Top 10 lists are difficult because so many great options are left out, and this is the case for the 10 top glute exercises. So many great exercises target this vital muscle group that it’s hard to include them all.

But Sir-Mix-A-Lot doesn’t care about the process; he cares about the result, a big butt. If a bigger and stronger rear end is what you are after, you cannot go past these ten exercises. They all focus on the glutes because most of them train the glute’s most crucial function, hip extension.

First, we’ll discuss the criteria behind this list and then, in no particular order, the top 10 glute exercises.

Why These Are The Top Glute Exercises You Should Be Doing

The glutes, made up of three muscles, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, have many functions.

  • Hip Extension: This occurs when you extend your hip and drive your thigh backward, like when
    you lock out a deadlift.
  • Hip Hyperextension: It involves moving your legs beyond the line of your body, like when
    you’re doing a glute kickback.
  • Hip Abduction: Hip abduction is all about moving your leg away from the midline of your body,
    like the yes-no machine.
  • Hip Adduction: This involves bringing your leg back in; hip adduction pulls your legs to your
    body’s midline.
  • Hip Internal and External Rotation: For external rotation, imagine your thigh bone as a dial
    turning outwards, moving away from the center line without shifting your knee—it stays parked
    right in front of your hip. The internal rotation has that thigh bone dialing inward, sweeping
    toward your body’s midline.

The function we are most concerned about here is hip extension because this move adds pop to your glutes. It’s not like the other functions aren’t important; they are. However, when size, strength, and improved function are the goals, finding exercises that target, load, and allow for progressive overload is critical.

The 10 Best Glute Exercises For Gains

The goal is to fill out the back of your pants and get a pair of glutes that will get noticed. Here are ten exercises that will do it. There are few surprises here, but they should remind you what to do.

Barbell Hip Thrust


For Building Strength: 3 to 5 sets, 3-5 reps

For Building Muscle: 3 to 4 sets, 6-15 reps

Popularized by Bret Contreras, the barbell hip thrust is the gold standard for building glutes that pop. The load being supported by the hips and lifted up and down in a straight line means you have the stability to go heavy. Being elevated on a bench allows a more extensive range of motion and a muscle pre-stretch before the lockout, creating the perfect conditions for glute gains.

Reverse Hyperextensions


Muscle: 3 to 4 sets, 8-15 reps

Reverse hyperextension, often called the reverse hyper, is an excellent exercise for the glutes, lower back, and hamstrings. Legendary powerlifting coach Louie Simmons popularized it and has taken off from there. With the reverse hyper, you’re extending your hips against gravity, allowing for a full ROM and directly training the glutes. Combining an extended ROM and the ability to overload makes Becky very happy.

Barbell Romanian Deadlift


For Building Strength: 3 to 5 sets, 3-5 reps

For Building Muscle: 2 to 4 sets, 6-15 reps

The barbell Romanian deadlift (RDL) is a great accessory exercise for the conventional deadlift. Still, it is a hip hinge hero, engaging your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back for a potent combo of strength and stability. It’s a movement that directly trains your glutes, provides a deep stretch, and fires them up during extension, helping you develop glute strength and size. The barbell RDL gives you a significant stretch-shortening cycle, perfect for building the glutes.

Low Bar Squat


For Building Strength: 3 to 5 sets, 3-5 reps

For Building Muscle: 3 to 4 sets, 6-12 reps

When targeting the glutes, low-bar squats outperform the high-bar variation. Why? It is all in the hips and the forward lean. The barbell positioned lower on your upper back creates more of a forward lean of the torso. Doing so means your glutes are engaged maximally to maintain balance in the hole and pull you out to lockout. The forward lean in the low-bar squat shifts the workload onto your glutes, making it effective for anyone who wants to build their backside.

Landmine Unilateral RDL’s


For Building Muscle Muscle: 3 to 4 sets, 6 to 12 reps per side

Landmine unilateral Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are a pure hip hinge movement, similar to a traditional unilateral RDL or deadlift. However, the landmine RDL variation has some advantages when building the glutes. The landmine setup allows for a more controlled ROM and provides a more stable setup, which helps focus on form and drives more muscle action to the glutes. Furthermore, landmine RDLs keep the load closer to your center of gravity, which helps protect your lower back and allows you to focus on what counts.

Reverse Lunge


For Building Muscle: 3 to 4 sets, 8 to 15 reps per side

The reverse lunge focuses on hip extension on your leading lead to pull your legs back together. Its biggest advantage is less knee joint stress, allowing more glute engagement. The step back stretches the glutes, leading to more glute action and challenging your balance. The balance requirement activates the gluteus medius and minimus to stabilize the pelvis and prevent a hip drop. This one-two punch means more glutes for you.

Lateral Band Walk


For Hip Hip Health: 3 Sets, 15-25 reps (each side)

The lateral resistance band walk, also known as the monster walk, is an excellent exercise for targeting the glutes, particularly the gluteus medius and minimus. These muscles are crucial for overall lower body function and injury prevention, especially during activities like squatting, running, and jumping. Lateral movements are often neglected in training routines, which primarily focus on forward and backward movements. Furthermore, they introduce variety and help ensure well-rounded glute development.

Bulgarian Split Squats


For Building Muscle: 2 to 4 sets, 6-15 reps per side

The Bulgarian split squat is a must-have in your training toolbox when building powerful glutes. This brutal unilateral exercise targets the lower body, spotlighting the glutes and quads. Here is why it’s non-negotiable for your peach. With the rear foot elevated, there is an extended ROM, and your glutes must work hard to pull you out of the bottom. Furthermore, the Bulgarian split squat encourages a forward lean, emphasizing the glutes over the quads.

Side Lunge


For Building Muscle: 2 to 4 sets, 8-15 reps per side

The side lunge is one of the most excellent glute exercises for hitting those glutes from a different angle, which is why it made the list. It zeroes in on your glutes through hip abduction and extension. This lateral movement engages the gluteus medius and minimus while the hip extension fires up the gluteus maximus. It’s a triple-threat exercise for glute development. More importantly, it’s vital for hip mobility and healthy glutes because the deep squat position stretches your hip muscles, enhancing mobility and preventing tightness.



For Building Muscle: 3 to 4 sets, 8-15 reps per side

Stepups are a simple but challenging movement for developing solid and sculpted glutes. They are about hip extension, the key to engaging the glute’s biggest muscle. The higher the step, the more you’ll feel it in your glutes. Being a unilateral exercise, it helps address muscle imbalances and promotes balanced glute development. The step-up is perfect for evening-out strength imbalances and creating a perfect peach.

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