Ever hear the saying, “You won’t get the butt you want by sitting on the one you have”?

This is certainly true. The main muscles in this area, the glutes, are some of the most important muscles in the human body. They deserve some extra attention.

Three muscles comprise your glutes: the gluteus minimus, medius, and maximus. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. All three play an important role in daily activities like walking, sitting, and maintaining good posture.

People who sit all day are especially prone to weak glutes. Weak glutes can cause other muscles to compensate, inviting injury. Strengthening the glute muscles will not only help your body function better, it will create notable aesthetic benefits, too.

Try these five exercises to strengthen your glutes at home using minimal equipment. Combine three of the moves for an effective strength training workout.

1. Supermans

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The superman exercise not only strengthens the glutes, it also works the core. Your core plays an important role in protecting your back and making everyday activities easier.

Muscles worked: lower back, glutes, hamstrings

  1. Lie on your stomach with arms and legs straight out and toes pointed toward the wall behind you. Keep your neck and spine neutral throughout the entire exercise.
  2. Bracing your ab muscles, inhale and raise your arms and legs simultaneously off the ground as high as you can. At the top, squeeze your glutes and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Take it to the next level

If this isn’t challenging for you, try adding weight to the equation. Hold a dumbbell between your hands or wear ankle weights. Complete the same steps as above.

2. Glute bridge

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The bridge is one of the most effective exercises to target the glutes. Even without weight, the pause and pulse of this move will have you feeling strong.

Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, calves

  1. Lie on the floor with your back and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be flat on the ground and arms should be straight at your sides with palms facing down.
  2. Inhale and push through your heels, raising your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Your body (resting on your upper back and shoulders) should form a straight line from the shoulders to the knees.
  3. Pause 1-2 seconds at the stop and return to the starting position.
  4. Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps, resting 30-60 seconds between sets.

Take it to the next level

For an added challenge, complete this exercise on a stability ball. In the starting position, place your feet on the ball with your back flat on the ground. Repeat the steps above.

Another advanced variation is the single leg glute bridge. Assume the same starting position, but extend one leg straight in the air. Repeat the steps above, and then switch legs.

3. Stepups with knee drive

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A functional exercise like the stepup aids in stability and balance, while also targeting your legs and glutes. To make this a glute-centric move, drive through your heel on the way up, as opposed to the ball of your foot.

Equipment needed: bench or step that’s about knee level

Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

  1. Stand in front of a bench or step with your feet together.
  2. Step onto the bench with your right foot, pushing through your heel and driving your left knee toward the sky. 
  3. Lower your left leg and step backward off the bench leading with your right leg, returning to the starting position.
  4. Complete 10-15 reps with the right leg, then 10-15 reps with the left for 3 sets total. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

Take it to the next level

If you’re not fatigued after the 3 sets at body weight, hold a dumbbell in each hand and repeat the same steps.

4. Curtsy lunges

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You may feel like you're in ballet class performing a curtsy lunge, but don’t worry, it’s an effective move. Besides your quadriceps, this exercise hits your gluteus medius, which helps to rotate your thigh and pull it outward.

Muscles worked: quadriceps, glutes

  1. Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart, chest up, and arms bent in front of you.
  2. Brace your core and step backward as you would for a lunge, but move your right leg so that is crosses behind your left and your foot lands at a diagonal. Your right knee should be positioned behind your left.
  3. Push through your left heel and come back to start.
  4. Repeat with the left leg. This is 1 rep.
  5. Complete 4 sets of 15 reps, resting 30-60 seconds between sets.

Take it to the next level

Hold a dumbbell in each hand to make this exercise harder.

5. Glute kickback

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The glute kickback, also known as a donkey kick, isolates the glutes. Avoid arching your back during this movement. Extend your bent leg as far back and up as possible without compromising a level pelvis and spine.

Muscles worked: glutes and hamstrings

  1. Start on the floor on all fours. Keep your neck and spine neutral throughout the entire exercise.
  2. Keeping your knee bent, lift your right foot up toward the sky. Keep your foot flat and squeeze your glute at the top.
  3. Lower your leg and return to starting position.
  4. Complete 15 reps with each leg for 3 sets, resting 30-60 seconds between sets.

Take it to the next level

Add ankle weights for an added challenge.

Next steps

Strengthening your glutes will improve your posture. It will also make everyday activities like walking and going up stairs easier. Aim to incorporate several glute-focused exercises into your workout routine two times per week to reap the benefits. 

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