10+ Effective Glute Isolation Exercises: Toned Butt Faster!

You may want to strengthen your glutes for your deadlift or squat, or you’re trying to enhance your body. Numerous exercises can help you build the strength and size of muscles in your glutes.

This list contains exercises that could be completed using a barbell, bands, cables, or even machines, so you’ll be able to find exercises that are suitable for you even if you have a small amount of equipment.

The article below will discuss glute muscles’ function and how to separate them. I’ll also demonstrate how to execute every exercise and give you the necessary programming guidelines, so you know how to incorporate the glute muscles into your routine.

What Are The Glute Muscles?

The gluteal muscles comprise our buttocks. The glutes comprise three muscles, including the gluteus maximus medius and the minimus.

The gluteus maximus is considered one of the most powerful muscles in the body. As you will see, it is one of the largest gluteal muscles.

The gluteus maximus is the source of the glutes’ form, strength, and explosiveness. It is responsible for the movement of the hips and thighs.

But, all three gluteal muscles play a role in the movement. The gluteus medius helps stabilize the hip and hip rotation, and the gluteus minimus aids in expanding our hips.

The Anatomy Of Glute Muscle Group Glute Muscle Group

From a distance, there is just one large glute muscle in each leg. Actually, three muscles operate differently. You need to train all of them to get the maximum strength and a smooth butt. The glutes comprise the following muscles.

Gluteus Maximus

The biggest of the gluteal muscles, and one of the body’s strongest muscles, the gluteus maximus, is one of the muscles that have the best name recognition and offers the best form and strength from the glute muscles. If you’re looking for a full-body and explosive strength when moving the thighs or hips, then the gluteus maximus is the muscle you should focus on.

Gluteus Medius

A little smaller than the gluteus Maxus, this gluteus medius is responsible for transferring the hip forward and backward and turning it around, mostly by applying force to the femur, which is the longest bone of your body that is located within the thigh area. When you exercise, the gluteus medius muscles work to slow down the femur throughout the second part of your stride.

Gluteus Minimus

Together with the gluteus medius, the gluteus minimus aids in moving to the side of the pelvis in a process known as hip abduction. It also stops excessive movement in the opposite direction.

Adduction or movement towards the midline of the body could cause injury to the joint of your hip when done at an extreme. The minimus and the medius can power hip extension and rotation while running or walking and support the hips and thighs when there are abrupt pivots in various directions.

Glute Isolation Exercises: Benefits

Glute Isolation Exercises Benefits

Exercises that isolate focus on a specific muscle segment. This helps us strengthen our glutes while simultaneously targeting other muscles such as our hamstrings, quads, or hamstrings.

The glutes, in particular, are a great exercise method due to one of the reasons listed below:

#1 Prevention Of Injury

Our glutes are the most massive muscles that are found in our bodies. They play a role in the movement of our thighs and hips and stabilize the pelvic region. If we don’t train the glutes properly, they are at risk of injury to the hips, knees, hamstrings, or lower back.

For instance, weak muscles can be the main reason for rounding the lower back when doing deadlifts. This is a guaranteed chance of injuring your back. When we perform glute isolation exercises, we ensure that the glutes can hold our body up in vigorous exercise.

#2 Better Athletic Performance

It’s not just to aid in performing better at exercises such as the deadlift or squat. Glute strength is essential for virtually every athletic move, including running, jumping, and lunging. All require strong gluteal muscles to ensure agility and stability.

If we do not take care of our glutes, we are restricting our athletic potential!

#3 Improved Aesthetics

Let’s admit it. Most of us would like to have an attractive and toned butt. While the reduction of body fat depends on the food choices we make, we can also develop muscles in our glutes to enhance the appearance of our back.

The good news is that the isolation exercise is the most effective for achieving this aim.

The Best 10+ Effective Glute Isolation Exercises

#1 Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts aren’t the most comfortable to do in a busy gym. However, they’re an excellent exercise to isolate the glutes. Many gyms in commercials have hip thrusters, however, should yours not or you workout at home, you could utilize a low-height box or bench or a heavy medical bill that you can lean on.

