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July 04, 2023 18 min read

If you're looking to tone and sculpt your lower glutes for a killer underbutt, you're in luck! There are plenty of lower glute exercises that can help you achieve the booty of your dreams.

While squats and lunges are great for overall glute development, targeting the lower glutes can be a bit trickier.

That's why we've compiled a list of the 7 best lower glute exercises to help you achieve a toned and perky underbutt.

If you incorporate effective glute exercises into your butt workout routine, developing a muscular under-butt should not be an issue. However, it can be beneficial to have a basic understanding of the muscle anatomy you are targeting for optimal results.

Glute Muscles to Target

Glute Muscles

Gluteus Maximus

The Gluteus maximus is a large muscle located in the buttocks, specifically in the posterior (back) of the hip region. It is one of the three gluteal muscles, along with the Gluteus medius and Gluteus minimus. The Gluteus maximus is the largest and outermost of these muscles.

The primary function of the Gluteus maximus is to extend and externally rotate the hip joint. When the leg moves backward or when you stand up from a sitting position, the Gluteus maximus contracts to bring the leg behind the body.

Additionally, it aids in maintaining an upright posture and stabilizing the pelvis during activities such as walking, running, climbing stairs, and jumping.

The Gluteus maximus is also involved in other movements, including abduction (moving the leg away from the body) and adduction (moving the leg toward the midline of the body) of the hip joint, as well as providing stability to the hip and pelvis during various movements.

Strengthening and conditioning the Gluteus maximus is important for overall lower body strength and stability.

Exercises such as squats, lunges, hip thrusts, and deadlifts target and engage this muscle, helping to improve its strength and functionality.

Gluteus Medius

The Gluteus medius is one of the three gluteal muscles located in the buttocks. It lies just above the Gluteus maximus and beneath the Gluteus minimus.

The Gluteus medius is a broad, fan-shaped muscle that extends from the outer surface of the ilium (hip bone) to the greater trochanter, which is a bony prominence on the upper part of the femur (thigh bone).

The primary functions of the Gluteus medius include hip abduction, stabilization of the pelvis, and maintenance of balance during activities such as walking, running, and standing on one leg. When you lift your leg out to the side or away from the midline of the body, the Gluteus medius contracts to perform hip abduction.

It plays a crucial role in stabilizing the pelvis on the opposite side of the leg being lifted, preventing the pelvis from tilting downward.

The Gluteus medius is particularly important in maintaining proper alignment of the lower extremities during gait (walking). It helps to prevent the pelvis from dropping on the unsupported side, which could lead to a Trendelenburg gait (a distinctive limp).

The Gluteus medius also works in synergy with other hip muscles to control pelvic movement and maintain balance during dynamic activities.

Weakness or dysfunction of the Gluteus medius can result in various issues, such as hip and knee instability, gait abnormalities, and increased stress on other muscles and joints.

Strengthening exercises that target the Gluteus medius, such as side-lying leg lifts, clamshells, lateral band walks, and hip abduction machines, can help improve its strength and function.

Gluteus Minimus

The Gluteus minimus is another one of the three gluteal muscles located in the buttocks. It lies beneath the Gluteus medius and is the smallest of the three muscles. The Gluteus minimus originates from the outer surface of the ilium (hip bone) and inserts into the greater trochanter of the femur (thigh bone).

The primary functions of the Gluteus minimus are similar to those of the Gluteus medius. It assists in hip abduction, which is the movement of the leg away from the midline of the body.

Along with the Gluteus medius, it helps stabilize the pelvis during walking, running, and other weight-bearing activities. The Gluteus minimus also aids in the internal and external rotation of the hip joint.

The Gluteus minimus plays an important role in maintaining balance and controlling pelvic motion. It works in conjunction with the Gluteus medius to prevent the pelvis from tilting downward on the unsupported side during activities such as walking or standing on one leg.

This muscle helps to maintain proper alignment of the lower extremities and contributes to the overall stability of the hip joint.

Similar to the Gluteus medius, weakness or dysfunction of the Gluteus minimus can lead to issues such as hip and knee instability, altered gait patterns, and increased stress on other muscles and joints.

Strengthening exercises that target the Gluteus minimus, can help improve its strength and function, promoting better hip stability and movement control.

Tensor Fasciae Latae

The Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) is a small muscle located on the outer side of the hip. It helps with hip abduction (moving the leg away from the midline of the body) and internal rotation of the hip joint.

