Build the Perfect Underbutt: The 8 Best Lower Glute Exercises – Fitness Volt (2024)

From an anatomical perspective, there is no such muscle as the lower glutes. The gluteus maximus is one big muscle, and unlike the trapezius, deltoids, and the quadriceps, it is not made up of several different heads.

That said, there are exercises you can perform that preferentially target the bottom-most fibers of your butt, i.e., your lower glutes or under-butt.

In this article, we reveal how to train your lower glutes and develop a perfect under-butt, AKA butt crease.

Table of Contents Hide

  • Get to Know Your Glutes
  • Gluteus maximus
    • Gluteus medius
    • Gluteus minimus
    • Tensor fascia latae
    • Hamstrings
  • The 8 Best Lower Glute Exercises
    • 1. B-stance hip thrust
    • 2. Deficit reverse lunge
    • 3. Single-leg Romanian deadlift
    • 4. Frog squats
    • 5. Glute kickbacks
    • 6. Donkey kicks
    • 7. High step-ups
    • 8. Stability ball hip lift and leg curl
  • 20-Minute Workout for Lower Glutes and a Better Under-Butt
  • Additional Activities to Improve Glute Strength
    • Take the stairs rather than the elevator
    • Go hiking
    • Hill walking, running and sprinting
    • Racket sports
    • Dancing and martial arts
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Closing Thoughts

Get to Know Your Glutes

Glutes is usually short for gluteus maximus. However, there are other muscles that make up the glute complex that are no less important.

Providing you use the best glute exercises, you should have no problem building a muscular under-butt. Still, it’s often helpful to know a little about the underlying anatomy of the muscles you want to develop.

And don’t for a moment underestimate the importance of the glutes. They are biomechanically similar to your deltoids or shoulder muscles. In fact, some people call them the deltoids of the hip!

The muscles that make up the glutes complex are:

Build the Perfect Underbutt: The 8 Best Lower Glute Exercises – Fitness Volt (1)

Gluteus maximus

This is the muscle you are currently sitting on, but it’s more than just somewhere convenient to sit! The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body and potentially the most powerful. Located on the back and side of your hip, the functions of the gluteus maximus are:

  • Hip extension
  • Hip lateral (external) rotation
  • Hip abduction (superior or upper portion)
  • Hip adduction (inferior or lower portion)

Gluteus medius

The gluteus medius is located above and beneath the gluteus maximus near the iliac crest of the pelvis. It works alongside the gluteus maximus and also has some additional functions.

  • Hip abduction (movement away from the midline of the body)
  • Hip medial (internal) rotation
  • Pelvis stabilization

Gluteus minimus

This is a small triangle-shaped muscle located within the posterior aspect of the hip. Like the gluteus medius, the gluteus minimus also works alongside the gluteus maximus, and its functions are:

  • Hip abduction
  • Hip medial rotation
  • Pelvis stabilization

Tensor fascia latae

Meaning white tissue, the TFL is part of the glute complex despite not having the word gluteus in its name. It’s a biaxial muscle which means it crosses two joints – the hip and the knee. As part of the glute group, TFL is involved in the following:

  • Hip internal rotation
  • Hip abduction
  • Pelvis stabilization

Hamstrings

While the hamstrings are NOT part of the glute complex, they’re an essential muscle for building the ultimate under-butt crease. The hamstrings pass under the glutes and attach to the bottom of your pelvis.

As such, they “tie in” to your glutes, and developing your hamstrings will only enhance the appearance of your lower butt. The three hamstrings are semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris, and their functions are:

  • Hip extension
  • Knee flexion

The 8 Best Lower Glute Exercises

While there is no way to isolate your lower glutes, it is possible to emphasize the fibers of your under-butt. Here are eight of the best lower glute exercises for building a more prominent butt crease.

1. B-stance hip thrust

Unlike regular hip thrusts, the B-stance hip thrust loads one leg at a time for a more demanding lower glute and hamstring workout. This is an excellent move for building a picture-perfect under-butt. Do it with or without weights as preferred.

Steps:

  1. Sit on the floor with your back against a sturdy exercise bench. Bend your legs and place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Move one leg forward and pull your toes up so you’re resting on your heel. This is your kickstand or helper leg and not the main focus of the exercise.
  3. Drive your supporting foot into the floor, pushing through your heel to maximally engage your glutes and hamstrings. Push your hips up until your thighs and abdomen are roughly parallel to the floor.
  4. Lower your butt back to the floor and repeat for the desired number of reps.
  5. Switch sides and repeat, doing the same number of reps on the other leg.

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings.
  • Secondary: Abductors, adductors, core.

