Strengthening your glutes has many benefits both for your workouts and your everyday life. As your body’s stabilizers, the glute muscles work hard to keep everything in alignment, powering your posture and movement, increasing your strength, and supporting your other muscles too.
To help you get your glutes in gear and achieve your health and fitness goals, we rounded up eight easy at-home glute workout moves from expert Peloton instructors, plus all the details on why booty strength-building is so important.
Why Strong Glutes Are Important
Think of your glutes as your body’s stabilization system. They’re responsible for your pelvic alignment and posture, controlling the ease of movement of your hips, legs, and torso. And, strong glutes mean less pressure on your lower back too, ensuring your weight is evenly distributed, preventing your lumbar spine from over-rounding.
Strengthening your glutes also helps your workout performance by enhancing your mobility. From walking and running to jumps and squats, strong glutes add power to your performance, and reduce the risk of injury and strains.
“Your lower body houses some of the largest muscle groups in your body,” explains Peloton trainer Selena Samuela. “So, the stronger you make your glutes and legs, the stronger you are overall.”
When it comes to glute training, it’s beneficial to get a clear understanding of what and where the gluteal muscles are. Knowing what you’re targeting can help you find the right exercises for your goals.
Here are the three muscle groups that make up your glutes:
This is the largest portion of your glutes, with a quadrangular shape (similar to a rectangle, but in 3D). It plays a prominent role in maintaining your upper body in an upright posture and is important for pelvic alignment. It’s also responsible for the movement of the hip and thigh, whether standing up from a seated position, climbing stairs, walking, running, or lunges. Any other movement that requires straightening your leg and being in an upright position will also be supported by the gluteus maximus.
This is the muscle lying between the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. It is one of the main pelvic stabilizer muscles used while standing or walking. It works in tandem with the hip to move the thigh in two directions: internally, so the knee and foot twist inward, and externally, where the thighs open away from the body, with the knees outward. Helping your body balance on one leg, it also helps absorb the force of the ground pushing back against your leg when you’re running and absorbs the force of landing, too, making it a key muscle for runners to strengthen.
The smallest glute muscle, it works in synergy with the gluteus medius, predominantly acting as a hip stabilizer, abducting and rotating the thigh. You’ll be engaging this muscle when you’re running, walking, doing squats, lunges, and fire hydrants.
So now you know what you’re working with, you can start building strong glutes with specific butt exercises at home.
8 Home Workout Exercises For Strong Glutes
Squats are not only one of the best exercises to target the glutes, but they also work on your lower body strength in general.
To start, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. For added intensity, hold weights at torso level or at your sides.
Next, bend your knees and lower into the squat keeping your knees behind your toes and your torso upright and contracted.
To stand, press into your heels.
Repeat for two to three sets of eight to 15 reps.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, plus quads, hamstrings, adductors, calves, and core.
Peloton class recommendation: 10-Minute Core Strength with Jess Sims (Intermediate)
The reason lunges are an effective exercise is that, in a staggered stance, you have to use your glutes to stabilize your body. In addition, the stance forces the glutes on the front of your legs to work harder while also working other muscles.
Start by standing with one foot forward and one foot back, about three feet apart.
Now, bend both of your knees and lunge straight down, sending your back knee toward the floor.
Avoid lunging forward over your front toes, and keep your front heel on the ground.
Then, press into your heel to stand.
Repeat for one to three sets of 12 to 15 reps. For added intensity, hold weights.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus and minimus, hamstrings, quads, and calves.
For step-ups, you’ll need a platform high enough so that your knee is at a 90-degree angle when it is bent. You can also use the second step of a staircase while you hold onto the rail for balance.
Start by standing in front of the step or platform, placing your right foot on the step.
Then, step up by pressing into your heel, touching your left toes to the step.
Keep your right foot on the step and bring your left foot down to the floor.
For increased intensity, bend your knee into a lunge.
Repeat for one to three sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side.
For increased intensity, hold weights or use a resistance band under your standing foot.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus and medius, quads, adductors, and hamstrings.
