Don’t have access to a gym? Is your schedule too busy? Try these minimal equipment exercises to grow your glutes at home.
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Large and in-charge glutes are in, and I don’t see them going out of trend any time soon. The bodybuilding community has fully embraced the trend, welcoming the Wellness category into prestigious competitions like the Olympia. And with competitors like Yarishna Ayala and Franciella Mattos to look to for glute inspiration, everyone is looking to get the booty gains.
Unfortunately, the glutes can be a difficult muscle group to train and grow, with the glute max being the largest muscle group in the human body.
But, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dream of sporting a round and perky derriere. Even without a gym and heavy equipment, you can grow your glutes. The key is to use a variety of exercises and movement patterns while also focusing on the mind-muscle connection.
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Understanding the Glutes: Functions and Movement
Understanding what the glutes do and what role they play in the human body will help you understand how to train them for strength and hypertrophy.
The glutes are responsible for keeping the hips stabilized as well as hip flexion, extension, and rotation. This means they have multiple functions and jobs. Hence their size and strength.
This also means you cannot train them to grow without diversity. Sure, squats are great for building the glutes because they put a lot of tension on the muscle while it is flexed- at the bottom of the squat. But, you also need to incorporate hinge movements, like deadlifts, and thrusts that place tension on the muscle while in an extended position.
You also want to be sure to hit the glutes with transverse movements such as adduction and abduction. This will create more stability through your hips and knees and help prevent injury as you progress with your training.
Because of their superior size, the glutes should be trained 2-3x per week when trying to see growth. Personally, I train my legs with glute isolated movements three times per week, and sometimes four.
If this seems daunting, remember that you just need progressive overload. So, if that means you are going from zero days a week, you don’t need to start with three or four. Start with one or two days and listen to your body. Remember that you grow while resting and recovering, so that should be prioritized as much as your training.
You May Also Like: 10 Resistance Band Exercises to Grow Your Booty
My Favorite At-Home Exercises to Grow Your Glutes
Okay, time to get into the juicy stuff; this is what you truly came for. While there are tons of variations of glute isolation exercises you can do at home, these are my favorite. They will give you a good pump and promote growth while hitting the muscle from different angles.
No 1. Banded Hip Thrust
The hip thrust has become the lower body equivalent of the bench press. It should be a staple in your lower body workout routine. According to the Glute Guy, Bret Contreas, who has done countless studies on glute growth, the hip thrust is essential to obtaining a beautiful behind.
I will recap his main points on why the hip thrust is king when it comes to glute growth:
- At the end range of motion, the glutes are in a shortened position and are activated in this position to a large degree.
- This exercise provides three points of contact (the back plus both legs) which increases stability. For glutes, more stability = more activation.
- Because the knees remain bent throughout the movement, the hamstrings cannot overpower the glutes. This forces the glutes to be the primary mover, and thus makes them work the hardest.
- You can take hip thrusts to failure without compromising form. In turn, this increases muscle fatigue and intensity.
While it’s true that the barbell hip thrust rules supreme, a banded hip thrust is an excellent alternative for anyone who wants to build your glutes at home.
I highly recommend the X Bands Glutezilla Band. It has foot loops and a wide band for comfort. It provides approximately 50lbs. of resistance.
If you don’t have this band or don’t want to purchase it, don’t fret. You can also use standard glute bands or forgo the bands altogether.
How to Do Hip Thrusts at Home
You can do banded hip thrusts on the edge of your couch or another short chair, table, or bed. Sit on the floor with your back against the couch and then place your arms on the couch out to your sides.
Lift yourself up and rest your back on the edge of the couch, right below your shoulder blades. Keep your feet about hips distance apart. When in the fully extended position, your knees should be at a 90º angle.
Pressing through your heels, lift your hips so they are parallel to the floor and squeeze your glutes. Slowly lower back down. Repeat this 4-5 times for 15-20 reps each time.
No. 2. Goblet Squat
The goblet squat should be another staple in your lower body workout routine when you are trying to grow your glutes.
The goblet squat is a total body exercise that provides excellent glute activation. Plus, because it doesn’t require a ton of equipment, it’s very accessible.
All you need to do the goblet squat is a moderate dumbbell, kettlebell, or even the x band mentioned above. The video embedded below shows the proper form for performing the goblet squat with a dumbbell.
If you are using a kettlebell, grab the kettlebell on the sides of the handles, with the top of the handle facing the ceiling. Keeping your elbows tucked in, lift the kettlebell to your chest, just below your chin. This is how you will hold the kettlebell for the entirety of the movement.
If you are using the x band, put the foot loops on your feet, stand slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, then grab the band with both hands, similarly to how you would hold a kettlebell, and pull the band up to your chest. In a full standing position, the tension should be very high so that you don’t lose all your tension when you squat down. This may require some adjusting of hand placement further down the band.