The TFL works in conjunction with the Gluteus medius to stabilize the pelvis during activities like walking and running. It also connects to the iliotibial (IT) band, which can cause tension in the IT band when the TFL contracts. However, compared to the larger gluteal muscles, the TFL plays a relatively minor role and primarily assists in supporting hip movements and stability.

Hamstrings

Although the hamstrings are not classified as part of the glute complex, they play a crucial role in creating the desired under-butt crease. These muscles run beneath the glutes and connect to the lower end of the pelvis, which means they are interconnected with the glutes.

Strengthening your hamstrings can elevate the look of your lower butt. The three hamstrings, namely semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris, perform two primary functions: hip extension and knee flexion.

7 Best Lower Glute Exercises

Underbutt workout

If you're looking to strengthen your lower glutes either for aesthetic reasons or to enhance your athletic performance, this guide has got you covered. It provides a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know for a successful underbutt workout.

You'll discover 7 of the best exercises, each with a tame and wild version, to incorporate into your routine, along with useful tips and tricks for maximizing muscle growth. The booty workout exercises listed here are suitable for gym or home workouts, and most require no equipment.

However, never overlook the importance of doing warm-up stretches for your muscles before your workout routine, whether it is a full-body workout or only butt exercises. And to enhance your energy, focus, strength, stamina, and pumps, choose a pre-workout supplement that is specifically formulated to provide essential nutrients to maximize your anaerobic and aerobic capacity.

1. Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) are popular underbutt exercises for targeting the muscles of the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Here are the steps to perform Romanian Deadlifts:

Starting Position:

  • Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Hold a barbell or dumbbells in front of your thighs with an overhand grip (palms facing down).

  • Engage your core and keep your back straight throughout the movement. This is important to maintain proper form and protect your lower back.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. With a slight bend in your knees, push your hips back as you hinge forward at the waist. Keep your chest lifted and shoulders pulled back. This movement should emphasize the hip hinge rather than bending at the knees.

  2. Continue lowering the weights as far as your flexibility allows while maintaining a neutral spine. Your torso should be parallel to the ground or slightly above it. It's crucial to avoid rounding your back during this exercise.

  3. Pause for a moment in the stretched position and then reverse the movement. Push your hips forward, engage your glutes and hamstrings, and use them to raise your torso back to an upright position.

  4. Maintain control throughout the movement, focusing on the muscles being targeted. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

It's important to note that RDLs can be performed using a variety of equipment, such as a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells. The basic technique remains the same regardless of the equipment used.

In addition to the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, Romanian Deadlifts also engage the muscles of the upper back, including the erector spinae, lats, and traps. They also work the core muscles as stabilizers.

Here’s a more intense workout option.

Single Leg RDL

The single-leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL), also known as the single-leg RDL or single-leg stiff-legged deadlift, is a variation of the traditional Romanian Deadlift that focuses on unilateral strength, stability, and balance.

  1. Begin the movement by hinging at the hips, pushing your non-weight-bearing leg straight back behind you. Keep your extended leg and upper body in a straight line.

  2. As you hinge forward, reach toward the ground with your hands holding the weights.

  3. Continue to lower your upper body until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings or until your torso is parallel to the ground.

  4. Pause briefly in the stretched position, then reverse the movement by engaging your glutes and hamstrings to lift your torso back to an upright position.

2. Donkey Kickbacks

Donkey kickbacks, also known as donkey kicks or quadruped hip extensions, are a great exercise for targeting the underbutt area, specifically the gluteus maximus. Here are the steps to perform donkey kickbacks:

Starting Position:

  • Start by positioning yourself on all fours on an exercise mat or the floor. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, and your knees should be under your hips. This is the starting position.

  • Engage your core muscles to stabilize your spine. Keep your back flat and avoid overarching or rounding.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin the movement by flexing your right knee and hip, lifting your right leg off the ground, and keeping your foot flexed.

  2. While maintaining a 90-degree angle at the knee, extend your right leg straight back until your thigh is parallel to the ground or slightly higher. Focus on squeezing your glutes as you lift the leg.

  3. Hold the extended position for a brief pause, feeling the contraction in your glutes.

  4. Slowly lower your right leg back down to the starting position.

  5. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions on the right side, then switch to the left leg and repeat the same steps.

It's important to maintain control and focus on muscle contraction throughout the exercise. Avoid swinging or using momentum to lift the leg.

The primary muscle targeted during donkey kickbacks is the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle of the glutes. Additionally, the exercise engages the hamstrings, particularly during the hip extension phase. The core muscles also play a role in stabilizing the spine during the movement.

