5 Exercises To Really Target the Glutes

By Jen Jewell

When creating an exercise plan, you should focus on taking into account all of the muscle groups that keep you moving, but one area is often overlooked. “Butt exercises” are usually not the first type of workout on someone’s mind, but taking the time to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings can have major benefits for the rest of your body. Comprised of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, this muscle group is the largest and strongest in your body, so when it isn’t working at its fullest potential, the rest of your muscles can’t either. Focusing on your glute muscles during your next workout will be a positive step forward in your workout routine.

Glute targeted exercises have the following benefits:

  • Improve posture
  • Reduce lower back pain
  • Prevent injury
  • Promote fat loss
  • Increase athletic performance

Without making things too complicated, here are five glute isolation exercises to target those glutes and improve your next workout!


While traditional deadlifts are great, when it comes to working your glutes and hamstrings, you can get incredible results with this variation. The sumo deadlift emphasizes the hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps, all while placing minimal strain on the lower back.

Tip: Make sure your shins are up against the bar, and that your feet are wider than hip width and turned out.

Try this move for 4 sets, 12 reps


Yet another deadlift variation! Unilateral (single side) movements such as single leg deadlifts are extremely useful for lower body days, as they ensure that both sides of your body are equal in size and strength! Plus they help stabilize your core! Talk about a 2 for 1.

Tip: Solid form and mind-muscle connection are crucial for getting the most out of this one. Use lighter weight and make sure to push through your heels.

Try this move for 4 sets, 12 reps/leg


Place a barbell right across your hips, with your upper back supported by a bench. Lower the glutes all the way down to the floor, and then squeeze up until the glutes are parallel with your knees.

Tip: If you’re working out alone and you’ve maxed out weight on regular hip thrusters, go for single leg hip thrusters with lighter weight to keep creating a challenge.

Try this move for 4 sets, 12-15 reps


Don’t be too quick to dismiss this as a sissy move! You truly isolate the glutes in a way that other exercises just don’t mimic. This move helps to add size, shape, and overall roundness to the glutes.

Tip: For your starting position, ensure that you bend your knees to create an angle of 90 degrees between the hamstrings and the calves. If you opt to bend the leg when you kick back, you’ll utilize both your glutes and your hamstrings.

Keep the reps high and go for 4 sets of 15-20 reps


Is any lower body workout complete without squats? Of course not! Full squats are the perfect exercise for activating the glutes because they take the muscles through a full range of motion. But don’t just stick to traditional squats. Try a variety, such as plié squats, sumo squats, single leg squats, split squats, jump squats…you name it, just squat!

Tip: If you are hitting the squat rack, Smith Machine, etc., and are going to perform traditional squats, just keep in mind that a shoulder width or slightly wider stance is going to recruit your glutes a bit more than a narrow stance squat, which emphasizes your quads. Regardless of which squat you choose, push those buns back as you squat down, keep your knees bent, and drive through those heels on the way back up!

Go for 4 sets, 12-15 reps


Have we convinced you that it’s worth it to tone those glutes during your next workout? While you give this muscle group the attention it deserves, check out our full line of workout-boosting products.



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