No 3. Step-Ups
This one literally requires no equipment. Although, a dumbbell or weighted vest can be added for increased resistance as needed. But, even for those more advanced, bodyweight step-ups are challenging and productive.
All you need is a sturdy table, chair, or step stool that is roughly knee height or a little higher. According to an article from Men’s Health, the ideal height is between 20-30″. The higher the object, the more difficult it will be.
This move recruits the glutes heavily because of the stability required to perform the movement. If done slow and controlled, the step-up requires foot, knee, and hip stability.
In order to optimally engage your glutes, you want to push through your heel and hinge forward at the hip. Straighten your arms out in front of your body to use as a counterbalance.
No 4. Bulgarian Split Squats
The Bulgarian split squat, also known as the rear-foot elevated split squat, is a beast of an exercise. With or without weight, this exercise will challenge your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors.
The great thing about the Bulgarian split squat, and many other exercises, is that you can make adjustments that will increase the workload in a specific muscle. For example, in the Bulgarian split squat, you can move the front foot forward more to activate more glutes. This will be extremely beneficial in helping to grow your glutes.
This is an excellent exercise to do in your living room, with your back foot resting on your couch or coffee table.
Now, you will want to pay close attention to your form for this exercise, otherwise, you can wind up with a sore lower back and lack of progress where you want to see it.
- Be sure that the surface you are using for your back foot is approximately knee-height. If it’s too high, it will cause pain in discomfort in your hip flexors. If it’s too low, you won’t get all the benefits of this exercise.
- Facing away from your couch, rest the top of your back foot on the couch and kneel down so that your back knee is on the floor and your front foot is on the floor. From here, adjust your front foot so that your front knee does not track in front of your toes and your back leg has a slight stretch in the hip flexor.
- Brace your core, keep your torso upright, and squeeze your glutes. Push through your front heel until you are upright. To prevent overextending your back here, keep your belly button sucked in and keep the squeeze in your glutes.
- Once you are at the top of the split squat, lower back down until your front thigh is almost parallel with the ground. Don’t let your back knee touch.
- Complete 8-12 repetitions on each side.
You can add resistance with dumbbells or a weighted vest once you have nailed your form.
No. 5 Standing Banded Hip Abductions
If you want that shelf booty, you have to grow your upper glutes (gluteus medius). This is the part of the butt that will give you that round, full appearance.
There are a few ways to work the upper glutes including abduction exercises (moving the legs apart from one another) and unilateral exercises that require stabilization. Luckily, both the Bulgarian split squat and step up require activation from the upper glutes to stabilize the working leg.
But, the standing banded hip abduction truly isolates the upper glutes and allows you to focus on the mind-muscle connection in that specific area.
For this exercise, you will need a set of booty bands, like the ones mentioned above. Start near a wall, chair, or something you can grab onto for stability.
Place the resistance band around both legs, just above the knees. Facing perpendicular to the wall, stabilize yourself with the hand closest to the wall. Place your other hand on your back hip where your upper glutes are located.
Keeping a very slight bend in the leg closest to the wall, lift your outer leg straight out the side as far as you can. Your range of motion may not be very large; only go as far as you can while maintaining form. Be sure to keep your foot flexed and your torso braced and upright.
Repeat this for 8-15 repetitions on each leg.
Growing Your Glutes: Mistakes Most People Make, That You Should Avoid
- Not Eating Enough. It’s common in our society that everyone wants to be on a diet. But, when you are trying to grow muscle, you need to be in a surplus of calories. You cannot grow your glutes while eating 1200 calories. Be sure to have adequate protein for building and repairing muscle, as well as plenty of carbs to fuel your workouts. Need help with macros? Check out Macros Inc. to get a personalized macro plan for your goals.
- Rushing Through Your Workout. When life is already busy and hectic, it can be difficult to slow down and really focus on what you are doing in your workouts. But, it’s crucial to your success that you do. Focus on the mind-muscle connection with each and every rep. Go slow with your movements, really focusing on contracting and squeezing the glutes.
- Not Progressively Overloading. Your muscles adapt to the stress you put on them. In order to grow further, you have to increase the load. This can be done by adding weight, reps, time under tension, frequency, or decreasing rest time between sets.
- Training Too Frequently. The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body. When you train them hard, you have to give them time to recover. Remember, growth doesn’t happen while you are working out. It happens afterward when you rest. Give yourself 48 hours between glute training sessions to ensure proper recovery.
- Not Training Enough. While the above is true, you can also be doing too little. You should be training your glutes at least twice per week for maximum results.
- Doing Too Much Cardio. Cardio is an excellent tool for fat loss. But, when you are trying to build your glutes, it can hinder progress. This relates back to recovery, in that you need adequate time to recover. Cardio places extra stress on the body and can impact how heavy or hard you are able to train.