6 Glute Exercises to Build a Stronger, Bigger Butt

Start sculpting your bottom using these top moves.

Genetics largely determine butt size and shape, according to one study published in 2018 in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Still, that doesn't mean you can't work toward the best—and biggest—butt.

And while how your backside looks in jeans might be your number one reason for doing more squats at the gym, it shouldn't be your only motivation. A more muscular butt also has some serious health perks, said Quianna Camper, CPT, certified fitness instructor and owner of Rehab by Qui.

"Stronger glute muscles can help reduce the risk of injury, boost your metabolism, improve your athletic performance, and give the appearance of a lifted, rounder bum," said Camper.

Also, butt-sculpting moves don't just result in glute gains. 

"You can do exercises that primarily target the glute muscles," said Camper. "But the movements you should do for stronger glutes are multi-joint, multi-muscle movements that are also going to strengthen your whole body." That's because all the muscles in the body work together. So, a more toned butt can also mean gains for your entire body.

If you're convinced that you need to start working your glutes more, how do you do it? Here, Camper shared six essential exercises to get a bigger butt and stronger glutes.

Glute Bridge

weighted-bridge
Meredith
  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. 
  2. Extend your arms down by your sides with your palms on the floor. 
  3. Pressing your feet into the floor and keeping shoulder blades rooted to the ground, lift your hips into the air until your body creates a straight line from your knees to shoulders. 
  4. Squeeze your glutes at the top and hold for one to three seconds, then return to the ground. That's one rep. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps total.

To add weight, rest a barbell straight against your pelvis. Hold the bar into position with a shoulder-width grip to prevent it from rolling down your body. Then, complete the movement as described above.

Jump Squats

jumping-squat
Meredith
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Breathe in, engage your core and keep your chest up as you drop into a squat. 
  3. Continue lowering your butt until your thighs are parallel to the floor. 
  4. Exhale and drive back up through your heels to jump up, using your arms as necessary. 
  5. Land with bent knees to absorb the impact. That's one rep. Do three sets of 12 to 20 reps.

Barbell Front Squat

weighted-squat
Meredith
  1. Prop an empty barbell into the squat rack so it hits you at chest height when facing it. 
  2. Step towards the bar, and place your fingertips under it, just outside your shoulders. 
  3. Drive your elbows up, parallel to the ground, and lift the barbell out of the rack, stepping back. 
  4. Get into a squat position by adjusting your feet so they're hip-width apart and your toes are pointed out slightly.
  5. Breathe in, engage your core by drawing your belly button toward your spine, and then shift your hips and bend your knees like you're sitting back. 
  6. Actively press your knees out and elbows up (to keep your chest raised) as you lower your body. 
  7. Continue lowering until your hips are lower than your knees. Breathe out and push through your midfoot and heels to return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes as you do so. That's one rep. Aim for four sets of eight to ten reps, resting for two minutes between sets.

Dumbbell Walking Lunge

weighted-walking-lunge
Meredith
  1. Start by holding two dumbbells, one in each hand, with arms straight and shoulders back and down. 
  2. Engage your core and step forward with your right leg, lowering the hips until your right leg is bent at a 90-degree angle and the left knee grazes the floor. 
  3. Drawing your shoulders back away from your ears, press your right heel into the ground and push off with your left foot to return to the starting position. That's one rep. Repeat with your left leg. Aim for four sets of 12 reps.

Hip Thrust

weighted-hip-thrust
Meredith
  1. Start seated with a barbell and the back of your shoulder blades resting against a bench or box. Make sure your feet are flat and slightly narrower than hip-width. 
  2. Rest your arms on the bench for stability, root your feet into the ground, and lift your hips until your trunk is parallel to the floor. 
  3. Squeeze your glutes before returning to the starting position. That's one rep. Aim for three sets of eight to 10 reps.

Once you have the movement pattern down, add weight by laying a barbell across your hip crease. Load the barbell so you can do at least five "clean" reps in a row.

Good Morning

good-morning exercise glutes back barbell woman health wellbeing
Meredith
  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart and a barbell resting on your back, with your hands holding it just outside of your shoulder blades. 
  2. With elbows pointing towards the ground, use your hands to pull the bar down and against your back. 
  3. Inhale and engage your core, then hinge at the hips by bending at the waist and pressing your glutes back. 
  4. Continue pushing your hips back until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and your torso is parallel to the ground. 
  5. Exhale as you push your hips forward and return to start, squeezing your glutes at the top. That's one rep. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

A Quick Review

Try Camper's six moves to strengthen your glutes and work toward a bigger, more muscular butt.

Per the American Council on Exercise, strong glutes are not purely for looks. Working out your glute muscles helps minimize your risk of injury and back pain, promotes agility, and helps you walk and run without putting stress on your joints. 

Was this page helpful?
Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Song M, Zheng Y, Qi L, Hu FB, Chan AT, Giovannucci EL. Associations between genetic variants associated with body mass index and trajectories of body fatness across the life course: a longitudinal analysis. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2018;47(2):506-515. doi:10.1093/ije/dyx255

  2. American Council on Exercise. Build your glutes with this strength training routine.

Related Articles