Muscle for life

The Best Butt Exercises for Building Head-Turning Glutes

The Best Butt Exercises for Building Head-Turning Glutes

If you want to learn how to build a gravity defying…perfectly padded…downright showstopping butt…then you want to read this article.


Sir Mix-a-Lot was right. Awesome butts are awesome.

In fact, let’s just start this article off right…

Alright, now that we’re in the right frame of mind, let’s talk butt building, starting with some myth busting.

You can’t carve godlike glutes with “spot reduction” cardio.

There’s a reason why so many people on the quest for the ultimate “Brazilian butt” slave away on cardio machines like the Stepmill or incline treadmill.

They’re trying to preferentially reduce the fat in the area by doing cardio that “targets” the glutes. And while it might seem reasonable that burning your butt out for an hour of climbing or walking would help “carve it up,” it doesn’t. Targeted fat loss is a myth.

While research has shown that training a muscle results in increased levels of blood flow and lipolysis in the area (the breakdown of fat cells into usable energy), it’s not in a large enough quantity to matter.

The reality is training the muscles of a certain area of your body burns calories and can result in muscle growth, both of which certainly can aid in fat loss, but it doesn’t directly burn the fat covering them to any significant degree.

You see, fat loss occurs in a whole-body fashion. You create the proper internal weight loss environment (a calorie deficit) and your body reduces fat stores all over the body, with certain areas reducing faster than others (more on why in a moment).

You can do all the crunches you want–you’ll never have a six pack until you’ve adequately reduced your overall body fat percentage, and that’s more a function of proper dieting than anything else.

The bottom line is carving godlike glutes requires more or less the same steps as any other body part: use proper training principles to build the muscles and use a proper dieting regimen to reduce your body fat percentage, and voila, you now have a killer butt.

You don’t need to do a bunch of fancy exercises to get the butt you want.

“Muscle confusion” is a staple of broscience that marketers just won’t let die. As long as it keeps selling, we’ll keep hearing about it.

The truth, however, is constantly changing up your workout routine offers little benefit. In fact, it’s probably more harmful than helpful.

This applies to all weightlifting exercises, including “butt builders.”

First, you should know that the gluteus maximus is one muscle. There’s no such thing as “upper” or “lower” regions or “glute-ham tie-in muscles” or anything else, and thus, exercises advice that purportedly “targets” these areas is bunk.

Second, the overall sculpted look you’re after requires well-built glutes and hamstrings, so a proper butt training routine should emphasize both of these muscle groups.

Now, what exercises are best for developing the glutes and hamstrings? Well, the list isn’t as long as you might think and, as you’ll soon see, it’s mainly comprised of staples like the squat, deadlift, hip thrust, and lunge.

Sprints aren’t as great for building a butt as many people think.

Sprinters generally have great asses and thus many people assume that sprinting is the answer…and they’re (mostly) wrong.

Yes, sprinting heavily involves the glutes and, in this way, does train them. But, like other forms of cardio, it doesn’t preferentially reduce fat in the backside.

Sprinting also has a serious downside: it’s extremely high-intensity, which increases the risk of injury and overtraining. I’m a big fan of high-intensity interval training, but there are just better (and safer) ways to train the glutes.

Furthermore, don’t forget that sprinters also lift weights, which is why they often have such impressively muscular physiques. Sprinting alone doesn’t deliver results like that (check out the bodies of sprinters from a few decades ago, before track & field really caught on).

The Only Butt Exercises You’ll Ever Need


Most butt-building programs rely mainly on exercises that have you hinge at the hips like squats and deadlifts.

This is a good start. These types of exercises force your muscles to do a lot of work against gravity through full ranges of motion. We’ll be talking about them in this article.

If you really want to maximize your booty development however, you’ll want to load your glutes and hamstrings in a couple other ways as well.

Before we get to the “fancy” movements, though, let’s start with the foundation of butt builders.

The Squat

There’s a reason why people with great physiques are always banging on about the importance of squatting regularly. It’s just the single most effective movement for building total lower body strength and muscularity.

If you want great legs and a great ass, you want to take your squatting seriously.

There’s quite a bit that goes into a proper squat (this article will teach you what you need to know about proper form), but here are two key points that relate to butt building:

Squat deep.

The deeper you squat, the more work your legs and butt have to do. I recommend either full squats or parallel squats, but not half squats. Here’s a good example of proper depth:


Use a wider stance.

Research shows that, when squatting with relatively heavy weights, a wide stance increases the amount of activation in the quadriceps and glutes.

Practically speaking, this means adopting stance that is about 125 to 150% of shoulder-width. Here’s a visual:


The Deadlift

If I could only do one exercise every week it would be the deadlift. It trains everything in your body but your pressing muscles and builds a tremendous amount of whole body strength and power.

It’s particularly good for our purposes here because it heavily involves both the hamstrings and glutes. It also lends itself particularly well to heavy lifting, which is crucial for building muscle as efficiently as possible.

Like the squat, the deadlift is a fairly technical lift that takes some practice to master. Click here to learn proper form.

And in case you’re wondering, research shows that conventional and sumo deadlifts are about equally effective for training the glutes so you can’t go wrong either way.

I prefer conventional deadlifting because of the increased range of motion (requiring more work to stand the weight up) but some people like to alternate between them and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

A key point worth calling out before we move on is the importance of full glute activation while deadlifting.

You should be squeezing your glutes as you lift the bar off the ground and should feel them especially involved in the upper half of the ascension and lockout.

This image shows both proper and improper lockout positions, which result in full and partial glute activation:


On the far left you can see the most common lockout mistake people make: the over-extension. This increases the risk of lumbar injury and reduces the amount of glute activation.

Moving right we see a good upright position at lockout but an over-zealous “chest out and shoulders back” position. Another common mistake.

Next on the mistakes is the shrugging lockout, which is also a mistake.

Last we see a proper lockout: upright position, no lumbar extension, no overdone chest expansion, and no shrugging. This is how you want to finish your deadlift.

The Hip Thrust

If you’ve never done a hip thrust, meet your new best friend.

