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9 Of The Best Glute Exercises For A Strong And Shaped Booty

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It’s all about the bum. Sure, built biceps fill out a shirt and six-pack abs are the prize of every beachgoer, but the back is where it’s at. A bodacious booty is essential to a good physique—and not just for stage-bound fitness contestants. Everyone seems to want a great bum. There’s just something magical about a beautiful butt!

How do you get your butt like that? And before you say it, yes, genetics play a part. Just like a pretty smile or clear skin, there are people born with a genetic booty advantage, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to improve your glutes. Women often turn to cardio to “get a butt,” but the clear path to a better booty doesn’t go through the treadmill or the elliptical. Instead, start with weights.

Looking for the best glute exercises to help tone and strengthen that butt? These 9 exercises do just that!

1. Bridges

Bridges are some of the most basic glute exercises to do to target and strengthen the butt. They also develop core stability as they strengthen the muscles of the lower back and the hip.

Bridges are at the very core of butt exercises as they are easily and endlessly modifiable. A lot of glute exercises are either variations of this movement or simply work around it.

How to do it:

  • Lie down on the floor. Bend the knees, plant the feet shoulder-width apart, and keep the arms flat on the sides. This is the starting position.
  • Lift the hip off the floor, hold for one second, squeeze the glute muscles, and return to the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions of this exercise.

Tip: For a more advanced variation, hold a plate or a heavy backpack over the hip.

 

2. Single Leg Glute Bridges

The single leg glute bridge is a much more challenging variation of the traditional glute bridge. They also improve hip flexibility and movement and works the lower back, core, glutes and hamstrings all together.

Glute bridges also help improve posture, strengthen the back, and reduce both lower back and knee pain. The exercise also helps improve one’s ability to perform deadlifts and squats.

How to do it:

  • Lie down on the floor. Bend the knees, plant the feet shoulder-width apart, and keep the arms flat on the sides. This is the starting position.
  • Raise one leg and extend it upwards.
  • Using the foot planted on the floor, drive its heel through the ground and push the hips up as high as possible. Channel the power from the hips.
  • Check the form. The shoulders should form a straight line toward the toes. The glutes should also be completely off the ground.
  • Slowly lower the back down towards the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions with each leg.

 

3. Barbell Squats

Barbell squats are squats with resistance. Compared to the regular squat exercise, barbell squats target not just the glute muscles but almost every other muscle group in the body as well. This results in a better overall workout.

While this exercise mainly targets the thighs, it also engages the glute, chest, and lower back muscles. It helps to develop and build the core muscles while strengthening the back. This will improve the posture, balance and stability in performing other exercises as well.

The added factor of weight resistance also helps condition the body, specifically developing lower body strength. Barbell squats enhance leg strength. This relieves the knees of pressure during regular exercises, reducing the risk of knee injuries.

How to do it:

  • Stand up straight. Plant the feet firmly on the ground and position them shoulder-width apart and slightly facing outwards.
  • Using an overhand grip, position the barbell on the back of the shoulders and hold it. This is the starting position.
  • Check the grip and the distance between the hands. Make sure that it is neither too narrow nor too wide. Either of the two could cause loss of balance and lead to an injury.
  • Lower the body by bending the knees and pushing the hips backward. Maintain a straight back throughout the exercise. Make sure to keep the chest out during the motions.
  • When the legs form a 90-degree angle, stop. Engage the glutes by driving the knees outwards.
  • Carefully return to the starting position by driving the feet to the ground. Generate the energy from the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
  • Complete 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

In the absence of a barbell, holding a pair of dumbbells to the sides should do the trick. A weighted backpack can also help.

Overhand Grip Definition: This is a type of grip where the palms are facing away from the body. This is also called a pronated grip.

 

4. Glute Kickbacks

Similar to bridges, glute kickbacks are also a favorite among glute exercises. They isolate the butt and really give it that intense burn.

The move can be completed with absolutely no equipment. It also has numerous varieties that can be explored.

