The Best Exercise to Build Glute Muscle

Getty Images/Corey Jenkins

Your butt muscles include the largest muscle in the body, which makes them the number one area to focus on if you want to build a stronger, leaner lower body. Any exercise that involves the glutes (including cardio and strength training) will not only help you burn more calories but contribute to an overall fat loss for your body - providing you're watching your diet.

Butt exercises alone won't necessarily burn fat from your backside, but they contribute to your overall calorie expenditure, which is how you lose weight. Your first step is to understand what muscles you're working and how to target them.

Your Butt

Your butt is composed of 3 main muscles including the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your butt, so that's where most of your focus will be.

The other two, the gluteus medius and minimus are important too, though--they lie under the gluteus maximus and hold your pelvis upright every time you take a step. Not only that, your butt muscles are in charge of all the movements of your hips, including:

  • Extension (moving the thigh backward)
  • External rotation (turning the thigh or pelvis outward)
  • Transverse abduction (moving the thigh outward with hip bent)
  • Adduction (moving the thigh inward with hip straight).

Targeting your Gluteus Maximus

If you have extra fat around your backside and want to get rid of it, you want to focus on overall fat loss. The safest and healthiest way to do that is with cardio exercise, weight training (for your entire body, not just your butt) and a healthy diet. Cardio is a must if you're trying to drop fat, so choose activities that allow you to burn the most amount of calories in the least amount of time.

  • Incorporating interval training: Interval workouts are great overall workouts that impact the entire body and help you improve your butt.
  • Doing something completely different: Try changing your usual workout to work your body in a whole new way. If you're a runner, try swimming or if you're a walker, try cycling and so on.
  • Adding intensity to your workouts: Working harder means burning more calories overall, which can help you lose weight.
  • Lifting heavy weights regularly: Challenging your muscles will help them grow stronger, raise your metabolism and lose body fat
  • Targeting your butt: Try incorporating activities like hiking, stair-climbing, cycling, and step aerobics.
5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Buckthorpe M, Stride M, Villa FD. ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS - A CLINICAL COMMENTARY. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2019;14(4):655-669.

  2. Strasser B, Fuchs D. Diet Versus Exercise in Weight Loss and Maintenance: Focus on Tryptophan. Int J Tryptophan Res. 2016;9:9-16. doi:10.4137/IJTR.S33385

  3. Viana RB, Naves JPA, Coswig VS, et al. Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Br J Sports Med. 2019;53(10):655-664. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-099928

  4. Türk Y, Theel W, Kasteleyn MJ, et al. High intensity training in obesity: a Meta-analysis. Obes Sci Pract. 2017;3(3):258-271. doi:10.1002/osp4.109

  5. Bartlett JL, Sumner B, Ellis RG, Kram R. Activity and functions of the human gluteal muscles in walking, running, sprinting, and climbing. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2014;153(1):124-31. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22419

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."