4. Sidestep Squats With Resistance Bands
The three preceding exercises mostly target the gluteus maximus. To address the smaller gluteus medius and minimus as well, try this one.
Start by standing on a resistance band with medium-light tension, holding both handles.
Take a wide step to the right into a squat while keeping tension on the band.
Next, step your left foot in. Continue stepping out and squatting to the right as far as you can.
Then, repeat the other way or for about one to three sets of eight to 15 steps.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, plus quads, hamstrings, abductors, and core.
5. Hip Thrust / Glute Squeeze on Ball
Begin the exercise in a bridge position with your head resting on the ball and your bottom lifted. You can place weights on your thighs to increase the intensity.
Start by lowering your hips to the ground while trying not to let the ball roll around.
Then, squeeze your glutes to lift yourself back to the starting position.
Repeat for one to three sets of eight to 15 reps.
While the use of a ball for this exercise adds some instability, forcing your entire lower body to work harder while holding weights on your upper thighs adds more intensity to the exercise.
Muscles worked: Mainly targets the gluteus maximus and medius, plus hamstrings, quads, adductors, and core.
6. Hip Extensions
Not only do hip extensions target your glutes in a more focused way, but they also work your core and shoulder muscles.
Start by getting on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.
Now, keeping your right knee bent, lift your right leg until your thigh is parallel with your glutes.
Then, slowly lower your leg. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps on each side.
For added intensity, use ankle weights, or squeeze a weight securely tucked into the back of your knee.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus and medius, plus hamstrings, quads, adductors, and core.
Peloton class recommendation: 20-Minute Strength Roll Call with Callie Gullickson (Intermediate)
7. One-Legged Deadlifts
Single-leg deadlifts are a simple but effective exercise for strengthening and toning muscles while improving balance. Depending on your training level, you can perform them with or without weights.
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and parallel.
Holding a kettlebell, a barbell, or two dumbbells in your hands down in front of you, lean forward, keeping your back flat and shifting your weight onto one leg while your other leg engages and starts to extend straight behind you.
Next, lift your extended leg and pitch your body forward until it forms a T-shape. Your arms should be hanging straight down as you hold the weight, and you should keep a slight bend in your standing leg.
Then, slowly bring your extended leg back to return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
Start with five reps per leg and then gradually increase the number of sets.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, plus hamstrings, upper back, and core.
8. Hip Thrusts
With these movements, you can develop and strengthen your glutes while also improving your squats and deadlift power. Plus, you can use a variety of resistance, including a loaded barbell, a resistance band, or a dumbbell.
Start by sitting on the ground with a bench behind you.
Bend your knees so your feet are planted on the ground and hold a barbell resting below your hips.
Lean back until your shoulders are on the bench and position the bar above your hips.
Then, drive your hips up, lifting the bar. In the top position, your knees should be bent at 90° and your shoulders should be near the top of the bench with your body forming a straight line between them. Do not overextend.
Pause at the top of the lift and squeeze your glutes, then lower your hips slowly.
For strength, do three to five sets of five to eight reps each, with a heavy load.
To increase muscle mass, perform three to five sets of eight to 12 reps with a moderate to heavy weight.
For endurance, push through two to three sets of 15 reps with a moderate load.
Muscles worked: Gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, plus hamstrings, adductors, erector spinae, and quads.
Peloton class recommendation: 10-Minute Glutes & Legs Strength with Robin Arzon (Intermediate)
As an added workout tip, Peloton instructor Jess King has this recommendation to strengthen your glutes: Stand with your feet at hip-distance apart, with a resistance band around your ankles. Then, take side-to-side steps, to your right, and then to your left. According to Jess, this move allows you to "Organically feel the burn, and you'll know exactly where it's working."
Tips to Boost Your Glute Workout
Motivation is key to achieving your glute training goals. “Your mind is your strongest muscle,” says Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin. “When you are about to do a squat, it’s your quads and glutes that initiate the movement, but first, your mind has to tell you that you’re capable of doing it.”
With that in mind, here are several tips to get the most out of your glute exercises.
Warm Up: Prepare your glutes for higher intensity movements, with one or two lower body focused warm-up exercises.
