Huge muscles like the glutes require a lot of energy to work and maintain operations. Exercising and developing the glutes burns a large amount of calories both during and after workouts.
I’ve listed the following buttock exercises down in order of difficulty so you should become proficient with each one before moving on to the next. I’ve also included a Kettle bell butt workout for you at the bottom of this article.
This is the simplest of buttock exercises but you can make it as hard or as easy as you wish by increasing the weight. This exercise can be a little tricky but it is very important for developing coordination between your core, glutes and back.
Top tip — always keep your back flat and just fold forwards and backwards from the hips. As you probably know by now the kettle bell swing is a huge exercise for the whole body but it does predominantly focus on the glutes.
The swing does not use a 90 degree knee bend like later exercises so most attention is focused on the back of the body. Top tip — forget about your arms and shoulders it is the hips that should do all the work.
A classic full body movement that is essential for developing the glutes. It is essential that you squat so that your knees bend a full 90 degrees otherwise you are putting more of the focus on your thighs than your glutes.
Perform these with or without a kettle bell or a dumbbell, medicine ball, power-bag, barbell, or anything else you can hold. Top tip : keep your weight back on your heels and prevent your knees from caving inwards.
The kneeling lunge teaches you to activate your glutes correctly by forcing a 90-degree angle at the knee. Practice on a mat or padded floor and start without a weight just to get used to the movement.
Lunges are tough if performed correctly and will hit your glutes very hard. Top tip — work on your lunge depth, the more knee bend you can get the greater the impact on your glutes.
The Pistol is a true test of leg and buttock strength as well as balance and core stability. Top tip — you can practice by sitting and standing from a chair or by holding a resistance band or Tax.
Often holding a small weight can help counterbalance the movement and make it easier. Working your glutes is the most important muscle group that you can focus your energy upon.
Getting straight to your buttocks or glutes during your workouts will ensure that you burn the most amount of calories, improve your movement skills and protect yourself from and help eliminate back pain. Kettle bells offer the convenient size and portability of a dumbbell, Danielle explained, while presenting a unique difficulty all their own: the spherical weight of the kettle bell can be anywhere from six to eight inches from the hand, which adds “an unparalleled challenge for core stability and stabilizer muscles,” Danielle told Popular.
With kettle bells, basically every move is all about the hips, so it’s not shocker that they’re a great tool for boosting the glutes. “Due to the versatility of the handle and how the weight is distributed, kettle bells add another dimension to weight lifting: the need to counterbalance, which improves stability and balance, particularly in the glutes,” says Lisa Reed, CSS, a Hard style Kettle bell Certified instructor and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness.
“The kettle bell can be hiked back to load the glutes with as much resistance as a dead lift, plus you can rep consecutively without interruption because of the kettle bell ’s nature,” says Paul Vivaria, a personal trainer and Russian Kettle bell certified instructor at New York Health & Racquet Club. These workouts, designed by Vivaria and Reed, use kettle bells along with traditional lifts and plyometric moves for the most, ahem, well-rounded glute -strengthening results.
Crocodile breathing (lie face down, hands under forehead, inhale through nose into belly; exhale even slower) Quadruped hip cars, each side (on hands and knees, slowly lift one foot up, fully extending glute, then circle the leg slowly from the hip, alternating directions)
Segmental cat cow (on hands and knees, slowly arch back from lower back, middle, upper, then switch the curve just as slowly) Quadruped shoulder cars, each side (on hands and knees, raise one arm straight out in front of you, then slowly circle it all the way around; switch directions)
Aim to use very heavy weight; If you hit the top reps easily, go heavier. 8 Bulgarian split squat (foot elevated), each side (loaded if desired)
KB farmer’s carry until grip isn’t firm Do 10 reps of each exercise in the workout at a lighter weight.
Do 10 reps of each exercise in the workout at a lighter weight 5 racked single-arm KB lateral lunges, each side (hold weight in opposite hand of moving leg)
Do 10 reps of each exercise in the workout at a lighter weight In the gym, strong glutes are needed to move weight and keep our pelvis stable.
