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The 7 Best Gluteus Maximus Exercises To Do At Home

Published March 12, 2019 (Revised: January 29, 2020) Read Time: 9 minutes
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

gluteus-maximus-exercises
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The other two buttocks muscles are the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What does the gluteus maximus do?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The gluteus maximus's primary responsibility is to extend and rotate your thigh. In addition:<br>* Holding yourself upright and maintain good posture<br>* Helping you walk and run<br>* Stabilizing your hip and knees<br>* Determining the shape of your butt<br>* The performance of many athletic movements<br>* Improving your balance" } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Why strong glutes are especially important?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "It's especially important to prioritize the glute muscles in your training because many people, especially runners and athletes, are often considered to be quad dominant." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "How do you build up your buttocks muscles?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Resistance training is the best way to build up the glute muscles. Cardio exercises like walking and running also improve muscular endurance, which bolsters overall fitness and keeps joints mobile. But if you want to add lean muscle to your glutes, improve the shape of your butt, or even fix your lower back pain, strength training is the way to go." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What exercises work the gluteus maximus?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The 7 best at-home glute exercises you can do include shoulder bridge lifts, table tops, lunges, squats, split squat, walking uphill, and running." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Is the Gluteus Maximus?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Does The Gluteus Maximus Do?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Why Strong Glutes Are Especially Important</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">How Do You Build Up Your Buttocks Muscles?</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">What Exercises Work The Gluteus Maximus? (7 Movements)</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Best At-Home Glute Exercises: Wrap Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>The gluteus maximus, which is a muscle in your buttocks region, is the largest and most powerful muscle in your body.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14604153" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup></p> <p>It's also essential for many different movements, the stability of joints, and for maintaining good posture.</p> <p>But unfortunately for many of us, this muscle is tight and weak. </p> <p>And this is a problem, because tight and weak glutes can lead to poor hip mobility and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/two-exercises-to-fix-back-pain" rel="noreferrer">lower back pain</a>.</p> <p>Here's what you should know about the gluteus maximus and how it helps the body function, as well as 7 exercises you can do at home to strengthen your buttocks muscles.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>What is the gluteus maximus?</h2> <p>The gluteus maximus (commonly referred to as the <i>'glute'</i>, or one of the <i>'glutes'</i>) is the largest of your three buttocks muscles. </p> <p>The other two buttocks muscles are the <i>gluteus medius</i> and <i>gluteus minimus</i>.</p> <p>Here's a quick description of what each muscle does<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535408/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup>: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Gluteus maximus</strong>- largest buttocks muscle that extends and rotates the hip</li> <li><strong>Gluteus medius</strong>- second largest buttock muscle that assists with hip abduction (moving the leg away from the body), and stability of the hip</li> <li><strong>Gluteus minimus</strong>- smallest buttocks muscle that assists with hip stability, abduction and rotation</li> </ul> <p>In the next two sections, we'll look at what the gluteus maximus does and why strong glutes are important.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>What does the gluteus maximus do?</h2> <p>As mentioned in the previous section, the gluteus maximus's primary responsibility is to extend and rotate your thigh. But it's responsible for many other things, too.</p> <p>Your glutes are also responsible for:</p> <ul> <li>Holding yourself upright and maintain good posture <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14604153" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup></li> <li>Helping you walk and run <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538193/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup></li> <li>Stabilizing your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-exercises-for-hip-pain" rel="noreferrer">hip</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-low-impact-exercises-for-bad-knees" rel="noreferrer">knees</a> (it connects to your IT band, which runs down your thigh to your knee)</li> <li>Determining the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/pancake-butt/" rel="noreferrer">shape of your butt</a></li> <li>The performance of many athletic movements (walking, running, jumping, squatting, lunging)</li> <li>Improving your balance</li> </ul> <p>Your glutes also play a vital role in preventing lower back pain—one of the most common ailments worldwide. The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/Ch6_24LBP.pdf" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Word Health Organization</i></a> (WHO) estimates that 60 to 70 percent of people experience back pain at some point. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4713798/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup></p> <p>So, the glutes are extremely important. And making sure they stay strong should be a top priority in your training.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>Why strong glutes are especially important</h2> <p>It's especially important to prioritize the glute muscles in your training because many people, especially runners and athletes, are often considered to be '<i>quad dominant</i>'. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4156018/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup></p> <p>This means the muscles in the front of their legs (quadriceps) are overdeveloped, and the muscles in the back (glutes, hamstrings), are weak and often tight.