We’re in the midst of a glutes renaissance. Thanks to Instagram, the increased focus on functional fitness, and/or Jennifer Lopez, men and women are trying to build stronger, more beautiful butts. And with that goal comes the quest for better, more creative glutes exercises.
But with all due respect to the #fitspo folks, the glutes aren’t just for modeling yoga pants. Combined with the hamstrings, calves, and back, the glutes are the most powerful muscles in the human body. This muscle group—collectively called the “posterior chain”—generates more force than any other human movement, whether that means power cleans, deadlifts, box jumps, or simply lifting a heavy suitcase off the floor and into the overhead compartment.
And regardless of what some Instagram influencers might have you believe, building a strong butt doesn’t require any mysterious voodoo. Nor does it require doing 1,000 squats a day. Instead, you’ll need to attack these crucial muscles with a barrage of proven glutes exercises. By varying the workload, training your muscles from multiple angles, and incorporating instability into your workout routines, you can strengthen your glutes (and sculpt your butt while you’re at it).
How these glute exercises work
Don’t expect to head to the gym and do every single one of these in a single session. (The glutes may be strong, but they’re not invincible).
Instead, break up this list of 20 moves into four or five different groups of exercises. Piece together a few moves that require the same piece of equipment—like, say, the suspension trainer, Swiss ball, or barbell.
You can combine them as a circuit: Do as many reps as possible of each exercise in 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then move on to the next exercise; rest for two minutes after each round.
Alternatively, do these exercises in traditional straight sets—say, four sets of eight reps each, with 60 seconds of rest in between. Vary your rest, sets, reps, and exercise selection to ensure you make the most of these glutes exercises.