Hip thrusts are a flexible exercise since they can be executed using the help of a barbell (using pads for hip thrusts to increase their comfort) or by putting a dumbbell on your lap and attaching the band of resistance to two dumbbells that weigh a lot to either side of you and then using it to create resistance.

The hip thrust targets all three gluteal muscles, but the gluteus maximus is the one that plays the most important part. The quads and hamstrings are also involved. However, they play only a small part in stabilizing the body, and the glutes do the bulk of the work.


  1. Place a barbell on the floor, load it up with your desired weight or grab a large dumbbell.
  2. You can sit on the floor with the back of your head against a solid bench or a large medicine ball. To ensure security, you might want to lean the bench or the ball up against the wall or other solid surface to ensure it isn’t moved when you’re bending your hips.
  3. The medicine ball or bench should be set at about the middle of your back. Place it at an ab-mat or plate stack if it’s over your back. In the case of a barbell, it could be necessary to raise the bar to ensure that you can lower it with ease by sitting on a more elevated surface.
  4. Put the dumbbell on your hips, or move the barbell until it’s lying inside the hip crease.
  5. Make sure that your feet are level on the ground and the width of your hips.
  6. Take the weight with a light grip, then tuck your chin into the weight and use your glutes to propel the weight upwards.
  7. Press your glutes to the top and hold that position for one second.
  8. If you’re at the top of your lunge, your shins must be parallel. If they’re not there, you’ll need to bring your feet closer to the floor or extend them further for the next set and repetitions.
  9. Gradually lower your weight to its original position and try not to bounce it off the ground before beginning the next repetition.
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The hip thrust has been proven to boost jump speed and is beneficial for athletes playing sports like volleyball, basketball, and track and field.

Since hip thrusts increase the strength of the glutes and assist with the signal to hinging at the hips, they’re an ideal exercise for lifters who are struggling with deadlift lockout.

Hip thrusts can be useful for those with a poor squat lockout because the glutes are involved when you extend your hips as you stand up after the squat.


Barbell hip thrusts need an array of equipment you might not have available at home, or you have to wait until it becomes readily available in the fitness center.

Even if you use the hip thrust pad with the barbell (or employ something different, such as an exercise mat that is rolled up for your hips), it isn’t comfortable for the hip bones. It can result in bruising, especially when you lift a large bodyweight.

How To Program Workout

I love performing hip thrusts as an additional move on my squats and deadlifting days. If I perform them immediately after my deadlift or squat sets, I’ll make them more intense and perform three repetitions of six to eight with an RPE of 8. If I’m doing them later during training, I’ll perform three to four sets with 10 reps each at an RPE of 7.

If you’re currently in the strength training offseason or deadlifting and squatting isn’t the main focus, you could use them as your primary exercise of the day. Do 3 sets of 5 to 8 repetitions with an RPE between 8-8.5.

#2 Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are like hip thrusts, except that you lie down on your floor rather than sitting and leaning back on benches. They’re an excellent option for those who don’t have a chair or cannot find a free one in your gym.

It is possible to feel your hamstrings tighter during this workout, but most of the work will be performed through the glutes. Glute bridges focus on the three gluteal muscles; however, the gluteus maximus performs much of the job.


  1. Set a barbell onto the ground and add the weight you want to use. If you are able, I would recommend using bumper plates, or at the very least the 45lb metal plate, to ensure it is easy to get underneath the bar. If not, you’ll need to raise it up on a pile of plates or the lowest box.
  2. Place your feet on the floor beneath the barbell, just over the hip crease.
  3. Flex your knees and ensure your feet are straight on the floor and at a hip-width apart. You should have your heels as near your glutes as you can.
  4. Grab the bar with just your hands, a couple of inches beyond your legs.
  5. With your head, shoulders, and neck on the floor, raise your torso until your hips touch the bar. Use your glutes to push the bar upwards.
  6. Hold your glutes in a squeeze and stop for one second at the highest.
  7. Begin slowly lowering the bar lower and then get to a complete stop before beginning the next rep.


