Five Exercises To Fire Up Your Glutes

Man performing side lunge holding dumbbell
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Many of us are sitting more than ever, so our glutes—the muscles in the butt—can be forgiven for giving up and switching off. But active, strong glutes make running and walking easier, as well as helping maintain good posture.

Wake your glutes up with this killer workout from Cat Kom, founder and head trainer of Studio SWEAT onDemand. It contains just five exercises, but they’re combined into a tri-set and superset, where exercises are performed back to back. 

It can be done using just your bodyweight or with added resistance, such as a dumbbell or kettlebell. Adding resistance is the best way to strengthen and grow your glute muscles, but it’s wise to master the form using just your bodyweight before adding weights.

Kom has given two ways to do this workout: “Either do each exercise for 30 seconds or opt for 10 to 15 reps of each exercise.” The 30-second option is a useful option for beginners because you do what you can in the time allowed, rather than having to force your body to perform a set number of reps, which can often lead to compromised form and, potentially, injury.

Ready to shock your glutes into life? Here’s their wake-up call.

1A Plié squat

Man performing wide squat

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Sets 3 Time/Reps 30sec/10-15 Rest 0sec

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, with each foot pointed out at 45°. Keeping your knees directly above your toes, bend your knees and push your hips back to lower until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep your weight in your heels. Extend your legs to return to the start. 

1B Donkey kick

Woman performing donkey kick with resistance band

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Sets 3 Time/Reps 30sec/10-15 each side Rest 0sec

On your hands and knees, with your knees directly below your hips and hands directly under your shoulders, lift one heel until your thigh is parallel with the floor, keeping your knee bent at 90°. Do all your reps on one side, then switch sides. If performing the movement for time, switch sides halfway through. Add ankle weights if you want to add resistance.

1C Glute bridge 

Woman performing glute bridge with dumbbell held on hips

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Sets 3 Time/Reps 30sec/10-15 Rest 60sec

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms and feet flat on the floor. Engage your core and lift your hips to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes, then slowly return to the start position.

2A Bulgarian split squat 

Woman performs Bulgarian split squat at home with her rear foot elevated on a foot stool

(Image credit: miljko / Getty Images)

Sets 3 Time/Reps 30sec/10-15 each side Rest 0sec

Face away from a sturdy surface at knee height, and place the top of one foot on it. Bend your knees to lower, keeping the knee over the toes of your standing foot until your rear knee is just above the floor. Push through your front heel to return to the start. 

2B Side lunge 

Woman performing side lunge outside

(Image credit: microgen / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Sets 3 Time/Reps 30sec/10-15 each side Rest 60sec

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step to the right side and lower, keeping your left leg straight, pushing your hips back and bending your back knee. Keep your right knee and toes aligned. Push off through your right foot to return to the starting position.

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.