Sculpting a magnificent booty is about more than just aesthetic appeal. The glutes are an important muscle in the posterior chain that help your thighs and hips move. Building strong glutes also improves balance and make walking up inclines and getting up from a sitting position much easier.
It’s not always possible to get to the gym. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can target your glutes from anywhere without needing any expensive equipment. Read on to find out the ten best home exercises for targeting your glute muscles so you can get a great butt workout and build tons of functional strength in your booty.
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What Are The Glutes?
Glutes have a plural name because they are actually a muscle group containing the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in the human body, responsible for keeping you upright and involved in everything from jumping and running to climbing up an incline.
The gluteus medius and minimus muscles both keep your pelvis balanced and rotating your legs. Most movements that activate your glutes also activate your quadriceps and hamstrings as well. An effective glute workout will help prevent injury in the most important muscle groups of the lower body.
How Important Is the Gluteus Maximus?
Some researchers have hypothesized that the gluteus maximus enlarged during our evolution so that we could run. When our bodies are moving at a high rate of speed, the gluteus maximus is a source of propulsion but also keeps our legs from swinging too wildly or contacting the ground at top speed. Core flexion is also aided by the gluteus maximus when we run.
Glutes that rarely get a workout – especially for people with sedentary lifestyles – could lose so much strength that they cause problems throughout the entire body. Pelvic alignment and overall balance are affected by the gluteus maximus. It’s the largest muscle in your body and a crucial one for all sorts of daily functions, not to mention athletic performance.
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Examples of Common Butt Lifting Exercises for the Gym
Although they aren’t the main focus of this guide, a brief discussion of a few common gym-based glute strength training exercises should help shed some light on what exactly makes the 10 butt lifting exercises that follow so effective.
Hex Bar Deadlift:
Deadlifts are one of the best full-body compound exercises out there. No muscle group goes unactivated by deadlifts and the hex bar is a great way to use this move to give the glutes a better workout.
Since your glutes are so important for hip flexion, it stands to reason that you would want to challenge your hip flexors more. The hex bar puts a much greater strain on your hamstrings and glutes, making it a better glute workout than traditional deadlifts.
Barbell Hip Thrusts:
Hip thrusts provide a unique movement for developing your glutes. The added weight of a barbell makes your glutes work even harder. As an added benefit, your quads, hamstrings, hip abductors, and core will all be getting a workout, too.
The best thing about barbell hip thrusts is that you can simply leave out the barbell for a great bodyweight exercise that can be done without any additional equipment at all.
Cable Glute Kickback:
In this exercise, a tether runs from a cable machine to your ankle. Bracing yourself against the cable machine at a slight angle, you simply kick your leg out behind you and then bring it back to the starting position.
There are tons of other cable exercises that are great for your glutes. This kickback exercise is fairly similar to the bodyweight donkey kicks we’ll mention in the next section of our guide.
These three exercises represent some very general categories of workouts that activate glutes the most. Try them out next time you go to the gym. If you can’t find the time for the gym, read on for the best butt lifting exercises you can do anywhere.
Helpful Hint: Learn more exercises you can do at the gym in our Gym Active Fitplan!
10 Best Home Glute Exercises to Lift Your Butt
For the most part, these workouts don’t require anything more than an elevated surface or perhaps a foam roller or yoga mat for comfort. If you have a resistance band, kettlebell, or dumbbells available, they can give your glutes a better workout in many of these moves.
1. Glute Bridge
This classic glute move also helps build your core strength. It’s sort of like a sit-up for your glutes. Since the glute bridge is easy enough for beginners and also effective as part of a warm-up or regular routine, you’ll easily be able to find time to fit it into your routine.
How to Do A Glute Bridge:
Start by lying down with your back flat and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees bent so the bottoms of your feet are also flat on the ground. You can rest your arms out to each side with your palms facing down.
Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips until there’s a straight line running from your shoulder to your knees. Pause at the top and the lower back to the starting position.
2. Plyo Lunge
Even if you’re trying to build tons of muscle, a bit of cardio is important to have in your workout routine. These plyometric lunges are the perfect option because they won’t ruin your gains like long-distance cardio would and they still give you a great glute workout in addition to toning the muscles in your inner thigh.
If you’re a beginner and find this move a bit too difficult at first, try to cut it in half to perform traditional lunges until you can handle the plyo lunge.
How to Do A Plyo Lunge:
Start with your right leg behind you and your left leg out front. Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your right arm out front and your left arm back slightly.
Perform a traditional lunge by lowering yourself forward until your left thigh is perpendicular to the ground. Beginners can reverse back to the starting position at this point. To perform the plyo lunge, you’ll want to explode upward into a jump and switch both feet so that your right leg goes out in front and the left leg goes behind you.
Landing softly and in a lunge position might take some practice, but once you master it you’ll have a nice bit of cardio to add to your glute routine. Remember to do fewer reps of this move than others since it’s more intense.
3. Donkey Kicks
Donkey kicks are some of the simplest glute exercises you can do. If you’re trying to design a workout routine for your lunch break, this is a great one. You can also add a resistance band around your legs to make the move more challenging.
How to Do Donkey Kicks
First, you need to get down on your hands and knees with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Make sure your back is flat and you’re facing the ground, not out in front of you.
Start with your right leg. Lift your right foot up behind you without letting your right knee get out of the 90-degree angle it’s in. The top of the movement should be just before your back starts to curve. Lower your right leg for one rep and make sure to complete all the reps on your right side before you move on to the left side.