Glute bridges don’t need the same amount of technology as hip thrusts since they don’t require a bench to support your back against.

Utilizing glute bridges that are not weighted or using a lightweight is an excellent option to alleviate the lower backache, particularly when you have a desk job that requires sitting throughout the day.

The glute bridge is beneficial for those who have difficulty activating their glutes when they deadlift or squat.


Glute bridges are characterized by a narrower range of motion. To create the same stimulus, you might need to apply substantially greater weight than what you employ in a hip thrust.

How To Program Workout

Similar to leg thrusts or glute bridges could be planned as an additional move on lower body days or as your primary lift when you’re not making a point of squatting and deadlifts your main focus. You can perform three sets of eight to ten reps with 7 RPE If you’re performing them as an additional movement and 3-4 sets with 5-8 repetitions with 8 RPE when you’re training them for power.

I also enjoy doing 3 sets of 10 unweighted repetitions followed by a 1-second interval at the top of my warm-ups for squats, deadlifts, and CrossFit WODs.

#3 Kas Glute Bridges

The Kas glute bridge can be described as a less-known variant from the thrust to your hip. Instead of taking the bar back to the floor after every rep, you simply descend by a couple inches and hold the glutes under tension for the entire workout.

It’s like a pulsing motion. However, you must still perform every rep steady and controlled way. This Kas glute bridge is not an explosive move, and you shouldn’t use any momentum to push the bar upwards.

The Kas glute bridge mostly works in the gluteus Maxus.


  1. Place a barbell on the floor and place plates or get a big dumbbell.
  2. Place your feet on your floor, and then lean against a bench or a heavy medicine ball. It should be at the same height that the ribs. If it’s not, put it upon an abdominal mat or a stack of plates, then raise the barbell, should you need to, to effortlessly slide it under.
  3. To ensure that the bench or the medicine ball doesn’t slip or slide, it is also possible to set it against the wall or at the top of the Squat rack.
  4. If you’re carrying a dumbbell, place it on the upper part of your legs. For a barbell, move it toward you until it is positioned on your hips in the crease.
  5. Keep your feet hip-width apart and lying flat on the ground. They should be placed far enough away from your shins to be vertical towards the top of the exercise.
  6. By gripping the weight with your hands, move it along your back and then use your glutes to lift the weight upwards.
  7. Make sure you squeeze your glutes to the highest point.
  8. Reduce slowly by 2-3 inches, ensuring your glutes are in tension all the duration.
  9. Without pulling the weight back down and up, repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.


It is important to note that the Kas glute bridge requires you to perform only a short amount of movement. This is often thought of as a negative thing, but this allows one to complete more reps, making it an excellent choice to incorporate into an exercise program involving hypertrophy.

Because you don’t descend to the floor following every rep, Your glutes remain fully engaged throughout the entire exercise. This means that you are less likely to add your hamstrings or quads in the workout and keep the focus on the glutes.


As with regular hip thrusts, Kas glute bridges need a variety of equipment, particularly when you’re using the barbell. You’ll require a bar, plates, and a bench for you to lean against. However, it’s possible that you don’t possess this equipment at home or wait until it becomes available when you train at an establishment that offers commercial gyms.

It takes a lot of awareness of your body to ensure that you’re not going too much and removing the weight from your glutes.

It is simple to cheat on the exercise by doing it too fast, which takes all the attention away from your glutes, and makes you depend on momentum to lift the weight.

How To Program Workout

As this is a type of movement with which you’re likely to perform many repetitions, I would suggest making it an optional move. It’s also possible that you will not be using the same amount of weight you would with a normal hip thrust, making it an excellent exercise to do at the close of your training.

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#4 Smith Machine Hip Thrusts

The Smith machine is often given a negative image. Still, it’s an ideal machine to do hip thrusts since the set-up is a bit faster, allowing you to reach under the bar quicker. Smith’s hip thrusts target the glute muscles in all three directions on the machine.


