Best Glute Exercises

Although we hate to say it, doing squats doesn’t just have to involve the squat rack. Of course, it’s vital for building up those all-important gainz, but we shouldn’t neglect the variety of squats – and other exercises – on offer.

Squats – when performed traditionally – primarily work the quads, as well as the glutes and lower back. But changing the position of weight bar, medicine ball or kettle bell, can really help you focus certain muscle groups.

And if you’re saving up for a Mirafit Squat Rack, but still want to get in some of those all-important compound exercises, here are a few ways you can target your glutes:

Curtsy squats – curtsy squats are great for getting a deep squat which will help you strengthen your glutes. They also help you isolate each side, so the stronger leg isn’t doing all the work. To make sure you target your glutes while doing these, make sure you get a slow, deep squat and load up your posterior chain with a weight back over your shoulders. You can also hold a medicine ball, but this will move the weight load over your legs rather than your glutes.

Bulgarian Split squats – a favourite for many, these are a great way of helping you to push your weight down over your quads and glutes. Again, a weight bag over your shoulders is good for helping you keep the weight load over your glutes. But as you are relying on one leg to do all the work, then a medicine ball will still help you target your glutes, hip flexors and quads. Use a plyo box for support if you’re new to this type of exercise and as you progress, you can move onto the single leg split squat stand.

Single leg squats – these are more difficult to do but really worth it. And any exercise where you can isolate each side is great for balance and overall fitness. Start off without using a weight and get as low as you can. You can also do them using a chair or a weight bench. Be careful not to use your hands to help you. Lift one leg while seated and then use the other to push you out of the chair. Although this will not target your glutes at first, they are brilliant for helping you build strength in your hip flexors. Plus, you'll target any weak points in your overall chain. Once you are more confident in doing these, you’ll be able to build on your glute and core strength by doing them unassisted.

Jumping squats – great for getting your heart rate up, keep jumping squats as part of your routine while you train. They add excellent variety as you move your focus to building explosivity and power. You’ll start to feel the burn pretty quickly, and even more so if you have a weight bag on your back.

Lunges – straight lunges, walking lunges, alternate jump lunges and incline lunges (using a weight bench or plyo box) – they are all great for helping you build strength in your glutes. Isolating each leg is great for focus. Just make sure when you train, you are directing your weight down and through your glutes. Overstretching will push the weight over your quads. So, sit back into the lunge and go straight down with your weight.


Hip lifts – lying down on your back with your knees bent, use a barbell or a medicine ball on your hips to then push up, squeezing your glutes as you go. These are great for also working your lower back and hamstrings. If you want to intensify this move, do these using just one leg only. The next step up is to elevate your feet and rest them on a gym ball; if you do this, use a weight bag not a barbell, just in case you lose your balance. Great for helping you improve your stability, as well as really focusing your weight onto your glutes and hamstrings.

Rear kick-backs – donkey kicks, as well as lateral bent knee raises, are great for helping your build strength in your hips as well as your glutes. And with strength, comes mobility – vital for when you’re at the squat rack. Keep your leg bent to ensure you focus your glutes and not your legs.

Clams – often seen in Pilates classes, this move is quite difficult to master but great for targeting the sides of your glutes. While lying on your side, bring your knees up and then lift the top leg to open your hips, squeezing the whole time as you go. A great move for strength and flexibility, however, maybe not the best one to do while maintaining eye-contact with random strangers...

Isometric training – this refers to when you contract your muscles without changing the length, So anything where you hold a position, or when you try and lift or push something that’s clearly never going to move – like a wall. If you want to deepen your squats to target your glutes, it’s a good idea to get into that deep squat position straight off and then using a weight bag over your shoulders. Keep your spine straight and your chest and hips open, lift yourself up by a few centimetres, hold and then move back down again. Do this for every link in the chain until you can raise yourself back up to parallel. Careful to avoid that hip flexion - don’t stretch or curve your lower back, so you can actually strengthen your muscles and avoid injury.

Dorsal raises – these are a nice one to do if you have trouble with your lower back, with the added bonus that they work your glutes too. Want to add more weight? Grab a medicine ball and hold it out in front of you (off the floor) while you pulse your legs upwards.

Box jumps – plyo boxes are great for helping you build up your power and speed. Make sure you include a few box jumps into your glute routine. If you're new to box jumps and you're concerned about banging your shins, go for a soft plyo box and reduce the fear factor.

Hill sprints – pick a steep hill and sprint! Make sure you’re nice and warmed up before you do these as otherwise you will most likely strain your muscles. And although these tend to work your hamstrings more than your glutes, that’s just as important when focusing your posterior chain and will help support the glutes.

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