It’s awkward and embarrassing at first but it’s also the ultimate “secret weapon” for butt building that you’ll find it just about every fitness competitor’s routine.

There are tons of variations of hip thrusts that you can do but the barbell, band, and single-leg variations are what you want to focus on.

Here’s how to do the barbell hip thrust:

And here’s how to do the band variation:

And last but not least, the single-leg hip thrust:

Want a workout program and flexible diet plan that will help you build the ultimate butt? Download my free no-BS “crash course” now and learn exactly how to build the body of your dreams.

The Lunge

By now you’re probably not surprised to see another basic movement in the list.

Although the lunge isn’t normally thought of as an effective butt exercise, research shows the glutes are very involved with pulling you back to a standing position.

Here’s the traditional forward lunge:

If you can’t do that due to knee issues, try a reverse lunge instead:

While I personally prefer barbell lunges, dumbbell lunges work well too:

The Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is a deadlift variation that particularly targets the hamstrings, making it a worthy addition to a glute routine. (Remember the backside most people want requires both glute and hamstring development.)

Here’s how to do it:

The Bulgarian Split Squat

Next on our short list of the best butt exercises is another type of squat: the Bulgarian split squat.

This lunge-like movement is very effective for targeting the quads and glutes and here’s how it works:

The Glute Blaster

Most workout machines suck. They’re not as safe as many people think and you’ll get more out of free weight movements.

That said, the “Butt Blaster” is a good piece of equipment. It allows you to safely perform a glute-targeted movement that can’t be easily replicated with free weights.

Here it is:

Building the Ultimate Butt Workout

Now that we’ve gone over each of the best exercises for building your butt, let’s talk about how to build them into an effective workout routine.













First, a couple of guidelines.

I’ve found that, like the calves, the glutes respond best to a higher frequency of training and a variety of weight loads (rep ranges).

Thus, I recommend that you train your glutes 2 to 3 times per week and that you do some of your work in the 4 to 6 rep range (80 to 85% of your 1RM), some in the 8 to 10 rep range (70 to 75% of your 1RM), and some in the 15 to 20 rep range (50 to 55% of your 1RM).

Progression with your weights is key.

When you’re working in a given rep range and hit the top of it, it’s time to add weight (5 pounds if it’s a dumbbell exercise and 10 pounds for barbell). You then work with that new weight until you hit the top of the rep range with it and move up again.

For example, if you’re doing a 4 to 6 rep set of squats and get 6, you move up to 145 for your next sets and should get 4 reps. That’s now your starting weight for your next workout and you work with it until you’re getting 6 reps, move up, and so forth.

The corollary to this is if you can’t do at least as many reps as the bottom of the range, the weight is too heavy and you need to reduce it.

For example, if you’re feeling frisky and load up 155 pounds for your next week’s squat and only get 2 reps, it’s time to drop back to 145 and work your way up to 155 as outlined above.

Sometimes you’ll hit the top of your rep range, move up in weight, and fail to get your minimum reps in the range. For instance, you squat 135 for 6, add 10 pounds to the bar, and then get 3.




















If this happens, you have three options:

  1. You can reduce the increase in weight (take 5 pounds off the bar).
  2. You can stick with the new weight for the workout and see if you can hit the minimum reps in the next workout.
  3. You can train with the lighter weight you just moved up from until you can get an additional 2 reps with it and then move up. (Stick with the above example, until you can squat 135 for 8.)

Personally I prefer them in the order give: I do #1 before #2 and leave #3 as a last resort.

Now, when building any type of workout, proper programming is key. Most people tend to create routines that call for too much work in the gym and that lead to overtraining.

If you want to dive deep into the theory of building a workout routine, click here.

For the sake of keeping things simple in this article, however, I’m going to just give you a couple butt workouts that you can get going on immediately.

2 x Per Week Butt Workout Routine

This routine is perfect for people that are short on time or also need to spend 2 to 3 days per week working on their upper bodies.

I recommend you separate these workouts by 2 days.

Workout A


Warm up and then 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Rest 3 minutes in between these sets.

Hip Thrust

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Rest 2 minutes in between these sets.

Bulgarian Split Squat

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Rest 2 minutes in between these sets.

Romanian Deadlift

3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Rest 1 minute in between these sets.

Workout B


Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Rest 3 minutes in between these sets.

Barbell Lunge

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Rest 2 minutes in between these sets.

Hip Thrust

3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Rest 2 minutes in between these sets.

Butt Blaster

3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Rest 1 minute in between these sets.

3 x Per Week Butt Workout Routine

This routine is ideal for people that want to maximize lower body development with an emphasis on the glutes. Upper body work can be done in between these workouts.

I recommend you separate these workouts by 1  day.

Workout A


Warm up and then 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Rest 3 minutes in between these sets.

Hip Thrust

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Rest 2 minutes in between these sets.

Romanian Deadlift

3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Rest 1 minute in between these sets.

Workout B


Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Rest 3 minutes in between these sets.

Barbell Lunge

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Rest 2 minutes in between these sets.

Hip Thrust

3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Rest 1 minute in between these sets.

Workout C

Hip Thrust

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Rest 3 minutes in between these sets.

Bulgarian Split Squat

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Rest 2 minutes in between these sets.

Butt Blaster

3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Rest 1 minute in between these sets.

Pick a routine, work hard at it, eat right, and it won’t be long before you start seeing changes in your booty. (Start tape measuring your behind to know for sure!)

What About Supplements?

strong woman is drinking sports nutrition

I saved this for last because, quite frankly, it’s far less important than proper diet and training.

You see, supplements don’t build great physiques–dedication to proper training and nutrition does.










Unfortunately, the workout supplement industry is plagued by pseudoscience, ridiculous hype, misleading advertising and endorsements, products full of junk ingredients, underdosing key ingredients, and many other shenanigans.

Most supplement companies produce cheap, junk products and try to dazzle you with ridiculous marketing claims, high-profile (and very expensive) endorsements, pseudo-scientific babble, fancy-sounding proprietary blends, and flashy packaging.

