Working in a gym, it is easy to spot which exercises and muscles are becomingly increasingly popular.
With men, it’s certainly the chest, and with women, it is the glutes.
Having strong glute muscles comes with plenty of benefits.
Situated on the posterior, midway down the body, the glute muscles make up your buttocks. When adequately strong they provide support and stability to your hips.
So, if you’re new to working out, or an experienced gym-goer, what are the best ways to build your glutes?
To find out, let’s start with the science.
What Muscles are in the Glutes?
The glutes are a shortened term for the gluteus muscles. As mentioned above, these make up the buttocks, and the group consists of three separate muscles each side of your hip.
Let’s start with the smallest of the bunch, the gluteus minimus.
These triangular-shaped muscle lie deep at the side of your buttocks.
While small in size, these muscles are hugely important as part of the hip abductor muscle group and are involved in the internal rotation of the thigh. Strength in both these areas are required for good hip, pelvis and leg stability.
Most of the work the gluteus minimus does is in partnership with another muscle, the gluteus medius.
Located at the top of the hip, the gluteus medius is slightly bigger than the minimus, but it carries out similar functions.
This is also part of the hip abductor group, but this muscle plays a more prominent role than its minimus counterpart.
Without this muscle, walking would be virtually impossible. The gluteus medius stabilises the pelvis, which means that when lifting one leg, it is possible to keep the other side of the body stable and stop the pelvis from sagging.
Pushing your leg forward when running is only possible because of the work of this muscle.
Now for the big one.
Covering almost the full length of the buttock, the gluteus maximus has become almost synonymous with this region of the body.
It’s physically the largest muscle in the human body Covering 16% of the hip area, and a very powerful hip extensor. It also plays an important role in leg abduction and lateral rotation.
This muscle is often pronounced in short-distance runners, who use the power a strong gluteus maximus can provide to propel themselves forward at great speed.
The Gluteus Maximus is the main defining muscle of the buttocks and is one that needs to be worked on if working out for a visual effect.
How to Build Glutes at Home: 5 Exercises
So, now you know the ins and outs of glutes, how can you work on them?
Well, that’s what we’re here for.
With years of experience, our team of personal trainers know the best ways to work your glutes.
And the best thing is, you don’t even have to leave home to get to work.
Here are five of the best exercises to work your glutes in the comfort of your own living room.
1. Reverse Lunge
The reverse lunge is a great exercise to start with, as you can get going straight away.
All you need to do is stand with your feet together and your back straight.
Place your hands on your hips, as this will aid you with balance, and slowly stepping one leg back, bending the knee until it touches the ground.
You should now have one knee bent in front of you, and one knee touching the floor behind you.
From this position, slowly raise your back knee back to the standing position you started with and repeat the process on the other leg.
This is a great workout not just for your glutes (and your gluteus maximus in particular) but also for your thighs. Not only that, it also trains your balance and core stability,
What’s not to love?
2. Bodyweight Squats
Now for a classic.
From a standing position, start with your legs roughly shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward or slightly turned out (everyone’s squat stance is different depending on individual anatomy). To initiate the movement simultaneously bend at your hip and knees slowly lowering your hips towards the ground. Whilst doing so your torso will start to lean slightly forward but you must try maintain a neutral (straight) spine while doing so (don’t excessively round your back).
The lower you are able to squat while maintaining a good spinal position the better gluteal activation. There are also many different foot positions you can adopt with this exercise to focus on different muscles. A wider stance can be better at activating the muscles around hip such as the glutes.
There are a ton of variations to increase the difficulty of squats. You can add resistance bands, dumbbells, or for the ultimate challenge a heavy barbell.
Squats are not only a great glute exercise but also strengthen your core when adding dumbbells or barbells into the equation. To do this you must make sure you brace your core, keeping the spine neutral (straight) under load.
Squats are a great exercise. If you need help perfecting your technique get in touch, we will be happy to help.
3. Glute Bridges
It’s always a good sign when the name of the muscle is in the name of the exercise.
Glute bridges are an ideal muscle for growing your bum as they work all three of the muscles that form the glutes.
So, how do you perform it?
Well, to start you lay on the floor, facing up.
Your knees should be bent and your hands down by your side. Try and make sure you can touch your heels with your hands, as this is a good sign that your form is right.
Now, lift your pelvic region upwards, making sure that your knees and ankles remain in line with each other.
While performing the exercise, try to tighten your glutes and your core for maximum effect.
When your body has been lowered back to the mat, repeat the exercise.
This really is a dream workout for glutes, and when done properly (don’t overarch that back), it will have a great effect.
If you want to add a little more, try lifting a leg as your pelvic region is raised for an added little workout!
4. Fire Hydrants
Now, we’ve been pretty gluteus maximus heavy so far, so how about getting them hip abductors involved.
Named for the resemblance to a dog marking his territory on a fire hydrant, this exercise may not be the most elegant on the list, but it is certainly effective.
To perform this workout, you need to start on all fours, with your weight distributed on your hands, which should be in line with your shoulder.
Your knees and toes should be touching the floor.
Now, slowly lift one leg outwards, at a roughly 45-degree angle. This should be the only part of your body that is moving, and everything else should remain locked in place to get maximum effect.
Once your leg is lifted (go as high as you can) try and hold it for a couple of seconds, before slowly bringing it back down to place and repeating with the other leg.
Your gluteus minimus and medius will really benefit from this exercise, and it is also great in promoting flexibility and movement in the hips and core.
