glute stretches

Pretzel Stretch / Figure Four Stretch 

gluteus maximus stretches

Supine Knee Hug Stretch  & Seated Knee Hug Stretch

butt stretches

LOWER BODY GLUTE-FOCUSED WORKOUT

There are so many ways to structure a workout, but just to give you an idea of what a good glute focused workout looks like, here are two workouts, one for people who train with free weights and one for people who want to do bodyweight only exercises.

We chose the exercises for each buttock focused workout strategically. The goal is to hit your gluteus maximus from all angles, so we incorporate various exercises to ensure that the gluteus maximus is being worked in its entirety (remember, it’s a big muscle so one type of exercise is not enough for full development). 

Before you start any workout, be sure to do a dynamic warm. An ideal dynamic warm up before a leg/lower body workout will include exercises for glute activation.

This article has some great exercises for glute activation using a fabric booty band. All of the exercises in the article can also be done without a band, so even if you don’t have one, you will still find it useful and effective. 

Workout with Weights:

1. Back Squats: 4 sets x 6-12 reps
2. Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 4 sets x 6-12 reps
3. Split Squats: 3 sets x 8-12 reps (each side)
4. Step Ups: 3 sets x 10 reps
5. Reverse Plank: 3 sets x 30-60 second holds

Rest 30-90 seconds between sets and exercises.

If you train your lower body twice a week, you can do switch up your day 2 workout as such: 

1. Sumo Deadlifts: 3 sets x 6-12 reps
2. Hip Thrusts: 3 sets x 6-12 reps
3. Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets x 6-12 reps (each side)
4. Kneeling Squats: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
5. Planks: 3 sets x 30-60 second holds

Bodyweight Workout:

1. Superset x 3 sets:
- Jumping Squats x 12 reps
- Glute Bridge x 30 seconds

45 seconds rest between sets

2. Jumping Lunges: 3 sets x 30 reps

30 seconds rest between sets

3. Superset x 3 sets:
- Curtsy Lunge x 10 reps each side
- High Step Ups x 10 reps each side

45 seconds rest between sets

4. Descending Ladder:
- Kneeling Squat Jumps x 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
- Hip Thrusts x 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 8, 9, 10

Perform kneeling squat jumps for 10 reps, then hip thrusts for 1 rep, then kneeling squat jumps for 9 reps, then hip thrusts for 2 reps, and continue like this, only resting when needed, until you finish with kneeling squat jumps for 1 rep and hip thrusts for 10 reps.

Supersets 

The supersets in the bodyweight workout allow you to maximize time under tension and to bring your muscles to full exhaustion. Supersets are great for bodyweight workouts as they bring the intensity level up. That said, they are also good when training with weights, just use them in a way that allows you to maintain good form.

After every workout, take 5-10 minutes to stretch. In those 5-10 minutes, aim to do a couple stretches that target the glutes. 

gluteus maximus workout

FAQ: 

How often should I train my glutes?

You should do exercises that target your gluteus maximus at least once a week, but ideally you should hit them twice a week if you want to see quicker results. Studies show that working out muscle groups twice a week is significantly more effective for hypertrophy.

Can I train glutes everyday? 

It depends on what kind of workout plan you are doing. If you are doing a full body plan where you do one or two exercises per workout that targets your glutes and you are in great shape and basically in maintenance mode then it is ok to train your glutes every day, as you are not going to be overloading them to the point where they need time to recover. 

That said, we are assuming you are looking to make improvements, in which case you’d need to overload your gluteus maximus each workout. By doing that, you need to give it time to rest just like you would any other muscle group. If you are doing a workout split, then you should be able to do enough exercises in one workout to overload your glutes. This will require a period of recovery, which can take anywhere from 2-5 days. We recommend upper lower splits and push pull leg splits for those who want to focus on building their glutes. This will allow you to train your glutes every 2, 3 or 4 days. With this kind of plan, you can streamline hypertrophy. 

Now, if you want to lose weight, and more specifically, that junk in your trunk, you could be successful with a full body routine, where you pretty much only do efficient compound exercises each workout. Compound exercises will get your heart rate up to a much greater degree, which will allow you to burn more calories each workout. Nevertheless, you should still take a 1-3 days off from training per week to avoid overtraining and fatigue, and to ensure each workout is intense. It's better to have 4 intense workouts a week than 7 mediocre workouts. 

Switch up your routine every 4-12 weeks (8 weeks is standard). For example, you could do an upper lower split for a few months, then a push pull leg split for a few months, then a full body routine for a few months. This is a form of periodization and it is a great way to keep your body guessing and avoid plateaus, overtraining, and even injury.

Related: What You Need to Know About Periodization Training Cycles

How can I reduce my gluteus maximus?

Frist, is the size of your gluteus maximus too big or is it the fat surrounding it? If it’s fat, then you need to focus on burning more calories during your workout by decreasing rest time and increasing volume. Also, mix in cardio and hit. If it’s the actual size of the muscle, and for some reason you want to make it smaller (and assumably tighter), then you really just need to adjust your diet by eating at a deficit. As for your training, use lighter weights and higher reps and target the muscle once a week rather than twice a week. AND, do a lot of cardio. 

Will 100 squats a day do anything? 

100 bodyweight squats a day will do something for you when first starting out, but remember, your muscles adapt quickly. So if you plan to continue doing just 100 squats a day, you need to progressive overload with decreasing rest time and increasing intensity (i.e. using a slower tempo). That said, 100 squats a day is not impressive and will not be effective for making any real improvements in the long run. It’s more of a maintenance method to be done in tandem with other bodyweight exercises.

Now, if you are talking about barbell squats, then 100 squats a day is a recipe for disaster. 100 squats a workout, twice a week is a good amount of volume and you can improve by increasing weight, decreasing rest time, altering reps per set, and so on...but doing this every day is too much. It would be way too taxing on your body. 

If you have any questions for us about training your gluteus maximus, please feel free to reach out. We recommend that you also check out our best exercises for the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, as if you want a good butt, you need to train all your gluteal muscles, with the gluteus maximus of course taking precedence.

glute workout



1 Response

Priyantha
Priyantha

June 24, 2021

Hi, thanks a lot. very informative . never read an article with so much info.
Cheers !

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