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Best Upper Glute Exercises to Build Your Glute Muscles

May 30, 2024
November 23, 2022
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If you’re looking for an upper glute workout to grow that bum, you’ve come to the right place.

Strengthening the glute muscles will not only help to give you that sculpted appearance that you are looking for, but it also aids in building that overall lower body strength and stability.

This article will cover topics like the upper glute anatomy, how to target them, the benefits of having strong upper glutes, and some effective butt workouts to try. A simple workout routine will also be shared for you to try at home or the gym!

What Is The Muscle At The Top Of Your Buttocks?

The muscle located at the top of your buttocks is called the gluteus medius. It is also commonly known as the upper glute or the glute shelf. This muscle is what helps keep your pelvis level as you walk.

How Do The Glutes Work?

upper glute anatomy

The buttock region is formed by a group of muscles called the gluteal muscles. This group of muscles consists of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The gluteal muscles are considered anatomically important because they are vital for vigorous movements and stability [1].

It is responsible for extension, internal rotation, and abduction of the hips. From walking to sitting down and even the simple act of moving your hips. The glutes are working to support and facilitate these everyday movements.

The Benefits of Having Strong Glutes

woman doing squats with glute band strong glutes benefits

Besides the aesthetics that both women and men alike strive to obtain, there are surprisingly many benefits of having a set of strong glutes such as:

Better stability and balance

Training your glutes and making them strong will also contribute to better stability and balance. This is important if you are engaging in activities that would need lateral stability.

Try to practice standing on one leg and see if you are able to stabilize yourself and not fall. If you find yourself feeling extremely wobbly and unstable, you might just want to try doing some glute workouts and strengthening those muscles.

Strong glutes prevent injuries

Achieving strong glutes and hip muscles plays a pivotal role in injury prevention. The glutes contribute significantly towards stability and proper alignment of the spine, supporting the entire body.

An example would be providing stability for the hip joint. A stable hip joint will ensure that even with weight-bearing movements or activities, it will still be done in a smooth and controlled way.

Improves posture

The glutes are pelvic stabilizing muscles that work to maintain proper posture. Having well-developed glutes reduces the strain on the spine, decreasing the risk of postural-related injuries.

Enhances athletic performance and increases power output

‘Ready, Set, Go!’

Before starting a run, there’s always an initial movement required to push yourself off the ground and start transitioning into a sprint. This forward propulsion is assisted by the glutes by creating an explosive hip extension.

That’s not all. The glutes are also essential to movements like running, jumping, acceleration, and heavy lifting movements (e.g. squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, etc.)

If your glutes are weak, you may find yourself struggling with these movements and not being able to do them in an efficient manner.

Maximize your results with healthy diet and at-home workout routine

Exercises That Target the Upper Glute

Are you ready to start sculpting that upper glute for a strong and round bum? Here are some of the best glute exercises that you can incorporate into your next lower-body workout routine.

Note that some of these exercises may require you to use dumbbells, barbells, or a weighted plate.

1. Lateral Lunge (Squats)

lateral lunges squat upper glute exercise

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bent slightly. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position.
  2. Place your hands on your hips. This is your starting position.
  3. Take a big step to the left or right side and shift your body weight over to the leading leg.
  4. In this position, bend your hips and knees and sit your hips back. Your knees should not go over your toes and your feet should be pointing forward.
  5. Once you have sat back in this position, pause and hold this position for a few moments.
  6. Use your glutes and quads to push yourself back up to an upright position. As you return to the starting position, both your legs should be next to each other.
  7. Repeat on both sides until you have finished your sets.

It is recommended to start with 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each side. Depending on your fitness level and goals, you can also modify the exercises by increasing or decreasing the number of sets and repetitions.

2. Hip Thrust

hip thrust with barbell weight plates upper glute exercise

How to do it:

  1. Start by laying on the floor and placing your upper back against a flat gym bench.
  2. Bend your knees and ensure to keep your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Take a deep breath, squeezing your core muscles to engage your abs.
  4. Squeeze your glutes, pushing through your heels to lift your hips off the floor.
  5. Ensure that your hips align with your knees and shoulders as you push.
  6. Pause for a moment at the top and inhale.
  7. Slowly lower your butt to the floor as you exhale.
  8. Inhale once again as you push your hips off the floor.
  9. Repeat this until you are done with the sets.