Helpful Hint: Build a killer glute workout with our 30-Day Booty Sculpt Fitplan!
4. Fire Hydrant
Fire hydrants are a great exercise to pair with donkey kicks. Even though they work similarly, they move your glutes and hip flexors in different directions for a more well-balanced workout. Just like donkey kicks, you can add a resistance band around your legs to make this fire hydrant move more challenging.
How to Do a Fire Hydrant:
The starting position is the same as it was for donkey kicks: down on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. This time, instead of moving your right foot backward, you’re going to move it outward.
If you’re starting with your right side, move your right leg out and away from your body and then back, taking care to keep your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Repeat all your reps on the right leg before you switch sides.
5. Hip Thrusts
Hip thrusts are one of the most versatile glute exercises out there. You can do them with a barbell, a medicine ball, or a resistance band. You’ll need to find an elevated bench of some kind to do this move. This is a great way to add weight once you stop seeing gains from glute bridges.
How to Do Basic Hip Thrusts:
Put your shoulder blades on the bench and support yourself with your feet so that your butt is up off the ground. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. You can also bend your arms so that your elbows rest on the bench and your hands support your head.
Engage your glutes and lift your hips until there’s a straight line between your head and your knees. Your knees should make a 90-degree angle and your thighs should be parallel to the ground.
One key thing to remember is your foot placement. If your feet are too far away, you’ll target your hamstrings more than your quads. If they’re too close to your body, your quads will do most of the work.
6. Pistol Squat
This variation of the squat targets your glutes more and it’s still fairly easy to do. Although it’s much more difficult than a traditional squat, the booty gains are totally worth it.
How to Do A Modified Single-Leg Squat:
Stand with your feet together. Put your left foot out in front of you without bending your left knee so that the heel is just above the ground. Raise both arms straight out in front of you.
Then, keeping your back straight, lower into a squat position by bending your right knee. The goal is to have your hovering leg parallel to the floor without its heel touching the ground. Once this is accomplished, you can rise back up to the starting position.
If you can’t nail this move right out of the gate, that’s ok. People with bad knees or lower backs can still get a good workout out of this move by allowing the heel of their hovering foot to touch the ground.
Helpful Hint: Our Lean Body at Home Fitplan features many more exercises you can do away from the gym!
One of the main functions of your glutes is to help you navigate elevated paths and step-ups mimic that situation exactly. If you want to build functional strength as well as a knockout booty, this is the perfect move. There are also lateral, crossover, and diagonal variations to keep your glutes working.
How to Do Step-Ups:
In the most basic version of this exercise, all you need is a raised platform or a chair. Place your leading foot on the chair and then push through to raise your opposite foot up until you’re standing on the platform. Then, move backward into the starting position, first with the opposite foot and then with the leading foot.
Do all the reps with one foot leading before you switch to the other side. To add a bit of an upper-body workout to this move, hold dumbbells in your hands while you do it.
8. Frog Pumps
If you want to burn some fat off your inner thigh while you’re giving your glutes a great workout, try these frog pumps. They’re as easy as can be but once you get into the higher rep counts you’ll really start to feel the burn. You can also use a resistance band to get more of a workout out of this move.
How to Do Frog Pumps:
Lie down on the ground like you’re about to do the glute bridge: knees bent, feet on the floor, back flat. Turn your feet so that they’re touching one another heel to toe. Your legs should no longer be touching but rather making a kind of diamond shape.
Engage your glutes and lift your hips until your torso is straight. Lower back down to complete one rep.
9. Bulgarian Split Squat
For this move, you’ll want to stand in from of a chair or some other kind of elevated platform. It should be about 1 – 2 feet high, depending on your height.
How to Do A Bulgarian Split Squat:
Stand with one foot behind you resting on the chair or platform of your choice. Sink into the squat position by bending the knee of your supporting leg. The front knee shouldn’t go past your toes unless you’re very tall.
Push through the supporting foot to rise back to the starting position. Remember that the rear leg is only for stability and balance. Most of your weight should stay on the leading foot throughout this exercise. Complete all the reps on the leading foot before switching sides.
10. Single-Leg Deadlift
You might not have a dumbbell around to perform a traditional deadlift, but you can still give your glutes and lower back a nice workout with the single-leg bodyweight version. Like most of the other exercises in this guide, you don’t need any additional equipment for the single-leg deadlift but a resistance band can help make it more challenging.
How to Do A Single-Leg Deadlift:
Stand straight with your hands at your side. Bring one leg up off the ground and keep that knee slightly bent. Next, bend the knee of the opposite leg as if you were going down into the squat position. But as you lower yourself, bend at the waist so you move toward the ground.
Your rear foot should go out behind you. Keep going until your body is parallel to the ground, then move back to the starting position by reversing the movement. Don’t forget to switch sides and do the same number of reps on each side.
Helpful Hint: You’ll also see some serious booty gains from our Sculpted Curves Fitplan!
Everybody loves a nicely shaped posterior, but working out your glutes are also important for your body to function properly. Thankfully, there are tons of bodyweight exercises that require virtually no additional equipment and make it easy to get a rockin’ booty from home. Try some of the exercises in this guide to build functional strength in your glutes and get a toned, sculpted booty.
(Note: Want our elite trainers to help you get started on your fitness journey? Start your Fitplan free trial today!)