</p> <p><i>(Signs that point to quad dominance include having a flat butt, tight or weak glutes, and knee pain. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5294945/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></sup>)</i></p> <p>When this happens, normal glute-activating exercises (like a squat, lunge, or even running) are predominantly performed with the quads. As a result, your quads keep getting stronger from exercise, and your glutes stay weak and tight.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-simple-chair-exercises-for-everyday-fitness/" rel="noreferrer">Sitting for too long</a> has also been shown to weaken the glutes, which may increase your risk of injuries or lower back pain. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26032324" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6670060/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup></p> <p>Therefore, training your glutes regularly during your workouts should be a priority regardless of your health and fitness goals.</p> <p>In addition to the exercises we’ll share below, here’s a 5 minute video breakdown of how to train your gluteus maximus:</p> <iframe width="800" height="450" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6ANI0E0mVLw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>How do you build up your buttocks muscles?</h2> <p>Resistance training is the best way to build up the glute muscles. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6670060/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></sup></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/7-low-impact-cardio-exercises/" rel="noreferrer">Cardio exercises</a> like walking and running also improve muscular endurance, which bolsters overall fitness and keeps joints mobile. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757413/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">11</a></sup></p> <p>But if you want to add lean muscle to your glutes, improve the shape of your butt, or even fix your lower back pain, strength training is the way to go.</p> <p>See below for our 7 best gluteus maximus exercises you can do at home without equipment.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>What exercises work the gluteus maximus? (7 movements)</h2> <p>At the bottom of each exercise listed is a specific gluteus maximus workout you can try at home.</p> <p>If you want to really target your glutes, pick 3 to 5 movements from below and perform them in an <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/high-intensity-interval-training-at-home/" rel="noreferrer">HIIT</a> or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/circuit-training-for-weight-loss/" rel="noreferrer">circuit training</a> workout.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/shoulder-bridge-glutes-0104.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/shoulder-bridge-glutes-0104.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/shoulder-bridge-glutes-0104.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/shoulder-bridge-glutes-LR-0104.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="shoulder bridge glutes"> </picture> <h3>1. Shoulder bridge lifts</h3> <p>Watch this video on how to do <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/shoulder-bridge-lift/" rel="noreferrer">shoulder bridge lifts</a> with perfect form, or use the cues below:</p> <ul> <li>Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, palms facing the ceiling. Bring your heels close to your butt.</li> <li>Press through your heels and lift your hips off the ground as high as they will go.</li> <li>Pause at the top and hold for one second.</li> <li>Return to the floor in a slow, controlled manner.</li> </ul> <p>You can also try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/shoulder-bridge-hold/" rel="noreferrer">shoulder bridge holds</a>, an isometric variation where you hold at the top for longer. </p> <p><strong>Workout to try:</strong> 3 sets of 15 shoulder bridge lifts. Rest 60 seconds between sets. Squeeze those glutes hard at the top!</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/table-tops-for-glutes-0104.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/table-tops-for-glutes-0104.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/table-tops-for-glutes-0104.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/table-tops-for-glutes-LR-0104.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="table tops for glutes"> </picture> <h3>2. Table tops</h3> <p>Watch this video on how to do <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-table-tops/" rel="noreferrer">table tops</a> with perfect form, or use the cues below:</p> <ul> <li>Start in a seated position. Legs in front of you, hands on the floor behind you (palms down) with the fingertips facing the back wall.</li> <li>Pushing through your heels, raise your butt off the ground. Bring your hips to the sky.</li> <li>Keep your elbows locked out and your core tight as you lift.</li> <li>At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes.</li> <li>Return to the floor in a slow, controlled manner.</li> </ul> <p>Another option you have is to try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-alternating-one-leg-table-top/" rel="noreferrer">alternating one leg table tops</a>. Keep in mind, they're more advanced!</p> <p><strong>Workout to try:</strong> 3 sets of 15 table tops. Rest 60 seconds between sets.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-lunges-0104.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-lunges-0104.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-lunges-0104.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-lunges-LR-0104.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="gluteus maximus lunges"> </picture> <h3>3. Lunges (and lunge variations)</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-alternating-reverse-lunge/" rel="noreferrer">Lunges</a> are a great <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/functional-strength-training/" rel="noreferrer">functional strength training</a> glute exercise. There are also <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/6-bodyweight-leg-workout-progressions-you-can" rel="noreferrer">several variations</a> of lunges you can try in your workouts.</p> <p>Here's how to do the alternating reverse lunge:</p> <ul> <li>Start in a standing position.</li> <li>Hinge forward at the hips slightly, putting about 70 percent of your weight on your heels.</li> <li>Step back with your right leg, and dip down until your back knee touches the ground.</li> <li>Using your left glute, press through the heel of your foot to bring your right leg back to a stand.</li> <li>Maintain an upright posture as best you can during this exercise.