We live in a butt-less society. Spending so much time sat down means that a lot of men and women have woefully underdeveloped glutes. Flat, shapeless butts not only affect how you look, but they also make you weaker and physically less capable. Poorly developed glutes can cause back pain too.
With all this in mind, in this article, we’re going to reveal the best glute workouts for mass.
So why are the glutes such an important muscle group? Let’s investigate!
The glutes, short for the gluteus maximus, are the largest and potentially strongest muscle in the human body. Their primary job is extending your hip. Hip extension is what drives you forward when you walk, run, or jump. The glutes also play a crucial role in lifting.
When the glutes are weak, other muscles have to pick up the slack, making them more prone to injury. For example, if your glutes are underdeveloped, bending over to pick up a heavy object puts more strain on your lower back. This is how weak glutes can cause back pain.
The good news is that the glutes are a very trainable muscle, and there are lots of exercises you can do to strengthen and build them.
How Often Should You Train Your Glutes?
When it comes to glute workouts, most exercisers are guilty of adopting an all or nothing approach. In other words, they either ignore this vital muscle entirely or make it the sole focus of their training.
The best approach is somewhere between these two extremes.
Like most muscles, the glutes do best when trained 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days, such as Monday and Thursday, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This provides plenty of time for recovery and growth.
Training your glutes more often could actually hamper muscle growth. Training breaks your muscles down, and they need 48 to 72 hours to respond. Working out less frequently gives your muscles too long to recover, and at least a little detraining between workouts will occur. Most people will get the best results from two to three glute workouts per week.
The glutes are also best trained along with the rest of your body and not in isolation. After all, the glutes are just one of over 600 muscles. Focusing exclusively on your glutes while ignoring the rest of your body is as bad as not training them at all.
What Exercises Should You Do to Gain Mass?
There are lots of exercises you can use to build bigger, stronger glutes. Some use just your body weight and are ideal for home training, while others require gym equipment. We’ve compiled a list that includes both types so that, whether you work out at home or in a gym, you can still increase glute mass.
1. Hip thrusts
You can do this exercise at home with just your bodyweight or in a gym using a barbell for extra resistance. Unlike many glute builders, this exercise is easy on your lower back, making it a good movement for beginners.
How to do it:
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat.
- If you are using one, rest a barbell across your hips and hold it in place.
- Drive your feet into the floor and push your hips up to the ceiling. Your knees, hips, and shoulders should form a straight line. Take care not to over-extend your lower back.
- Lower your butt back down the floor and repeat.
- You can make this exercise a little more challenging by leaning your upper back against an exercise bench. This increases the range of motion.
- You can also do this exercise using one leg at a time.
2. Reverse deficit lunges
All types of lunges are useful glute exercises, but this variation is especially effective. It’s also a great hamstring and quad movement, making it a very beneficial lower body workout. You can do this exercise with or without weights if as preferred.
How to do it:
- Stand on a 4-6” step with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
- Step back, bend your legs, and lower your rear knee down to within an inch of the floor.
- Simultaneously lean forward slightly from your hips to increase glute activation. Do not round your lower back.
- Push off your back leg and return to your step.
- Do another rep using the same leg, or swap legs and alternate as preferred.
3. Romanian deadlifts
Rumor has it that Romanian Olympic Weightlifters invented this exercise. Whether that’s true or not, the name has stuck. It’s a tremendous glute-building exercise that also works your lower back and hamstrings. You’ll need a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells for this move.
How to do it:
- Hold your weight(s) in front of your hips and stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly for balance.
- Without rounding your lower back, push your hips backward and lean forward, lowering the weight down the front of your legs. Lean as far as your hamstring flexibility allows.
- Drive your hips forward and stand up straight. Take care not to lean back at the top, as this puts a lot of unwanted stress on your lumbar spine.
- You can also do this exercise on one leg, which is a handy way to make it harder without using extra weights.
4. Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell training is immensely popular, and the swing is one of the best kettlebell exercises around. This powerful glute builder is also an effective conditioning exercise that can help you burn fat and get fit. No kettlebell? That’s okay; you can do this exercise with a dumbbell too.
How to do it:
- Hold your kettlebell in front of your thighs and stand with your feet around shoulder-width apart. Brace your abs to stabilize your spine.
- Bend your knees slightly, lean forward, and lower the kettlebell down between your knees. Push your hips back as you lean forward.
- Drive your hips forward and stand up quickly. Use this movement to swing the weight up to shoulder-height. Keep your arms straight. Contract your glutes hard at the top of the rep.
- Swing the weight down again and repeat. Do not pause between reps.
5. Booty band squats
Squats are one of the best lower body exercises you can do. Using a “booty band” makes them more glute-centric. A booty band is a wide, short resistance band worn around the legs, usually just above or just below the knees. This forces you to push your knees outward, which increases glute activation.
How to do it:
- Put your band around your legs and then step out and into a shoulder-width stance. Push your knees out against the resistance of the band.
- Bend your legs and squat down as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Remember to keep pressing your knees outward.
- Stand back up and repeat.
- You can do this exercise with or without weights.
6. High box step-ups
High box step-ups are a lot like squats, except you work one leg at a time. They also provide a handy way to identify and fix left to right leg strength imbalances. You can do step-ups with weights in your hands, but they’re also a very effective bodyweight exercise.
How to do it:
- Set up a sturdy, knee-high box. Stand directly in front of it with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
- Bend one leg and place your foot flat on the top of the step.
- Push down with your front leg and step up and onto the box. Try not to use your trailing leg; let your front leg do most of the work.
- Step back down with the same leg.
- Do another rep on the same side or alternate legs as preferred.
