Best glute exercises in the gym: Full guide 2022
What you will learn in this Glute Gym Guide for growing glutes
The reason number one why both ladies and men are training their glutes is primarily esthetic, and no one will ever judge you for that. There’s no better feeling when you can show off with confidence your background in your favorite jeans, dress, or swimsuit; having a strong and nice butt makes you feel and look stronger, healthier, and more confident.
Your glutes are the biggest and one of the strongest muscles in the body that affect your entire kinetic chain. Your glutes are keeping your posture straight, are main muscles to stand up from a seated position and walk up and down the stairs. They determine how fast you will run, walk forward, how much you can lift, how stable you are, and are participating in changing direction.
And, except making your background look attractive, most importantly, strong glutes keep you safe from injuries, back and knee pain, and can prevent some medical conditions such as incontinence.
How to train glutes for maximum growth in the gym?
Your glutes are made from different muscle fibers. 70% of glute muscles are built from slow-twitch muscle fibers (type 1) and 30% from fast-twitch muscle fibers (type 1). If we know that, then we understand why it is important to train in different planes of motion and to incorporate different movements into your butt training, such as compounds, explosive, and single-leg exercises into your routine.
Another important thing to achieve the maximum growth of your glutes in the gym is to train all three gluteal muscles, focus on mind-muscle connection, tempo, and progressive overload.
And the last important thing to name when training your glutes, you don’t need to change your workout plan often or get ‘too crazy’ with workout ideas. If you have a plan, you are supposed to train and follow the plan for a minimum of 3 months.
When you notice you are making progress in your muscle strength, to keep up challenging your glute muscles and activate the hypertrophy process in your butt, it’s enough to play with adding more weight, repetitions, and series, take less rest between sets, and to change the tempo of your glute exercises.
Best Glute Exercises In Gym
Your glutes exercises in the gym are supposed to be divided into two kinds of training: hip dominant training and leg dominant training.
The frequency of training to see progress as fast as possible is training your glutes minimum 2-3/week, 20-45 minutes a day, and having a rest period between each training (24-48h per muscle group).
Find out more below and get ideas of what you can do in your next two glute day sessions. The first training routine is hip dominant and targets all 3 gluteal muscles.
The second training routine is leg dominant and you will be working your legs and butt at the same time.
You will see that in order to have a good glute day, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym or have a ton of fancy moves. Focus, training structure, and a good plan are the crucial elements that will save you time and give you the best glute results.
Hip Dominant Glute Exercises
Hip dominant movements include exercises that are putting emphasis on your hip joints and include flexion and extension movements in the hip joints, while movements in knee joints are minimal.
Hip dominant exercises can progress from double-leg movements, which means both legs are on the floor, to single-leg movements where only one leg is in contact with the floor.
In this set of exercises, you will try both, double- and single-leg movements.
To perform a complete training, every exercise should be performed in 3-4 rounds, 10- 12 repetitions.
Good luck and happy bum growth! 🙂
Barbell Hip Thrust
Targeted muscles: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, core
How to do it: Sit on the floor with a bench behind your back. Roll and place the barbell on your hips (above your pubic bone). To perform and make this exercise more comfortable and safe, put a towel and/or a foam cover (barbell pad) between your hip bones and barbell. Support your shoulder blades on the bench. Position your shoulder blades in a way that the bench is in the middle of them.
Hold the barbell with your arms and push your hips up, dominantly pushing through your heels. This will activate your glutes. Squeeze your butt on the top, hold for 2-3 seconds, then slowly start lowering your hips back to the start position.
When your hips are up, your head and chin are supposed to be flexed on your chest bone, and your knees bent so they are parallel with the floor (90-degrees).
Tip: If you are a beginner, and this is your first time trying to do hip thrusts, you can practice the move only with a barbell, without adding any weights on the sides. You can also try putting a 5kg round weight on your hips (no barbell).
Targeted muscles: gluteus maximus, hamstrings
How to do it: Find a cable machine and adjust it: put the long bar handle on the lowest point of the cable machine. Choose the weights according to your current fitness level. Stand facing the machine. Pick up the bar with both hands and move about one step back away from the machine. Your feet and arms are about shoulder-width apart.
