How to Get a Better Butt: A Complete Guide
Unfortunately the glutes, one of the biggest and strongest muscles in the human body, don't get the attention they deserve. The gluteus is comprises of three muscles - gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three glute muscles and is comprised of two heads - the upper and lower fibers. It originates from the ilium, sacrum, and fascia from the lumbar area and inserts in to the femur and tibia. This muscle plays a role in hip extension, external rotation, transverse abduction, and adduction. 
The gluteus medius second largest glute muscle and is comprised of anterior and posterior fibers. It originates from the ilium and inserts in to the femur. This muscle plays a critical role in hip abduction, transverse abduction, internal rotation, and external rotation during abduction. 
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three glute muscles but still plays large part in hip abduction, transverse abduction, and internal rotation during abduction. It originates from the ilium, below the origin of the gluteus medius, and inserts in to the femur. 
Unlike the other two glute muscles it only has one head, the gluteus minimus. You must perform exercises that engage all three gluteus muscles if you're want to build a balanced, healthy, and injury-resilient physique.
The three workouts presented below are designed to target, strengthen, build, and shape the glutes based on your training experience. If you're new to weightlifting start with the beginner workout. If you're an intermediate lifter but are new to direct glute training then start with the beginning workout.
You may progress faster and move on to the intermediate specialization workout faster than novice trainees but it's worth starting with the most basic movements to reinforce proper motor patterns and glute muscle activation. For those with 5+ years of lifting experience and/or 6-12 months of direct glute training start with the intermediate or advanced specialization workout.
Perform each workout at least twice per week on non-consecutive days. To maximize routine effectiveness perform these exercises at the beginning of a lower body workout, end of an upper body workout, before a cardiovascular activity, or on a separate training day from your other workouts.
Beginner Glute Specialization Workout
- Bodyweight Glute Bridge - 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Ensure your arms and upper back remain on the ground. Squeeze the glutes and hold top flexed position for 1 to 5 seconds to increase intensity. Slowly lower your hips back to the ground and repeat.
- Step-ups on to Box - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per leg
Squeeze your glutes, push off with your grounded leg and step up on to the box. During this motion your shoulders should be relaxed, chest should be up, and the heel of your foot on the box should remain firmly planted. Return the in-motion leg back to the start position. You can alternate legs for each rep or perform all repetitions for one leg before switching.
- Low Pulley Cable Pullthrough - 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
While holding the handle take two to three steps with each leg away from the tower. Starting with an upright posture (some counter lean to balance the weight is acceptable) and hips fully extended, keep your arms straight and slowly allow your hands to drift back towards the tower. Your shins should stay perpendicular with the ground but your upper thighs and hips will move backwards and your torso will move towards the ground.
Ensure your knees are in-line with your toes and pointing slightly outwards, opening up further as the handle moves backwards. Stop when you feel a nice stretch in the glutes and hamstrings. Continuing to keep your arms straight initiate with the glutes and squeeze them, driving your hips forward until your torso is upright and hips are fully extended.
- Unilateral Glute Kickback Machine - 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps per leg
Follow the instructions of the machine. Focusing on pushing through the heel of the active foot. don't rush these higher rep sets; you should feel a nice burn in the glutes at the end of these sets. it's advised to perform all repetitions for one leg before switching.
Intermediate Glute Specialization Workout
- Kettlebell Swings - 3 sets of 20 to 30 swings
Grab the kettlebell with a double overhand grip and pick it up so that your torso is upright and hips are fully extended. Keeping your arms straight and heels firmly planted on the ground swing the kettlebell backwards. Your shins should stay perpendicular with the ground but your upper thighs and hips will move backwards and your torso will move towards the ground.
Ensure your knees are in-line with your toes and pointing slightly outwards, opening up further as the kettlebell moves backwards. When you feel the kettlebell no longer has momentum forcefully squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward until your torso is upright, hips are fully extended, and arms are shoulder height and parallel with the floor.
This counts as one swing. Your arms should remain straight throughout the entire movement. Do not stop the momentum of the kettlebell during a set; terminate momentum only at the end of the set.
- Weighted Step Ups on to Box - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per leg
- Weighted Glute Bridges - 3 sets of 10 to 12
- Weighted Forward or Reverse Lunges - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps per leg
Take one moderately large step forward with one leg, flex the hips, and lower the active thigh until it's almost or is parallel with the ground. Your stationary foot should come off the ground slightly but your toes should remain in-contact with the ground and your knee should almost but not quite touch the ground.
Hold in the bottom position for one to five seconds. Initiate the return by pushing through the heel of the active foot and moving it back to the original start position. You can alternate legs for each rep or perform all repetitions for one leg before switching. If you have knee issues then perform reverse lunges.
- Rack Pulls with a Sumo Deadlift Stance - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Advanced Glute Specialization Workout
- Weighted Walking Lunges - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps per leg
You can alternate legs for each rep or perform all repetitions for one leg before switching. If you have knee issues then perform stationary reverse lunges.
- Weighted Barbell Hip Thrusts - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Place a squat pad, yoga mat, or foam exercise pad in between the weight and your hips to minimize discomfort. While keeping your upper back in-contact with the pad and feet flat on the floor, engage your glutes, push through your heels, and extend your hips.
Continue extending your hips until they're in-line with your knees and upper body. Hold at the top for one to five seconds to increase intensity. Slowly lower the barbell and repeat. For the ultimate glute burn hold the last rep of each set as long as possible.
- Bulgarian Split Squats - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
While maintaining an upright torso flex the hips, and lower the thigh of the grounded foot until it's almost or is parallel with the ground. Hold in the bottom position for one to five seconds. Initiate the return by squeezing the glutes and pushing through the heel of the grounded foot so that your hips are fully extended.
- Unilateral Leg Press - 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps with each leg
Continue pressing until the leg is completely straight but not hyperextended. Return to the starting position by allowing the knee and hips to flex. it's advised to perform all repetitions for one leg before switching. Ensure your glutes and torso remain in contact with the padded support at all times.
- Kettlebell Swings - 1 set of 50-100 reps
Comment below and share your experience with these specialization workouts as well as any personal glute-building tips and tricks.
ReferencesGriffing, James, et al. "Gluteus Maximus." ExRx.net. N.p., 2016. Web.
Griffing, James, et al. "Gluteus Medius." ExRx.net. N.p., 2016. Web.
Griffing, James, et al. "Gluteus Minimus." ExRx.net. N.p., 2016. Web.