When most men think of lifting weights they probably don't think about glute exercises.
Magazine covers are littered with chiseled chests, massive biceps, and sculpted shoulders.
But the powerhouse muscle group that really deserves attention are the glutes, also known as the “butt muscles.”
The glutes make up the largest and most powerful muscle group in the body.
Building these muscles is essential to creating an overall fit physique and provides you the strength to perform everyday activities easier and more efficiently.
At the Fit Father Project, the goal is to create exercise and nutrition programs for busy dads to build strength, lose fat, and be in the best shape of their lives for years to come.
Why Work the Butt?
As men age, lean muscle mass decreases which creates a drop in metabolism.
That is why resistance training to maintain muscle mass becomes so important at this time.
Building strong glute muscles is a very important piece to this plan.
By focusing on this important muscle group with targeted and efficient exercises, you can easily be in the best shape of your life even at a later age.
Even those with a busy schedule can incorporate these workouts on a weekly basis to improve their overall health and fitness.
The glutes are made up of three different muscles, the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus.
These muscles work to move your hips and legs and allow you to stand up, sit down, jump, rotate your hips, and move side to side.
Strong glutes help you maintain a good balance in any activity, from running to walking or even just standing.
Without strong gluteal muscles, more stress is placed on the hamstrings, knees, and calves.
Therefore, having strong glutes is important to avoid injury and overall aches and pains in the hip, knee, and ankle joints.
And, like all big muscle groups, increasing muscle mass here will increase overall lean body mass.
This, in turn, allows you to burn more calories by raising your metabolic rate.
So you will be burning more calories not only when you are working these muscles during exercise, but even when you are just sitting around the house.
Check out these ten great glute exercises that will have you on your way to building a stronger butt in no time.
10 Great Exercises to Build Strong Glutes
A proper warm-up is important for any workout, but especially those that are working large muscle groups such as the glutes.
Warming up the glutes will increase blood flow to the area and start stretching out the connective tissues around your muscles so that they are primed for the main workout.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your head in a neutral position with your ears aligned with your shoulders, hips, and ankles. Maintain this position as you bend forward.
Keep your knees soft with a slight bend, and push your hips and hamstrings back as far as you can until your chest is parallel to the floor.
Pause, and then push your hips forward and come up to stand. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Repeat this 10-15 times to warm up the glutes.
Side Lying Clam: Lie on your left side on the floor and bend your knees 90 degrees. Stack your knees and feet on top of each other.
Place one hand on your right side and push through your right heel as you rotate your right hip open, raising your right knee until it points to the ceiling.
The movement should look like a clamshell opening.
Lower the right knee and then repeat 8-10 reps on this side.
Then flip over so you are lying on your right side and repeat the exercise on this side for 8-10 reps.
Aim for three sets on each side.
Barbell Hip Thrust: Place your upper back against a box or bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Place a pad across your hips with a barbell on top of the padding while your glutes are near the floor.
Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips until they're in line with your body on the bench.
Keep your back in a neutral position during this exercise, making sure not to arch your lower back during the movement.
Return to the starting position and repeat.
Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps.
Butterfly Hip Thrust: Lay on your back with your palms flat on the ground.
Bring your feet together in front of you, bending your knees to press the soles together.
Squeeze your glutes and core to raise your hips straight up in the air, keeping the rest of your body in position.
Lower your hips back down to the floor.
Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Barbell Deadlifts: The deadlift is one of the ultimate glute exercises for men, and will also work your back to a smaller degree as well.
It is important to always have proper form with this exercise to avoid injury.
Always start with a low weight and work your way up as you perfect your form and gain strength.
You will start by loading your desired weight onto a barbell that is laying on the ground.
Roll the barbell towards you so that it is over your feet at midfoot, and close to your shins.
Hinge at your hips with just a slight bend in the knees (at about half squat height) and grab the bar with an overhand grip.
Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart. Tighten your lats and rhomboids to take the slack out of the bar.
You will hear the top of the barbell contact the weights on the end when you do this. Inhale deeply and engage your core.
Then, keeping your lower back in the neutral position, bring your torso up and thrust your hips forward as you stand up with the barbell.
While you are technically pulling the bar up off the ground, make sure you are initiating this movement by contracting your glutes and hamstrings and pushing off of the floor.
Lower the bar to the floor and repeat.
Your lower back must stay neutral to avoid injury. Rounding it during deadlifts puts you at risk of injuring your back.