5. Kickbacks (also known as donkey kick)
We’re staying on all fours for the next exercise, the kickback.
This is a workout that gets all of your glute muscles going and is a great all-around exercise for the entire buttock region.
So, with hands and knees on the floor like the fire hydrant, and your body rigid and core activated, you should begin to raise your heel and try and point it towards the ceiling.
To get your perfect form, try and keep your upper leg parallel with your body, and then your lower leg should be bent at the knee and pointing up at a 90-degree angle.
This is a tough exercise, and you should feel the muscles being worked as you stretch.
Again, this is more than just a glute exercise though, and while these are the muscles it primarily works, you should also see a benefit to your core and your hamstring.
How to Build Glutes at the Gym: 5 Exercises
So, you’ve got tired of working out at home and are heading to the gym.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of exercises you can do here to work your glutes even further, starting with a classic.
1. (Sumo) Deadlift
You may be wondering why I have put sumo in brackets.
Well, that’s because there are two kinds of deadlift you can perform, and both work the glutes.
Firstly, the traditional deadlift. This is performed by standing with a straight back, before bending down to pick up a barbell.
Try and place your hands just outside your knees as you collect the weights.
Now you need to lift. Do this by pushing your hips forward and try to maintain a straight back.
The sumo deadlift is slightly different as your feet begin further apart. They should be just outside the line of your shoulders and pointing out at a 45-degree angle.
From this position, you need to bend down and pick up the middle of the bar, with your hands inside your knees, and in line with your shoulders.
Now lift, following the strict form rules of thrusting with your hips, and keeping a rigid back.
Both of these workouts are great for many muscles, including the glutes. A deadlift relies heavily on movement in the hips, and therefore the gluteus minimus and medius are also pushed when performing this move.
Always be careful you’re not lifting too much as you will be susceptible to injuries, and if you need advice, ask a professional.
2. Kettlebell Swing
This is a great exercise for building your glutes and also improving your cardio fitness.
Kettlebell swings aren’t easy, and they’re sure to get the heartrate increasing, but this exercise comes packed with plenty of benefits, including on the glutes.
The heavier the kettlebell, the more pressure on the glutes, so try and push yourself with this one and really give your bum a workout.
To perform a kettlebell swing, place your feet slightly outside your shoulder line and place a kettlebell in front of you.
Keeping your back straight and your chest out, reach out with both hands for the kettlebell, before swinging it between your legs and then upwards to around shoulder height.
Feel a burning in your arms? Well, that is natural, but too much may be a sign you’re doing it wrong.
While this exercise can be performed by using your arms, if you really want to work your lower body, push with your hips and glutes, and really get that kettlebell swinging to have maximum effect on your glutes.
3. Barbell Hip Thrusts
We mentioned the glute bridge earlier, and this is a similar exercise, except your using a bit of extra equipment.
To start this exercise, sit with your back against a bench or suitably high box, feet roughly shoulder width apart, with your legs on the floor. Roll a barbell up until it is above your waist and grip it with both hands.
While maintaining a strong core and neutral spine, raise your hips up to meet the bar. Feet should now be flat on the floor and knees bent at roughly 45 degrees.
Now its time to lift the bar
Brace core, forcefully contract glutes and push hips towards the ceiling. The bar should now be off the ground, torso horizontal with the floor and knees at roughly 90 degrees. To complete multiple reps, lower back down maintaining contact with the bar until knees at 45 degrees before forcefully pushing your hips back into the air.
This exercise can be as tough as you want to make it as every increase in weight put on the barbell will increase the strain on your muscles.
A great exercise and one that really gets the glutes working, but it is a good idea to always remember that when working with heavy weights, never push too hard too soon and it’s always best practice to ask a professional for advice.
The step-up is a simple exercise, but one that comes packed with benefits for the glutes.
Like with most exercises, the way to really target the glutes is to focus on how you are performing the workout.
Simply stepping up and dropping back down won’t cut the mustard with this one, and you need to be super-focused on ensuring it is your hips and glutes that are propelling your body upwards.
So, how does it work?
Well, find a block or step in the gym and stand in front of it.
Place one foot onto the box, and instead of focusing on raising your body, focus on pushing through the box with your foot currently on it.
When you have both feet on the box, drop down slowly, again making sure the movement is coming from the hips, pelvis and buttocks.
Want to go the extra mile with this one?
Why not hold a few dumbbells in your hands to increase the pressure on your muscles as you lift and lower your body from the steps?
5. Bulgarian Split Squats
The final workout is a tough one.
The Bulgarian split squat. This is an exercise that puts pressure on the whole of your lower body and your core and is a great exercise for building glute muscles.
There are two types of split squat you can do here. One that focuses more on quads, and one that leans more into glutes.
Let’s focus on glutes!
To really go at your glutes, try and stand as far away as you can from the bench behind you, but close enough so that you can place your foot on it.
You should be standing facing away from the bench, with a weight in each hand, front leg nearly straight, and back leg slightly bent and resting on a bench.
When you are in a comfortable position, bend your front knee lowering your hips, again being sure to brace the core as you do.
When your front thigh is parallel to the ground, that is the perfect place to pause and lift back into the original position if you’re working the glutes.
This is a tough exercise, but one that puts great strain on the gluteus maximus and is sure to lead to some great, quick results.
Looking to build your glutes?
Why not come down to Trojan Fitness in Northwood. We have a team of expert personal trainers who can help you reach your fitness goals.
Whether losing weight or building muscles, we can get you where you want to be.
Want to know more? Get in touch today!