So, while workout supplements don’t play a vital role in building muscle and losing fat, and many are a complete waste of money…the right ones can help.

The truth of the matter is there are safe, natural substances that have been scientifically proven to deliver benefits such as increased strength, muscle endurance and growth, fat loss, and more.

As a part of my work, it’s been my job to know what these substances are, and find products with them that I can use myself and recommend to others.

Finding high-quality, effective, and fairly priced products has always been a struggle, though.

That’s why I took matters into my own hands and decided to create my own supplements. And not just another line of “me too” supplements–the exact formulations I myself have always wanted and wished others would create.

I won’t go into a whole spiel here though. If you want to learn more about my supplement line, check this out.

For the purpose of this article, let’s just quickly review the supplements that are going to help you get the most out of your butt (and other) workouts.


Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body and in foods like red meat. It’s perhaps the most researched molecule in the world of sport supplements–the subject of hundreds of studies–and the consensus is very clear:

Supplementation with creatine helps…

You may have heard that creatine is bad for your kidneys, but these claims have been categorically and repeatedly disproven. In healthy subjects, creatine has been shown to have no harmful side effects, in both short- or long-term usage. People with kidney disease are not advised to supplement with creatine, however.

If you have healthy kidneys, I highly recommend that you supplement with creatine. It’s safe, cheap, and effective.

In terms of specific products, I use my own, of course, which is called RECHARGE.


RECHARGE is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored and each serving contains:

  • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate
  • 2100 milligrams of L-carnitine L-tartrate
  • 10.8 milligrams of corosolic acid

This gives you the proven strength, size, and recovery benefits of creatine monohydrate plus the muscle repair and insulin sensitivity benefits of L-carnitine L-tartrate and corosolic acid.

Protein Powder

You don’t need protein supplements to gain muscle, but, considering how much protein you need to eat every day to maximize muscle growth, getting all your protein from whole food can be impractical.

That’s the main reason I created (and use) a whey protein supplement. (There’s also evidence that whey protein is particularly good for your post-workout nutrition.)


WHEY+ is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored whey isolate that is made from milk sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland, which are known for their exceptionally high-quality dairy.

I can confidently say that this is the creamiest, tastiest, healthiest all-natural whey protein powder you can find.

Pre-Workout Drink

There’s no question that a pre-workout supplement can get you fired up to get to work in the gym. There are downsides and potential risks, however.

Many pre-workout drinks are stuffed full of ineffective ingredients and/or minuscule dosages of otherwise good ingredients, making them little more than a few cheap stimulants with some “pixie dust” sprinkled in to make for a pretty label and convincing ad copy.

Many others don’t even have stimulants going for them and are just complete duds.

Others still are downright dangerous, like USPLabs’ popular pre-workout “Jack3d,”which contained a powerful (and now banned) stimulant known as DMAA.

Even worse was the popular pre-workout supplement “Craze,” which contained a chemical similar to methamphetamine.

The reality is it’s very hard to find a pre-workout supplement that’s light on stimulants but heavy on natural, safe, performance-enhancing ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline.

And that’s why I made my own, and I called it PULSE.


What makes PULSE special, you ask?

  • Clinically effective dosages of 5 natural, performance-enhancing ingredients backed by peer-reviewed, well-designed, and well-executed research: caffeine, theanine, citrulline malate, beta-alanine, betaine, and ornithine.
  • No proprietary blends.
  • No other stimulants than caffeine.
  • No artificial sweeteners, flavors, or food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

While everyone claims to have the best pre-workout supplement on the market, I can actually back up such claim with real science, and real numbers.

The Bottom Line on the Best Butt Exercises

As you can see, there are no “secrets” or “weird tricks” for building a great butt. It just takes a bit of know-how and lot of consistent, persistent work, and you’ll get there.

Before you try the next Pinterest challenge or Instagram workout of the day, give my advice a go. It’s tough but it works.

Want More Workouts?

The Ultimate Chest Workout

best chest workout

The Ultimate Arms Workout


The Ultimate Back Workout


The Ultimate Shoulder Workout


The Ultimate Abs Workout


The Ultimate Legs Workout

Arnold Schwarzenegger squatting deep.

The Ultimate Calves Workout


The Ultimate Forearm Workout


The Ultimate Bodyweight Workout

Man doing push-ups on kettlebells.


What do you think are the best butt exercises? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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Leave a Comment!
  • Laura B

    Thank you Mike! This is exactly what I need. I get confused with the deadlift variations and the rep ranges for this body part. Much appreciated.

    • Awesome! Glad you liked it! LMK how the butt building goes. 🙂

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

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    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Donald

    How would you recommend incorporating this into the BLS program?

    • I would add 3 sets of 8-10 rep butt work on pull day and 3 more on legs day.

      • Sean

        Very important to incorporate butt work into your routine to keep things interesting!

  • haasbat

    I put my back/calves day from BLS on Tuesday, leg day from BLS on Thursday. Then, because I’m an overachiever, I added Sunday as my day to do some good mobility and then higher rep sets of moderate weight hip thrusts, kettlebell swings, and tactical lunges in 3 mini-circuits with breaks in between. I was doing box jumps too, but those can get dangerous when you are tired. Bulgarian Split Squats look fun, and hard to balance. Maybe a good exercise to swap out or add on Sunday.

    All in all, it seems to be working. Going to stick with variations on those 3 days, and keep working on diet to slim down the muffin top and other stubborn waist and thigh fat. But after sizing down all my clothes, now my thighs and rear are getting too snug in all my pants. Clothing costs should be considered when embarking on this leg/butt pursuit. Gainz come on quick.

    • I like this. Might be a bit much if you’re in a deficit but your body will tell you. Some people can “get away” with more than others.

      Lol very true with the clothing.

      • haasbat

        I read recently “butt isolation” doesn’t help DL or squat, because you can’t load it up the same as a compound lift. And that makes sense, but I do feel like it has been like a good accessory item that has increased my hip stability, which has made my form better on DL and squat, and thus enabled a safer and more productive increase each week. I only do 5# increments, but I’ve only stalled out twice on the big lifts.

