You Only Need One Dumbbell And A Bench For A Great Glutes Workout

Woman performs single-leg hip thrust with dumbbell in gym
(Image credit: Hirurg / Getty Images)

It’s a great idea to train your glutes regularly, and not just for aesthetic reasons (although those reasons never hurt when finding the motivation to head to the gym). The glutes are technically part of your core so stronger glutes can help ward off lower-back pain and contribute to good posture, which is especially important if your job or lifestyle means you sit for long periods.

And you don’t need to know how to load a barbell in a squat rack to build muscle mass in your glutes either. This workout from Natalie Wilson, an ACE-certified personal trainer, requires only a dumbbell and a weight bench, and favours unilateral exercises which work one leg at a time. You can use a small looped resistance band for the final exercise, but it can be done without.

Watch Wilson demonstrate the routine, and if you’re unsure of the correct form for the dumbbell exercises, use the links we’ve added under the video to read our form guides.

Wilson also demonstrates a smart way to get the correct distance away from the bench for the Bulgarian split squat. Sit on the bench and extend your leg with your heel on the floor, then rock forward on to the sole of your foot and place the top of the other foot on the bench.

Wilson recommends performing 10-12 reps of each exercise (on each leg for the first four moves) for three or four sets. Having a rep and set range is useful because you’ll get more out of the workout if you repeat it and increase the challenge over time—a highly effective muscle-building technique known as progressive overload. Start with three sets of 10, and pick a weight that makes the last few reps of every set a challenge. The second time you do the workout try 11 reps, and 12 reps the third. On the fourth try increase the sets from three to four and go back to 10 reps.

Wilson doesn’t provide a warm-up, but you shouldn’t take that as an indication you don’t need to do one. This warm-up routine is a great place to start, but when you’re preparing to do a glutes workout it’s smart to perform a round of glute activation exercises.

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness writer

Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer working on news, features, reviews and buying guides for Coach and sister site Fit&Well. Lois is a hill walker and avid runner who has just completed her first marathon. Before joining Coach, Lois worked as a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.