Benefits:

  • A very lower-back-friendly exercise.
  • Suitable for all levels of fitness.
  • Work one side of your glutes at a time to address any left-to-right strength imbalances.

Tips:

  • Rest and hold a barbell across your hips to make this exercise more challenging.
  • Experiment with the position of your kickstand leg. The further you move away from your supporting leg, the harder the exercise becomes.
  • If you find shifting your weight from side to side awkward, just keep both feet flat on the floor and do regular glute bridges. They’re not quite as hard but maybe more comfortable for some people.

2. Deficit reverse lunge

While all lunge variations work your glutes, the deficit reverse lunge turns glute activation up to the max! Increasing the range of motion at your hip means your lower glutes and hamstrings have a lot more work to do. This is a very effective leg and lower glute exercise.

Steps:

  1. Set up a low platform, such as an aerobic step or one or two stacked weight plates. Your platform should be about 3-8 inches high. The higher the platform, the more demanding this exercise becomes.
  2. Stand on the platform with your feet together and bend your knees slightly for balance and stability. Brace your core, pull your shoulders down and back, and look straight ahead.
  3. Take a step back, place the ball of your foot on the floor, bend your legs, and lower your rear knee down to about an inch above the floor. Your back knee must descend below the level of your front foot for this exercise to work.
  4. Lean forward slightly for balance and to increase engagement of the target muscles. However, take care not to round your lower back, as doing so could lead to injury.
  5. Push off your back leg and return to the platform.
  6. Step off with the other leg and repeat.
  7. Alternate legs for the duration of your set.

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps.
  • Secondary: Abductors, adductors, core.

Benefits:

  • A very knee and lower-back-friendly exercise.
  • Good for improving hip and knee mobility.
  • A useful balance exercise.

Tips:

  • Hold dumbbells by your sides, a kettlebell in front of your chest, or a barbell across your shoulders to make this exercise even harder.
  • Take a bigger step back to emphasize your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Most of the weight should be on your front leg. Using your rear leg for anything more than balance and a small amount of assistance will make this move far less effective.

3. Single-leg Romanian deadlift

The single-leg Romanian deadlift works your glutes and hamstrings pretty equally. However, standing on one leg also fires up your hip abductors and adductors, which must work harder than usual to stabilize your hips and knees. This is a challenging exercise, but the payoff is huge!

Steps:

  1. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Hold a weight, e.g., kettlebell or dumbbell, in your left hand.
  2. Shirt your weight onto your right foot and bend your knee slightly for balance and support.
  3. Hinging from your hips, lean forward and extend your left leg out behind you for balance.
  4. Lower the weight down your leg to just above the floor, taking care not to round your lower back.
  5. Stand back up and repeat.

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings.
  • Secondary: Erector spinae, core, abductors, adductors.

Benefits:

  • Train each side of your glutes separately to fix any left-to-right imbalances.
  • A functional exercise that improves strength, balance, and mobility.
  • Very lower back and knee-friendly.
  • A challenging glute move that’s ideal for more experienced exercisers.

Tips:

  • Do this exercise without weights if you need an easier workout.
  • Stand next to a wall for balance if required.
  • Try holding a weight in both hands to make the exercise even more challenging.

4. Frog squats

You don’t need a whole lot of expensive exercise equipment to sculpt the perfect under-butt. In fact, you can work on your butt crease at home without weights or machines. The frog squat is a hip-hinge exercise using your body weight for resistance. Yet, despite this, it’s still very effective.

Steps:

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly outward. Clasp your hands together in front of your chest, just below your chin.
  2. Squat down, so your elbows lightly touch your knees. This is your starting position.
  3. Keeping your elbows on your knees, push your butt back and up as far as possible, and descend back into a squat. Try not to round your lower back too much.
  4. Continue for the prescribed number of reps.

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Gluteus maximus, quadriceps.
  • Secondary: Hamstrings.

Benefits:

  • No equipment required – do this exercise anywhere and anytime.
  • An excellent lower glute exercise for beginners.
  • Develops hamstring flexibility as well as toning your butt.

Tips:

  • Increase glute activation by using a booty band.
  • Stretch your hamstrings before doing this exercise for a greater range of motion and to make it more comfortable.
  • Push your weight down through your heels to increase glute activation.

5. Glute kickbacks

While there is nothing wrong with freeweight glute exercises, using a cable machine may be better. Cables keep your muscles under constant tension through a larger range of motion, so they could potentially produce superior butt-building results.