Slightly bend your knees, and then flex (hip hinge) your hips backward as much as you can while keeping your spine in a straight line. After your reach your limit, slowly move your hips forward and squeeze your glute muscles.
Targeted muscles: gluteus maximus
How to do it: Continue to your next exercise on the cable machine. For this exercise you will need to change the bar tool for an ankle strap. Put the ankle strap around one ankle, make sure it fits well and choose the weights according to your fitness level. Stand facing the machine and take a step back from the machine.
Bend your core a bit forward, and support yourself on the machine with both hands. While one leg is firmly standing on the ground, pull your strapped leg backward and focus that the movement is coming from your hips. At the top, squeeze the butt and slowly go back to the start position. Repeat this exercise with the other leg.
Cable Standing Fire Hydrant
Targeted muscles: gluteus medius and minimus
How to do it: You will continue using the ankle strap, but this time you will change your body position. Instead of facing the machine, rotate your body for 90-degrees so your right shoulder is closer to the machine. If your right shoulder is closer to the machine, the working leg is your left leg. Support yourself by placing your right hand on the machine to have more stability, and slightly bend your core forward.
Elevate your left leg off the floor, flexing it in the knee for 90-degrees. Bring your left leg on the side, up in the air, and focus on your hip to perform the movement from your hip joint. That way you will target and work your glutes more effectively. Hold for 2-3 seconds and then slowly go back to the start position. Repeat the same with the other leg.
Leg Dominant Glute Exercises
Opposite to hip dominant movement, leg dominant movement is putting more emphasis on your knee joints and minimal actions in your hip joints.
Combining these two routines of training (leg and glute exercises) you are assuring a more effective training for your glutes and will more easily achieve an attractive and curvier look of your lower body.
To perform a complete training session, every exercise should be performed in 3-4 rounds, 10- 12 repetitions.
Barbell Bulgarian Split Squat
Targeted muscles: primary, quads and gluteus maximus. Secondary, hamstrings, calves, core, and abductors
How to do it: To perform the Barbell Bulgarian Split Squats, you will need a bench or box and a barbell.
If you are a beginner, use a barbell without adding extra weights. If you are not a beginner, choose weights according to your fitness level.
Pick up the bar with both hands and place it behind your back on the upper part of your trapezius muscle. Turn your back to the bench, activate and squeeze your core for more stability. Lift your left leg off the floor and place your foot on the bench so your ankle is on the edge of the bench. Slightly lean your torso forward, up to 45-degrees.
Inhale, slowly start to lower your body down in a squat by flexing your right knee. Go down until your rear knee is almost touching the floor. When you reach the bottom position, push through your foot to get back in the starting position and squeeze your butt. Exhale while you are ‘traveling’ up in the starting position. Repeat the same with the other leg.
Targeted muscles: primary, quads and gluteus maximus. Secondary, hamstrings and calfs
How to do it: Find a leg press machine and adjust the machine according to your body. Sit down on the machine, and choose the weight you want to work with, always according to your current fitness level.
When you sit on the machine, your head, back, and glutes should be comfortably placed on the padded support. Always when you are performing leg press, make sure your glutes are in the correct position; don’t sit too low so that your back is arching/flexing in the lumbar part. Your glutes and lower back need to be at 90-degrees and supported by padding. Place your feet firmly on the footplate, shoulder-width apart, with your feet slightly pointed outwards.
Squeeze your core muscles, inhale, and with exhale slowly push away from the platform. On the top, hold for 2-3 seconds, keeping your knees slightly bent (do not lock your knees). With inhale, slowly lower the press down in the starting position.
Tip: How and where you place your feet on padded support is playing a key role. The correct position of your legs will prevent some common mistakes and keep your workout safe. The position of your feet affects the quality of the exercise and can work your muscles in various ways. If you want to focus more on your butt, place your feet higher on the footplate. If you want to focus on your quads, place your feet lower on the footplate.
The width between your feet also will change which muscle group you will target more. If you place your feet wider, your inner tights will work more. If you narrow your feet, you are targeting your outer thighs.
