Believe it or not, your glutes are among the largest and most powerful muscles in your body.
More importantly, they play a huge role in numerous activities and movement patterns, including hip extension, running, jumping, keeping yourself balanced, and more.
Plus, having a set of well-developed glutes will always complement your physique and make you look stronger and more athletic. Not to mention sexy.
But all of this begs the question:
What are the best glute-building exercises out there? Let’s take a look at four of them:
1. The Hip Thrust
If you’re looking to build mass and strength on your posterior, the hip thrust will help you more than any other exercise.
Heavily popularized by Bret Contreras, Ph.D. (also known as The Glute Guy), the hip thrust is his go-to movement for helping clients and readers develop their booty.
The reason for that is simple:
Your glutes are one of the primary muscles that produce hip extension, which is what the hip thrust is all about. Doing this movement pattern helps you target your glutes incredibly well. Plus, given that you get to place a barbell on your hip, the overloading potential is fantastic.
All of this makes the hip thrust a go-to glute-builder with an impeccable overloading potential.
2. Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are a fun and slightly different movement from what you’re used to doing in a gym.
Besides the engagement, the lunge is excellent at recruiting your glutes to help you get back to the starting position and remain stable throughout. By varying the stride length, you can place more emphasis on your glutes. For instance, lunge forward more, and you’ll involve your glutes to a more significant degree.
As a benefit, the lunge also works on your quads and hamstrings, which makes it a great leg-builder.
Like hip thrusts, the Romanian deadlift is another fantastic compound exercise you should add to your toolbox of glute-builders.
Thanks to its unique movement pattern, the Romanian deadlift pushes your hamstrings and glutes to work extra hard in hip extension. The goal is to keep your knees in a static position and have them almost entirely locked out. As you descend with the bar, this will place a significant stretch on your posterior chain. Then, come time to go back up, your glutes will exert a lot of effort to extend your hips.
4. Bulgarian Split Squat
Bulgarian split squats are a bit of a masochistic exercise, but they work wonders if you do them diligently and consistently.
Similar to the lunge, these squats have you train one side at a time, but with a twist. Here, your rear leg is elevated, which places a greater load on your front one. As a result, that leg has to work harder throughout each set.
What’s great about the Bulgarian squat is that you can vary the length of your stance to emphasize your quadriceps or glutes better. For instance, research finds an elongated stance with a forward-leaning torso to be better for your glutes. Alternatively, you can extend the front leg a bit less and keep your torso more upright to train your quads better.