08 Nov 2019

Best Glute Exercises That Aren’t Just Squats

Fitness TrendsFitness and workout advice

Best Glute Exercises That Aren’t Just Squats

Aspiring for greater glutes has grown more popular in recent years – particularly among women. And it seems achieving a prominent, rounded behind has remained a fitness goal for many of us.

Working your booty won’t just make your jeans look better; this major muscle group helps us perform daily activities like climbing stairs and lifting heavy objects. A strong bum can even improve our posture, enhance athletic performance and reduce the risk of injuries.

It’s no secret squats are a great way to blast your backside, but the best glute workout will involve a range of exercises and angles.

Sculpt strong glutes in the gym or at home with some of our best glute exercises to target your biggest muscle group.


While squats aren’t the be-all and end-all of butt training, they’re still some of the best glute-building exercises and well worth keeping in your workout. The best thing about squats is how customisable they are – you can try different squat variations until you find your favourites.

Sumo Squats

Take a wide stance with your toes and knees turned out at 45° angles. Drop into a squat by bending at the hips and knees and sitting back. Keep your abs tight and your back straight. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, push through your heels to rise back up.

Main Muscles Targeted: Gluteus maximus, inner thighs and abductors

Ski Squats

Stand with your feet together and your hands by your side. Slowly drop into a squat, bending your knees to a 90° angle and raising your arms to shoulder height as you drop. Slowly stand back up and lower your arms to your side as you do.

Main Muscles Targeted: Gluteus maximus and quads.

Learn more about correct form and how to safely incorporate weights into your squats with our Beginner’s Guide to Weighted Squats.


Another one of the best customisable glute exercises, lunges can be performed anywhere – whether it’s in the gym or in front of the TV.

Curtsy Lunges

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Take a big step back with your right leg, crossing it behind your left. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your left thigh is just about parallel to the floor. Keep your torso straight and your hips and shoulders as square as possible, then return to start.

Main Muscles Targeted: Gluteus medius, maximus and inner thighs

Step-Up Lunges

Start in a standing position in front of a sturdy bench or box. Step up with your right leg and lift your knee up toward your chest. As you step back with your left leg, bring your right leg back into a deep backwards lunge.

Main Muscles Targeted: Gluteus maximus, quads and hamstrings

Lunges vs. Squats

Lunges and squats are great glute-strengthening exercises, but which is best for your glute workout?

The short answer: Both.

Both lunges and squats work your glutes, quads and hamstrings to support muscle growth and toning of the legs and butt. However, single-leg exercises like lunges are better for activating the gluteus medius, which can make lunges preferable if you’re looking to target this neglected glute muscle.

Incorporating both exercises makes for the best bum workouts.


Deadlifts aren’t just for bodybuilders and CrossFit junkies. If performed correctly, deadlifts can be a great addition to your glute training plan. Explore the different types and variations of the deadlift to find one most suited to your goals.

Sumo Deadlift

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart or a little wider with a set of dumbbells or a kettlebell in front of you, feet at 30-45° angles. Bend at the hips, keeping your chest up and pushing your hips back as you pick up your dumbbells or kettlebell with an overhand grip. Engage your core and keep your back straight as you squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward and raise the dumbbells or kettlebell as you straighten your legs to stand. Slowly lower the weight/s back to the floor and repeat.

Main Muscles Targeted: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings and abductors

Single-Leg Deadlift

Stand with your feet together, holding one dumbbell in your right hand. Shift your weight to your left leg with a slight bend in the knee. Raise your right leg straight behind your body, hinging at the hips to bring your torso parallel to the floor, lowering the dumbbell to the floor. Your torso and right leg should be almost parallel to the floor, with your dumbbell just a few inches from the floor. With your core activated, push through your left heel to stand up straight. Keep the right leg straight and bring it back to the start. Pause while squeezing your butt, then slowly lower the weight back to the floor.

Main Muscles Targeted: Gluteus medius, maximus and hamstrings

Deadlifts vs. Squats

Deadlifts and squats are both effective exercises for growing your glutes. Much like lunges and squats, deadlifts and squats can be performed in the same butt workout or on alternating days.

The key differences between deadlifts and squats are that deadlifts target your upper and lower back, focusing on strengthening and defining these muscles as well as your glutes and hamstrings. Squats are a more functional exercise. While they too strengthen the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings and quads, they’re also known to help make everyday activities and tasks easier.

Now you know some of the best glute exercises to add to your training routine, maximise your booty gains with our tips to build muscle.

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