How to do it:

  • Kneel on the floor and plant the hands firmly on the ground at shoulder-width apart. Keep the back straight and the neck neutral. This is the starting position.
  • Lift one leg up until the thigh is parallel with the ground. Hold this for one second, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions with each leg.

Using a resistance band or a cable machine are some of the more advanced variations of this exercise. Try to master the proper form and technique of the basic glute kickback first before upgrading the workout.

 

5. Lunges

Regular gym-goers often overlook the many benefits of lunges as glute exercises. Often, they dismiss it for other lower body exercises such as deadlifts and squats.

Lunges, when performed properly, help develop flexibility, balance, and functionality. This makes them an important part of toning the body and improving overall fitness.

How to do it:

  • Stand up straight and plant the feet firmly on the ground shoulder-width apart. Keeping the hands on the hips should help maintain balance. This is the starting position.
  • Step forward with one foot. Lower the body by bending both knees at 90 degrees.
  • Keep the back straight throughout the entire movement. The front knee should also be right above the ankle. The thigh should be parallel with the ground.
  • Hold the position for one second before pushing off towards the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions with both legs.

For an extra burn, holding a pair of dumbbells at one’s sides should help instead of simply holding the hips.

 

6. Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are also a great set of glute exercises that target both the lower and the upper body. They work not only the leg and glute muscles but also engage the shoulder and core muscles.

How to do it:

  • Stand up straight and plant the feet firmly on the ground shoulder-width apart. With the kettlebell between the legs on the ground, squat down and grasp the handle using both hands. This is the starting position.
  • Driving the feet through the ground, stand back up and swing the kettlebell forward until it reaches eye-level. The glutes and hamstrings should power the swing.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the motion.
  • Complete 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of this exercise.

 

7. Barbell Deadlifts

One of the big three kings of exercises, barbell deadlifts stand proudly next to the bench press and the squats. They also develop overall fitness level, targeting every muscle and bone in the body when done properly.

How to do it:

  • Place the barbell on the floor. Position one’s body so that the shins are close to the bar. With the feet positioned shoulder-width apart, lower the body.
  • Using an overhand grip, grasp the barbell. Keep the back straight and the knees bent.
  • Stick the chest outwards and look straight ahead. This is the starting position.
  • Pull the barbell up and standing straight. Keep the chest out and hold the position for one second before returning to the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions depending on the fitness level.

For the deadlift to truly be effective, one has to generate the power from the legs and not the lower back. Not only does this maximize the workout’s effectiveness on all the muscles involved, but it also reduces the risk of injury when performed incorrectly.

 

8. Barbell Hip Thrusts

While an uncommon sight to see at the gym, barbell hip thrusts are one of the best glute workouts that also help develop overall functionality. They mainly target the glute muscles, making them look better and increasing their power.

In turn, they enable the glutes to better support the body in heavier exercises such as deadlifts and squats.

How to do it:

  • Facing away from a flat bench, sit down on the ground and position a barbell on top of the hips. Plant the feet firmly on the ground with the knees bent.
  • Hold the barbell with both hands to keep it stable. This is the starting position.
  • From there, drive the feet to the ground and push one’s self upwards through the hips. The thighs should be parallel with the ground.
  • Hold the position for one second and make sure to feel the squeeze in the glute muscles before slowly returning to the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

 

9. Leg Press

Doing the leg press specifically isolates the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Its fixed movement should allow one to lift much heavier weights.

It will allow for much better gains without worrying too much about stability when lifting. The leg press exercise does not just firm up the butt, it also increases running speed and boosts vertical jump.

How to do it:

  • Sit on the leg press machine and position the legs on the platform. Place the feet on the pad at less than shoulder-width apart and pointing slightly outwards.
  • Release the safety mechanism and push against the platform. The legs should be fully extended so that the torso forms a 90-degree angle with it. This is the starting position.
  • Slowly lower the platform. Bend the knees to about 90 degrees. Hold the position for one second.
  • Push the platform back up, engaging the quads along the way. Make sure not to lock the knee joints at the top of the movement.
  • Complete 3 sets of 15 repetitions and make sure to lock the safety mechanism when done with the exercise.
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