Growing your glutes through weightlifting involves a strategic approach that combines targeted exercises, progressive overload, and proper nutrition. Focus on compound movements like squats, deadlifts, lunges, hip thrusts. These engage multiple muscle groups incluiding the glutes. Important, you can also grow your glutes without squats. As a result, people often think it is a neccessary exercise to grow your glutes, but in many situations this is not the case.
Incorporating progressive overload by gradually increasing weights, reps, or sets challenges your glutes and prompts muscle growth over time. Isolation exercises such as cable kickbacks and single leg glute bridges can further target the glutes. Prioritize form and mind-muscle connection to ensure optimal muscle engagement. Complement your workouts with a balanced diet rich in protein to support muscle recovery and growth. In addition, consistency is key. Adhering to a structured weightlifting routine with proper rest and recovery will help you achieve stronger, shapelier glutes over time.
Why you don’t need squats to grow your glutes
Squats are one of the best exercises to grow your lower body. They help work your quadriceps, glutes, calves and core. Despite them being such a great exercise, they may not be the solution to growing the glutes of your dreams. You don’t always need squats to grow your glutes.
One thing to know is that everyone is different. Everyone’s biomechanics is different. What might work for one person, might not work the same for the other. For example, someone may find they have greater muscle to mind connection with bulgarian split squats, whereas someone else may struggle to enjoy and feel this workout in the right places.
Studies have found that squats are a great exercise to build bigger glutes, but other studies have found that exercises like the hip thrust, glute bridge and step up work the glutes a lot better. Just because there are other exercises that may target the glutes better does not mean you need to stop squatting. As a result, this just means squats don’t need to be made a priority in your glute growth workout routine.
4 Exercises To Grow Glutes Without Squats
1. Hip thrusts
How to perform:
- Find a bench or elevated platform that will support your upper back and shoulders. Sit on the ground in front of it, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Lean back so that your upper back is resting against the bench or platform.
- Before starting the movement, engage your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine.
- Push through your heels to lift your hips off the ground. As you lift, focus on squeezing your glutes and driving your hips upward.
- At the top of the movement, pause for a moment and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can. This contraction is important for maximizing the benefits of the exercise.
- Lower your hips back down towards the ground in a controlled manner. Your glutes should remain engaged as you lower.
2 . Romanian Deadlifts
How to perform:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can also use a slightly narrower stance if you prefer.
- Before you start the movement, engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button in towards your spine.
- Begin the movement by pushing your hips back, as if you’re reaching your glutes towards the wall behind you. Maintain a slight bend in your knees.
- As you hinge at the hips, allow the weight to lower down towards the ground. Keep the barbell or dumbbells close to your legs throughout the movement. Your back should remain straight, and your chest should be up.
- Lower the weight until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- To return to the starting position, push your hips forward and stand up by extending your hips and straightening your knees.
3. Cable Kickbacks
How to perform:
- Setup: Begin by attaching an ankle strap to a low pulley on a cable machine. Adjust the weight on the machine to an appropriate level for your fitness level. Put on the ankle strap and attach it to your ankle.
- Position: Stand facing the cable machine and hold onto a stable structure for balance. Place your hands on the machine or a nearby support.
- Leg Position: Shift your weight onto one leg and slightly bend the other knee. This is your starting position.
- Kickback Movement: Keeping your knee bent, exhale as you extend the strapped leg directly behind you at a 45 degree angle.
- Peak Contraction: At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes to maximize the contraction. Maintain control throughout the movement to prevent swinging.
- Lowering Phase: Inhale as you slowly lower your leg back to the starting position, maintaining control and tension in your glutes.
4. Reverse Lunges
How to perform:
- Setup: Begin by standing upright with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and engage your core for stability.
- Step Back: Take a step backward with one leg, allowing your heel to lift off the ground as you do so.
- Lunge Movement: As you step back, bend both knees to lower your body down toward the ground. Your front knee should be directly above your ankle, and your back knee should hover just above the ground.
- Depth: Lower your body until your front thigh is approximately parallel to the ground. Keep your core engaged to maintain balance and stability.
- Push Back: Push through your front heel to return to the starting position. Straighten both knees as you bring your back foot forward.
Use these exercises to grow your glutes without squats
Squats are great, but they’re not for everyone! As someone with bad knees, I find squatting difficult as the squat motion often causes my knee pain. As a result, this is why I prefer hinge movements (RDL´s and Hip Thrusts) as they take more pressure off the knees.
Let me know in the comments which exercises you do for your glute workouts!