For sports, we need our glutes for power production, maintaining our center of mass, and much more. And in daily life, we need strong glutes because they can contribute to healthy movement mechanics (gait), while also, attracting significant others… kidding !
We recently put together three of our favorite kettle bell exercises for building strong glutes, and we guarantee you’re not already doing these in your program. Before we dive into the exercises, let’s first cover the glute Maximus and medium’ anatomy and function.
The glutes play such a large role in pelvis stability and everyday life that we need to frequently explore different exercise variations to best target the dynamic nature that the glutes play in our daily lives. This variation is fantastic for targeting the glute medium and can do wonders for working pelvis and knee stability.
Lower yourself slowly like a traditional split squat, then rotate 30-45 degrees toward the working leg. The single-leg dead lift with a contralateral load is another amazing unilateral training option for explosive glute gains.
Begin the dead lift and push the offset foot against the wall and slowly lower yourself down. Once you’ve achieved depth, lift back up and return to your starting position and contract the glutes.
Maintaining a consistent hip and knee position, lift the dumbbell thinking “roll up” with the back. Slowly lower the weight with control and focus on maintaining your hip position the whole time.
A goal that keeps cropping up with my clients is glute development because people want big, round butts. Sitting on your glutes for extended periods causes the brain to forget how to activate them.
You should be able to flex each cheek as easily as you can tap your big toe while your hamstrings remain completely relaxed. Sitting in chairs for extended periods, for years on end, pulls the pelvis into a posterior tilt.
This means that in normal posture, the tail bone is a little tucked under and the lower back is flatter than optimal. People with this posture type almost always have an underdeveloped butt because when the pelvis is in this position the hamstrings will always cheat the glutes out of a job.
Optimally, the neck should flex first (to look at the object you’re picking up, say), then the hips, then the mid-back (thoracic spine) and only then, if the everyday task demands it would the lower back go into noticeable flexion×. When the lower back is first to flex, for the many times per day that you bend over, excessive compression of the lumbar disks is caused.
The glutes are required for locomotive activities such as running, but the overactive hamstrings become the prime movers therefore become very partial to injury. Before I’m criticized for suggesting that we’re supposed to bend like stiff robots, I want to clarify that all joints of the spine and hips flex a little to initiate all everyday bending or hinging patterns.
Whereas, for optimal safe movement, most of the flexion should come from the hips and thoracic spine, first. In a training environment (with exercises such as dead lifts and swings) flexing from the lower back first leads to disc damage.
When a lower back flexes and rotates that’s like the perfect storm for lumbar disc injury. Let’s use our time in the gym to make us better at real life and relearn good, strong movement and lifting patterns.
Medium threshold: moderate load, slightly more complex pattern (such as lunges) Here’s an excerpt from a tongue-in-cheek section within a strength coaching manual I once wrote for a well-known fitness education company:
“The posterior chain is meant to work synergistically and in unison with the other ten (or so) myocardial lines. Teaching one chain of fascia to work hard while the rest remain dormant is a violation of common sense.
Isolating the lower back, glutes and hamstrings while the feet are strapped in causes a neurological misfiring and a detriment to human movement. Patterning multiple reps of lumbar flexion eccentrically controlled by the lower back, especially for the chair-bound masses could very well lead to bulging disks in the future.
If the world changes and there’s suddenly a daily requirement for everyday people to hang over the side of a boat with a friend holding their feet and repeatedly pick penguins out of the water, our opinion on the functionality of the God will stay the same. Hold the kettle bell by the horns and rest your wrists on your pelvis so the hips (glutes) do the work.
The lower back is made up mostly of tonic, stability muscles that like to hold gentle isometric (same length) contractions all day long. They hold the vulnerable lower back in place while the powerful hips drive movement.
If these are asked to lengthen and shorten to create movement for the entire body injury tends to occur. Glutes, on the other hand, are physic prime mover muscles that like to produce powerful contractions for very short periods.
Because that’s the pattern they’ve taught their nervous system by spending too long in a chair. Inhale: break the knee and drive the butt back, keeping the tail bone high
Exhale: return to the top position, squeeze the glutes and stand tall This is the great white shark of exercises—it’s at the top of the food chain and doesn’t need to evolve.