  1. Put a solid box or bench at about knee height on top of the Smith machine.
  2. Adjust the bar to ensure that you are sitting down and it rests on the hip crease.
  3. Place your feet on the floor, place your body against the bench or the box as you slide your legs beneath the bar, and extend your knees to 90 degrees. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart.
  4. Use your heels to raise up the load until you are level with the floor. Press your glutes to the highest point.
  5. Slowly lower your body to the starting position and repeat until you have reached your desired number of repetitions.


Smith Machine hip thrusts work perfectly for training at higher reps. Since you don’t need to concentrate on stabilizing yourself as often as you would with other machines, you can train more until failure when using heavyweights.

The Smith machine provides more isolation of the glutes as it eliminates most of the stabilization support from your hamstrings, quads, and the core.


You’ll need access to a Smith machine, and you might not have it at home or in a CrossFit gym.

Since the Smith machine holds your body and bars fairly fixed, it could create a false sense of security. You generally do more lifting than you could buy a normal hip thrust.

How To Program Workout

As I stated earlier, you can practice Smith Machine hip thrusts until the point of failure. I would suggest performing them at the final stages of your workout. 3-4 sets with 15-20 repetitions.

#5 Single-Leg Glute Bridges

Any unilateral (one-sided) exercise can be a great method to correct muscle and strength imbalances on your left and right sides. Single-leg glute bridges are designed to target the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus.


  1. Place your feet down on your floor, and then bend your knees by bringing your heels closer to the glutes of your legs as is possible.
  2. Take your buttocks up off the floor while maintaining your shoulders, upper back, neck, and head on the ground.
  3. Straighten one leg and raise the other leg as far as you can.
  4. Inhale your glutes and lower them until they’re just above the floor.
  5. Bring your hips back to where they started, and stop in the middle for about 1-2 seconds.
  6. Complete the entire set on one side, and then repeat the same amount of reps for the next leg.


Single-leg glute bridges are incredibly versatile since you can build them using weights or your own weight.

Because you don’t need to be leaning against a bench or a box, it is possible to do single-leg glute bridges wherever.

They test your core and improve your proprioception (your body’s capacity to detect the location of its body in space) because your body needs to do more to prevent turning or twisting.


Because you’re only using one leg at a, you’re limited in terms of the weight you can lift for this workout.

How To Program Workout

Single-leg glute bridges are performed using light weights or bodyweights for 3 sets of 10 reps to warm up for the other lower-body moves.

They can also be done for up to 2-4 AMRAP sets (as many repetitions as is possible) per side to serve as an exercise for burnout or finishing after your exercise. Be sure to perform the same amount of reps on both sides.

You can also make them heavier by placing a dumbbell between your hips.

#6 Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks can be a powerful method to strengthen the glutes even if you aren’t able to access equipment or heavyweights. They focus on gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.


  1. Then, kneel down to the ground in a tabletop-like position with your back straight and your hands placed directly beneath your shoulders.
  2. Keep your foot flexed (i.e., your toes shouldn’t be pointing) and lift your leg upwards to see the foot’s lower part facing the ceiling.
  3. Inhale your glutes, squeeze them and elevate your leg towards the ceiling while keeping your legs straight at 90°. Be sure to stop before you begin to notice your lower back arch.
  4. Take your leg all down to its starting position. Complete the entire set and then switch sides.


Donkey kicks are a great choice to warm up for deadlifts and squats because they help prepare the lower gluteus medius muscles for lifting heavier weights.

There are no tools and can therefore be carried out anyplace.


Donkey kicks cannot be very heavy; therefore, they should not be considered your primary glute-training exercise.

How To Program Workout

Because you cannot use large weights that have donkey kicks, you’ll need to work harder reps to feel the muscles working. It is possible to do three sets of 15 reps as a warm-up for deadlifts and squats or 4 sets of 20-25 sets for a final exercise towards the end of your exercise.

#7 Banded Fire Hydrants

Like donkey kicks, banded fire hydrants focus on the gluteus medius muscle, which is often difficult to determine since many exercises focus on the gluteus maximus.