Step-Ups: Stand in front of a box or step.
Place your right foot on top of the box or step with your weight placed on the center of your foot.
Push your hips back and then stand straight up onto the box, squeezing the glute of your right leg at the top of the movement.
Hold this position while keeping your hips and shoulders square and your body tall.
Your left foot should come up to the box but try not to place this foot on the box so that your power is coming from the right leg.
Push your hips back again, and slowly lower your left foot to the floor, taking about three seconds on the way back down to the starting position.
Repeat for 8-10 reps on the right, then switch to the left side for 8-10 reps.
Once you've perfected your form on this movement you can add dumbbells to make the move more challenging.
Again, aim for 3 sets of this movement on each side.
Barbell Squats: While many think of this as a quadriceps exercise, it's also one of the better glute exercises for men.
Hold a barbell across your back using an overhand grip.
Keeping your head up and chest high, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Make sure your knees track over your feet but not beyond your toes.
Squeeze your glutes and push back to the starting position.
Complete three sets of 8-10 reps.
Walking Dumbbell Lunges: Stand holding a pair of dumbbells and take a step forward with your left foot.
Push up into a standing position, bringing your right foot forward.
That’s one rep.
Now step forward with the right foot and repeat.
Alternate the leg you step forward with so that you’re “walking” with each rep.
Walk for 6 steps, then turn around and walk back.
Complete three sets of this moving exercise.
Back Extensions: Don’t let the name fool you.
While this exercise does work the lower back, it is a great glute exercise as well.
Hook your feet into a back extension station, turning your toes away from each other so that your feet are at 45-degree angles from your calves.
Keeping your back naturally arched, lower your torso until your body is bent 90 degrees.
Contract your glutes and raise your torso back up until it’s in line with your lower body.
Repeat for 8-10 reps, aiming for three sets.
Once you have perfected the form you can hold a weight to add extra resistance.
Bulgarian Split Squat: The split squat is one of the best glute exercises for men. Start by standing a couple of feet in front of a bench or step, with your back to the bench.
Bring your right leg behind you and place the top of your right foot on the bench and grasp your hands in front of you.
Bend your left leg and lower your body into a lunge.
Your left leg should be bent at 90 degrees with your knee tracking over your foot, but not beyond your toes.
Contract your glutes and push your body back to the starting position for one rep.
Repeat 8-10 reps then switch and repeat on the other side.
Once you have perfected your form and gained strength with this exercise you can add weight by holding dumbbells by your side during this movement.
Kettlebell Swings: Kettlebell swings are a great dynamic exercise that will really work your glutes and get your fast twitch muscle fibers firing.
Bend at your hips and hold a kettlebell with both hands at arm's length down in front of you.
Rock back slightly with the kettlebell between your legs.
Squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward forcefully, and swing the weight to shoulder height.
Reverse the move to come back down with the kettlebell between your legs and repeat 8-10 times for three sets total.
These ten exercises are an awesome way to build a strong backside, however by no means should they all be done on the same day.
The optimal frequency for most body parts is about 10-15 sets per week.
These glute exercises for men can be done as part of a leg day, or even better, as part of a full body workout day.
A Great Butt at Any Age
The exercises listed above are great for building strong glutes but are just one part of the overall picture.
It is also important to incorporate full body workout days as you age.
Old School Muscle training is at the forefront of The Fit Father Project, where full body workouts are incorporated three times a week to maximize muscle building and recovery.
OSM is designed exclusively for busy fathers over 40 to help pack on lean muscle mass, increase energy levels, ease aches and pains, and lose that stubborn belly fat.
This program will teach you the ideal number of sets, reps, and rest that needs to be a part of your workout routine.
Plus it includes structured workouts, meal plans, and numerous resources to push you to be in the best shape of your life.
The Fit Father Project was built around the concept of promoting health and fitness for men, especially as they age.
The exercises above can be incorporated into any fitness routine to build strong glutes.
But the Fit Father project is about more than just a list of workouts.
It is about finding your motivation to be a healthier person overall and to feel better, look better, and maintain a high level of activity even as you grow older.
Your new friend & health coach,
Writer, The Fit Father/Mother Project
Holly Smith is a board-certified physician specializing in internal medicine and nephrology with a bachelor's degree in dietetics.
A strong interest and passion for health and wellness, Holly is also a NASM certified personal trainer with a performance enhancement specialization.
Holly enjoys long distance running, competing in Ironman triathlons.