In order for the glutes to be the main driver during a hip hinge (as opposed to the hamstrings), the knees must flex to approximately 20-25 degrees. The pendulum swing also involves rotating at the bottom then scooping the knees forward.
This sends the kettle bell in an upward trajectory (required for the sport) and makes torso rotation, quads and hamstrings the main drivers for the movement, instead of the glutes. Inhale: break knees and drive butt back while keeping pelvic floor engaged.
The kettle bell only floats as far as the power of your hips drives it—which should be between belt and chest level. Aside from loosely hooking the kettle bell, the arm and shoulder plays no part in the upswing.
At the top of every swing, stand as tall as can be and clench your butt, quads and hamstrings hard. The snatch is a swing, but the kettle bell ends in the overhead position instead of floating to chest height.
The most common problems with peoples’ snatches are: hip hinge too shallow, rotation is allowed, lack of shoulder ability to own the overhead position, hook-grip too weak to catch the falling kettle bell. It doesn’t take many glute swings, even with a light load, to make your butt feel like it’s about to explode.
The glute swing is one of the hardest of all exercises to perform safely because the risk of the swinger’s lower back flexing is so high. Lumbar flexion not only makes this dangerous, but ineffective because the lower back and hamstrings become the main drivers instead of the glutes.
During hinge exercises where torso rotation is involved it’s critical for the lumbar spine to remain in a sagittal neutral position. When the lumbar spine flexes, these articular processes drift apart and rotation is allowed to occur.
Super simple and accessible, provided there’s a basic level of hip mobility in place. A high-value exercise that develops stable shoulders, a mobile mid-back, a strong torso as well as working the glutes and patterning a good hip hinge.
Plantar flexing the back ankle allows more range of motion for the hip therefore gets into the glute more. The fact that the other hip is extended helps keep an optimal pelvic posture for hitting the glute.
Exhale: keeping your body upright, drive your front heel down without using the back foot for help. Firing up the glutes reciprocally inhibits the hip flexors, which are usually super tight on most people.
I mean, they’re literally cannonballs with handles,” says Lore McFadden, certified personal trainer and owner of Positive Force Movement, a gym in Rochester, New York, that’s committed to working with people who have historically not felt welcomed by the fitness industry. McFadden says while not everyone absolutely has to use every type of strength-training equipment, for some, getting past that first bit of kettle bell intimidation can be motivating.
The process of going from intimidation to expertise is incredibly empowering,” McFadden says, adding that when you think about it, that sort of growth is what we take with us from the gym into real life. “To embark on such a journey inevitably increases a person’s awareness of their self-efficacy, which builds a healthy self-regard that will be there for them whenever they encounter intimidating conversations or situations in life outside the gym.”
“The kettle bell is an excellent option for many people who are interested in building strength, conditioning, and/or mobility safely and sustainably,” McFadden says. It’s best known for its use in explosive movements—like the kettle bell swing —that help you build strength and power while increasing your heart rate at the same time.
Specifically, your core has to engage throughout to keep your body stable as you do these compound movements. As you do these lower-body kettle bell exercises, always keep form top of mind and listen to your body.
There isn’t a rep or a weight in the world that is worth injuring yourself over.” Those are good words to live by when it comes to any exercise or workout ! She teaches classes in person at her studio, Fitness by Sarah Taylor, and offers online programs as well.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a kettle bell with both hands by the handle, arms relaxed in front of your body. Hinge at your hips, bend your knees slightly, and push your butt back to perform a dead lift, slowly lowering the weight down toward the ground.
Pause at bottom, then slowly stand back up to return to starting position. Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower and grab the kettle bell with both hands by the top of the handle.
Immediately lower into a squat, shifting your weight into your heels and pushing your hips back as you bend your knees. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, holding a kettle bell in each hand at your shoulders.
Hold the weights by the handles, using an overhand grip so that your palms are facing forward and the bells are resting on your shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent, holding a kettle bell in each hand by the handle, arms relaxed by your sides with your palms facing each other.