  1. Affix a bandage over the top of your knees.
  2. Place your knees on the floor, place your palms on the floor beneath your shoulders, and place your knees below your hips.
  3. While keeping the knee bent, extend one leg to your side until the outside portion of your leg is in line with the floor.
  4. You should take a break for a second before lowering the leg to the ground.
  5. Perform all your reps on one leg before switching sides.


All that’s needed is a band of resistance; you can build banded fire hydrants in your home or on the road.

Banded fire hydrants aren’t terribly difficult, so they’re great for those who are new to the field or cannot lift weights because of an injury.


While fire hydrants that are banded are great for warming up and finishers, as a supplement to exercise in combination with other glute and lower exercises for the body, they by themselves will not build muscle mass or strength because it’s not easy to load them.

How To Program Workout

Banded fire hydrants are the perfect warm-up to help you get your lower body ready for days. I suggest performing 2-3 rounds of 10-12 reps before the squat or deadlift exercise or 2 sets of 20 reps per side for a final workout.

#8 Cable Glute Kickbacks

Cable glute kickbacks need some stabilization from the hamstrings; however, the glutes are their principal driver. They focus on the 3 gluteal muscles.


  1. Make adjustments to a pulley mechanism on the cable machine to be at its lowest setting.
  2. Connect the ankle cuff to an ankle.
  3. Lean forward and attach yourself to the machine to ensure stability if you require it. Be sure that your back is straight.
  4. Maintain your leg that is not working with a small bent knee. Keep your other leg behind yours as far as possible, and then squeeze your glutes on the highest point.
  5. Return to your starting point and complete all repetitions on the same leg before switching legs.


If you can do glute kickbacks but don’t hold onto the machine, you’ll be able to focus on improving your balance because you’ll stand on only one leg.


They will require a cable machine, and you might not have one from home or in a small gym with a limited amount of equipment. It may be necessary to wait until the machine becomes accessible if you exercise in a commercial gym at peak times.

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How To Program Workout

Cable glute kickbacks can be a perfect exercise after your lower body workout. They can be done for fairly high reps; therefore, I’d suggest doing these for 4 sets of 15 for each leg.

#9 Banded Glute Kickbacks

Banded glute kickbacks offer another option to replace the glute kickback for those who cannot access an electric cable. Like the cable glute kickback, they target all three regions in the glutes.


  1. Put a bandage around your ankles, then stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. One leg should be pushed up directly in front of you, as far as it is possible. Be sure to go straight back, not out towards the side.
  3. Make sure you squeeze your glutes to the highest point.
  4. Return your leg to its beginning position and complete every rep in the same position before switching sides.


The banded glute kickback is the perfect exercise at home or while traveling since all you need is an elastic band.


Since you’re using a bandit isn’t able to overload the exercise enough to build an impressive amount of strength or muscles within the glutes.

How To Program Workout

Like other exercises for the banded glute, you can also utilize the banded glute kickbacks as an effective warm-up or finishing exercise. I suggest doing 2 sets of 10-12 for each leg to warm up and 3-4 sets of 10-15 for finishing.

#10 Lateral Band Walks

Lateral bands are a more energetic exercise for glute isolation targeted at the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.


  1. Place a band around your waist and put it on either your ankles or around your thighs, just over your knees.
  2. Begin by placing your feet spread hip-width apart.
  3. Kneel down to a half-squat.
  4. Step up toward the side on one leg.
  5. Reunite your feet with a step on another leg.
  6. Repeat the process until you’ve completed 10-12 steps. Walk back to where you began by guiding another leg.


Doing lateral band walks regularly encourages the knee to maintain its proper alignment and is essential to ensure good knee tracking during squats.


While lateral bands are an effective prehab or rehabilitation exercise, they don’t provide enough exercise that you can make significant gains in strength or muscle within the glutes.

How To Program Workout

You can use side-to-side band walks to warm up and prepare your glutes for squats and deadlifts. Do three groups of 10-12 steps on each side.