Steps:

  1. Putt the cuff around one ankle and attach it to a low cable machine. Take a step back from the machine to tension the cable. Hold onto the frame for balance and support.
  2. Shifting your weight onto one leg, allow your other leg to move forward before smoothly extending it to the rear. Push your leg back as far as you can without hyperextending your hip or lower back.
  3. Swing your leg forward again and repeat.
  4. Switch sides and do the same number of reps with the other leg.

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings.
  • Secondary: Core, erector spinae.

Benefits:

  • Cables keep the target muscles under constant tension.
  • An easy exercise to learn and master.
  • No back stress to worry about.
  • Train both legs equally to ensure even muscular development.

Tips:

  • You can also do this exercise with a resistance bandinstead of a cable.
  • Mimic this exercise with ankle weights and kneeling on the floor.
  • Turn your foot slightly outward to increase lower glute engagement.

6. Donkey kicks

Donkey kicks are a very convenient exercise for your lower glutes and hamstrings. You don’t need any special equipment to do it, so it’s ideal for home exercisers and when you are traveling. Donkey kicks are a staple of many group exercise classes, which is a good indicator that it is an effective butt-crease builder.

Steps:

  1. Kneel down on all fours so your shoulders are directly over your hands and your hips are over your knees. Your arms should be straight, hands about shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing forward. Tuck your chin in and lengthen your neck.
  2. Brace your core and ensure your lumbar spine is neutral, i.e., slightly arched.
  3. Extending your hip, and keeping your knee bent, lift one leg out and behind you, pushing your heel up toward the ceiling.
  4. Take care NOT to hyperextend your lower back. Instead, keep your hips/anterior pelvis pointing straight down at the floor.
  5. Lower your leg back down and repeat on the same side or alternate legs as preferred.
  6. Make this exercise harder by wearing ankle weights.

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Glutes, hamstrings.
  • Secondary: Core, lower back.

Benefits:

  • No equipment required, so you can do donkey kicks anywhere and any time.
  • Very little lower back stress.
  • An ideal exercise for beginners.

Tips:

  • Think about leading with your heel to increase glute muscle activation.
  • Wear ankle weights to make this exercise more challenging.
  • You can also do donkey kicks while wearing a booty band for a more intense under-butt workout.

7. High step-ups

Step-ups are often viewed as a cardio exercise, and that’s true if you use a low step and do lots of reps. However, if you switch to a high step, this exercise will work your legs far more, especially your hamstrings and lower glutes. This is a very functional and effective under-butt exercise.

Steps:

  1. Stand in front of a sturdy step that’s slightly higher than knee-height.
  2. Lift one foot and place it on the step.
  3. Driving down through your heel, step up and onto the platform.
  4. Step down with the same foot leading and repeat.
  5. Do the required number of reps and then switch sides. Do the same number of reps on both legs.

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps.
  • Secondary: Core calves.

Benefits:

  • A very knee-friendly exercise.
  • Easy to make easier or harder by adjusting the height of the step.
  • Good for developing better balance and coordination.

Tips:

  • Focus on pushing down through your heels to emphasize your glutes and hamstrings. Try not to push off the floor too much.
  • Make this exercise even more challenging by holding dumbbells down at your sides.
  • Use an alternating leg action if preferred.

8. Stability ball hip lift and leg curl

Many people limit their use of stability balls to the occasional set of crunches. The truth is that stability balls are much more versatile than a lot of exercisers realize, and they can be used for a wide range of effective exercises. This is a VERY potent move for your lower glutes and hamstrings.

Steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and feet resting on a stability ball. Place your hands on the floor by your side for balance.
  2. Push your heels into the ball to lift your butt off the floor, so your body is straight.
  3. Next, bend your legs and curl the ball in toward you. Push your hips up to the ceiling as you roll the ball in.
  4. Push the ball away so your legs are straight, and then lower your hips back down to the floor.
  5. That’s one rep – keep going!

Muscles targeted:

  • Primary: Glutes, hamstrings.
  • Secondary: Core, lower back.

Benefits:

  • A comprehensive posterior chain workout.
  • Good for developing better balance and coordination.
  • No lower back strain to worry about.
  • A very functional hip and hamstring exercise.

Tips:

  • The smaller the exercise ball, the harder this exercise becomes.
  • Do not lower your hips between reps to keep your muscles under tension for longer.
  • Strong exercisers can do this move using one leg at a time.

20-Minute Workout for Lower Glutes and a Better Under-Butt

While you could just do a few of these exercises in the hope that you’ll build an impressive under-butt, you’ll undoubtedly get better results if you follow a more structured training plan.

Here is a tried-and-tested under-butt workout that you can complete in under 20-minutes. Do it once or twice a week to develop a butt crease you can be proud of!