Here’s how to increase the intensity:

Donkey Kickbacks with Resistance Band

Donkey kickbacks can also be performed with a resistance band around the thighs.

  1. This version’s starting position is the same as for the basic Donkey Kickbacks, except for the addition of a resistance band.

  2. Place a resistance band around your thighs, just above the knees. Make sure the band is snug but not overly tight.

  3. Do the kickbacks, flexing your left and right knee and hip alternately, creating tension in the resistance band.

  4. As you lift your leg, focus on pushing against the resistance band and engaging your glutes.

By placing the resistance band around your thighs, you engage the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles to a greater extent. These muscles are located on the sides of your hips and play a significant role in hip stabilization and abduction.

The resistance band adds external resistance, making the exercise more challenging and effective for targeting the glutes. Remember to maintain proper form, and control, and focus on muscle activation throughout the movement.

3. Reverse Lunges

Reverse lunges are a great exercise for targeting the lower body, specifically the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Here are the steps to perform reverse lunges:

Starting position:

  • Begin by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips or hanging by your sides.

  • Engage your core muscles to stabilize your spine and maintain good posture throughout the exercise.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a step backward with your right foot, landing on the ball of your foot. Your right heel should be lifted off the ground.

  2. Lower your body by bending both knees. Continue descending until your right knee is hovering just above the ground and your left knee is bent at roughly a 90-degree angle. Keep your torso upright throughout the movement.

  3. Pause briefly in the bottom position, ensuring proper balance and stability.

  4. Push through your left heel to drive your body back up to the starting position, extending both knees.

  5. Repeat the movement with your left leg, stepping backward and performing the lunge.

  6. Continue alternating legs for the desired number of repetitions.

Remember to keep your torso upright, engage your core, and maintain a slow and controlled movement throughout the exercise.

— Keep your front knee aligned with your ankle, preventing it from going past your toes. This helps maintain proper knee alignment and reduces the risk of injury.

— Maintain control throughout the exercise, especially during the descent and ascent phases.

— If you're new to the exercise or have balance concerns, you can initially perform reverse lunges while holding on to a stable object for support.

Reverse lunges primarily target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They also engage the calf muscles, as they assist in stabilizing the body during the movement. Additionally, reverse lunges provide stability and balance benefits by working the muscles of the core and improving hip mobility.

You can add resistance by holding dumbbells or a barbell.

Note that the reverse lunge can be modified to emphasize different muscles. For example, taking a longer step backward and leaning forward slightly can place more emphasis on the glutes, while taking a shorter step and staying upright can place more emphasis on the quads.

If you want to challenge your butt muscles even more, try the following version of the reverse lunge.

Deficit Reverse Lunge

The deficit reverse lunge is a variation of the basic reverse lunge that involves adding a deficit, typically by standing on a stable platform or step that’s between two and six inches high.

Due to the elevation of your front foot, the deficit reverse lunge allows for a deeper stretch in the muscles involved. The front leg has to work through a greater range of motion, challenging the muscles further.

  1. To perform the deficit reverse lunge, start by standing on a platform or step that is stable and secure.

  2. Take a step back with one foot and lower your body down until your back knee almost touches the ground.

  3. Keep your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your chest lifted.

  4. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.

  5. Repeat on the other side.

It's important to start with a lower step height and gradually progress to higher platforms as you build strength and stability. Ensure that the elevated surface is secure and stable before performing the deficit reverse lunges.

4. Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are an effective exercise for targeting the glutes, hamstrings, and hip extensor muscles. Here are the steps to perform hip thrusts:

Starting position:

  • Start by sitting on the ground with your upper back against a bench, box, or step. Your knees should be bent, and your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart.

  • You can roll a barbell toward your body until it's directly over your hips, or place a dumbbell across your hips.

  • Bend your knees and plant your feet firmly on the ground.

  • Position your feet so that when you drive through them, your shins are vertical. This ensures proper alignment and engagement of the glutes and hamstrings.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off the ground, driving through your heels. Your body should form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

  2. As you lift, push your hips upward until your thighs and torso are parallel to the floor. Avoid overextending your lower back.

  3. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, focusing on squeezing your glutes and feeling the contraction.

  4. Slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position under control, but do not rest them on the ground. Maintain tension in the glutes throughout the exercise.

  5. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

It's crucial to maintain proper form during hip thrusts to maximize effectiveness and minimize the risk of injury. Keep your core engaged, avoid arching your lower back excessively, and ensure that the movement is driven by the glutes and hamstrings rather than the lower back.