Build Your Reps: If you’re new to butt workouts at home, start with a smaller number of repetitions. You can always increase your reps as your strength improves. An appropriate amount of reps will depend on your fitness goals. The key, however, is to target each of the glute muscles and progressively add more weight and intensity.
Focus on Form: Maintain proper posture and squat form. For squats, maintain a tall posture with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Your shoulders should be directly over your hips creating a stacked position. Then, evenly distribute your weight on your feet from heel to toe, to create a stable position.
Think Core: Be sure to engage your core muscles when performing your glute exercises.
Exercise Safely: If you experience any pain while performing a glutes exercise, discontinue the movement immediately.
Make Modifications: Be compassionate about your physical limitations. Avoid or limit glute exercises if you are healing from surgery, suffering from back, abdomen, knee, or ankle injury, or if you’re in the final stage of pregnancy or have just given birth.
Benefits of Glute Workouts
The great thing about glutes exercises is that they offer key benefits in your everyday life. At-home glutes workouts tailored to your current condition and goals can help in the following ways.
Help Improve Your Posture
As the stabilizing force in your body and a base to your spine, strong glutes keep your pelvis and hip area aligned. This in turn, encourages proper curvature of your spine, distributing weight evenly throughout the body, ensuring good posture and gait, including up to your shoulders and even neck.
In movement, your glutes are the force that propel you forward while walking or running. Part of what’s called your posterior chain—the muscles at the back of your legs and spine, glutes even help support you when you’re standing still too.
Weakness in your glute muscles can lead to your body going into a “path of least resistance mode”. This is where other muscles take over—such as your hip adductors and hamstrings, causing the mechanics of your movements to be out of sync, which may lead to discomfort or even strains along the hips or legs.
Not only do glutes help with everyday movements, posture, and strength, they also help your agility and forward momentum when you’re running or even playing tennis. Allowing you to change direction quickly, each of the glute muscles plays a role in this, with the gluteus medius coming into play for those ground strikes and power. Glutes are also important to other workouts too, from supporting your balance in yoga to powering your core in pilates.
Increase Your Back Strength
Back pain, especially chronic lower back pain, is a common problem. However, back pain can be helped with exercise that stretches and boosts the supportive tissue around your lower back. This is precisely what a glute workout does. Studies have shown that strengthening glute muscles has a direct impact on lumbar muscle strength, decreasing lower back pain and the risk of injury.
Prevent Injury During Your Workouts
Not only does your gluteus maximus provide pelvic and hip stability, but it also attaches to your iliotibial (IT) band–the strong, thick band of tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh, extending all the way from your hip bones to the top of your shinbone. Strengthening your glutes means extra support when extending, abducting, and rotating your hip.
Enhance Your Core Strength
Your core muscles are those that surround and protect your spine, hips, and stomach, and include your abdominal and lower back muscles. Your glutes form the foundation to your core, so by engaging your glute muscles during a workout, you naturally help build core strength to help assist you throughout your day. And, a strong core means you can add more weight to your workouts over time, not to mention ensuring your form and posture are spot on.
Try adding lower body strength training into your weekly workout routine to set strong foundations for your fitness. And, check out the Peloton App for even more workout ideas and classes to challenge your glutes.
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Benefits of Strengthening Your Glutes
Strengthening your glutes can have several benefits for both your workouts and everyday life. Your glute muscles serve as stabilizers for your body, helping to maintain alignment, posture, and movement. Here are some key benefits of strong glutes:
- Improved Posture: Strong glutes help keep your pelvis and hip area aligned, which encourages proper curvature of your spine and distributes weight evenly throughout your body [].
- Enhanced Movement: Glute muscles play a crucial role in various movements, such as walking, running, jumping, and squatting. Strong glutes add power to your performance and reduce the risk of injury and strains [].
- Reduced Lower Back Pressure: Strong glutes help distribute your weight evenly, reducing pressure on your lower back and preventing over-rounding of the lumbar spine [].
- Increased Workout Performance: Your lower body houses some of the largest muscle groups in your body. Strengthening your glutes and legs can enhance your overall strength and performance [].
