As a trainer for more than 25 years, I've seen all the fitness trends. My female clients used to want a smaller butt; however, this past decade changed all of that. Now it's the bigger the better!
Whether you're training for track, the stage, or your bathroom mirror, you'll always be rewarded for developing your glutes—and your hamstrings, too! The two go together in what I like to call "the perfect partnership" of not only muscle definition, but also power and athleticism!
Ready to grow it and show it? Here are my go-to glute workouts to build a bigger butt and a full lower body.
Build Your Best Butt Workout
There are many ways to train legs. The upper/lower body split is a popular training protocol, while some choose to isolate their quad and hamstring workouts. Plenty of women have gone booty-crazy and do full glute-only workouts.
As for me, I prefer to train glutes and hamstrings together, on a day separate from quads. Here's why:
Hamstrings are your athletic powerhouses and building them can do more to help your butt stand out—and help make you more athletic—than most of the so-called "butt-lifting exercises" you'll see online.
You don't need equipment for a lot of glute work, so it's easy to superset glutes with hamstrings in a gym without hogging a lot of equipment.
Another benefit of this approach: You'll still work your glutes on quad day, as they contribute to any movement that involves pressing with your legs, stepping, or hip extensions. Consider that free butt-building volume!
Get a "leg up" on your protein needs!
The Best Glute Exercises
The three muscles that make up the buttocks are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. As the name suggests, the maximus is the largest of the three. It is responsible for hip extension, lateral rotation, hip abduction, and even stabilization of that sometimes-painful SI joint. So yes, building a bigger butt can help with back pain, too!
This big muscle also contributes to some big movements:
- Sumo squat
- Lunges—forward, backward, curtsy
- Hip thrust
- Glute bridge
- Bulgarian split squat
- Glute-ham raise
Because the gluteus maximus works with hip extension, many hamstring exercises are also excellent glute exercises. A deadlift, bridge, or any type of thrust will use both the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus.
The gluteus medius is half the size of the gluteus maximus. It sits more laterally and is worked with lateral rotation, lateral extension, and lateral abduction. This is the muscle that can fix the dreaded "flat" butt, and it's also the muscle that can improve a host of injuries. Knee instability or ankle issues are often traced back to a weak gluteus medius.
These exercises will help build and strengthen the gluteus medius:
- Frog pump
- Lateral band walk
- Side lunge
- Cable or band hip extension
- Fire hydrant
- All lunge and single-leg squat variations
Glutes and Hamstrings Superset Workout
Because this workout calls for big movements for both the hamstrings and glutes, I suggest working at no more than 75 percent of your one-rep max. If you can leg curl 100 pounds, use 70-80 pounds. If you lunge with a 40-pound barbell, go with the 30-pounder.
Brutal lower-body training benefits from the fatigue-fighting ingredients in the best pre-workouts.
With this workout, you're using bigger hamstring movements and combining more single-leg, bodyweight, and banded glute movements. This is where you can max out on your hamstring exercises, while still building your glutes.
Home Butt-Building Workout
Butt workouts at home often involve high-rep, low-resistance exercises. Not this one! Across three grueling tri-sets, exercises such as lunges and Bulgarian split squats, combine with more isolative hamstring exercises, like ball hamstring curls and single-leg deadlifts, to maximize glute medius involvement.