Hinge at your hips, bend your knees slightly, and push your butt back to perform a dead lift, slowly lowering the weights down toward the floor. Pause at bottom, then slowly stand back up to return to starting position.
With a soft bend in your knees, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and grab the handle with both hands. Hike the bell high up in your groin area (your wrists should touch high on your inner thigh) and thrust your hips forward aggressively so that at the top of the swing, you are essentially in a standing plank, looking straight ahead, squeezing your core, glutes, and quads.
When you’re done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs, but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back on the floor. With a soft bend in your knees, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and grab the handle with your right hand.
Hike the bell high up in your groin area (your wrists should touch high in your inner thigh) and thrust your hips forward aggressively so that at the top of the swing, you are essentially in a standing plank, looking straight ahead, squeezing your core, glutes, and quads. Hinge forward at your hips and push your butt back again, letting the bell drop on its own as you do.
When you’re done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs, but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back on the floor. Hold the weights by the handles, using an overhand grip so that your palms are facing forward and the bells are hanging down and resting on your shoulders.
Bend both knees until your left quad and right shin are approximately parallel to the floor. Your torso should lean slightly forward so your back is flat and not arched or rounded.
Hold a kettle bell in your right hand in the racked position at your shoulders, gripping the weight by the handle, using an overhand grip so that your palm is facing forward and the bell is hanging down and resting on your shoulder. Targets the glutes, quads, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles (hip adductors), and core.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a kettle bell in your right hand by the handle, arm resting comfortably by your side. Continue alternating sides and passing the weight underneath your legs each time.
Our model, Sarah Taylor, is wearing Iris & Ink Striped Stretch Leggings, $65, ; Iris & Ink Cutout Stretched Sports Bra, $40, ; and APL Women’s Technique Pro Sneakers, $140, athleticpropulsionlabs.com. If your overall goals are fat loss, gaining strength, shaping your lower body or improving your ability to move faster or more efficiently then kettle bell leg exercises are vital.
At the back of the legs you have 3 long muscles collectively named the hamstrings. The hamstring muscles attach to the bottom of the pelvis and help to extend the hips and flex the lower legs.
When you run downhill or need to slow down or stop it’s your hamstring that work to achieve this. Strengthening the hamstrings is very important to help maintain balance between the front and back of the legs and vital for preventing future injuries.
Keep your weight back on your heels and slowly push the hips backwards as you breathe out. Refrain from using a heavy kettle bell during this exercise and treat it merely as an introduction to hamstring training.
Due to the high amount of muscle activation used for this exercise you can expect to lift some quite substantial loads, so don’t be afraid to increase the weight once you have mastered the movement. Practicing this tricky kettle bell leg exercise will challenge your balance and core muscles as well as your hamstrings.
Keeping your weight back on your heels rather than your toes will help to further activate the hamstring muscles. Again weight is kept on the heels rather than the toes as you push the hips backwards and descend towards the floor.
Don’t force your way to the floor if your hamstrings and hips are too tight. When you can reach the opposite foot with good technique then you know you have great mobility in your hips and flexibility in the hamstrings.
Just like the hamstring muscles they attach to the bottom front of the pelvis and help flex the hips and extend the lower leg. The Quadriceps, on many people, tend to be disproportionately stronger than the hamstrings and can therefore affect the position of the pelvis resulting in a forward tilt.
A 90 degree bend in the knee is important for many exercises to also activate the glutes or buttock muscles. Failure to move through this 90 degree range can result in an over dominance of the quads over the glutes and ultimately a muscle imbalance.
The kettle bell goblet squat is the ultimate beginners leg exercise and involves activation of the quads, hamstring and glutes. Squatting down so the thighs are at least parallel with the floor will ensure that the buttock muscles are activated fully.
As with the hamstring exercises keeping your weight back on your heels rather than your toes will ensure better activation of the leg muscles. For many people this natural squatting movement is challenging so practicing without a kettle bell first, holding onto a post or back of a chair can also be helpful.
Remember to keep the chest and rib cage lifted throughout the movement. You will achieve the same quad, hamstring and glute activation as with the goblet squat but challenge the core muscles a little more than you battle for stability.