        One thing I noticed when I started Sundays though, and maybe it was weakness or bad form, or just a new movement, is that after my session was over, i could barely stand up straight because of tension in my lower back. I didn’t do anything with my back, but I surmised that there was so much going on in glutes, it took about 20 min for them to relax again and stop tugging on my back and legs. And it wasn’t even heavy weight on the hip thrust or kettlebell. It doesn’t happen anymore, but I also cut back from 4 sets to 3, and reduced reps on hip thrusts.

        • Stronger glutes are going to help you in your squats and deadlifts. No question.

          Yeah sounds like your muscles just got a bit over-smashed, haha.

  • JJ McClinton

    Any of you guys and gals ever try the Swiss ball leg curl? I’m not a fan of the Swiss ball but I heard about this exercise years ago and it was described to me as a bench press for your butt and I think it lives up to the name. Very few people can ever work up to the single leg version for moderate reps and it’s similar to a hip thrust just with an added hip bridge and leg curl portion. It definitely has improved my glutes and hamstrings considerably. It would be an excellent alternative to the Glute Blaster machine should you not have access or just want to change your routine. Also Mike, it’s good to finally see some love from you for the Bulgarian Split Squat. A truly excellent movement when done correctly. I know you like Leg Presses and Hack Squats but I sub in this exercise in those movements’ place and feel it is superior. Great article.

    • It’s okay but I like a weighted curl machine more so you can get into some heavier weights.

      Bulgs are great. I’m a fan. 🙂

      Glad you liked the article!

  • Charlotte Grøftehauge

    Thank you Mike. You have just described my legworkouts. Makes me feel confident in my plan now that I am T -14 weeks from showdate.

  • jill

    hey mike! I’ve been doing TLS for a year-to the date. I didn’t necessarily lose a lot of weight with my first cut but i definitely lost inches. I reverse dieted during the winter and have began my next cut.

    I don’t look super lean and i don’t plan to compete in fitness shows but i have gained crazy strength just eating well and making sure to get adequate protein.
    Here is a snapshot:

    At the Beginning:
    Squat: The Bar (45 Lbs)
    Deadlift: 35 lbs
    Bench: 30–on a machine
    Press: 25

    1 Year Later
    Squat: 180 (for reps)
    Deadlift: 215 (for reps)
    Bench: 95 (for reps)
    Press: 65 (for reps)

    Ive looked at strength comparisons and i know my strength isn’t anything to write home about in comparison to others but i want to say “Thanks mike”. Ive completely surprised myself with what I’ve been able to accomplish with 1 year of dedicated work.

    I admit, it’s a bit weird being a woman that can outfit a few other men–definitely doesn’t add to my femininity factor but thats a burden I’m willing to carry. 😉

    • Great to hear the results you got from one year on the program. You rock Those numbers are impressive!

      YW for everything and keep out lifting the guys. 🙂

      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you have any questions! I’m always happy to help.

  • Amber Bustanoby

    I know what I am doing today 🙂

  • Ivo Naves

    What about the dreaded glute-ham raise?

    • Haha it’s a decent exercise but I like the ones listed in this article more.

  • Mario


    Great article I noticed you didn’t put any Dumbbell lunges. Any particular
    reason for that?

    Mario | Ortiz

  • Christina Kruger-Harris

    As a beginner weight trainee, how much weight would you recommend starting off with in the gym?

    • Honestly it’s just trial and error for your first week or two. As a general rule, for every 5 lbs you add to a dumbbell exercise, you’ll lose 2 reps. The same for every 10 lbs added to a barbell exercise. So if you put 100 lbs on the squat bar and do 10 reps, you should be able to get about 6 reps with 140 lbs.

      Just work with light weights at first and learn the form, and then increase. You’ll get your numbers within a week or two. 🙂

  • P Mort

    Love romanian deadlifts. I do mine as the first thing of a superset, 5 or 6 reps, usually at 315+, and at the end of that superset are Bulgarian split squats with 70 lb dumbbells, also 5 or 6 reps (each). Quite happy with my posterior.

    • They’re great exercises! I’m glad you’re getting results and are happy with them. 🙂

  • Kelsey

    Thanks for the tips Mike! I am doing plenty of squatting, DLs, and lunges so I’m happy to see a lot of what I’m already doing is in this list. I am going to give the hip bridges a try.

    On a side note, when is Forge dropping this week? I am very much looking forward to using it as I mostly train fasted, and I read that it will be dropping the first week of June.

    • YW Kelsey!

      LMK how it goes with the bridges.

      Forge will be in stock any day now! Keep your eyes out. 🙂

  • Maru

    I just started working out and I was wondering how much weight I should be lifting. I purchased 2 dumbbells, each is 3 kgs. I’m a 21 female, my weight is 49 kgs/ 108 Ibs and my height is 5’1.. Is it a suitable weight to start with?

    • That may be enough for the exercises you need dumbells for to start, but to follow TLS you’ll need a lot more equipment and you’ll quickly gain strength so you’ll need more weight!

      You should sign up at a gym with all the proper equipment! 🙂

  • Emma Paton

    Hi Mike

    Loved the article! I workout at home & it’s great to know that I’ve been doing the right exercises& not missing out, even though I can’t get to the gym!

    I’m currently cutting & planning to reverse diet up into a bulk after I reach my desired body fat. I’m keen to focus on building up my glutes & will definitely double up days when I’m bulking but just wondered if there’s really any point in starting now, while I’m cutting? Given that , I’m thinking, I’ll probably not make that much gains right now?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Glad you liked it. 🙂

      Cool you have everything you need at home!

      Yeah I wouldn’t recommend doubling up while cutting. Once you’re bulking, go ahead!

      LMK if you have any other questions.

  • missmarine

    Do you have any modifications for people with lumbar issues for the squat and hip thrusts? Should I just go lighter on the weight? Both of these cause discomfort during. I think I have arthritis. I’m a 50 yr old woman and have used your one year program.