</li> <li>Repeat on the other side.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Workout to try:</strong> 3 sets of as many lunges as possible in 60 seconds (take a 2 minute break between rounds).</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/squats-glutes-exercises-0104.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/squats-glutes-exercises-0104.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/squats-glutes-exercises-0104.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/squats-glutes-exercises-LR-0104.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="squats glutes exercises"> </picture> <h3>4. Squats (and squat variations)</h3> <p>Like lunges, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/how-to-do-squats/" rel="noreferrer">squats</a> are a functional, compound exercise. They're great for several lower body muscles, including the glutes, and you have <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-squat-variations-that-will-kick-your-butt" rel="noreferrer">many variations</a> to choose from.</p> <p>To do a regular squat:</p> <ul> <li>Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes at a 45-degree angle.</li> <li>Kick your hips back toward the wall behind you. Your knees will bend too.</li> <li>Lower your butt until your thigh is parallel with the floor.</li> <li>Drive through your heels to return to a stand. </li> <li>Throughout the exercise, maintain a "proud" chest (this is a cue to keep your back tight and your upper body active)</li> </ul> <p>If you're quad dominant (see section: "Why are strong glutes important?"), you might not be squatting with your glutes. Be sure to drive through your heels when you come up. Touch your glute and make sure it's working. If not, try again!</p> <p><strong>Workout to try:</strong> 3 sets of as many squats (or a squat variation) as possible in 60 seconds. Take a 2 minute break between rounds.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/split-squats-for-glutes-0104.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/split-squats-for-glutes-0104.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/split-squats-for-glutes-0104.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/split-squats-for-glutes-LR-0104.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="split squats for glutes"> </picture> <h3>5. Split squats</h3> <p>You can technically call these a squat variation, but <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-couch-split-squat/" rel="noreferrer">split squats</a> are such a good exercise for your glutes that they deserve their own section.</p> <p>To perform:</p> <ul> <li>Stand in front of a couch or a knee-high sturdy object. Place your right foot on the object on the object behind you.</li> <li>Stand tall and find your balance. Place your weight in your left heel.</li> <li>Drop the right knee down as far as you can comfortably go.</li> <li>Pushing through your left heel, return to the top of the exercise.</li> <li>Do 12 reps on one side, then repeat on the other leg.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Workout to try:</strong> 3 sets of 12 split squats on each leg. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hill-walking-for-gluteus-0104.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hill-walking-for-gluteus-0104.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hill-walking-for-gluteus-0104.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hill-walking-for-gluteus-LR-0104.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="hill walking for gluteus"> </picture> <h3>6. Hill walking</h3> <p>Hill walking forces you to generate more power than on level ground, which forces your glutes to contribute.</p> <p>As a general rule, the steeper the incline you walk on, the more active your glutes will be. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3842369/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">12</a></sup></p> <p>You can walk hills around your neighborhood, or use a treadmill at the gym. Set the incline to 2 percent grade or higher to activate the glutes.</p> <p><strong>Workout to try:</strong> Go for three 30-minute walks this week. Aim to walk uphill for at least 10 minutes.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-exercises-0104.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-exercises-0104.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-exercises-0104.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/gluteus-maximus-exercises-LR-0104.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="gluteus maximus exercises"> </picture> <h3>7. Running</h3> <p>Running is the best form of cardio exercise for activating the glutes. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16709916" rel="nofollow noreferrer">13</a></sup></p> <p>If you have limitations like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/inflammation-support/shop/" rel="noreferrer">joint pain</a> or aren't fit enough to run yet, start off with a few brisk walks a week and work your way up to it over time.</p> <p>Eventually, try going for a 5 or 10 minute run to start. You can also alternate between running for one minute and walking for one minute. Add minutes or even seconds to your time each time you run, and slowly but surely you'll make progress.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section6"> <h2>Best at-home glute exercises: wrap up</h2> <p>Your gluteus maximus muscle is the largest in your body, and the muscle itself is very important for overall function and movement. It will benefit you in many ways to add glute-strengthening exercises to your fitness program.</p> <p>One reason strong glutes are especially important is because many people are what's known as 'quad dominant', meaning their front leg muscles are overdeveloped and their back leg muscles (including the glutes) are weak and tight.</p> <p>Over time, quad dominance can lead to back pain and poor hip mobility.</p> <p>However, strength and cardio training that targets the glutes is a simple solution that can fix quad dominance and ensure you stay healthy and able-bodied. </p> <p>The 7 best at-home glute exercises you can do include shoulder bridge lifts, table tops, lunges, squats, split squat, walking uphill, and running.</p> <p>Try adding these exercises to your fitness program once or twice a week. You'll get results by periodically increasing the amount of reps you do, or by choosing a more challenging exercise variation.</p> <p>And for more at-home, no equipment workouts like these, check out Warrior Made's <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">exercise section</a>.</p> </section> </article>

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