#11 Side-Lying Hip Abduction

The hip adduction that is side-lying also strengthens the hip flexors, so it’s not an actual glute isolation exercise; however, it is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles of the lower glutes, specifically that of the gluteus minimus.


  1. Place your wrist inside the band, just above your knees.
  2. Place your feet on the floor with your feet on one side. Keeping your bottom knee straight or bending your leg towards the knee with your feet is possible.
  3. Make sure your upper leg is straight so that it’s in a straight line with your torso and head.
  4. Lift your leg straight to the highest point you can. Then press your glutes to the highest point. Make sure your leg is aligned with your body and doesn’t shift in either direction.
  5. Then slowly lower it and do it again. You’ve completed all repetitions of one Switch side and completed the same amount of reps on the second leg.


Abduction is the process of removing your leg from your body. This makes the side-lying hip abduction an ideal exercise for athletes who wish to increase their coordination of side-to-side moves.

They can be performed anywhere, as long as they have an instrument.


Abductions of the hips that are side-ways can be painful if you suffer from an injury to your groin or hip.

How To Program Workout

Since this exercise isn’t overly difficult on joints, you can perform it for many repetitions. I suggest 3-4 sets of 20 repetitions for each side.

#12 Rainbow Kickbacks

Rainbow kickbacks require the glutes to move forward and backward and from side to side, making them a great exercise to strengthen your glutes from every angle. They strengthen the gluteus Maximus and gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus.


  1. Wrap a band around your thighs, just over your knees.
  2. Place your knees on the floor, with your hands resting on the floor directly under your shoulders. Place your knees placed under your hips.
  3. Straighten one leg, then bring it back towards the side until it’s diagonal with the remainder of your body.
  4. Then, lift the same leg and bend your foot in an arch crossed over the other leg. Make sure your leg stays straight.
  5. Make sure your foot is gently touched on the ground.
  6. With the same arching movement, then return the leg to the position it was in before.
  7. Perform all reps on the same side before switching sides.


There are no machines or weights to perform them.

You can also perform these with ankle weights when you don’t have an ankle band.


Even if you opt for an ankle weight in place of an elastic band, you won’t be able to increase a load of this motion because ankle weights can only be increased to a certain level of weight.

How To Program Workout

Because they are low-impact exercises, they can be done with many repetitions. I suggest 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps for each leg.

Exercises To Avoid For Isolating Your Glutes

While many lower body movements are based on glutes, some exercises involve different muscle groups, such as the hamstrings or quads. Therefore, they’re not the ideal exercises when you want to really isolate your glutes.

#1 Squats

Squats do more than just glutes. They focus on the quads, core, lower back, hamstrings, hip extensors, and lower back. They’re among the most effective lower-body compound exercises that you can perform. However, they’re not one to consider if you’re trying to strengthen the glutes and are looking to stay away from exercising your other lower-body muscles.

#2 Bulgarian Split Squats

Although you can work your glutes by keeping your working leg ahead of you during the Bulgarian split squat, it requires lots of effort from the quads, hamstrings, and calves.

#3 Romanian Deadlifts

The glutes function in driving your hips forward when you lift your torso up to stand in Romanian deadlifts. However, they’re not just the one muscle to be targeted. This exercise also targets the lower back, hamstrings, and core.

Last Words

Strengthening your glutes is crucial for a round-booty shape, functional strength, and injury prevention in some of the most vulnerable joints within your body. The glutes help support your upper body and stabilize your hips and knees. Gym exercises for glutes are crucial when you spend a lot of time sitting, as an unhealthy lifestyle can cause them to weaken.


  • Todd Miller

    Todd Miller is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has been a CrossFit athlete and coach for over 8 years, and he is passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall health and wellness. As an author at FitGAG, Todd shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics related to CrossFit, including functional fitness movements, Olympic weightlifting, and overall health and wellness. He believes that CrossFit is a fun and effective way to improve overall fitness and well-being, and he strives to inspire his readers to incorporate CrossFit into their fitness routines. Through his articles, Todd aims to provide his readers with practical tips and strategies for optimizing their performance and achieving their fitness goals.

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