If you don’t find this challenging enough, try incorporating heavier weights or exploring other variations of the exercise. Equipment like resistance bands or barbells can elevate the difficulty level, providing a more intense workout.

3. Single-Leg Glute Bridges

man performing single-leg glute bridges upper glute exercise

How to do it:

  1. Start by placing a yoga mat on the floor and lying down with your back flat against it.
  2. Bend both your knees and ensure that your feet are planted firmly on the floor.
  3. Ensure that your shoulders are back and your hands are placed on either side of your body. Your palms should be placed face down and flat against the floor, for balance.
  4. Brace your abs as you inhale and extend one of your legs straight up in the air.
  5. Squeeze your glutes as you push your hips up. You should feel the weight on the heel of the leg that is bent. Pause for a moment at the top.
  6. Exhale and lower your hips back down to the floor.
  7. Inhale as you repeat this movement.
  8. Repeat for 2-3 sets for 10-15 reps and switch sides or adjust accordingly.

If this is too difficult, you may modify the exercise by doing normal glute bridges with both feet on the floor instead.

4. Bulgarian Split Squats

woman performing bulgarian split squat with kettlebell upper glute exercise

How to do it:

  1. You will be required to use an elevated surface such as a plyometric box or a flat gym bench.
  2. Start by facing away from the surface, slowly extend one leg back, and place the foot against the surface.
  3. Lean forward slightly with your torso upright. Place your hand on your hips for added support.
  4. Bend your front knee as you push your hips back. Imagine that you are hinging at the hips.
  5. Press through the front heel and push back up to the top.
  6. Exhale each time you are at the top, and inhale as you go back down into the position.
  7. Repeat this for 2-3 sets for 10-12 reps and switch sides or adjust accordingly.

Once you are more confident with the motions of this exercise, you may include the use of dumbbells to increase the impact of the exercise.

5. Single-Leg Deadlifts

single-leg deadlifts with dumbbells upper glute exercise

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Ensure that you are keeping your head and neck in a neutral position.
  2. Choose your working leg to start with and move the non-working leg slightly behind the foot of your working leg.
  3. If you are using a dumbbell or kettlebell, make sure that it is in line with the opposite leg. Then, slowly hinge forward at the hips until you feel a stretch at the hamstrings of your working leg. Keep the weights close to your leg as you hinge forward.
  4. Once you feel the stretch, thrust your hips back to a neutral position in a more explosive manner and come back up to the starting position. Each time that you come back up, you want to squeeze the glute muscles and release them.
  5. Repeat this for 2-3 sets for 10-15 reps and switch sides or adjust accordingly.

Upper Glutes Workout Routine

Aside from those 5 exercises, there are many other effective exercises that work to specifically target the upper glutes. Including a variety of movements can aid in a more comprehensive glute development and strength. Here is an example of a simple upper glute workout routine that you may try:

  1. Clamshells– 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps on each side. Rest for 1 to 1.5 minutes in between each set.
  2. Sumo deadlift– 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. Rest for 1 to 1.5 minutes in between each set.
  3. Hip thrusts– 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps. Rest for 2 to 3 minutes in between each set.
  4. Bulgarian split squats– 2 to 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest for 1.5 to 2 minutes in between each set.
  5. Banded lateral walks– 2 to 3 sets of 10-15 reps per direction. Rest for 1.5 to 2 minutes in between each set.

Feel free to use this workout routine or switch it up with other exercises that work best for you. For additional glute exercises and workout routines, explore some of the free resources available at JustFit. It offers everything from short workout routines to comprehensive workout programs.

You may like this: Glute Building Workout Plan PDF


In summary, if you want to build your upper glutes, you have to start doing exercises that target them. Working these muscles out initially may be extremely tricky, but with a proper workout plan and patience, you will surely witness some results. Remember, consistency is key!

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Elzanie A, Borger J. (2023) Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Gluteus Maximus Muscle [online]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Available from:

Robor Fitness (2024) WHY ARE MY GLUTES NOT GROWING [online] Available at:

About authors
Siti Amirah
Written by
Amirah is a dedicated content writer with a deep passion for mental health and wellness. Recently, she has expanded her focus to include fitness and overall health, motivated by her commitment to cultivating a healthier lifestyle. She hopes to provide valuable insights and tips for others to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.