Do a quick google search for glute workouts and you will be surprised to find that you can “build a J-Lo booty in just 5 minutes” or try “100 different, easy, butt-building exercises”.
I got news for you, ladies.
While quick, painless workouts and hundreds of gimmicky options might sound attractive, if you want to build the butt of your dreams, you are going to have to build some serious muscle.
The glutes are known as the power house of the posterior chain, so while doing high rep “toning” workouts may help you feel the burn, they are doing little to help build a round backside.
Like any other area of your body, building muscle is going to require low reps on heavy compound movements combined with high volume accessory work.
Throw in just the right amount of fat melting cardio and you will be on your way to those coveted Glutes of Granite.
Here is a killer 3 day lower body split guaranteed to build a butt that will turn heads wherever you go, and legs to match.
Start each one of these workouts with 5-10 minutes of light cardio to warm up and then some good dynamic stretching, particularly for the hips, hamstrings, and adductors.
Workout #1 starts off with 5 sets of sumo stance deadlift. For a sumo pull, start with your feet very wide and toes pointed out slightly. Get tight to the bar (shins should almost touch the bar) and sit down into a low squat. With your arms inside of your knees, grab the bar with an “over-under” grip.
Stand up, focusing on flexing the glutes and pushing your hips to the bar, keeping your chest upright the entire time. Lower your back to starting position under control. Your first set should be a light warm up, your second set a medium weight, with your last 3 sets at as heavy of a weight as possible for 8 reps.
Next up is a superset of walking lunges and glute bridges for 5 rounds. During the walking lunges you will incorporate a 1/4 rep at the bottom - sink down into the lunge, and once you have gone all the way down (usually when the knee of your back leg touches the ground), come up one-quarter of the way and pause for 2 seconds, then drop back down and then come all the way up.
Make sure to stay in good position on the quarter rep, keeping your knee behind your toes. Avoid leaning forward, and also do not stutter step in between lunges.
For the glute bridge, lay diagonal across a bench with only your shoulders in contact, and your feet on the floor. Drop your hips, then raise them up by pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes for a three second pause at the top.
Do not over extend at the top, which will put too much strain on your lower back. If ten reps feels easy, hold a medicine ball or kettle bell on your hips for extra resistance.
The last part of this workout is 4 rounds of a conditioning circuit. Set a treadmill at 15% incline and leave it running at your normal walking pace, somewhere between 3-4mph. Start by ripping out 25 bodyweight squats, making sure to get below parallel on each one. As soon as finish your set of squats, transition to the treadmill and carefully step on and walk for 1 minute.
Always make sure to keep ahold of the handles as you step on and off of the belt. Next up is a hamstring bridge. Start by laying on your back with one foot up on a bench or plyo box. Press through your heal and bridge your hips up by squeezing your glute and hamstring on that side.
The goal is to get a straight line from your knee, through your hip to your shoulder. After completing 5 reps on each side, head back to the treadmill for another minute incline walk. One round down…three more to go!
|1. Sumo Deadlift||5||8|
|2a. Walking Lunges||5||10 each leg (w/ 1/4 rep at bottom)|
|2b. Glute Bridge||5||10 (w/ 3 sec pause)|
|3a. Body Squats||4||25|
|3b. Treadmill Walk||4||1 min (15% incline, 3-4mph)|
|3c. Hamstring Bridge||4||5 each leg (w/ 3 sec pause)|
|3d. Treadmill Walk||4||1 min (15% incline, 3-4mph)|
Workout #2 starts with the granddaddy of all leg exercises, the barbell back squat. But to make those legs - and your butt - grow, just doing body squats is not gonna cut it. We need to throw some weight on that bar! Start with a warm up set of 12 reps then gradually add weight each set as you drop the number of reps by, ending with a heavy double.
Something to keep in mind - the narrower your squat stance is, the more quad dominant the movement becomes. By widening your stance, you will place more of the workload on your hips and glutes.
After your squat sets are complete, you will begin a superset of 3 similar but different single leg movements. First up is Bulgarian Split Squats. Start by getting in a “lunge” position with your back foot up on a bench. Squat down keeping your knee behind your toes and pause for 3 seconds at the bottom.
Make sure to push through your heal to activate your glute on the way up. Start with no weight on the first round and gradually add heavier dumbbells each round. After completing 5 reps on each leg, transition to an assisted pistol squat.
Stand in front of a rack with one foot up against a post and the other foot out in front of you and off the ground. Hold on to the rack and sit back as you squat down as low as possible. Perform 10 reps on each leg. This superset ends with what I have dubbed “booty lunges”.
Start in a lunge stance with your front foot on a step or dumbbell. Slowly sink down a quarter of the way into the lunge, then come back up, but not by pushing off the step with your front leg. The key to this movement is to use your back leg to raise up, extending the hamstring and flexing your glute at the top. Squeeze hard and drop back down. Try not to use your front leg other than for stability.
Next up is 3 sets of either a cable pull through or a sled pull through. For either option, face away from the cable tension or sled and squat down with a wide stance. Grab the handles of the cable or rope and pull it through your legs as you stand up.
This should feel similar in nature to a kettle bell swing, only more controlled. Finish up with 20 minutes of steady paced conditioning on either the stair master or stair stepper.
|1. Back Squat||6||12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2|
|2a. Bulgarian Split Squats||5||5 each (w/ 3 sec pause)|
|2b. Pistol Squat||5||10 each leg|
|2c. Booty Lunges||5||20 "1/4" reps on a step|
|3a. Sled or Cable Pull Through||3||15|
|3b. Stairmaster or Stairstepper||1||20 min|
Workout #3 starts with 3 heavy sets of weighted lunges. If you have a hard time holding on to heavy enough dumbbells then use a back loaded barbell instead.
After 3 sets is complete, hit a superset of dumbbell step ups and “booty bands”. On the step ups be sure to control your weight on the way down. For the booty bands attach a light band to your ankle and do a kneeing rear leg lift.
Next up is 3 sets of goblet sumo squats and a single leg glute bridge. Perform goblet squats by holding a kettle bell, dumbbell, or medicine ball in front of you as you squat in a wide stance.
The single leg glute bridge is the same position as the glute bridge in workout #1, but you will do them single leg style, with the other leg up in the air. Make sure to push through your heal and squeeze your glutes at the top, pausing for at least one second.
Finish this workout off with 10 minutes of continuous walking lunges. Don’t worry…the first 2 minutes are the toughest…after that everything goes numb…just take it 1 lunge at a time!
|1. Walking Lunges||3||5|
|2a. Dumbbell Step Ups||3||8 each leg|
|2b. Booty Bands||3||25 each leg|
|3a. Goblet Sumo Squat||3||12|
|3b. Single Leg Glute Bridge||3||5 each leg|
|4. Walking Lunges (bodyweight)||1||10 min|
There it is, the key to a great butt in just 3 excruciatingly tough workouts that must be done every week…simple, right?
I recommend doing one of these routines every third day so your muscles have time to recover and grow in between. And remember…the sooner you get started the sooner your glutes will be ready for your next Instagram post!
Stay tuned to Muscle and Strength for more of my unique and challenging workout ideas.