  • Toni

    I didn’t see much glute progress until I did two things: 1) increase my calories and 2) increase my glute workout frequency. You definitely need to eat more to grow glutes, and you need to train them frequently. Also, genetics does play a part in this which I think sometimes people forget. Although improvements can always be made no matter what. I found that initially while I wanted to focus on my glutes for mainly aesthetics purposes, my lower back got a lot stronger in the process too. It’s really nice to be able to properly “fill out” clothes now whereas before they were quite baggy in the seat. Enclosed a recent progress pic for reference. Since the end of 2014, I’ve added two inches on my hips going from 36″ to 38″. Still a work-in-progress though.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Mike. Thanks for the great article. If I do the 3 x a week routine how would I separate it by 2-3 days and still do it 3 x a week? It only makes sense to me to do it Mon, Wed, Fri. Will that be enough rest?

    • No problem!

      And yeah, Mon, Wed and Fri will work just fine. 🙂

  • Jared

    Hey Mike, great article. I’m guessing this article is mainly aimed at women? As a guy, if I were to incorporate three glute training sessions per week to your BLS program how might that look?
    I presume I would keep one dedicated leg day, and then add two extra glute sessions to the end of two upper body days?

    • Thanks!

      Yeah it’s geared toward women but you can include glute training.

      I would do 3 sets of an exercise at the end of my pull day (Tuesday for me) and 3 at the end of my legs day (Friday).

  • Mika

    Hi Mike. Love your work. I have been with muscle4life from the very beginning. I wanna post a slight offtop here. As a fan of yours I think I would find your podcasts much more exciting if you try to find some common ground with somebody like this keto gal right here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nbwnvo3wpg not just expert who agree with you on everything. Stephanie is your polar opposite as far as diet is concerned, yet she’s been able to get ripped as f***. Up for a challenge?

    • Thanks for all the support!

      I hear you. It’s hard finding guests worth speaking to because honestly so many people in this space just get so much wrong. And I’d include anyone that says keto is THE WAY in that group. Paleo as well.

      I like her personality and she has absolutely top-notch genetics (49 and she looks 25…wtf) but I would feel like I’m doing my peeps a disservice by bringing someone on to point people in the wrong direction.

  • anne

    hey mike! quick question — for regular deadlifts you give 4-6 rep range. for romanian deadlifts you give 15-20 rep range. why is that? i usually do ATG squats, romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, and barbell or dumbbell lunges for my legs and butt days. high weight, low reps, 3 sets. just wondering if i’m doing enough moves and reps — esp since i only do one squat variation and one deadlift variation.

    love your site — thanks for all the info!

    • Hey Anne!

      Just for periodization purposes. If you’re doing a lot of butt work you can benefit from working with higher and lower weights.

  • Melike

    Hey mike!

    I just wondered that, in every session of training glutes, we also activate our legs quite much. So isnt o 2-3 times of squatting, deadlifting etc in a week overtraining for legs?

  • Grety

    Hi Mike! Great article! How about the abductor machine? Is it worth my time to work the gluteus medius?

  • Gemma Smith

    Hi Mike, im on phase 2 of the one year challenge book and im wondering why you say to do different amount of reps on each exercise eg, 15-20 reps on romanian deadlift/ 4-6 reps hip thrust. ive always just followed your advice and done 10 reps on all exercises regardless. is there something im not doing right?


    • Awesome! Just because the glutes seem to respond really well to a variety of rep ranges, kind of like the calves.

  • Sisi

    I have a small waist, but very wide hips, and more fat than muscle in the buttocks area. Should I be doing different workouts to target my wide glutes, like curtsy lunges?

  • Viv

    Hey Mike! I’m just started this routine recently and I’m loving it! Quick question though- I workout at home and don’t have a barbell or a flute blaster. How should I work around this? Also I’m doing this just to tone my legs and get a bigger/better butt so I’m wondering when I will start to see visible improvement? Don’t worry, I’m not looking for some sort of quick magic fix and I know these things take time and dedication. Thanks!

    • Awesome!

      You can do dumbbell hip thrusts. Check it out online.

      Skip the glute blasters and just do split squats instead.

      Let’s give it a goo 2 to 3 months and assess. That should be enough time.

  • Angela Hon

    good stuff… it will works out who are all doing this with out fail and fit for who are all ready to hard work. But these stuff are not worked for me. I was very disappointment on me because of regular office tension…. I could not continue… that time my friend said about the booty wow… i wore that with out hope…. but its true… i got a difference on my butt with in 15 days. Good one.

    • Hey Angela! Sorry, but I’m not sure what you’re saying…

      Are you happy with the results from the exercises?

  • Jason A

    So if I’m trying to gain mass in my glutes, I just do the three workouts per week and keep adding weight as you recommended? Is there a point where I alter the program, or do I just keep plowing forward with more and more weight? Thanks.

    • Just keep plowing forward (fitting metaphor, lol) with more weight. You don’t need to change the exercises, really.

  • Tori

    Hey Mike, excellent article, I find you and Bret Contreras have similar Glute training ideas and I love that. I am trying to get my body fat % to 14% (I’m at 22% right now) to lose that fat how would you best go about training without comprising gluteal growth?

    • Thanks!

      Cool on your goal to get to 14% BF! Let’s do it.

      Just keep training heavy, keep your protein intake high and don’t go in too steep of a deficit (I recommend 20-25% deficit) and you’ll be fine!

  • Adrianne45

    Get a bigger booty in 3 week easily you have to wear booty wow and do
    half squats press without any support..it will make fast bigger muscular
    booty with in 3weeks.

  • Yin

    HI Mike, thanks for all the awesome articles, they are truly helpful. Right now I’m following the 5 days plan from Thinner Leaner Stronger and I’m wondering if I can switch it to “3 X per week butt workout routine” provided in this article and add one day of arms and one day of chest in between to optimise my glutes result (still keeping a five days workout). or should I just follow the Thinner Leaner Stronger routine. Thanks!

    • Thanks!

