A total of 17 most common glute exercises were tested and these are the best exercises for a better butt according to the results.
Now, why should you train glutes? Simply because every muscle group should get the attention it deserves. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To understand the importance of a strong butt, you need to learn what muscles you have on your behind.
The gluteal muscles are often referred to as glutes, which are a group of three muscles that make up your buttocks. They are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
The glutes are connected to your pelvis to the top of your femur (thigh bone), which is connected to the side of your knee. The main purpose of the glutes is to help hip extension, lateral rotation, abduction of the leg and provide support during single-leg positions.
Strong glutes will:
- Help prevent injuries – by protecting your pelvis with strong glutes, you can prevent the famous lower back pain. It will also lower the chances of you having a knee injury.
- Help you run faster – your glutes and hamstrings are a major role in the power of a stride while running. Hip extension is the act of moving your leg backwards after it hits the ground and the glutes are responsible for hip extension.
- Make you fitter generally speaking – not only you will run faster, but also jump higher, and squat deeper and heavier loads.
- Help you lose weight and increase your metabolism – the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body and one of the strongest as well. Strengthening your glutes will increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories since it’s a large muscle group that requires energy to function.
The best exercises for a better butt, and the 17 exercises tested, were performed by Jeremy Ethier. He is a renowned fitness trainer and Kinesiology graduate and the co-founder of Built With Science. His YouTube channel has over 5.5 million subscribers and he delivers clear information with sound background research.
See below everything you need to know about the tests and the glute workout you should be doing.
The Best Exercises for a Better Butt – 17 Glute Exercises Tested
Ethier conducted a study testing 17 of the most popular glute exercises on four male and female subjects to determine the most effective ones for building a well-rounded and powerful butt. The results of this study were used to create a targeted glute workout designed to transform the buttocks.
The people who did the test performed one set of 5 reps on each exercise with a 2 minute break in between them.
The exercises were measured using an EMG machine called Betty, which gauges muscle activation. Among the exercises tested, the hip thrust exhibited the highest activation in both the lower and upper glutes. However, while hip thrusts are effective for feeling the glutes working, there are other exercises that may lead to better glute growth.
The study involved attaching sensors to different parts of the glutes to measure muscle activation. The researchers aimed to control variables like exercise difficulty and muscle fibre usage. Each subject performed a set of glute exercises, with breaks in between.
The results revealed that while hip thrusts activate the glutes at their contracted state, exercises challenging the muscles at the stretched position tend to be more effective for growth. Different exercises were found to target various parts of the glutes.
For the lower glutes, exercises such as lower body presses and deadlifts were highly effective. These exercises were modified to minimize quad muscle involvement, leading to increased glute activation.
Notably, the results were similar for both male and female subjects, debunking the misconception that gender significantly affects exercise effectiveness. The upper and side glutes were engaged through exercises like cable kickbacks, abduction movements, and a unique type of lunge that emphasized deep stretching.
In conclusion, the study provided insights into optimal glute-building exercises based on muscle activation. A recommended glute workout is the following with only 3 exercises:
- 1 exercise focused on hip extension (reverse lunges, stationary split squats, front-foot elevated reverse lunges, Bulgarian split squats, deadlifts)
- Hip thrusts
- 1 or 2 exercises focused on upper & side glutes (cable kickbacks, seated banded abduction, lateral band walks, seated machine abduction, curtsy lunges)
And that is a summary of what you need to know about the best exercises for a better butt. To fully understand how the tests were done and why the workout for glutes is structured that way, watch Jeremy Ethier’s video below.
Insight into Gluteal Muscles
To effectively shape your glutes, it’s vital to grasp the fundamental anatomy of the gluteal muscles. These muscles consist of three main components: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Each of these muscles serves distinct functions within your body.
Gluteus Maximus: The gluteus maximus, positioned in the buttocks, stands as the largest and most potent muscle in the gluteal cluster. It constitutes the majority of your gluteal region. This muscle assumes the role of hip extension, enabling you to move your leg backward. Additionally, it contributes to maintaining an erect posture by offering support to the spine and pelvis. Furthermore, the gluteus maximus actively participates in dynamic movements like running, climbing, and leaping, establishing its pivotal role in overall athletic prowess.
Gluteus Medius: Slightly above the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius plays a critical role in hip stabilization and abduction. Its function involves moving your leg away from the body’s midline while ensuring pelvic equilibrium during actions such as walking, running, and one-legged standing. The gluteus medius significantly bolsters hip stability, which proves indispensable for preserving correct alignment and safeguarding against potential injuries, especially concerning the lower back, hips, and knees.
Gluteus Minimus: Nestled beneath the gluteus medius, the gluteus minimus represents the smallest member of the gluteal ensemble. Analogous to its counterpart, the gluteus medius, it contributes to hip abduction and stabilization. This muscle actively contributes to equilibrium maintenance and governs leg movements during diverse physical endeavors.
The gluteal muscles not only contribute to aesthetic appeal but also assume a pivotal role in upholding proper posture and lending support to the lower back. Weak or insufficiently developed glutes can incite imbalances in the body, influencing alignment and potentially giving rise to concerns like lower back discomfort, hip issues, and compromised posture.
Furthermore, robust gluteal muscles hold paramount significance in augmenting athletic performance. They furnish the power and explosiveness essential for activities like sprinting, jumping, and weightlifting. Regardless of whether you’re an athlete or simply aspiring to elevate your fitness level, well-toned glutes substantially contribute to bolstered overall strength, equilibrium, and agility.