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The 5 Best Exercises to Build Better Glutes, Trainer Says

Yes, these butt moves can get you a bigger, stronger, and more toned backside.

Many of my clients have a goal of wanting a bigger, stronger, and better butt. I know glute training is all the rage, but beyond the aesthetics of having a nice butt, there are many benefits to building up your glute muscles. For starters, strong and powerful glutes can help improve your posture, reduce lower back and knee pain, and also increase your athletic performance.

However, many people make the mistake of mimicking "cool" glute exercises that they see their favorite Insta-fitness influencers perform, such as donkey kicks from all angles or tiny pulse movements. While those have their place in a workout program, they shouldn't be what you are focusing on.

When it comes to training your glutes, you want to pick the best exercises during which you feel a good mind-muscle connection, and can progressively load with heavier weights over time. Compound and single-leg exercises that challenge you and give you a great burn are going to be your best route to a toned backside.

Here are the five best exercises to help you build better glutes. Incorporate the following movements into your routine. And next, don't miss The 6 Best Exercises for Toning Your Stomach.

Hip Thrust

dumbbell hip thrust
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start the movement by setting your upper back on a bench or sturdy platform. Place a dumbbell or barbell on your lap with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight, lower your hips all the way down, then push through your heels and squeeze your glutes hard to come back up, holding there for 2 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

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Bulgarian Split Squat

bulgarian split squat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

From a standing position, rest your back foot on a bench or couch and step out with your other foot about 2 to 3 feet away from the bench.

Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, then start the move by lowering your body straight down—using control—so that your back knee almost touches the ground and your front knee is in a runner's lunge. Then, use your weight to drive through your front heel in order to return to standing, flexing your quads and glutes as you rise. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg.

Related: Secret Exercise Tricks for Getting Flatter Abs Faster

Frog Pump

Frog Pump
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

This is a great exercise to use either as a warmup or finisher for your glutes, which you'll really feel working during this exercise, as you'll be focusing on extending your hips while they're externally rotated. And if you want to make this exercise harder, you can also throw a loop band around your knees.

Start the movement by laying on your back with your feet together and hips externally rotated with a dumbbell on your lap. Keeping your core tight, perform a bridge in this position, squeezing your glutes hard at the top. Do 3 sets of 25-30 reps.

Related: The 5 Best Pieces of Gym Equipment to Have at Home

Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

single leg romanian deadlift
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start the movement by picking one leg to be planted while pushing your hips back with the trailing leg straight. Stretch your hamstring at the end of the movement, then drive your hip forward, squeezing your glutes to finish. Perform all reps on one side before switching to the other leg. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg.

Related: Kate Hudson Shares Her Intense Butt and Legs Workout

Band Lateral Walks

Lateral Band Walks
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start by putting a loop band with medium tension above your knees. With your hips pushed back and knees soft, begin stepping out to the left. As you step, lead with your heel and don't let your knee cave in. Go out for at least 20-30 steps, then move to the right for 20-30 steps.

And then you're done!

For more, check out my guide to Designing a Super-Effective Strength-Training Workout for the New Year.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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