It's been said that my glutes don't stop traffic—they shift it into reverse. That sort of glute development doesn't happen by accident.

Like any body part you want to bring up, your glutes need direct attention, and we're not just talking about squats, leg curls, and leg presses. Sure, those are great moves to help shape your booty. Yet, I've learned that to really accentuate those curves, you need to do more isolation work.

Here I've put together my five favorite glute-focused moves in a single routine. But they're not just any five exercises; these vigorously attack your glutes, leaving your rear with no choice but to fill out that bikini or those jeans in all the right ways.

Follow this plan to target your glutes and build a great backside that'll surely turn heads—and drop a few jaws.

1. Donkey Kick

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About This Move

One of my favorites, this is a great way to kick off any glute-specific workout.

Do It Right

  • Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip width.
  • Keeping your right foot flexed and leg bent, extend your right leg and press your heel toward the ceiling until your foot is directly above your butt.
  • Return to the start position.
  • Do one set of 15 reps before switching legs, and you'll definitely feel it in your glutes.

The important thing to remember with this exercise is to squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. The rate of descent is also critical; you need a slow negative to really get that burn.

It's also a key to keep your knee off the ground when coming back to the start position to maintain tension on the glutes.

2. Fire Hydrant

Like any body part you want to bring up, your glutes need direct attention, and we're not just talking about squats, leg curls, and leg presses.

About This Move

I typically do this movement second in my workout to hit the glutes from a different angle. You'll notice the different areas this movement targets. It is a great way to ensure your glutes get a great all-around workout.

Do It Right

  • Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width and knees hip-width apart, keeping your working-side foot flexed and knee bent.
  • This time, however, open your right leg out to your side until your inner thigh is parallel with the floor.
  • Squeeze your glutes in the top position, but also make sure your abs get a good squeeze as well. As you return to the start position, keep your knee off the floor to maintain tension on the working muscle.
  • Do just one set. Repeat 15 times for one leg before switching sides.

3. Chair Kick

About This Move

You'll obviously need a stable chair for this standing move, and my preference is a tall one.

Do It Right

  • Stand with your feet together holding onto the back of the chair at arm's length for balance. Lean forward slightly and lift your right leg directly behind you, keeping your knee straight but not locked. Squeeze your glutes hard, making sure to keep your hips square to the chair and not rotated, which reduces the focus on the target area.
  • Raise your leg as high as you can, then lower it under control and return to the start position.
  • Do 10 reps for one leg before switching sides.

4. Squat Pulse

@jenselter /

About This Move

By now your glutes should be burning like crazy, but throw in this squat pulse to send that to a whole new level. The payoff is definitely worth it.

Do It Right

  • Stand erect with your legs just wider than shoulder width, toes turned slightly out, and your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Squat down and keep your knees in line with your toes, keeping your core tight and back straight. At the bottom of the movement your thighs should be about parallel with the floor; this is where you'll start the pulses.
  • Rise up and descend no more than about 6 inches, repeating this motion 10-15 times.
  • Do three sets of 10-15 reps and you'll definitely notice some impressive progress on your backside.

The trick is to stay in the squat position until the end—it's definitely not easy. Try to push yourself and don't stand up until you're finished.

5. Squat Kick

About This Move

This finisher is a great add-on to a typical squat and you'll immediately notice how it targets your glutes at the end of a squat.

Do It Right

@jenselter /

  • Stand with your feet just outside hip-width apart and your toes slightly turned out.
  • Keeping your arms straight in front of you, slowly descend into a deep squat.
  • Push back up to the top position and in one continuous motion lift one leg directly out to your side as high as you can.
  • Do 10 reps and then switch legs, doing three sets.

If your knees go past an imaginary line coming up from your toes as you squat, make sure to widen your stance a little bit.

Targeting The Glutes With Cardio

Not all cardio equipment is the same when it comes to working your glutes. To target my rear, I work the Stairmaster and walk on a treadmill set at a fairly steep incline.

Doing one (or both) of these at the end of a glute workout is a great idea. Otherwise add cardio work on separate days for some extra booty-blasting fun.

Glute Kickback
1 set, 30 reps (15 per side)
+ 5 more exercises


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About the Author

Contributing Writer

Jen Selter’s authors consist of accredited coaches, doctors, dietitians and athletes across the world.

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Glutes Workout Women