Want a Better Butt? Try These 6 Glute Exercises

You may hit the gym regularly, but think about the last time you focused your attention on your glutes. By strengthening your glutes, you will not only work your way to a better butt, but you can help protect your knees from injury. In addition, it will help relieve compression and pain in your lower back by relieving the often overworked psoas muscle, which takes over when your glutes aren’t activating as they should. Not only do strong glutes keep your knees and back safe, but they condition your body to lift more weight to build muscle faster.

Next time you hit the gym, give your arms, pecs, and abs a break and get ready to get low with these glute exercises.

1. Squats

woman dumbbell squat

Squats will set your glutes on fire. | iStock.com/LUNAMARINA

This go-to exercise not only works your glutes, but also gives your legs, core, hips, and lower back a workout. With so many muscles getting a workout you’ll want to ensure you actually engage your glutes by dropping your butt as low as possible, dipping below your knees. Keep proper form with your legs shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly out. For an added challenge, use a barbell to add some weight.

2. Hip thrusters

Getting ready to do hip thrusters with a barbell

Man getting ready to do hip thrusters with a barbell. | iStock.com

Rack up a barbell with a weight you feel comfortable with and roll the loaded barbell onto your thighs. Lean back and rest your back onto a bench so the bar sits on your hips. Raise the bar off the floor by squeezing your glutes and pushing up through your heels. In the exercise’s fullest expression, there should be a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Do three sets of 10 repetitions at a weight that challenges you but keeps your back safe.

3. Lunges

man doing lunges at the gym

There’s a reason lunges have remained popular. | iStock.com

This popular exercise works your hips, thighs, and butt as you lunge forward, down, up, and forward. Standing straight up, step forward with one leg and lower your hips until your front leg forms a 90-degree angle. Hold here for a moment and return to standing by retracting your leg. Hold weights in both hands and perform three 12-repetition sets.

4. Kickbacks

slim woman in sportswear doing fitness exercises with fit ball

This move will lift and strengthen your butt. | iStock.com/Anetlanda

This workout actually targets the spot where your glutes and hamstrings meet to lift and strengthen your buns. Kneel on the floor on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Straighten one leg and slowly lift it up until your foot is higher than your head. Hold here and flex your lifted foot focusing on kicking up with your heel to really activate your glutes. Perform this exercise on both legs up to five times each. 

5. Single-leg pelvic lifts

Muscular woman doing stretching workout on exercise mat

You’ll feel this one in your core, too. | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Once again, this exercise does more than strengthen and tone your butt; these pelvic lifts improve your core and balance. Lie on the floor and bend your knees to place your feet on the ground with your knees in the air. Cross one leg over the other placing the ankle above the knee. With your arms straight down by your sides lift your pelvis up slowly. Keep your back straight and as you lift clench your buns and hold. Repeat with the other leg and complete at least five full sets.

6. Deadlifts

Man performing deadlifts

More than just your butt will benefit from deadlifts. | iStock.com

This lifting workout has a whole host of benefits including giving your butt a nice workout. Rack up a barbell with a little less weight than you feel comfortable with. To start you may want to lift without any weight added to get an idea of the stance. Put your feet shoulder-width apart and drop your hips down, keeping your back straight while you grab the bar. Tighten your abs while keeping your back straight and lift the bar up, keeping it close to your body. When you bring the bar past your knees, thrust the bar overhead using your hips. Keep your head up and your chest out as you lift to protect your back. As you bring the weight up, straighten your legs. For a visual explanation, check out this technique video.