Top 10 Exercises to Help Define Glutes

While aesthetic goals are fine, functional exercise programs should always be designed to maximize the effectiveness of the gluteal muscles. Gluteal muscles, namely the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, work together to enable us to perform daily activities like standing, sitting, and walking.

Strong gluteal muscles are crucial for pelvic stability, proper alignment, and body mechanics in physical activity. These are 10 exercises that you can do with your trainer to build stronger gluteal muscles.

Beginner Exercises

Glute Bridge

Place your feet on the ground, and your knees bent in a supine position. Place your feet about hip-distance apart. Move into a slight posterior pelvic tilt by tightening your core. Inhale and contract your glutes. Press the hips towards the floor. Inhale, and lower your hips back to the starting position. Do 12 repetitions, then rest for two to four sets.

Sidelying Hip Abduction

Place your legs straight on the ground, with your hips and hips in neutral. For support, place your lower arm below the head and align your head with the spine. Inhale, raise your top leg and keep the foot flexed. Take a deep breath and slowly lower your leg. Do 12 repetitions, then switch sides. Perform six sets total (three per leg).


Upward phase: Place your feet on a platform and face upwards. Your right foot should be on the platform. Push off with your trail leg (left) and place your left foot on top. While stepping up, keep your torso straight and align your foot, ankle, and knee. Step down: Move your weight backwards and load your right foot. Step backwards using your left foot to return to the beginning position, then switch to your right foot. Do 12 repetitions, then switch sides. Alternate the lead legs to complete six sets, three on each leg.

Intermediate Exercises

Front Squat

Place a dumbbell on each shoulder’s front and raise your feet with your feet slightly wider than the hips. As you inhale, tighten your core and shift your weight back to the heels, bend at the hips and knees while you bend at the ankles. Keep your chest elevated and lower down to a squatting pose. Inhale, press your feet into a flat surface and straighten your legs to get back to standing. Do 10 repetitions. Rest and do another set.

Goblet Squat

Standing with your feet spread wide, the hips slightly externally rotated, keep your hips straight. Keep the elbows close and the dumbbell or kettlebell between your chest and the body. To lower into a squat, bend at your hips, knees, and ankles. Continue to lower your hips until they are just below the knees. Stand by pushing your feet into the ground and then return to the original position. For a total of 10 repetitions, rest for two to three sets.

Transverse Lunge

With a dumbbell in one hand, place your feet below the hips. Press the left foot onto the floor by inhaling. Externally rotate your right leg so you can step out with your right foot. Inhale, push the right foot off the ground and return to the original position. Alternate your legs for 20 repetitions. For a total of 2 to 3 sets, rest and then repeat.


Back Squat

The bar should be placed comfortably on the back of your shoulders to touch the upper trapezius muscle (upper back). Standing with your feet in front of your hips, keep your toes pointed forward, and place the bar under the shoulders. To lower into a squatting pose, bend at the knees, hips, and ankles. Throughout the exercise, keep your chest up and your torso straight. The spine and tibia bones should be parallel at the bottom of each squat. You can return to the original position by extending your knees, hips, and ankles. Choose a challenging weight to allow for 8-10 repetitions. For a total of three sets, rest and then repeat.

Glute Activation Lunges

Standing with your feet below the hips, hold a medicine ball in front of you with the elbows close to the body. To reach the 3 o’clock position, extend your right foot wide. Push your right foot into the ground and pull the hips down to lower into a lateral lunge. Stand firmly with both feet and return to the original position. Next, move forward with your right foot and cross the midline of your body (to the 11 o’clock position). Then, lower into a lunge. To increase the strain on your gluteal muscles, simultaneously rotate your torso to the right. Inhale, and then return to the original position. This is one repetition. You can do eight repetitions of the right leg, then switch to the other side. You should complete three sets for each leg.

Split Squat

Take a split stance, with your right foot in front, and you’re left on the bench behind you. Keep a dumbbell close to your body and place it before you. Keep your torso straight while inhaling and lowering the left knee (back leg) towards the floor. To return to the original position, exhale and push your right foot (front foot) into the ground. Do 10 repetitions, then switch legs. Each leg should be completed three times.

Lunge Jumps

Take a split stance, with your right foot in front and left behind. Begin by lowering down and then jumping upwards. You can do 16 repetitions, switching your legs after each jump. For a total of three sets, rest and then repeat.

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