6 Best Exercises For Round Glutes

6 Best Exercises For Round Glutes

 

I think we finally reached the time when girls want curves and round booty instead of skinny limbs and no bum.

Yay 🙂 Because it looks loads better 🙂

However! It’s not easy for everyone. We all are genetically pre-programmed to what are we roughly going to look. Even though you cannot cheat genetics, you can still use your body’s full potential. Most people only use half of what their body is truly capable of, if that!

I’ve always had a bigger bum so I’ve decided to turn it into a good quality. I have to say something that some of you ladies might not want to hear: “You have to do some resistance training.” Hundreds of donkey, side, front and god knows what sort of kicks is just not going to do it. Yes you might end up with a tighter bum if you are starting off from nothing but after a while, this will just simply not be enough.

Just to make it clear, resistance training will not make anyone bulky, some sort of resistance is needed for a muscle to grow. Without any resistance, no muscle fibers get broken, therefore cannot be repaired and grow into a bigger muscle. There is no need to lug 25kg plates around, not at all, but some kind of resistance is absolutely crucial for hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Let’s get around to some of my favourite glute exercises because that’s why you are here.

#1 DEADLIFT + ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

 

Most people would probably not put it as number one but, speaking from my own experience, my backside didn’t really start shaping properly until I incorporated this magnificent exercise into my routine.

You would probably struggle to find a move that would engage the whole body in such an effective way as a deadlift.

Most people think it’s a back exercise which is probably a reason for deadlift’s bad reputation. You hear all around how deadlift is dangerous for your back and can basically cripple you. Before even starting thinking about trying to perform this exercise, you have to embrace the fact that this is a lower body movement.

The legs do, I’d say, 80% of the move, back engaging only towards the end when that bar gets above the knees. The back here act as a stabiliser, not as the prime mover.

It took me years to fully embrace this idea because you don’t just need to understand this on paper, you have to learn how to move your body in a way that your legs do the work and it’s not easy. That’s why deadlift probably has not very good reputation, especially when heavy weights are involved. If the form is not perfect at low weights, not much harm is done but we need to be 100% sure that our form is top-notch before we start attempting to lift heavy weights.

That said, the beauty of this exercise is the fact that you never have to involve heavy weights. Deadlift is incredibly effective even at low to moderate weights. I deadlift just under my body weight which, according to some people, is not very good achievement, but I find it incredibly safe and very effective.

Another excellent way to introduce deadlift safely into your routine is using a trap bar if your gym has one (not all of them do).

Now, they can all look slightly different from being enclosed all around you or curving just at the front with no bar behind you. I, personally, don’t see any particular difference apart from, perhaps, the entirely enclosed one allows for less error.

They are both incredibly safe because they remove the struggle of keeping your body upright without bending over and consequently engaging your back more than you should, which could lead to back pain or even injury.

The side grip helps the body to move directly up, engaging predominantly legs and glutes which can greatly help someone who is worried about their back. This bar doesn’t allow you to make many postural errors during deadlift.

I suggest you give this exercise a go at least in form of a Romanian Deadlift which basically is a deadlift without putting the bar on the floor, therefore making it easier for the body to follow straight vertical line.

Romanian Deadlift is an excellent exercise to get used to the whole idea of the movement, this version may be even better for glutes because the quads (thighs) are not contributing to the movement as much so the muscles at the back have to take over – glutes and hamstrings.

Talking about hamstrings, they are an incredibly important part of a good-looking backside because they run all the way up to the lower part of the pelvic bone, therefore contributing to the overall shape of the back of your legs and backside.

Don’t be scared of deadlift but make sure your form is correct, don’t be shy to ask for help, most gym have Fitness Coaches and Personal Trainers walking around all the time and they are there to help. Also, use the mirrors. They not there to just make big guys feel good about their biceps. They are there for the exact opposite! To spot incorrect form when you train by yourself.

#2 CURTSY LUNGE

This has got to me my absolute favourite for shaping glutes and legs in general! You have to use every single muscle in your legs to perform this move and they are awesome and incredibly effective with just little weight, elastic band or even with no extra weight at all.

As opposed to regular lunge, where the back foot goes straight back, while performing a curtsy lunge, the back foot goes back and over to the side behind the front leg. Just like curtsy 🙂 Just make sure the leg doesn’t go too far and compromise stability, you shouldn’t be rocking from side to side at the bottom part of the movement.

They engage glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps at the same time.

This exercise, however, comes with a little warning. I would not suggest doing them to anyone, who has coordination or knee issues. They do put you in a little awkward position and some PTs out there say that they are more trouble than worth.

