5 exercises for glute growth that aren't squats

Did you know you can grow your glutes without doing squats? Or better yet, did you know that there are exercises that target your glutes more than squats do? 

Contrary to popular belief, squats are targeting your quads more than they are targeting your glutes. Sure, your glutes are being worked and activated during the squat. And this is not to say that you shouldn’t ever do squats, because any solid glute program will include a variety of different exercises. However, there are plenty of different exercises that isolate the glutes more than squats do, here are a few of my favorites: 

Hip thrusts

The thrust is a must--as Bret Contreras would say and I could not agree more. Once I started to incorporate hip thrusts into my program I started to see serious glute growth. There are a variety of different variations, including: 

Regular hip thrusts 

Weighted hip thrusts

Banded hip thrusts 

Single leg hip thrusts 

Back and feet elevated hip thrusts 

Feet elevated hip thrusts 

If you are a beginner, it would be best to master the glute bridge first and then progress to the hip thrust. It’s important to master the fundamentals before moving on to more advanced exercises so you build a strong foundation, don’t get injured and get the most out of the exercises. 

Romanian deadlifts

The romanian deadlift moves the hips in a full range of motion while working the glutes pretty hard. 

Here are some common mistakes you want to avoid when performing the RDL: 

Mistake #1 - Rounding or extending at the spine: 

Keep your shoulders down and back with your chest staying open: imagine a million dollars is in your armpits and you don’t want to lose it. 

From your tailbone to the top of your head, you should remain a straight line, even as you move your hips backward, that line is completely straight. 

Mistake #2 - Squatting instead: 

A huge mistake people make is that they end up squatting their deadlift. The difference between a squat and a deadlift is that the squat is knee dominate and the deadlift is more hip dominate.

So to put that in a better perspective for you: during the squat the motion primarily comes from your knees and your butt goes down toward the floor; as for the deadlift, the motion primarily comes from the hips (only a slight bend in the knee - just softly unlock your knees) and your butt goes back toward the wall. 

Once you nail down the rdl, you can progress to more advanced movements too like the single leg RDL or the kettlebell swing which brings us to the next exercise…. 

Kettlebell swings

The kettlebell swing is like a faster and more explosive version of an RDL. The swing is a great way to add a metabolic component to your workout while absolutely destroying the glutes. 

I love adding swings as a finisher to my glute workout or as my conditioning workout for the day.

Back extensions

Back extensions is a commonly misused exercise because people use their low back erectors to straighten themselves out, which if you’ve ever had a low back ache that is exactly where it hurts. 

In order to do this properly, you need to focus on driving the motion through the glutes. 

Think about rounding your low back slightly and creating a curve so that your low back is turned off.

Bring your rib cage to your hips to keep your abs engaged.

Keep your chin tucked.

Extend through the glutes.

Cable pull throughs

If you thought the hip thrust was sexual, wait until you do cable pull throughs. It looks like you are thrusting two dicks between your legs. Need I say more? 


There you have it, my five favorite booty building exercises that don't involve squats.

If you want to learn more secrets to building your glutes, you can download the FREE booty building cheat sheet here. In this cheat sheet, I uncover 4 common mistakes people make, how to fix it and so much more. 

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