Dumbbell Side Squat To Curtsy Lunges
Targeted muscles: primary, gluteus maximus and medius. Secondary, hamstrings, calves, inner tights, and core
How to do it: Choose a dumbbell according to your fitness level. Pick up the weight and hold it with both hands. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and hold the dumbbell in front of your chest.
Inhale, push your hips backward and step on the side, for example, with your right leg. When you reach the side squat position, your right thigh should be parallel with the floor and your left leg extended. Hold for 2 seconds, exhale, and then push your hips upward through the right foot going back to the start position. When you reach the start position you will not stop there but continue by stepping backward, diagonally, with your right foot into a curtsy lunge.
During the performance keep your torso upright and your abs tight. When you come into the curtsy lunge, inhale while going down, on exhale continue again to a side squat. Repeat the same with your left leg.
Dumbell Wide To Close Jump Squat
Targeted muscles: primary, gluteus and quads. Secondary, hamstrings, inner tights, and core
How to do it: Continue using the dumbbell. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and hold the dumbbell in front of your chest. Activate your upper body, especially core muscles.
While inhaling, jump and push your hips backward and squat into a wide stance squat. Exhale, and with the inhale jump and push your hips upward into a close squat a.k.a. go back to the start position.
Dumbbell Jumping Lunges
Targeted muscles: primary, gluteus and quads. Secondary, hamstrings, tights, core
How to do it: For this exercise, you can use one or two dumbbells. If you are a beginner, start with one with less weight. If you are advanced, you can use two dumbells, one in each hand.
Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and hold the dumbbell in front of your chest. If you are holding two dumbells, they are hanging next to your body.
Keep your torso straight and strong. Activate your upper body (squeeze muscles), and with the inhale jump and go back with your right leg. When your right leg reaches the floor, exhale. Inhale, jump with both legs and switch legs. Now your right leg is going forward and your left leg is going backward.
To grow your butt with minimal effort and minimum time invested, you need to have and follow the plan. As we mentioned above, you don’t need to have hundreds of glutes exercises and spend hours in the gym to grow your glutes, but apart from a good plan, consistency is the key. Plan your glute routine, incorporate hip and knee dominant movements, single-leg movements, stay focused, and do small corrections along the way.
And if you are a beginner, and feel confused about the equipment, not sure how to use it, from where to start and how to plan your training, check out our guide for gym beginners ‘Gym workout plan for female beginners’ and download your free ebook with a gym workout routine today.
Happy butt gains!
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What is the best exercise in the gym to grow glutes?
For the best glute results in the gym, it's necessary to combine hip dominant exercises with knee dominant exercises and single-leg movements (isolation exercises). You have to have a workout plan specifically designed for your goals and according to your personal needs. One of the best hip dominant exercises are:
- Barbell Hip Thrusts,
- Cable Dead Lift,
- Cable KickBacks, and
- Cable Standing Fire Hydrant.
One of the best hip dominant exercises are:
- Barbell Bulgarian Split Squat,
- Leg Press,
- Dumbell Side Squat To Curtsy Lunges,
- Dumbell Wide To Close Jump Squat, and
- Dumbell Jumping Lunges
What machines to use in the gym to grow glutes?
To grow your glutes in the gym these are the top five machines you can use for glute training:
- Cable machine (you can perform a variety of exercises: kickbacks, fire hydrant, cable deadlift, cable reverse lunges, diagonal leg raises, etc.)
- Smith machine (squats, lunges, deadlift, hip thrust, good mornings, sum0 squat, etc.)
- Hip abduction machine
- Hip extension machine
- Stair Stepper (limited in use but you can play with resistance and speed level. If you are advanced, you can add a resistance band around your legs)
How much does it take to grow your glutes at the gym?
There's no one answer to this question, and it's different for each person. Factors that determine individual success are affected by genetics, your consistency with your workout, protein intake, are you fuelling your body with nutritive food, and are you allowing your body to rest and recover (sleep). To get your desired butt results, it may take up to one month, six months, or a few years to achieve the results you want. For that reason, it is always good to work with a professional fitness trainer because it will save you money and time and speed up your results. It can take you years if you do it alone, but working with a professional will help you to grow your booty faster. Also, you will always have someone who has already gone through that process and has your back when it comes to answering all your questions about exercise routines and proper nutrition.
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