As more advanced kettle bell athletes will know the racked squat provides a beautiful segue into so many other exercises like the thruster, snatch, one handed swing, clean, high pull, lunge and more. Try to kiss or get as close as possible with the back knee to the floor in order to fully activate all the muscles involved and also maintain good mobility in the hips.
You will also achieve a surprisingly good lower body cardio workout from the kettle bell lunge exercise. The kettle bell bob and weave is our first lateral moving leg exercise and serves as a great introduction into training sideways (frontal plane).
It is important to keep the chest up and rib cage lifted throughout the movement to prevent straining the back muscles. Work up to a total of 20 alternating reps gently getting deeper into the movement each time.
Just as with the bob and weave the objective is to get as deep as possible to maximize activation of the quads and glutes. Again keeping your weight back on your heels rather than the toes will help to further activate the leg and buttock muscles.
Practice 5 reps on each side keeping the chest up and working on increasing the depth of the movement. The kettle bell pistol squat is a true strength based exercise that will max out the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
You can practice by holding onto a door frame, post or using a band or Tax attached in front of you. Move slow and steady on the way down keeping your weight back on your heel.
Holding onto a light kettle bell can help with counterbalance to stop you from rolling backwards. The kettle bell lunge with rotation adds a more functional training element to the exercise.
Holding the knee above the floor during the twist adds an isometric part to the movement making it a lot more challenging and fatiguing on the quads and glutes. It is important to take your time as you move through the exercise and not rush the rotational element.
Practice the movement by alternating sides as you lunge forwards with the opposite leg. Due to the seamless transitions between the movements you will find this exercise very cardiovascular as well as fatiguing on the legs.
As with all lunge exercises keep your chest up and focus on getting your knee as close to the floor as possible. One of the great benefits of kettle bell training is that you can activate over 600 muscles with certain exercises so not only are you working the legs but the rest of the body too.
If your ultimate goals are fat loss then using full body exercises more frequently can be a real game changer. The movement should not be rushed especially from the racked position, with the kettle bell against the chest, to the overhead press exercise.
Not only are the legs worked during the squatting portion of the exercise but the core and upper body is also challenged together with your cardio. Practitioners should master the racked squat exercise first before adding the pressing element onto the movement.
As the overhead pressing part of the exercise is facilitated by the momentum of the squat, heavier kettle bells can be used. Practice 10 – 15 reps on each side at a medium tempo for a full body workout.
The kettle bell lunge and press is a demanding exercise that not only challenges the quads, hamstrings and glutes but also the core and shoulder too. The exercise begins in the same way as the regular reverse lunge except as you return to the standing position you drive the kettle bell up and overhead.
The kettle bell snatch is a big full body movement that also works into the hamstrings and glutes. A good quality kettle bell swing as well as being comfortable with the overhead press will certainly help.
As a very dynamic exercise the kettle bell moves at a good pace from top to bottom so expect your heart rate to rise quickly. The legs and buttocks are the strongest muscles in the body so often you need to use two kettle bells in order to really challenge them.
Using two kettle bells is not always necessary, anyone who has mastered the Pistol Squat can attest to the sheer intensity of this exercise without the need for too much load. The kettle bells can also be held either down by your sides with arms straight or up in the racked position as shown in the image above.
Remember to lower the back knee carefully towards the floor and work on nice deep lunges in order to activate as many muscles as possible. The double kettle bell clean, squat and press is the ultimate full body exercise.
The double kettle bell alternating clean is a fast and challenging exercise but one that will certainly work your full body. To keep your lower body kettle bell workouts balanced I would suggest selecting 1 or 2 exercises from each category:
You can either repeat the same leg circuit for a total of 2 – 4 sets or change exercises each round. Training your lower body using kettle bells is a great choice for fat loss, adding muscle, gaining strength, improving movement skills as well as preventing future injuries.
Kettle bell swings are considered one of the best hip hinge exercises and similar to the traditional dead lift. More emphasis is placed on the posterior chain using the kettle bell swing, these muscles include the hamstrings, glutes, back and hips.
Everyone recovers from exercise differently but if the intensity and your overall well-being match you can train with kettle bells every day.