It’s all the rage these days, a voluptuous and vivacious derriere (let me know if anyone has a word beginning with ‘V’ for your gluteal region). Some are born with this gift, however if you’re someone who has tried more than a few ways to grow your glutes, but have so far failed, where are you going wrong? I hear you asking, how do I gain a ‘booty’ with peaks as high as the proverbial Everest?

Well, in my humble opinion, I would start with activation exercises. How can you expect to develop the strength and size of a muscle group if you can’t activate and feel yourself working?

Thus I present to you the best, research confirmed gluteal group growers!

1. Side-lying Hip Abduction

This exercise hits the second largest of the gluteal muscle group, the gluteus medius. Glute med, for short, is a critically important hip stabiliser which has a well-established role in preventing knee valgus and thus anterior knee pain.

Performance Tips

  • Keep your hips rolled forward, the more you roll back the more you invite the hip flexors to take over!
  • Lead the movement with the heel to keep the leg in neutral


2. Single Leg Squat

An old physio favourite, the single leg squat demands significant balance and strength and thus targets both the gluteus medius and maximus. An exercise certain to whip your butt into shape!

Performance Tips:

  • Begin with arms supported to assist with the balance component and slowly reduce this support
  • Can have leg out in front or behind, whatever feels most natural to you



3. Single Leg Deadlift

The single leg deadlift is similar in the demands of the single leg squat, however with the stance leg straight you may find a little hamstring creeping in too.

Performance Tips

  • Keep your hip tight as you slide down the opposite leg, this will stop the characteristic ‘hip pop’ to the side which displays weak glute med’s
  • Don’t over reach, some with tight hamstrings may find this difficult but use your bodyweight to slowly decline and focus on squeezing your glutes to return to standing

A few final points on booty building: Remember to think about squeezing your glutes. Bringing this mind-muscle connection, a concept often described by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is critically important in developing the gluteal group. Once you can feel this contraction, congratulations you have graduated from thera-booty-ic exercise school.  It’s time for bigger and better (booty) things, which means strength training. But that’s another story.
As always, feel free to contact me and ask any questions.

Distefano, L. J., Blackburn, J. T., Marshall, S. W., & Padua, D. A. (2009). Gluteal Muscle Activation During Common Therapeutic Exercises. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 39(7), 532-540.