I have had amazing results with them but I always make sure I can handle the weight and I never rush them! The movement must be slow and controlled at all times.

They might also not be very suitable for a very overweight individual because these people quite often have joint and coordination problems.

I think curtsy lunges can be very beneficial if you are looking to spice your routine up a little bit from the regular lunges and squats and they work wonders for me but I can never stress this enough:

  • Make sure the movement is slow and controlles
  • Stop if you feel knee pain and avoid this exercise if you do have existing knee issues
  • Avoid if very overweight or/and have stability and coordination issues

#3 SIDE LUNGE

Side lunge is an awesome exercise if you are like me and hate regular lunges 🙂

They target the leg all around and are extremely effective with very little weight, which makes them great for beginners who are tired of doing loads of lunges :), also developing a better balance and stability.

There is not that many exercises forcing you to move from side to side so they bring a nice change from your body’s regular movements like twisting or moving forward.

How deep down you go happens utterly on your stability and mobility so there is no way of doing this exercise “wrong”. Some people can get all the way down to the ground without batting an eyelid, if you can get just half-way down, that’s great, too. The most important thing is that you can feel it working.

Try pausing at the bottom of the movement (wherever that is for you) for better glute engagement.

Also, don’t try to rush through the exercise like most people do, the slower you perform a movement, the better muscle engagement and consequently better muscle definition and results.

#4 BRIDGE VARIATIONS

Bridging is an amazing, safe and stable way of engaging your buttocks. And there is quite a few ways to spice this exercise up so it’s never boring.

Unlike the picture, I suggest keeping your arms parallel to your body to keep yourself stable.

Glute bridge can be performed with one leg in the air, with elastic bands, by adding pulses and holds.

It can also be slightly modified into something that’s called a Frog Pump by keeping the soles of the feet together on the floor, knees fall to the sides and the pelvis moves up and down just like in the normal bridge. This modification helps to include greater variety of muscles like your inner thighs and hip muscles.

When you become stronger, you can add weight in the form of a dumbbell or a plate and place it on your quads to aid resistance or use elastic booty bands around your thighs.

Bridging is very safe for people, who might have a slight issue with coordination and are a little worried that they might fall over.

This movement also activates hamstrings, especially with the leg in the air variation. Hamstrings are often forgotten about because most people just want nice bum and big thighs. They also become very short and weak due to a lot of us having a sedentary job. Runners also struggle with tight hamstrings and it’s very important that they are engaged in workouts and stretched properly afterwards because they can be a right pain in the bum, literally, if they get stiff.

#5 SMITH MACHINE SPLIT SQUAT

One of my favourite exercises to perform on a Smith Machine, which is similar to lunge apart from the fact that the body is stationary and only moves up and down along a vertical axis. That’s why a Smith Machine is perfect for it because you need something that will stay in place without the danger of you rocking from side to side, like you normally would if you performed this movement with a regular barbell. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it on a squat rack but I just find it a lot more glutes focused if I don’t have to worry about stabilising the whole body.

That said, any exercise challenging stability is excellent and people should practice them and improve their coordination and stability because not all of us are great at it due to sedentary jobs.

My stability and coordination are, however, quite decent, so in order for the glutes to be able to engage properly, I find it a little better and more effective to perform split squats on a Smith.

Split Squat can have variations, too. You can pop the front foot up higher on a couple of plates in order to make the exercise more intense if that’s something you desire.

I definitely recommend it to beginners because Smith Machine prevents your body from being destabilised and falling over to the sides. The bar on the Smith is also only 5kg as opposed to a regular Olympic bar which is usually 20kg so this makes it perfect for either beginners or people recovering after being out of the gym for a while.

To have support doesn’t mean that you are slacking.

#6 SQUAT

Back Squat

I think I would be ripped into shreds if I didn’t mention this one 🙂

It is, after all, the ultimate lower body builder.

However, most people don’t utilise squat to its maximum. In order to squat to be reasonably effective, your thighs need to get at least parallel to the floor. If you cannot do that without added weight, I strongly discourage you from adding it. Instead, you should work on hip mobility and stability to get your body as low as possible.

Very few people can actually perform squat all the way, the so called “arse to the grass”.

Front Squat (arse to grass)

Get up right now and give it a go 🙂 And falling over at the bottom doesn’t count, you have to stay there comfortable for at least 10s 🙂 I actually find it very comfortable and never had an issue with performing low squat but I am aware that some people find it incredibly difficult due to many reasons, for example, flat feet, but mainly insufficient ankle flexibility. That’s probably not something you would connect with a squat and it’s amazing how all the body parts work together.