The primary muscles targeted during hip thrusts are the gluteus maximus (the largest glute muscle), hamstrings, and hip extensors. Additionally, the exercise also engages the core muscles as stabilizers to maintain proper alignment and control during the movement.

For activating the glute medius to a greater degree, try the B-stance hip thrusts.

B-Stance Hip Thrust

The B-Stance Hip Thrust is a variation of the basic hip thrust that places a greater emphasis on unilateral strength and stability. It involves performing the hip thrust with a staggered foot position, with one foot closer to the glutes and the other foot positioned further away. Here's how the B-Stance Hip Thrust differs from the basic hip thrust:

Starting Position:

  • Position yourself with your upper back against a bench, box, or step, similar to the basic hip thrust. However, instead of having both feet flat on the ground, you will position one foot slightly in front of the other.

  • Place your working foot, the one that will be doing most of the work, closer to your glutes. The other foot, the supporting foot, should be positioned slightly further away with its heel next to the working foot’s toes and turned out to the side.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off the ground.

  2. Focus on driving through the heel of the working foot to lift your hips. The supporting foot will provide stability and assistance.

  3. The B-Stance Hip Thrust places more emphasis on the working leg, targeting unilateral strength and stability. It helps identify and correct muscle imbalances and strengthens each leg individually.

  4. After completing the desired number of repetitions on one side, switch the foot position and perform the exercise on the other side.

The glute medius, located on the side of the hip, is particularly engaged during the B-Stance Hip Thrust. This muscle is important for hip stability and plays a significant role in preventing hip drop or excessive pelvic tilt.

The B-Stance Hip Thrust is beneficial for addressing muscle imbalances, enhancing unilateral strength, and activating the glute medius to a greater degree.

It's important to maintain proper form, control, and balance throughout the movement. Start with a lighter load or body weight to ensure stability before progressing to heavier resistance.

5. Step-Ups

Is the step-up exercise the best way to work your glutes? Based on scientific research and feedback from top-level athletes, it's possible. A thorough analysis of studies on glute muscle activation determined that the step-up resulted in the greatest activation of the glute muscles.

Step-ups are a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

To do this workout, you'll require a bench, and you might want to intensify the muscle activation by adding either dumbbells or kettlebells as resistance.

If you have a good balance, you can pick up two weights. But if you're not confident, then grab only one weight and hold on to something to keep yourself stable. Hold the weight by your side throughout the movements.

Here are the steps to perform basic step-ups:

Starting Position:

  • Stand in front of a sturdy bench, step, or platform. The height of the surface should suit your comfort level and experience, typically any height up to six inches.

  • Position your feet hip-width apart and maintain proper posture with your core engaged and shoulders back.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin the movement by stepping up onto the bench or platform with your right foot. Drive through your heel to lift your body up.

  2. As you step up, focus on pushing your body weight through the right foot and engaging the muscles of your right leg.

  3. Bring your left foot up to meet your right foot on the bench or platform.

  4. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, ensuring stability and balance.

  5. Slowly lower your left foot back down to the starting position.

  6. Repeat the movement, leading with your left foot this time. Alternate between the right and left foot for the desired number of repetitions.

To make this exercise more challenging, it's recommended to complete all the repetitions on one leg before switching to the other one. Avoid alternating legs during the movement to fully experience the burn as you can keep the muscles in that leg under tension during the whole set.

Throughout the exercise, maintain control and a steady pace. Avoid using momentum to propel yourself up, and concentrate on engaging the target muscles to perform the movement.

The primary muscles targeted by step-ups are the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

Additionally, step-ups can engage additional muscle groups, including the core and hip stabilizers as they work to maintain balance and control during the exercise.

For a more challenging version of this exercise, you can do high-box step-ups.

High Box Step-Ups

The High Box Step Up is a variation of basic step-ups that increases the height of the platform or step used. This variation adds an extra challenge and places greater emphasis on the muscles of the lower body, particularly the quads and glutes.

For optimal results, the box's height should be such that your knees are positioned above your hips. This position effectively targets the lower glutes, where the glutes and high hamstrings are stretched to their maximum capacity.

The steps are the same as for the basic step-ups, and you should pay specific attention to driving through the foot on the box and not the one on the floor.

6. Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat, also known as the Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat, is an effective lower-body exercise that targets the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and core muscles.