But, before you begin, make sure you take a moment to warm up, so you’ll be able to give your workout everything you’ve got without risking an injury. Start with 5-10 minutes of easy cardio followed by a few dynamic mobility and flexibility exercisesfor your hips, knees, and lower back.

Ready? Then let’s get to work!

#Exercise SetsRepsRecovery
1Single-leg Romanian deadlift48-10 per leg90 seconds
2Reverse deficit lunge310-12 per leg90 seconds
3aFrog squat212-1560 seconds
3b High step-up (alternating)12-15 per leg

Exercises 3a and 3b are to be performed as a superset. So, do one set of 12-15 frog squats and then, without resting, do a set of high step-ups with an alternating leg action. Rest for 60-seconds and then repeat the pairing one more time.

Additional Activities to Improve Glute Strength

Strength training is arguably the most effective and efficient way to build the butt of your dreams. However, there are several additional activities you can do that may increase glute strength and make your glute-day workouts even more productive.

Look for ways to slot the following activities into your day to enhance your glute-building progress!

Take the stairs rather than the elevator

We’ve already told you how step-ups are a great glute exercise, so it stands to reason that walking upstairs could offer similar benefits. Make this activity more glute-centric by taking two steps at a time. Look for opportunities to walk upstairs, such as at the mall, parking garage, or at work.

Go hiking

Believe it or not, heading into the countryside for a hike is a great way to work your butt. Walking on rough surfaces forces you to stabilize your knees and hips, which increases glute activation. Give your butt an even better workout by hiking uphill. Carry a backpack for a more intense workout that will build fitness and burn fat as you sculpt your butt.

Hill walking, running and sprinting

Walking, running, and sprinting uphill all require a powerful hip extension, which provides your glutes with an effective workout. In addition, all these activities are excellent calorie burners and great for improving your fitness.

Whether you go uphill on a treadmill or head outdoors, walking, running, and sprinting uphill are all fast-track exercises for a firmer, more muscular butt.

Racket sports

Racket sports, such as tennis, badminton, and squash, involve a lot of lunging. Players lunge to reach the ball when it’s out of their reach. Lunges are a great glute exercise, and you could end up doing dozens of ballistic lunges over the course of a game. Fencing is another sport that involves a lot of lunges.

Playing sports is a great way to disguise your glute training and make it more fun.

Dancing and martial arts

Dancing and martial arts might seem like an odd combination, and we’re not suggesting that you should do them at the same time, but they are both excellent workouts for your glutes. Dancing and martial arts both involve kicks, lunges and balancing on one leg, all of which are very glute-centric activities.

In addition, because they’re very mentally engaging, dancing and martial art workouts tend to be enjoyable and pass quickly, even when you work out hard and for lengthy periods. So, give dancing or martial arts a try if you want fun while building your best-ever butt!

Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about your lower glutes or glute training in general? No worries; we’ve got the answers!

1. Why are my glutes soft, small, or weak?

In many cases, glutes are weak from lack of use. Sure, you may train them a couple of times a week, but for the rest of the time, you spend most of your day sitting on your butt instead of flexing it!

All this inactivity causes atrophy and weakens the nerve impulses that feed your glutes. In short, they become lazy and start to turn off. This is sometimes called “glute amnesia,” but this term is somewhat incorrect as your glutes don’t have a memory, so they can’t really forget how to work.

The good news is that the glutes are highly trainable, and hitting them a few times a week and being more physically active generally will soon bring them back “online.”

Focusing on your mind-muscle connection will also help. Practice contracting your glutes before your workout and on your days off, too. The better you are at tensing a muscle, the more effectively you can train it, and the firmer your glutes will be, even at rest.

Finally, look for daily opportunities to use your glutes more. Take stairs two at a time, walk whenever you can, and even standing on one leg while brushing your teeth will provide your glutes with mini-workouts throughout the day.

Related: What Foods Make Your Butt Bigger

2. How many times a week should I train my glutes?

Three times a week is a good place to start for most people. This provides a good balance between work and recovery. For example, you could train your glutes and lower body Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and your upper body Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

If you can’t manage three times a week, twice should suffice. However, one workout per week probably won’t be enough to produce good results.

3. What rep range should I use for my glute workouts?

Your rep range is goal and exercise-dependent. To build strength, you need to lift heavy weights for low reps, i.e., 1-5. Of course, such heavy loads are not practical for some glute exercises.

To build muscle, you can use light to moderate weights and do anywhere from 6-35 reps per set.

Generally, the lower end of the scale is best for compound exercises, while the higher end is more suitable for isolation or single-joint movements.