So, in order to get low in your squat, you have to increase your ankle mobility, which is not difficult but it takes time. There are tons of mobility exercises for ankles but the easiest, I think, is wall squat. Get your feet as close to the wall and squat down, when you hit restriction, try moving away from the wall a little and try again. Aim to get as close to the wall as possible so you can use it as a support but also get all the way down and find the pose challenging.

If you are interested in mobility exercises, I suggest an excellent app called GOWOD, which allows you to test your mobility levels for free and allows you to access tons of mobility exercises even without paying for premium.

Sorry for diverting from topic a little but I feel that it’s very important to mention this, a lot of gym goers just keep adding weights onto their back without using the full range of motion or at least most of it, if not all.

I was the same, I was squatting over 60kg at one point, which, for a girl of 55kg, I think it’s quite decent. I wasn’t really using the full movement to my benefit, I was so focused o lifting a lot because it made me feel good without even thinking about whether I am actually doing something my body benefits from.

So I reduced the weight to 50kg, sometimes 40kg if I’m not feeling it, and started squatting all the way down. And boy, at first, the reps went down by half. I couldn’t do my usual 10 to 12 reps anymore, I barely squeezed 5 sometimes 🙂 But I felt it a lot more all over my legs, especially the next day 🙂

Also, everyone’s body is different and some people’s limbs are longer than others, therefore everyone’s squat will look different. Tall and skinny people with long legs will have to “fold” a lot more to get down and because of this, their torso will move a little more forward toward thighs. That doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong, it just means that their shape doesn’t allow them to keep the torso upright. If this is you, it doesn’t matter as long as you don’t round your back. If your back is nice and straight, you are fine.

There is no need to put a lot of weight on the bar, though. Squat is an incredible exercise to perform as a body weight movement or with very little weight.

There are also squat variation and quite a few of them 🙂

  • Front Squat – barbell sits on shoulders
  • Goblet Squat – very safe way to squat with weight using just a dumbbell
  • Split Squat – mentioned above
  • Pistol Squat – amazing skill performed without weight

Pistol Squat

If you are not squatting yet as a part of your gym routine, I suggest you start. It’s an awesome exercise, that can be modified for absolutely anybody with any issues you can think of.

CONCLUSION

Building and strengthening your glutes is a very important part of caring for your body because gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in human body and does more than you think. It’s very important for posture and it engages in about any movement you do but with our lives becoming more inactive and sedentary, our glutes and hip muscles suffer immensely. They become inactive, short and stiff. And when that happens, we can face many postural issues.

Look after your bum, it’s a nice thing to look at 🙂

Let me know what are your favourite bum exercises.



15 thoughts on “6 Best Exercises For Round Glutes”

  • Hi Silvie,

    I’m so pleased I came across this article. Since lockdown happened, I have not done hardly any training. I tried a bit at home, but my motivation was at an all time low. The lockdown in the UK is easing a bit, but it is still restricted. It is coming to the end of the year and now is the time to start planning for next year with resolutions etc.

    So, one of my resolutions is to get a lot fitter and your exercises in this article will certainly help me to do that. But, I ma not going to wait until January to start, I am going to start now.

    I will let you know how I am getting on with your exercises and if I have any issues or questions then I will get in touch. Is that OK with you?

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    • Hi Tom!

      Excellent idea to start now! Loads of people just leave it till January and then stop by mid February 🙁

      I’m glad you helped my suggestions helpful and I’d be glad to help if you have any questions. You can find ways to contact me on the website but probably the easiest would be a message on Instagram 🙂

      I wish you good luck and amazing results because they will come!

      And you are absolutely right with the lockdown 🙁 I have done absolutely nothing in the second one, completely demotivated, probably due to the gloomy weather. But at least gyms can stay open in all Tiers so that’s a result 🙂

      Wish you best of luck and speak to you soon!

  • Great article, I am not a fan of fitness but I really love doing yoga. So, for me, squad variations, bridge variations, or lounge variations are the key. So powerful. What I didn’t know is curtsy lounge and I can’t wait to try that! Let’s get in shape!

    • Yoga is amazing, I love it too, but usually just use it as a cooldown method or as a recovery and flexibility exercise between workouts. ALso, I love building glutes and, unfortunately, as much as yoga is amazing, it cannot do that very well 🙂

      I’m glad you liked the article, though. That’s the whole point.

  • Great article Silvie and something I have dabbled in over the years but for me, the heart was never into it.