Glute Muscle Groups
To effectively target your glutes, it's important to understand the different muscle groups that make up your glutes. The article mentions three main muscle groups:
- Gluteus Maximus: This is the largest portion of your glutes and plays a prominent role in maintaining your upper body in an upright posture. It is responsible for movements such as standing up from a seated position, climbing stairs, walking, running, and lunges [].
- Gluteus Medius: This muscle lies between the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. It acts as a pelvic stabilizer and helps with movements like standing, walking, and running. It also plays a key role in balancing on one leg and absorbing forces during running [].
- Gluteus Minimus: This is the smallest glute muscle and works in synergy with the gluteus medius. It acts as a hip stabilizer and is engaged during activities like running, walking, squats, lunges, and fire hydrants [].
Glute Workout Exercises
The article provides eight at-home glute workout exercises recommended by Peloton instructors. Here's a summary of each exercise:
- Squats: Stand with feet hip-distance apart, bend your knees, and lower into a squat. Press into your heels to stand. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as other lower body muscles [].
- Lunges: Stand with one foot forward and one foot back. Bend both knees and lunge straight down, then press into your heel to stand. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus and minimus, hamstrings, quads, and calves [].
- Step-Ups: Step onto a platform with one foot, then bring the other foot up. Step back down and repeat. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus and medius, quads, adductors, and hamstrings [].
- Sidestep Squats With Resistance Bands: Stand on a resistance band and take wide steps to the side into a squat. Repeat in the opposite direction. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as other lower body muscles [].
- Hip Thrust / Glute Squeeze on Ball: Begin in a bridge position with your head resting on a ball. Lower your hips to the ground and squeeze your glutes to lift yourself back up. This exercise mainly targets the gluteus maximus and medius, as well as other lower body muscles [].
- Hip Extensions: Start on your hands and knees, then lift one leg until it is parallel with your glutes. Slowly lower your leg and repeat on each side. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus and medius, as well as other lower body muscles [].
- One-Legged Deadlifts: Stand with feet hip-width apart and shift your weight onto one leg. Lean forward and lift your extended leg until it forms a T-shape. Slowly bring your leg back to the starting position and repeat on each side. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as other muscles [].
- Hip Thrusts: Sit on the ground with a bench behind you. Bend your knees, place a barbell below your hips, and drive your hips up. This exercise targets the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as other muscles [].
Remember to consult with a fitness professional or doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or injuries.
Tips for a Successful Glute Workout
To get the most out of your glute exercises, here are some tips:
- Warm Up: Prepare your glutes for higher intensity movements with lower body-focused warm-up exercises.
- Build Your Reps: Start with a smaller number of repetitions if you're new to glute workouts and gradually increase as your strength improves.
- Focus on Form: Maintain proper posture and form during exercises, such as squats. Engage your core and distribute your weight evenly on your feet.
- Engage Your Core: Remember to engage your core muscles during glute exercises to build overall strength.
- Exercise Safely: If you experience any pain while performing an exercise, discontinue the movement immediately.
- Make Modifications: Be mindful of your physical limitations and avoid or limit glute exercises if you have specific injuries or conditions.
Benefits of Glute Workouts
Glute workouts offer several benefits for everyday life, including:
- Improved Posture: Strong glutes help maintain proper alignment and posture, which can have a positive impact on your overall body mechanics and reduce the risk of discomfort or strains [].
- Enhanced Agility: Strong glutes contribute to your agility and forward momentum during activities like running or playing sports [].
- Increased Back Strength: Strengthening your glutes can help support the muscles around your lower back, potentially reducing lower back pain and the risk of injury [].
- Injury Prevention: Strong glutes provide stability to your pelvis and hips, reducing the risk of injuries during workouts and other physical activities [].
- Improved Core Strength: Engaging your glute muscles during workouts can help build core strength, which is essential for overall stability and proper form [].
Remember to listen to your body, progress gradually, and consult with a fitness professional for personalized guidance.
I hope this information helps you understand the importance of strengthening your glutes and provides insights into the exercises mentioned in the article. Let me know if there's anything else I can assist you with!