Here are the steps to perform the Bulgarian Split Squat:

Starting Position:

  • Stand facing away from a bench, step, or any stable elevated surface.
  • Position one foot back behind you on the elevated surface, resting the top of your foot on it. The other foot should be positioned forward, with your knee bent and your foot flat on the ground.
  • Maintain an upright posture with your core engaged and your chest lifted.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Keeping your weight on your front foot, lower your body by bending your front knee and lowering your back knee towards the ground. Descend until your front thigh is parallel to the ground or slightly below while keeping your torso upright.

  2. Ensure that your front knee is in line with your ankle and does not extend beyond your toes.

  3. Pause briefly at the bottom position, maintaining stability and balance.

  4. Push through your front heel to drive your body back up to the starting position, extending your front knee and hip. Avoid locking out your knee at the top of the movement.

  5. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions on one leg before switching to the other leg.

This exercise targets primarily the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, as well as the calf muscles and the muscles in your feet and ankles for stability. It also works on balance and coordination between the legs.

Holding dumbbells or kettlebells can make this exercise harder and create a progressive overload.

Front Foot Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat

This front-foot elevated exercise is one of the most intense versions you can do, and even more so if you choose to add resistance like dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell on your back. When your back leg is elevated as well, the range of motion is primarily dependent on your hip flexors and glutes. It's important to take caution when trying these for the first time, as going too deep too fast can result in injury.

Here’s how to do it:

Place a weight plate on the ground in front of the bench where you'll be placing your front foot.

To use the bench, put one foot on it with the shoelaces facing down.

You'll have to try different positions to figure out how far forward your stance leg should be, but when you reach the bottom position, your shin should be relatively upright.

While holding dumbbells at your side or a barbell on your back, lower yourself down as you would for basic Bulgarian Split Squats, as far as you can until you feel a good stretch.

Then, use your front leg to push yourself back up into the top position.

7. Glute Bridge

The Glute Bridge is a fundamental exercise that primarily targets the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle of the buttocks. It also engages the hamstrings and the core muscles. Here are the steps to perform the Glute Bridge:

Starting Position:

  • Lie down on your back on a mat or a comfortable surface. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Your arms should be relaxed by your sides with your palms facing down.

  • Position your feet so that when you lift your hips, your shins are vertical. This ensures proper alignment and engagement of the glutes and hamstrings.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Engage your core by gently drawing your belly button in toward your spine. This helps stabilize your spine throughout the exercise.

  2. Press through your heels and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off the ground. Your body should form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Avoid pushing through your toes or arching your lower back excessively.

  3. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, focusing on squeezing your glutes and feeling the contraction.

  4. Slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position under control, but do not rest them on the ground. Maintain tension in the glutes throughout the exercise.

  5. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

It's important to maintain proper form during the Glute Bridge to maximize effectiveness and minimize the risk of injury. Keep your core engaged, avoid overextending your lower back, and ensure that the movement is driven by the glutes and hamstrings rather than the lower back.

In addition to the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, the Glute Bridge also engages other muscles, including the core muscles, erector spinae, and hip adductors.

The Glute Bridge is an effective exercise for strengthening the glutes, improving hip stability, and enhancing overall lower body strength.

For extra burn in your underbutt muscles, add some marching to your glute bridges.

Glute Bridge Marches

By adding marching to your glute bridges, you further engage your core muscles, challenge your balance, and increase the activation of your hip flexors. This variation adds a dynamic element to the exercise and enhances its effectiveness for strengthening the glutes and improving overall stability.

To add marching to your glute bridges, you can incorporate an additional movement that further engages your core and challenges your stability.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Get into the starting position for the glute bridge.

  2. Once you have lifted your hips, maintain this position and lift one foot off the ground, bringing your knee toward your chest. Keep your thigh parallel to the ground and maintain stability and balance.

  3. Lower the lifted leg back down to the ground while keeping your hips elevated and glutes engaged.

  4. Alternate legs and repeat the movement by lifting the other foot off the ground, bringing the knee toward your chest.

  5. Continue alternating legs in a marching motion while maintaining the bridge position with your hips lifted throughout the exercise.

It's important to focus on maintaining stability and proper form during the marching movement. Keep your core engaged, avoid excessive movement or twisting of the hips, and ensure that the glutes are doing the majority of the work.

There You Have It

Overall, these seven best lower glute exercises are sure to give you the underbutt crease you desire. Each exercise has steps for beginners to get started and more challenging and intense versions for experienced gym goers to push their workouts to the next level.

With regular practice and dedication, these exercises will help you achieve your fitness goals and give you a killer underbutt.