    I did go through a spell where I paid upfront for a full years membership and went for around 6 months. That was OK but you have to be dedicated and you have to consider your diet as well, which I have never been able to do.

    The misses had been going 2-3 times a week until this pandemic and she loves going and when she does she really takes it seriously.

    I agree with you that a woman that is a size 6, 8 or even 10 is too skinny and a fuller firmer body looks better.

    For me exercise comes in the way of running and cycling as we have some great circuits behind my house here in West Yorkshire. Plenty of hills which are great for getting the heart pumping and I feel that diet isn’t an issue as whatever you eat you burn off.

    Thank you for sharing

    • Hi Mick,

      thanks for a lovely comment, looks like you are more into outdoors stuff like cycling you mention, that’s great, cycling gives you great looking legs and I’m sure missus appreciates thats a lot 🙂

      That’s OK, everyone is different, for example, for me, cycling is a punishment 😀 I’d rather hit the gym and sweat there. We are all different and we all have to pick what suits us.

      And I couldn’t agree more about you saying that you are not bothered much about the diet, If you are as active as you say, I wouldn’t be bothered either 😀

  • I’m going to be honest with you Silvie. I am not much of a rigorous exercise fan. Neither am I a female but these fitness regimes and the way you discuss them are interesting and inspiring . I particularly like the bridge variations, the side and curtsy lunge, all of which can be performed in the confines of the home. Plus, I will be trying them out and recommending them to my missus even though she already has curvy glutes lol

    Cheers
    Femi

    • Awesome!

      I’m really glad you enjoyed my post. Most of these can be performed at home and some of them are incredibly challenging, even without any resistance, I have to agree on that.

  • Thanks for this superb post. I have a super flat bum and I’ve always wanted a bit of a bum! I always thought that squats was the way to go. I’ve never really done any resistance training before but my hubby has some sets of weights so I should be able to do most of these from home. I really hate going to the gym!

    • Hi Lynne,

      Sorry to hear that you don’t like gym, but most people don’t mind working out at home or in the garden.

      You can definitely get a nice, round bum with just booty bands or your hubby’s weights. It’s a great start. If, however, you would like to progress further in time, I’m afraid increasing the resistance in the form of progressive overload (slowly increasing resistance over time) is necessary. But if you are just starting out, it you should see results really quickly 🙂

  • To make your firm and round butt dreams come true, here are the best 6 exercises that target the right muscles. All you need to do is consistently do the right workout, So let’s get around to the best exercises to tone your glutes,
    DEADLIFT+ ROMANIAN DEADLIFT beauty of this exercise is that the legs do 80% of the move, back engaging only towards the end when the bar gets above the knees. CURTSY LUNGE is absolutely simplest yet very effective exercise shaping glutes and legs. You need to use every muscle in your leg to perform this move and it is incredibly effective with just little weight, elastic band, or with no extra weight at all. Just make sure movement is slow and controlled.
    SIDE LUNGE is simply awesome exercise here you target the leg all around and are extremely effective with little weight. Try pausing at the bottom movement for a better glute engagement. BRIDGE VARIATIONS is an amazing, safe and stable way of engaging your buttocks. It can be performed with one leg in the air, with elastic bands, by adding pulses and holds. This effectively includes a greater variety of muscles like your inner thighs and hip muscles. SMITH MACHINE SPLIT SQUAT- Exercise performed on Smith Machine similar to lunge but the body is stationary and only moves up and down along the vertical axis. This is most recommended to beginners because this exercise prevents your body from being destabilized and falling apart to the sides.
    SQUAT is the ultimate lower bodybuilder I must say, It’s amazing how all body parts work together. So in order to get almost benefit of this exercise you need to work on ankle flexibility which isn’t difficult but takes time.
    Perform these squat variations like Front squat, Goblet squat, Split squat, and Pistol squat
    Building and strengthening your glutes is very useful in the long run because glutens Maximus is the most underrated muscle but they are the strongest. So engage your hip muscles in your exercises before life becomes inactive and sedentary.

  • Oh Silvie,

    Bret Contreras, also known as “The Glute Guy”, would not be happy, LOL.

    Bret is credited with inventing what he feels is the “best ever” glute exercise, The Hip Thrust.

    However, I’ll let you off, as you did include bridge varations in your list, and I guess the hip thrust is a bridge variation.

    I also have to say that the glutes are no longer just a “girl thing”, well not in my world anyway. I typically train the the glutes probably more than any pther body part now.

    I initially started around 3 years ago, because I have always had fairly weak glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, etc. I’m guessing this is a guy thing, LOL.

    However, having suffered a disc injury many years earlier, it finaly dawned on me that the lower half of the posterior chain was a definite weakness for me.

