If you want to build stronger glutes, you’ll want to do exercises and activities that target those muscles. The “glutes” are actually three different muscles—the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle), the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Read on for 7 moves to try that will build your butt.

What Are Glutes?

The glute muscles are located under the fatty tissue of your buttocks. They consist of three muscles including the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Your glutes, which are large, powerful muscles, help you in sitting, standing, running, and many other tasks. Glute growth can be achieved by combining strength training with a nutritious diet.

You can’t always change the shape of your glutes, but you can make them firmer and stronger with the right exercises. The key is working all the muscles from different angles with different exercises and cardiovascular activities. Try any of the exercises below to target and strengthen your glutes.7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt

Glute Imbalance: What It Is and How to Fix It

Squats

Squats are one of the best exercises to target the gluteus maximus—the largest muscle in the lower body. They also work your hips, thighs, calves, and core.1

Squats should be a staple of any basic lower body workout. If the move hurts your knees, try alternative forms of the squat.

How to Do Squats

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. For added intensity, hold weights at shoulder level or at your sides.
  2. Bend your knees and lower into a squat. Keep your knees behind your toes (imagine that you’re sticking your butt out behind you, but keep your torso upright and contracted).
  3. Press into your heels to stand.
  4. Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps

If you’re up for a challenge, try the Bulgarian split squat. The move requires you to balance on one leg while elevating the other on a bench or sturdy chair. The move shifts the workload onto the quads of the front leg, but the glutes are activated as well.

 Build Your Butt With the Bulgarian Split Squat7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt

Lunges

Lunges are a favorite butt exercise. In a staggered stance, you really have to use your glutes to stabilize your body. The stance also forces the glutes on the front of your legs to work even harder.2 Lunges also work other muscles including your hamstrings, quads, and calves.

 The Best Lower Body Strength Exercises

How to Do Lunges

  1. Stand with your feet staggered, one foot forward and one foot back (about 3 feet apart).
  2. Bend both knees and lunge straight down, sending your back knee toward the floor.
  3. Try not to lunge forward over your front toes. Keep your front heel on the ground.
  4. Press into your heel to stand.
  5. Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 16 reps. For added intensity, hold some weights.

One of the best things about lunges is that there are many varieties. You can easily mix it up to target your muscles in different ways. For example, elevate your back foot on a step or platform to really challenge both legs.

Although lunges are an excellent exercise for your thighs and glutes, you should avoid doing them if they cause you any knee pain.7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt

Step-Ups

Step-ups are another great exercise to work your butt. To get started, make sure that you choose a platform high enough that your knee is at a 90-degree angle when bent. If that’s a little too much, use the second stair on a staircase and hold onto the rail for balance.7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt

How to Do Step-Ups

  1. Stand in front of the step or platform. Place your right foot on the step.
  2. Pressing into your heel, step up, touching your left toes to the step.
  3. Keeping your right foot on the step, bring your left foot down to the floor. Bend your knee into a lunge for more intensity.
  4. Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 16 reps on each side. For more intensity, try holding weights or a resistance band under your standing foot.
  5. Push into your heel to lift the body and concentrate all your weight on your stepping leg.
  6. Lower down gently, barely touching the toes of your other leg to the ground. If you take it slow and concentrate on the working leg, you’ll really feel this move.

We’ve tried, tested, and reviewed the best resistance bands. If you’re in the market for resistance bands, explore which option may be best for you.7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt

Sidestep Squats With Resistance Bands

While the previous exercises mostly target the gluteus maximus, this move targets the smaller gluteus medius and minimus. Don’t worry, though, the gluteus maximus is still involved because you’re squatting.1

To turn this into a great whole-body exercise, hold the handles of the resistance bands with your arms bent for an isometric exercise for the biceps.

How to Do Sidestep Squats

  1. Use a band with medium-light tension. Stand on it, holding both handles.
  2. Take a wide step out to the right into a squat, keeping tension on the band.
  3. Step your left foot in. Continue stepping out and squatting to the right, all the way across the room (or as far as you can).
  4. Repeat the other way or for about 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 steps.

Hip Thrust / Glute Squeeze on Ball

The hip thrust on a ball is another great choice for working your glutes. The ball adds some instability and forces your entire lower body to work. Holding weights on the upper thighs adds more intensity to the exercise.

How to Do Hip Thrusts

  • Begin in a bridge position with your head resting on the ball and your butt lifted. If you want, place weights on your thighs for added intensity.
  • Lower your hips to the ground. Try not to let the ball roll around.
  • Squeeze your glutes to lift back to your starting position.
  • Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps. Try lifting your toes for a more intense move.

Hip Extensions

While the previous compound exercises are the go-to choice for working multiple muscles at the same time, hips extensions are perfect for targeting the glutes in a more focused way. You’ll also benefit from some core and shoulder activation.

How to Do Hip Extensions

  1. Get on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Keeping the right knee bent, lift your right leg up until it is level with your glutes.
  3. Lower your leg.
  4. Repeat for 12 to 16 reps on each side.
  5. To add intensity, squeeze a weight in the back of your knee or use ankle weights.

One-Legged Deadlifts

Deadlifts are great for your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, but this one-legged version is an especially good butt workout. Doing anything on one leg adds intensity and it also involves your stabilizer muscles to keep your body balanced.

Remember that form matters when performing deadlifts. If you suffer from back issues, you should avoid this workout.7 Best Glute Exercises for a Stronger Butt

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