When training for hypertrophy or muscle growth, ensure that you take your sets to within 1-3 reps of failure. Easier sets will not trigger much muscle growth.

4. How many sets should I do per week for my glutes?

The accepted number of sets per muscle group per week is 10-20. Beginners and older exercisers should do 10-14, while younger and more advanced exercisers can work up to 15-20. However, more sets will not produce better results.

These sets should be evenly spread over your workouts. For example, if you want to do 15 sets for your glutes per week, you could do three workouts, each consisting of five sets for the target muscle.

5. How long does it take to grow bigger glutes?

You should start seeing results from your training in 6-8 weeks, providing you are pushing yourself hard, getting plenty of rest and sleep, and being consistent. Your diet must also support your training.

That doesn’t mean you need to go on a diet, but what you eat needs to be healthy and provide the correct number of calories based on your goals.

Read more about how to create the perfect diet here.

6. Why won’t my glutes grow?

Your body will respond to your workouts unless you are doing something wrong. Common reasons for not achieving muscle growth include:

  • Failing to consume enough protein – you need between 0.7 to 1.0 grams per pound of body weight.
  • Not training hard enough – you must train to within 1-3 reps of failure.
  • Not training often enough – once a week or less won’t cut it!
  • Skipping too many workouts – even the best glute exercises and workouts will not work if you don’t do them. You MUST be consistent.
  • Training too hard, long, or often – your body has a limited capacity for recovery. If you work out hard seven days a week, your muscles won’t have the time or energy needed for growth.
  • Not getting enough sleep – your muscles do most of their growing when you’re sleeping. So you need 6-8 hours per night, and not just at weekends!
  • It’s not been long enough – it takes time for your body to start responding to your workouts. If you’ve only been training for a few weeks, you probably won’t see many changes yet. So be patient and stick with it.

7. How can I get more from my glute workouts and exercises?

One of the best ways to increase glute activation during leg workouts is to use a booty band. A booty band is a wide, short resistance band you wear around your knees.

When you push your knees outward, e.g., during B-stance hip thrusts or frog squats, you’ll have to work harder to stabilize your hips which increases glute activation, particularly gluteus minimus and medius.

You can use a booty bend when doing many exercises, including freeweight, machine, and resistance band movements. You can do many of the exercises in this guide with a booty band to make them more glute-centric.

8. Why are my glutes so sore after training them?

That soreness you can feel after training your glutes is called delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. It usually comes on 24-48 after a workout and can from last several days to a week.

While the exact cause of DOMS is unclear, it may be linked to muscle microtrauma, lactate build-up, or localized inflammation. DOMS is typically worse after doing a new exercise, training longer or harder than usual, or returning to exercise after a long break, e.g., a vacation or illness.

Because of something called the “repeated bout effect,” DOMS is usually less severe after a few weeks of consistent training. It’s as though your muscles get used to your workout and no longer respond by getting sore.

The one thing we do know about DOMS is that it is NOT an indicator that you’ve had a good workout or that your muscles are growing. It just signifies that you’ve done something new or worked harder than your muscles are used to.

So, there is no reason to try and trigger DOMS and no reason to fear it. And while mild DOMS is nothing to worry about, DOMS that is so severe that it impedes your ability to move around is a problem that’s best avoided.

You can read more about DOMS and how to avoid it here.

9. How do I work my glutes without building legs?

Unfortunately, a lot of glute exercises also work your legs. Squats, leg presses, and deadlifts are all obvious examples of this. However, there are also plenty of glute exercises that don’t challenge your quads and hamstrings. These are called isolation exercises.

So, if you want to work your glutes without building your legs, you need to focus on movements that involve your hips but not your knees. Cable kickbacks, donkey kicks, and glute bridges are all good examples.

Closing Thoughts

So, while the lower glutes are not a muscle you can isolate, it is possible to emphasize the lowermost fibers of the glutes by doing specific exercises and activities. Hitting these fibers will help develop your under-butt or butt crease.

There are plenty of exercises to choose from, including glute bridge, step-up, and lunge variations. Activities like stair climbing, hiking, and racket sports can also help you build a butt crease to be proud of.

However, it will take time, effort, and discipline to build your lower butt, so you must commit to the process and hit your lower glutes at least twice a week. And remember, your diet must support your training, or your progress will suffer.

But, if you persevere, you too can have a jaw-dropping, eye-popping super-butt!

This article was written by Patrick Dale, a Training Editor with 30 years of experience in Personal Training and Strength & Conditioning. Passionate about accuracy and reliability, Patrick delivers content that is both informative and engaging. Should you have any questions or require further clarification on this article, please leave a comment below. Patrick is dedicated to addressing your queries promptly.

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