      Honestly TLS has a lot of butt work so I don’t think you’d need to make that change unless you were basically happy with the overall development of your physique and really just want more butt.

      You could do more Bulg splits or hip thrusts.

      • Yin

        Thanks! and you do really reply back OMG haha!!

  • victoria

    I’ve read some controversial opinions about the Bulgarian Split Squat. Namely that having the back foot elevated high (like bench height) is less effective and more injury risking than just keeping it a few inches off the ground. Any opinion on those?

    • I’ve reviewed quite a bit of research on the split squat and haven’t come across anything like that. It doesn’t make sense mechanically, either.

  • Hope

    Hello! I came across your blog and it seems super legit! I really want that lifted, soft, firm, and round butt. Right now I’m using a 25 lbs dumbbell for weight and a body ball. I have a problem, I do have some type of butt but it isn’t round and it looks flat because the sides of my butt has a dent like look to it and it makes my back look like a square shape. What will help enlarge that area and make my whole butt bigger with a nice shape to it. Also, I notice you said sprinting might not be a big help but if I do sprint up a hill will it make my butt small? Thanks in advance!!

    • Thanks!

      This routine can definitely help you but it sounds like you’ll want to reduce your body fat percentage too.

      Check this out:


      • Hope

        I do plan to workout overall to reduce my body fat percentage but is the weight that I’m using right now too light (25lbs)? I don’t really have access to barbell nor heavy weights. I don’t know if I should workout my butt the same time I’m trying to lose weight. Will this reduce the buttock size? Thanks in advance Mike!

        • Weight depends on how many reps you can do with it. If you can do 15+ reps easily I would say you need more weight.

          It won’t reduce your butt’s size, no. Only losing fat will do that.

  • Sara

    Hello, thanks for this awesome article! I was wondering about the last day in the 3x a week plan. If I do not have access to a butt blaster machine, what should I do instead? Also for the Bulgarian split squat, are you supposed to do that with the barbell as well?

  • Marty

    Hello Michael… enjoyed your article and looking for some guidance as a 55 year old male. After 31 years of Army Infantry service, I can no longer place bars on my back/neck area. I also completely torn my rectus femoris muscle 6 months ago. This really has killed my ability to do squats and various other exercises, although I am performing modified dumb bell and machine driven exercises. I basically know what to avoid and modify, but also wanted to hear from you on ideas or thoughts that may help me out.
    Thanks and will explore more of this site now that I found it!

    • Glad to hear it!

      Understood on the modifications you need to make. Are you able to do front squats? What about the leg press and hack squat?

      LMK! My pleasure. 🙂

      Enjoy the site!

  • TD

    Hi. I’ve been building up my glutes for almost a year now, and took a progress picture of me in yoga pants. It was previously almost non-existent to be honest. Anyway, the thing I found out is that it’s a balancing act to build up the area without gaining too much fat. I mean I’ve had to eat a little more to make progress. And the progress has been slow but steady too. I’ve incorporated many of things you write about in your article, and they have helped a lot.

    • Awesome job on the progress!

      Glad you’ve used the info from this article.

      My pleasure. 🙂

      • TD

        How important is the gluteal fold? I’ve tried to completely eliminate mine but I think genetically I’m programmed to always have one even a small one. Does it interfere with the overall look of the “gluts ham tie-in”? Just wondered about that. And thanks. 🙂

        • IMO it looks great and shouldn’t be eliminated at all, but that’s me, haha…

          • TD

            I guess it’s just a matter of personal preference then.

          • Yep. 🙂

          • TD

            Hi. I hunted around, and found my original starting progress photo. This was me around the end of 2014. My current one (February 2016) was posted up there ^^ already. Figured you might be interested. I found hip thrusts to be a game-changer for me in terms of glute development.

          • Damn. That’s crazy! Awesome job on the progress you’ve made.

            I’d love to get you up on the site! Thoughts?

          • TD

            Thanks, appreciate it. In what way would you want me on the site?

          • YW! Sounds good. I’ll get back to you via email. 🙂

            I run a few days out due to the sheer volume, but I do answer all of them!

          • TD

            Ok. I sent it over the weekend. No worries, I understand.

          • Cool. 🙂

          • TD

            Received your reply, and sent the other email off as instructed. Thanks again. 🙂

          • Welcome!

  • NB

    Hi! Loved reading up on different workouts I plan on doing. I had 3 kids back to back and now need to get to work on really firming and rebuilding my glutes. I feel lost as to where to begin. I have the clear to start working out again and I want to put these extra nursing calories burned to help propel me. Would you recommend starting with these exercises using body weight and increasing weight? Also not sure about how often to do them/increase weight. Any help would be much appreciated!

    • Glad you’re enjoying the reading, and I’m glad you’re ready to get back on track after all the kids!

      You should follow the 2 or 3-day routine I lay out in this article.

      It’s fine if you want to start with body weight, but you’ll need to add weight shortly to stay within the rep ranges.

      You’ll want to increase weight whenever you hit the top of the rep range. So, if the exercise say 8-10 reps, once you hit 10 reps at a given weight, you should increase the weight.

      Hope that makes sense. LMK!

      • NB

        Makes wonderful sense, thank you and I hope for your continued incredible success!

  • Max Green

    Hi mike, sorry I couldn’t post the deadlifting video I’m still having trouble uploading it, anyways my question is if I want to improve my glute strength, I do the regular bigger leaner stronger 5 day split like in the book and I added hip trusts 3 sets of 8-10 reps on my leg day do you recommend that I add two additional days of hip trusts, one 3 sets 4-6 reps on like my back day, and one 3 sets 12-15 rep on my shoulder day which in my split the glute workouts will be at least one day apart. Do you recommend this? My split is Monday: cardio, Tuesday: chest, core, Wednesday: back, calf a, forearms, Thursday: rest, Friday: shoulders, calf b, core, Saturday: arms, forearms, Sunday: legs, glutes, calf c, core

    • Hmm that might be a bit much. I would try 3 sets of 4 to 6 rep hip thrusts on legs day and 3 sets of 8 to 10 3 to 4 days later, but I wouldn’t go beyond that.

