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The Best Glutes Workout

leg workouts
(Image credit: unknown)

Photograph: Glen Burrows; Model: Tom Wright

Squat

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees and knees over ankles. Lower until your hips are as close to the ground as you can get without compromising your upper body position. Explode back up to standing, driving through your heels.

Deadlift

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand with your mid-foot under the bar and your heels hip-width apart (narrower than in a squat). Grip the bar with arms vertical and drop into position by bending your knees until your shins touch the bar, then pull, keeping your chest up.

3A Glute hip raise

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Put your upper back on a weight bench and place a barbell on top of your hips. With both feet solidly on the floor, extend your hips upwards to lift the bar, stopping when your hips reach full extension. Squeeze the glutes and pause at the top for a second or two before lowering.

3B Walking lunge

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Without weights, step forwards with one leg, flexing your knees to lower your hips. Lower until your rear knee nearly touches the ground, staying upright. Continue with the other leg.

4A Bulgarian split squat

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Position yourself in a staggered stance with your rear foot elevated on a step or bench. Lower by bending at the knee and hip while keeping your torso upright. When you reach the bottom drive back up, extending your knee and hip to return to the start position.

4B Crab walk

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Position a band around your ankles or knees and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a half squat, then take a slow, lateral step. Keep your toes pointed forwards and stay low. Keep walking sideways for all your reps, keeping tension on the band - then switch sides.

Glute Workout Tips

Activate the area

“Starting to squat or deadlift without activating the whole hip structure can be a disaster, and a few light squats won’t cut it,” says Ben Scott, a former professional cricketer turned performance and fat loss specialist (scottkeepingfit.com (opens in new tab)). “When another muscle needs to kick in and help but it is completely cold, the disparity between the two muscles will be too much and you’ll end up injured. Activate your abductors and adductors with moves like the fire hydrant or lying clam to get warm.”

Go unilateral

“Hiding behind a double leg movement can lead to one side being left behind,” says Scott. “A heavy lunge will often identify glute weakness – watch to see whether your knee wobbles one way or the other. You should include at least one unilateral movement in every workout.”

Go deep (but don’t bounce)

“Getting low to the ground in a squat is obviously going to use more range, which is a good thing – provided there’s control at the bottom,” says Scott. “If you’re bouncing out of the bottom phase with your pelvis tucking under – known as a ‘bum wink’ – it’s a problem. Don’t rely on momentum to do the work for you.”

Joel Snape
Joel Snape

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.