- Hold dumbbells in your hands to make this exercise more demanding.
7. Barbell deadlifts
If you like to lift weights, this is the glute-builder for you. As well as working your butt, deadlifts train your hamstrings, lower, and upper back too. Deadlifts also teach you the safest way to lift heavy objects off the floor, i.e., using your legs and without rounding your lower back.
How to do it:
- Place a barbell on the floor. Ideally, it should be about 7 to 9 inches off the floor. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your toes under the bar.
- Bend down and hold the bar with a shoulder-width, overhand grip. Alternatively, use a mixed grip, where one hand faces forward, and one faces backward.
- Brace your abs and arch your lower back slightly.
- Keeping your arms straight, drive your feet into the floor and stand up. Do not round your lower back. Make sure your hips and shoulders rise at the same time. Do not let your hips shoot up.
- Stand upright but do not lean back, as this puts a lot of unwanted stress on your lumbar spine.
- Lower the bar back down the floor and repeat.
How Long Does It Take to Build Muscle on Your Glutes?
The glutes are a very responsive muscle and will soon start to get stronger and bigger. That said, it’s impossible to say how quickly you’ll reach your glute training goals. You’ll get better results and make faster progress if you pay attention to the following:
You can’t train your glutes for a few weeks and then quit if you want to build a butt you can be proud of. Missing workouts will undoubtedly undermine your progress. Commit to the process and train your glutes 2-3 times a week without fail. The more consistent you are, the more successful you’ll be.
Doing the same workout with the same weights and reps will soon bring your progress to a halt. Keep adding mass to your glutes by making your workouts progressively more difficult. Do more reps per set, use heavier weights, or choose more demanding exercises. If your workouts aren’t progressive, your glute development will soon stall.
Eat to Support Your Training
Your workouts will be more effective if you provide your body with the nutrients it needs to grow. Build your diet around unprocessed carbs, vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and high-quality proteins. The healthier your diet is, the better your results will be.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is when your muscles recover and grow. At night, testosterone and growth hormone production increases, and your body gets busy repairing the muscle fiber damage caused by your workouts. Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your progress is bound to suffer.
Glute Building FAQ
If you’ve got questions about glute training, we’ve got the answers!
Q1. Do you have to lift heavy to build glutes?
The best way to build muscle mass is with moderate to heavy weights, and low to medium reps. In other words, most of your workouts should revolve around sets of 6-12 reps using weights that take you close to failure within this range.
That said, you CAN work outside the 6-12 range from time to time. High rep, light weight sets can be a nice change of pace from heavier workouts. But, for best results, most of your training should use 6-12 reps.
Q2. Do I have to join a gym to build bigger glutes?
Going to a gym means you’ll have access to a wide range of training tools to train your glutes. Machines, freeweights, cables, resistance bands – with all these things at your disposal, your workouts will never be dull.
However, none of these things are essential. Your body cannot differentiate between an expensive state-of-the-art machine and doing a bodyweight exercise at home. So long as you work hard and consistently, you can build bigger glutes almost anywhere.
Q3. Can I shape my glutes to make them more rounded?
While you can almost always make a muscle bigger, it’s usually impossible to change its shape. Muscle shape is determined by where it’s attached to your bones – what are called origin and insertion points. These attachments cannot be changed, and your butt shape is determined mainly by genetics.
With consistent training, you can increase glute mass, and a bigger butt is always better than a flat one. Using a wide variety of exercises will also ensure that you work your glutes from all angles, ensuring you create the best-shaped butt you can.
Q4. Are there any supplements I can use to build my glutes?
Training, diet, and sleep are the most important factors for building a bigger butt, but a few well-chosen supplements may also help. The best options are:
Your body uses protein for muscle repair and growth. Adding a protein powder to your diet, such as whey protein, makes getting enough of this essential nutrient far easier.
Using creatine increases your strength and endurance so you can train harder and longer. Longer, harder workouts will help you make faster progress. Using creatine may also speed up your recovery so that you can work out more often.
Q5. Do you have a sample workout for me to try?
We sure do! Do each of these workouts once a week, e.g., Monday and Thursday.
|Workout 1||Workout 2|
|Exercise||Sets x Reps||Exercise||Sets x Reps|
|1||Deadlifts||4 x 8||1||Booty band squats||4 x 8|
|2||Reverse deficit lunges||3 x 10 per leg||2||Romanian deadlifts||3 x 10|
|3||Kettlebell swings||3 x 12||3||Hip thrusts (weighted)||3 x 12|
|4||Hip thrusts (single leg)||2 x 12 per leg||4||High box step-ups||2 x 12 per leg|
A lot of exercisers want a six-pack, while others want bulging biceps or a chiseled chest. But it’s the glutes that are the most newsworthy muscle, and lots of celebrities are known for their big, firm butts.
This eye-catching muscle group is more than just a fashion must-have or a convenient cushion to sit on. It also has anatomical importance. Weak glutes can have a huge impact on how you feel and move.
While some people are lucky enough to have a well-shaped butt without having to try too hard, others are less fortunate. You COULD get butt implants, but any kind of elective surgery can be risky and is invariably expensive.
The good news is that, with plenty of effort and dedication, you too can build a butt to be proud of. You’ll need to pay your dues in the gym or spend time working your glutes at home, but your efforts WILL be rewarded!
Remember, though, that the exercises you do are only part of the glute building equation. You also need to eat healthily, get plenty of sleep, and work out consistently. If any of these things are missing, your progress will be slow at best or may even be even non-existent.
Finally, it’s important to stress that your glutes are just one muscle. Working on your butt while ignoring the rest of your body is a mistake. You’ll look and feel better if you incorporate glute training with workouts for the rest of your body.