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Glutes - Muscle Up Mondays

Lets jump right in.


This week we’ll focus on the Gluteal group consisting of the Gluteus Maximus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus.

The Glute Max

Is one of the largest and thickest muscles in the body and is primarily responsible for the appealing middle & lower curves of the butt. It wraps from the sacrum, in a lateral and downward motion to the side of the hip connecting to the Iliotibial band and partially the greater trochanter of the femur.

It is responsible for hip extension and external rotation of the hip

The Glute Medius

Located directly underneath the glute max, the glute Medius originates from the bridge of the ilium and is connected to the greater trochanter. The Glute Medius is responsible for hip abduction, stabilization and medial rotation when the hip is in a flexed position.

The Gluteus Minimus

Extremely important in pelvic stabilization

Powerful abductors and internal rotators of the hip as well as assists with hip flexion.

Because the glutes combined do so many different movements (hip abduction & extension, external and Internal rotation,)... I like to focus on exercises that incorporate 2-3 of these movements in one setting.


Here are my top 4 glute building exercises.

  1. Glute Pull through (4)

  2. Cable Machine Leg Raise (3)

  3. Bulgarian Split Squat (2)

  4. Barbell Bridge (1)

Notice what is not on this list… Squats & parallel lunges. I personally find that these exercises DO NOT, well…. Make my booty burn, without modifying the exercise to do so. The science seems to support my self-reported opinion, as several scientific studies from the likes of Warrell et. al (1.) show that the quads and hamstrings are much more active throughout the entire movement as compared to the glutes. This is due to the glutes firing hardest in or near full hip extension (1,3), whereas in the squat and lunge, the glutes rarely reach a full extension unless you squeeze at the top. Research also shows that glute power and activation decrease with smaller angles of hip flexion. This means that the deeper the squat, the lower the glute activation (3).


Glute Pullthrough

Starting with the Glute Pullthrough. My 4th best pick.

Honestly I was introduced to this exercise a few years ago by my friend who is a phenomenal powerlifter and bodybuilder, his name is - Lenny Wicks. At first I was childish with the movement and also skeptical of its power., but boy can I tell you, that that simple band lit me on fire! My butt was burning like I just finished the 4x400m relay.

For the Glute pullthrough, you can use either a cable machine with a rope attachment or a band, either works nicely. Set your hands between your legs using either a rope, handle bar (if your hands are small enough) or a band. I have to make sure the rope is on my shorts and not my skin… talk about rug burn…

With your toes pointed outward, squeeze your glutes as hard as you can while focusing on slowly bending at the waist and sitting your hips back. WHen you’ve reached the end of your glute/hamstring flexibility (the point before your back begins to round), focus on externally rotating your legs and and pushing your hips forward to bring your body back into an upright position.

Common Mistakes - most people round their back and bend their knees recruiting more hamstrings and less glutes, as well as not taking advantage of the toes out method which recruits more muscle fibers, and therefore giving a more complete motion.

The glute pullthrough is my 4th pick simply because of the awkward, counterbalancing position you have to endure when you want to lift heavier. You can end up stumbling due to improper center of gravity instead of focusing on the mind-muscle connection. Because of this, you have to lower the weight and focus on higher reps


Cable Machine Leg Raise

Up next is the Cable Machine Leg Raise. I absolutely love single leg movements as I believe they focus more precisely on the imbalances and instability of the muscles being worked, and the stabilizing joints.

For this exercise you need an ankle strap that connects to a cable or band or a handle bar. Step into the handle bar with the heel of your shoe firmly against the back and your foot on top of the strap for stability and control.

Lean forward and support yourself on the bars starting with your hips at a near 90 degree angle and your shoulders square. With a slight bend in the knee, raise your heel until your glutes reach a full hip extension, focusing on the squeeze throughout the movement.

This is another exercise you want to focus on for reps and you need to have a strict mind muscle connection to make sure the core is stable, the hips are closed and the glutes are fully contracting.

This is a great exercise because it allows you to focus on, and feel the squeeze.

Common Mistakes - Arching your back (too much anterior pelvic tilt) at the top can decrease the degree of hip extension and with the research showing glute activation being highest when the hip is at or near full extension, this will truly “jack up” the exercise. You can also use momentum and not muscle, which is true for most exercises.



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Bulgarian Split Squat

(2) is an excellent exercise to target the glutes, but your technique does need to be impeccable. The Bulgarian Split Squat is #2 on my list because it’s one of those exercises that makes me feel grounded, strong and healthy.

For this exercise I prefer to use a barbell, but you can use dumbbells or kettle bells if you don’t have one. You will also need a box, bench or something fairly low to place your foot on. I prefer to have the top of my foot flat on the bench, vs resting on the ball of my foot. WHile on the ball of my foot, I find that I use more quads to push from the back leg and less glutes from the front working leg.

On into the technique. In completing this movement, you want to think about sinking down and back, as low as you can, into this position putting more tension on the glute. You should also focus on externally rotating the front knee increasing glute activation.

Common Mistakes - Sitting too upright in a traditional lunge, and lowering in a linear fashion activates more quads. Another common mistake is rounding the back and tilting the pelvis forward and just looking pretty weird.


Barbell Glute Bridge

Lastly and my top glute exercise is the Barbell Bridge! This is my favorite glute exercise because its where the glute can sustain huge amounts of weight, it requires little set up, but as with any isolation movement, it requires strict technique and focus.

First up, you can use this with a barbell, or even heavy dumbbells. The set up is simple, it requires a bench, a barbell pad or yoga mat, and of course, your weights. Place your back on the bench, (right between the middle and base of your scapula) and when you use larger weight plates, you can roll the barbell into position. You want the bar /dumbbells right in the crease of your hips, right between your pelvis and the bridge of your hip bone.

Bringing your heels close to your butt, drive your big toes in the ground, squeeze the glutes and push your hips upright, while keeping your chin, chest and head steady facing forward. The goal is to keep your upper body as quite as possible while the only motion and muscle action happens in the glutes.

Common Mistakes - Moving your upper body right along with the hips and opening your chest. This changes the levers of your body, decreasing glute activation and increasing quad recruitment. Another mistake is raising the toes and driving with the heels, which again, recruits more quads.


Quick Tips - Of course, with most bi-pedal movements, adding any type of band above or below the knees, and externally rotating the hip at the knee will cause greater overall glute recruitment.

Honorable Mentions - Of course these aren’t the only exercise that are great for your glutes and I’ve got a few honorable mentions.

  • Barbell back extensions

  • Toes out back extensions

  • Squats

  • Sumo deadlifts

Conclusion - In putting all this information into practice, check out my 9-week Women’s Fitness Specialization Program! This is a complete e-book that has weekly and daily workouts focusing on the muscle groups us women want to pop, especially the glutes! This program is normally $39.97 but for the first week of launch, use the discount code BOOTY, to get it for $29.97. Make sure you take advantage of this deal, as this ebook comes with so much bang for your buck!

Thank you all for taking the time to watch this video and I hope you enjoyed the first episode of Muscle Up Mondays!

So yes I’ve given you the exercises to help build a big booty, but putting together a

Well guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed the first episode of Muscle Up Mondays!

Watch full video here:

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