Scrolling through IG you are often bombarded with fitness influencer glute workouts, images, and tips from fitspo’s highlighting 1001 kickbacks, pulse squats, squat challenges, and of course, every visual seems to be more about showing off THEIR butt than anything else.

Unfortunately, most of them are spreading misinformation.

They are creating clickbait. They are telling you what you want to hear.

“You can get glutes like mine if you do this squat challenge!”

“Buy my new glute guide!”


Your glutes are strong. They are one of the biggest and most powerful muscles in your body. If your goal is to build and shape them, taking it easy and doing one zillion glute kickbacks is not the answer. You need to focus on effective exercises and training protocols that utilize progressive overload.

Glute Anatomy

First, let’s talk about the anatomy of the Glutes. Your bum is actually made up of not one, but four muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, and Tensor Fasciae Latae. For the purpose of this piece, we will focus on the Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius because they are the moneymakers when it comes to adding the most shape to your frame and strength and functionality to your lifts.

Your Glute Max is the biggest part of your booty. Its primary function is hip extension (locking out a hip thrust), posterior pelvic tilt (tilting your hips toward your face) and the upper portion assists hip abduction (externally rotating your hips against a band in a clam exercise) and hip adduction (squeezing an ab ball between your legs).

Your Glute Medius performs hip abduction and stabilization of your hips and glutes.

At Fitbliss, we break glute exercises into 3 categories: Main Compound Lifts, Accessories, and Activation/Burn out. You will find each of these types in our Top 5 Glute Exercise List below!

Hip Thrust- This is the gold standard in glute development because of the primary focus on hip extension.

Some tips to get more out of it:

Push through your heels

Keep your shins vertical at the top of the movement

Drive your knees out

Keep your core neutral and ribs down, brace before and during each rep

Pause as you squeeze the glutes into posterior pelvic tilt at the top

Variations: Some women prefer a hip glute bridge from the floor versus bench. Others will notice more activation by turning their toes out. To add more medial glute work, you can do single leg variations that your body is forced to stabilize either with your body weight or staggered stance hip thrust under the barbell.

Wide Stance Box Squat – Traditional squats will work your entire body and are a great exercise for any program. However, Wide Stance Box Squats will be much more optimal for glute development. To get the most out of this exercise, turn your toes out and sit all the way back to get your shins vertical.

Glute Emphasis Back Extension – It may surprise you that an exercise named “back extension can be utilized for glute development, but when executed correctly, its main function is to extend the hip which is the action that has the greatest impact on glute activation.

Some tips to get more glute work out of this exercise: try turning your toes out, round your upper back, and tuck your chin towards your chest. This exercise can be done with moderate or high reps.

Walking Lunges –  Really any variation of lunges are great for the glutes. We like to do heavy barbell lunges, high rep bodyweight lunges, and also appreciate the reverse lunge.

Some tips to get more glute work out of this exercise: Take extra long steps to get your shin in a more vertical position and/or step forward and out at about a 30-degree angle as you perform the reps. Always drive through your glute and get hip extension on every rep!

Glute Emphasis Kettlebell Swings – Like hip thrusts and glute emphasis back extensions, this swing focuses on hip extension which makes it an ideal glute development exercise. Additionally, you get to practice a hip hinge which will set you up for success in compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and RDL’s.

Banded Clams – This is such a “basic” exercise that has a terrific payout for pre-workout activation, burn out, and as a direct stimulus for the glute medius.

Hit the Glute Medius by incorporating more single leg glute exercises.

Unilateral exercises (exercises performed on one side only) are great for glute medius development because you have to stabilize your body. Whether you are doing thrusts, bridges, squats, or even glute emphasis back extensions– eliminate one leg really create that booty “shelf”.

Wrap Up….

Always remember, the biggest component of building shapely glutes is progressive overload. Whatever exercises you choose to add to your routine, be sure you focus on getting stronger at them overtime by adding weight week after week as long as your form allows!




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