      • Max Green

        Thank you mike I’ll do that. Also when you have a chance I posted a question in your flexibility/stretching article on warm up routines if you don’t mind answering.
        Thank you,

        • My pleasure!

          If I haven’t answered already, I will! I answer all comments. 🙂

          Talk soon.

  • Ralph H Moran

    Mike I just had my hip replaced and need to build up my glutes I am 73 years old and I’m not looking for that beach body or anything just a little more padding.

  • Annette Najera

    Bootywow is AMAZING. I literally started seeing results the first week, I always wanted a fuller backside and now I’m on my way to really having one WITHOUT surgery..


    Great article! You can also add these exercises to get a perkier and stronger butt. Check out- http://www.rkgfit.com/4-moves-perkier-stronger-butt-no-squats/

  • Ben

    Heyy great article thanks man, you e got followers all the way to France now haha.

    Do you think your program suits either man and woman or was it design for one gender more than the other?


    • My pleasure! Thank you, man!

      It works for both men and women. 🙂

  • Adrian

    hi Mike, great article thanks.

    I’m fully committed for the BLS 1 Year challenge (currently on week 16) and loving it. I do want to focus more on my lower body (legs and butt) but I am limited to always doing Romanian Deadlifts due to lower back issues. I noticed in this article you have a 2 and 3 day split – would you recommend adding this (or some of this) to my workout schedule? If so, how frequent?

    Thanks a bunch!


    • Thanks, Adrian! YW!

      Happy to hear you’re committed and rolling on the 1YC.

      Hmm. Of the exercises I recommend in this article, which ones are you able to do? I’d recommend working them into your leg day and then if you have time in your schedule, we can include a second day in the week with these exercises.

      If you’re following the 5-day split in the 1YC, I wouldn’t recommend doing this glute routine more than twice a week. It’s already a lot of volume.

      Welcome! Talk soon.

      • Adrian

        I can do all of them with some modification for my lower back and except for the hip thrust and the butt blaster, they are already part of the BLS 1 YC. I was thinking I would add 3 WS of Hip Thrust to my back day (to go with the romanian deadlift) and to my leg day.

        Thanks a bunch, I am super psyched about my progress! (started at 175 lbs and cut for 1 month to 168 lbs then started bulking and I’m up to 185 lbs with solid gains and increasing weights across the whole program).

        • Ah okay. That works!

          Welcome! Glad you’re excited. I look forward to seeing your results too!

          Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Georgia

    Hi Mike

    I really enjoyed this article. I definitely want to give my butt some more attention in the gym so this sounds perfect. I am already following TLS and the 1 year challenge should arrive in the post today.

    I am training 5 X per week and think adding a 6th day would be too much. How would you fit this into the plan?

    I also don’t have a butt blaster at my gym. Is there an alternative? Or could I use a cable?



    • Happy to hear it! Cool you’re already rolling on the 1YC.

      You could just stick to the 5-day TLS split since it has a good amount of lower body work. However, if you’d like to add a little more volume on a 6th day, that’s totally fine. You could just do Workout C from the 3-day split in this article.

      You substitute the butt blaster with barbell/dumbbell lunges.


      Welcome! Talk soon.

  • PRMenon

    Hi Mike, thanks for the free sample training plan. My only silly concern. I am already curvy in my glutes but flabby legs. I want to tone the legs make them leaner and firmer and make my glutes smaller and rounder.
    I am dying to wear shorts and look great in them!!!!

    This butt/ glutes workout won’t make it bigger right? I plan on doing your 2xweek routine in addition to my crossfit and yoga classes.
    Please advise.

    • My pleasure! Nah, I wouldn’t worry about that. Focus on doing these exercises and getting lean. Once you’re at 20% BF, we can reevaluate and adjust your diet and training. It’s tough to know where you’re at and in what direction you wanna go until you’re lean enough to see.

      Sounds good on your plans. Hope this helps! Talk soon.

  • Thomas

    My preferred glute exercise is to put a captain of crush gripper between my cheeks and squeeze my glutes together hard till the gripper closes all the way. I’ve worked up to the heaviest gripper for 3×8. My clenching power is godlike, at my last prostate exam I accidentally clenched reflexively and shattered the doctor’s hand.

  • Adri

    Hi Mike
    Thanks for the routine, i add it to my 6 day Pull / push /
    legs, got a very good feeling, I had a question about creatine, can it
    be effective to take 3-5g after the workout or it is better to just
    take 3-5 g split all over the day like the day off ?


  • Georgia Oxley

    Day 5 of the phase 3 one year challenge plan has 2 rows for barbell squat? Is this literally 6 sets of squats? Would it be 3 sets of heavy squats in 4-6 range followed by 3 sets of lighter squats in 8-10 range?

    The butt blaster exercise is on back day. Should I swap this for more lunges since I don’t have one at my gym?


    • Hey Georgia! Yup, enjoy. 🙂 If you’ve been training and focusing on the heavy, compound lifts for more than 6 months, sure, you can do the first 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range if you’d like. Otherwise, do all sets in the 8-10 rep range.

      And yeah, the lunges are a good substitute!

  • Marisa

    Hi Mike,

    I have read your book Thinner,Leaner Stronger, thank you, am on the 5 day plan, and it is going well,but would like to add the above either 2 or 3 day butt exercises, as this is area I really would like to get beautiful 🙂 , I know it will a while, but still, also doing cardio HIiT 3 times a week,will that be ok,

    • Hey Marisa,

      That’s great you’re on the TLS 5-day workout! 9-12 total heavy sets is all you need in a week for growth. You can spread the volume throughout the week. HIIT is no problem.

      • Marisa

        Hi Roger,

        I don’t understand. If you say I can spread the volume? Meaning it is ok I can spread the extra 3 day butt workout with my 5 day workout then.

        • You merge them. There is some overlap between your 5-day split and this 3-day workout. You’re already doing the squats and deadlifts, in your routine, for example.

