When it comes to glute gains, hip thrusts seem to get all the attention. And rightfully so, as hip thrusts are a great way to isolate and strengthen the glutes, while putting minimal tension on your lower back.
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But hip thrusts and barbell back squats aren't the only booty-building moves worth their (sweaty) salt. Pair your hip thrusts and back squats with these four underrated glute exercises from Carolina Araujo, certified personal trainer, to add some variety to your next leg day.
1. Toes-Elevated Good Morning
- Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with a barbell on your back against your shoulders.
- Elevate your toes on either a step or two weight plates on the ground.
- Hinge your hips back toward the wall behind you and bend your knees slightly.
- Lean your torso forward, keeping your back flat until your upper body is about parallel to the ground.
- On an exhale, reverse the motion and press the hips forward to return to standing.
If you don't have a barbell, you can either hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders or a kettlebell in front of your chest.
2. Resistance Band Hip Abduction With Pause
- Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with a resistance band looped around both legs just above your knees.
- On an exhale press your knees outward and away from one another.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Slowly bring the knees back together and repeat.
People often forget the benefits of keeping your muscles under tension. Here, keep your glutes under tension for the full 5 seconds to get the most out of the exercise.
3. No-Pause Walking Dumbbell Lunge
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Take a wide step forward (about three feet) with the right leg.
- Bend the right knee to 90 degrees and lower the left knee to lightly tap the ground (or hover right above it).
- With most of your weight in the right leg, straighten your legs and step forward with your left leg, several feet in front of the right.
- Repeat the motion, stepping forward one leg after the other, adding a lunge in between.
The more you elongate your step, the more of your glutes you engage, says Araujo. Also, considering you're moving from one lunge to the other with no pause in between (like standard walking lunges), you'll get some added cardio benefit, too.
4. Sumo Goblet Squat
- Hold a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell at your chest, elbows tucked close to your sides.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out.
- Keeping your back flat, sit your glutes back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Brace your core to keep the weight stable.
- Press into your heels and return to standing.
Although goblet squats are generally used as a quad-building exercise, adding a wider stance and external rotation of the feet will help target your glute muscles, Araujo says. Plus, you'll get some core activation, too, as you engage your abs to hold the weight and keep your chest upright.