    I will also say that everyone should train glutes, as I truly believe that this is the ultimate way to produce that sleek, sexy, and athletic physique that most people crave.

    Plus, let’s face facts, the glutes are actually the biggest muscle in the body.

    I’m actually glad that you put the Romanian deadlift as your number one, as I think it’s a great glute builder and shaper.

    Plus, I completely agree with you about weights – I’ve tried Romanian deadlifts with a weight equivalent to twice my bodyweight, and I didn’t really feel the benefit. I think this is also because grip becomes an issue, as you’re not putting the bar down on the floor.

    I’ve actually found that just using 60kg, the bar and a one 20kg plate either side works best for me.

    I can typically get in a nice few sets of 15 reps, and I can slow the pace right down, and really feel the glutes working, as well as a fantastic stretch in the hamstrings.

    Your lunge variations look great, and I agree that the curtesy lunge isn’t for everyone.

    And of course, the squat had to be in there too.

    If you don’t mind, there’s also one other exercises that I also love for some real glute activation.

    I’ve got into a habit of performing step ups, just onto a bench, typically with dumbbells in either hand.

    I’ll keep the reps down to about 5 per set, and only perform 3-5 sets .

    However, I go very slowly on the descent, sometimes even taking up to 8-10 seconds to lower myself back down, and trust me, you can really feel those glutes working hard.

    A superb read as always Silvie, plus very topical, as we all know girls have gone “glute mad” over the last few years, Hahaha.

    Partha

    • Heyyy,

      lol I knew someone would give me grief about Hip Thrust 😀 And I’m glad it’s you 😀

      I have to say, I used to be a huge fan of hip thrusts! But let’s face it, it’s a pain in the bum exercise, and not just for the obvious reasons haha 😀

      I don’t find it beneficial with dumbbells because I cannot carry around a 50kg dumbbell, let alone putting it on my lap 😀 And in order to set the whole thing up to lift proper weight (100kg for example), you need extra 20 mins in the gym to get a box to lean on, protection to wrap around the bar because, let’s face it, who wants a crushed pubic bone :D, get the bar, drag the plates over, put them on the bar,….It takes ages 🙁

      My previous gym had a Hip Thrust machine, which was awesome, but very small amount of gyms have it, unfortunately.

      So I have decided to leave this one out this time and I have to say, I haven’t been doing hip thrust for at least two years and I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I’d rather get on a stair climber for 15 mins and listen to cheerful music than dragging stuff across the gym 😀

      But that’s why we have a comment section and that’s why we have so many cool blogs, where people share their opinions and experiences, so that other people can try what suits them.

      And yes, absolutely right, glutes shouldn’t be just girl’s thing. I like to look at a nice man’s bum, so why shouldn’t men benefit from glute exercises, too.

      I think the main reason why most men think it’s girly to train glutes is that some of the exercises some girls do truly look girly 😀

      But there is nothing girly about a squat, deadlift or a lunge.

      Just a quick thing about a Romanian deadlift, I think you are spot on with the grip issue. I think this is the main reason most people cannot load the bar enough. My grip definitely starts to go at around 5th rep, I’m lucky if I manage 8. But grip is an issue with girls because we don’t really focus on it.

      Thanks a lot for sharing your ideas!!!!

  • Only recently I was thinking about doing exercises for the glutes, and I am glad I found this article today. I have a problem though, well, two … My left knee just healed from an inflammation and now my back is in a lot of pain because someone decided to straighten it without asking me for my permission and he basically caused a hematoma in my lower back. So, several of the above mentioned exercises are not a good idea for me, as long as my back hasn’t healed. My knee is fine now, but I would still like to take it easy for a while. So, which exercises would be best for me? I thought that bridge variations and squats should be ok..

    • Hi there 🙂

      I am sorry to hear about your injuries, it sounds like they could have been prevented. But I am also happy to hear that your recovering!

      Bridge variations can still be strenuous for back if not performed properly.

      You would probably be better off to start really easy, I am not a medical professional, therefore I cannot give you anything specific.

      I recommend talking to a doctor, or even better, specialist personal trainer. Some of the PTs at the gym have a Level 4 certification, which allows them to deal with back pain.

      Back injuries and pain are a serious issue and you can make it worse by following a bad advice.

      I would definitely not attempt a weighted squat, that’s for sure. You need specifically modified exercises for your condition.

      Sorry I couldn’t give you the advice you seek, but it’s incredibly important to speak to a professional, who can see you and can assess your condition properly.

      Good luck and speedy recovery.

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