  • Neda

    Hi Mike,I have a super flat butt I have started weightlifting for a month but I haven’t noticed any results yet but the question is that,will I really be able to build a big butt with proper weightlifting while I’m on a calorie deficit to burn belly fat?is that possible?how long it takes to see results?

    • Hey Neda,

      If you’re new to this style of training, then you can lose fat and build muscle at the same time. It’ll take more than a month to really start seeing results since muscle-building is a long process. Furthermore, best bulking results will happen in a calorie surplus.

      • neda

        So what to do recommend?yes Iam totally new to proper weightlifting !I want to maximize my results!Should I start weightlifting in calorie surplus?

        • Is your body fat over 25%? If so, cut first.


          I recommend starting a bulk from 20% body fat. This is ideal for several reasons: it preserves insulin sensitivity and hormonal balance, it allows you to maintain a calorie surplus for many months before having to reduce body fat levels, and it saves you from long, grueling cuts.

          • neda

            I have 21% body fat or maybe less!if I start weightlifting in calorie surplus will I be able to have a defined six pack abs?

          • You will not. As you bulk, you will also put on fat and that will cover your abs. You’ll have to cut down to 20% once you bulk to 25%.

            Take a look at this for reference:

          • neda

            Thanks Mike you’re awesome!

          • NP! LMK how it goes 🙂

  • neda

    I have another question Mike,I heard squats and butt exercises are great for making your butt perky and big.Do these exercises and weightlifting really make my butt muscle bigger?or it just tones the muscle?is it worth doing?

    • Absolutely right.

      The outcome will be determined by diet. Eat at maintenance and you’ll build some strength and muscle up to a certain point. Eat at a deficit and you’ll lose fat while gaining some strength and muscle since you’re new. Eat at a surplus and you’ll gain strength and muscle, along with some fat.

      “Tone” is determined by both good muscle development and low body fat%. You won’t see “tone” without both requirements being met.

  • neda

    Mike I weight around 54 Kgs,I wanna start bulking since I wanna gain muscles,how much weight should I gain so that I can start cutting right after it??should I gain 5 kgs or more?

  • Meaghan Janisse

    Hey, Mike! Just wondering how this workout plan compares with the one you provided in the 30 Days to a Bigger, Rounder Butt. I know in the latter you say it’s more a short-term workout plan. That’s the one I was doing the last month with no HIIT Cardio, as suggested. I’m wondering if I should switch now to this model? I’m definitely one of these people who wish to focus on their lower body development, heehee. So would it be best to switch back to this model, bring back the HIIT cardio and include 2 days of upper body? Let me know your thoughts! Thanks!! 🙂

    • Hey Meaghan,

      Both articles are for the short term. The 30 days one moreso than this one due to the higher intensity and heavier weights. I’d go back to normal training for a bit before starting this one up.

      If you’re bulking, limit total weekly cardio to 1 hour to maximize muscle development.

  • Heather marie

    I really liked the article, but it’s important to remember that there actually is upper, lower, and side glute muscles as well as one that most people forget about (and also can be a huge culprit of sciatic pain). The maximus is definitely the most dense and superficial, meaning it sits on top of the others, but underneath it you have the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and the piriformis, all of which assist in booty gains, and targeting every muscle is super important. The reason that I say this is because (mostly) women think that it’s just one muscle and only do exercises that target the maximus, when isolation exercises are just as important for the booty as they are for any other body part.

    • Good point Heather!

      There definitely are other muscles involved but, strangely enough, I often hear from women thinking that there are different regions of the glute max that they can target.

      And in terms of targeting muscles, honestly if you focus on the major movers, your body will take care of the rest. All you need are a few good movements.

  • Jess Michael Perna

    Mike what’s your opinion on hyperextensions for the glutes and hamstrings?

  • Croquete

    Hello Michael,

    I have a question, why are you leaving so much resting time between sets? Iv’e been doing this routine for more than a month now and I love it. I’m a silent follower of your posts, recommendations and work. Thanks!

  • Mia Gamboa

    Hi Mike,

    Do you think it’s necessary for a woman with genetically large glutes to train glutes twice a week? I have been doing the TLS program for 5-6 months and I’m starting to wonder if it’s necessary to focus on that part of the body when it’s already well developed (no complaints in that area).

    I’m just wondering because my guess is that you have guys train chest twice a week to enhance that area. I don’t know if I need to really overly focus on that my glutes to be honest. Thanks in advance for your wise feedback. ^_^

    • Hey Mia, if you’re happy with your glutes, targeting them once a week should be fine. You can alter the routine a bit to put more focus on other areas if you prefer. I hope this helps!

  • Diana McBride

    Hi Mike
    Im a late comer to this article but have been really enjoying your podcasts here in New Zealand. I’m really working on the butt for a year now however I do masochistly torture myself looking at girls booty gains on instagram and feel regularly frustrated that my butt is asleep or something! I’m using TLS 3 days a week and trying to do some workouts at home (mom of 4 and home business as well as Netflix addict) I’m asking if I can incorporate this with the 3day TLS and how?
    ALso, which exercises target the other Glute muscles and can you write something on that as I feel there is too much from bad sources on this issue online- id trust your opinion more ?? Thanks

  • Valentina Goren Loguercio

    Hi Mike! I’m doing Phase 3 of TLS, and one of the excercise is Glute Blaster, but my gym doesn’t have a proper Glute Blaster, so what excercise do you recommend me to replace it? Thank you!!! Valentina

    • Hey Valentina! You can replace it with any of the other “approved” glute exercises. Glute bridge, Bulgarian split squat, hip thrust, etc. Keep me posted on your progress!

  • Stephanie

    Hi Mike.
    I’m nearly 8 months pregnant and consequently, my butt is getting bigger but without much shape because it’s not muscle really. So I’ve been wanting to do work outs to build up the muscle, but as hitting a gym and using actual weights is not practical given my limit on how much weight i can lift during pregnancy (i’m pretty small regularly, only about 120 lbs. and 5’7) i’m wondering if you can recommend good butt workouts that would still be effective beginning with just body weight at least until after giving birth?

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