Trainer Tip: How to Get Great Glutes!

woman nice butt with dumbbells

What woman doesn’t want great glutes? Whether you’re looking to reduce, tone, firm, or build your glutes–or created a more rounded, uplifted backside–Lucille Roberts can get you to your goal!

Please note, the guidelines for resistance training, according to the Centers for Disease Control, recommend a minimum of two days per week. How much time you have to devote to the gym is completely individual. If you focus on one area intensely, you can spot-reduce and spot-train, according to Danish research. Whether you work out with one of our certified trainers, hit the gym solo, or take one of our motivating classes, you can get great glutes!

Your glutes, or gluteals, are actually a three-part muscle group made up of the maximus, medius, and minimus. The hamstrings (back of the thighs), fascia lata, and tensor fascia latae all play a huge role in toning the area and in protecting you from injury. Strong glutes and flexible hamstings help protect the knees and back, and they burn a ton of calories, to boot!

After lower body work, chemical markers, such as creatine kinase, that indicate muscle fatigue can last for up to 7 days. This is necessary for your muscles to improve. That is why, often, competitive athletes like “Bikini Pro” champs tout the effects of working the lower body once per week only. This is a great way to work a 3-6 day per week fitness regime. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t work the glutes less intensely every day or every-other day.


Here are some of my favorite exercises to do with clients:

Romanian Deadlifts
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold fairly heavy dumbbells in each hand. I use 10-15 pound weights for this. When done properly, this exercise will strengthen gluteals, particularly the maximus and hamstrings. Form is essential because, while you are strengthening your lower back muscles, such as the spinal erectors, you don’t want to injure your back. For beginners, use 5-8 lb. weights, at the most. Hinge forward from your hips and slowly lower the dumbbells toward the floor. Do NOT round your back! It should remain neutral, flat, or even slightly arched. Lower the weights until you feel a stretching in the hamstrings (underneath the gluteals); then slowly raise straight back up to the starting position. Dumbbells should remain in your hands. Do 2-4 sets of 12-25 repetitions each. For variation, you can start with 5 or 8 lb. dumbbells and work your way up. This is called pyramiding. Lower the number of reps as you go heavier with the weight. Pause for 30-60 seconds between sets. Then move on to the next set. Exhale as you lift, and consciously squeeze the gluteal area.

Split Squat
Stand with one leg on the bench, the other leg on the floor. Your front ankle should be at a 90-degree angle to your front knee. This reduces risk of hyperflexion, strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps (in the front of the upper leg), and shapes your calves. Do 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. If you have the strength and balance, use weights in each hand—5 or 8 lb. dumbbells should be plenty. Exhale as you lift, and dig into the front heel for maximum intensity. NEVER lock your knees!

Donkey Kick
I LOVE THIS ONE! It strengthens and tones and will definitely get results with no weight needed. Get on all fours and pull one leg into your chest; then, kick back toward the ceiling. Don’t go higher that the level of your buttocks to avoid hyperextending your back and causing injury. Do 3 sets of 25 reps each—more sets and reps if you can—on each side. Exhale as you lift, stabilizing the entire core.

Hip Abduction Machine
This machine works your outer thighs and glutes. Sit with your spine erect, hands stabilized on the side handles. Choose a weight that’s appropriate to your fitness level. If you are a beginner or not looking to build, stay light. Do at least 3 sets of 15-25 reps at a light weight. If you want to increase the size of your glutes or create a shelf-like appearance, go heavier with the weight in classic pyramid style: 30, 40, and 50 lb. should be no problem! You want to hold the legs open for 1 or 2 counts until you feel the muscles engaging. Exhale as you open the legs, pulling your navel toward your spine.

Happy fat-burning!

Trainer Tip by Sandra Ferrerio, certified LiveRite weight loss coach, trainer, and class instructor at Lucille Roberts in Yonkers. Read her full bio here.

Catherine Mendez

Catherine Mendez is the Editorial Assistant at Lucille Roberts. With a B.A. in Journalism from Quinnipiac University, writing is her calling. A born New York City gal, Catherine is a social media lover and runner (when it’s warm out). A magazine hoarder, hopeFUL romantic, and avid list maker, she is looking to polish up her yoga skills. Catherine never parts with her iPhone so follow her: @cathjmendez

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