If you want that “Bigger Butt,” the best gym exercise for glutes will include a full squat with a wide stance. The glutes should be exercised twice weekly, as studies show this maximizes muscle growth.


  • Full squats led to a 7% increase in the growth of the glutes, whereas partial squats resulted in a 2% increase in gluteal growth.
  • For optimal development of a gym booty, exercises should include squats, hip thrusts, seated hip abductions, and other exercises.
  • There is no one exercise that best works all the muscles of the glutes.


If there is one thing most women want, it’s a round ass! Walk into any gym, and you will see dozens of women sitting on the edge of a bench doing hip thrusts (i.e., barbell glute bridge) with a barbell placed over their hips. Hip thrusts are a great glute-focused exercise to get a round butt. Studies have shown that hip thrust activates the glutes more than the squat.(Contreras et al., 2015)

This does not mean you should only do hip thrusts; it must be included with a combination of exercises to optimize glute development. The gluteal muscle contains three muscle groups (gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus)

Workouts for the glutes should include barbell squats, deadlifts, lunges, and split squats. (Neto et al., 2019) Also, dumbbell glute exercises include dumbbell Bulgarian split squats (i.e., alternate between your right and left foot on the bench), dumbbell Romanian deadlifts, dumbbell step-ups (i.e., hold a dumbbell in each hand and step up on a bench or other padded bench), dumbbell goblet squats, dumbbell reverse lunges, etc. These are all excellent glutes exercise for women.

Dr. Bret Contreras, aka “The Glut Guy,” the leading authority on the exercises for glutes female workouts, recommends the “Rule of Thirds.” Dr. Contreras recommends for workouts for glutes should include a third of the exercises in the horizontal position (i.e., hip thrusts, donkey kicks, etc.), a third in the vertical position (i.e., squats, lunges, step-ups, etc.), and a third in the lateral position (i.e., seated hip abductions, lateral band walks, etc.).


One of the best women’s butt exercise is the squat. If you search for “best booty” exercises for women, the squat will always appear in the exercise choices. When a person squats, the range of motion or how far you squat down (i.e., half squat vs. a full squat) plays a major role in growing the glutes to get a round butt.

As covered in another article, the squat is a great exercise for the quads but does not stimulate muscle growth of the hamstrings. Other glute isolation exercises that stretch the glutes include reverse deficit lunges, single leg glute bridges, cable kickbacks, and cable pull throughs.

For years it was said that doing a full squat caused knee damage and back pain, but this has been disproven. (Fitzgerald & McLatchie, 1980; Steiner et al., 1986) Athletes with healthy knees can perform full squats (i.e., ass to the grass) without worrying about knee damage as long as they use the proper form and not excessively heavy weights.

If a full-depth squat is so bad for you, look at when a baby squats down, they squat with their butt touching the ground, yet they don’t suffer knee damage.


The best gluteus maximus workout to build muscle includes a variation of doing a squat or a sumo stance (i.e., legs wide apart) full squat. Many women will do a half or partial squat in which they use a narrow stance (i.e., feet hip width apart), but this is not the best way to maximize glute growth.

Two studies have shown that a wider stance squat parallel to the floor (i.e., feet flat and wider than shoulder-width apart) results in greater muscle activation of the glutes than a close stance position (i.e., feet shoulder-width apart)(McCaw & Melrose, 1999; Paoli et al., 2009)

A 2019 study analyzed leg and glute growth with two different squat versions after 10 weeks of training. One group did a partial squat, and the other did a full squat. The half squat group squatted only to parallel (i.e., ~90-degree angle), and the full squat group went all the way down (i.e., 140-degree angle).

The researchers measured 4 different muscle groups. Gluteus maximum (aka butt), adductors (muscle on the inner thigh), quadriceps, and hamstrings.

Adductors (muscle on the inner thigh), Quadriceps were measured during full and partial squats.

The researchers measured the distance the barbell traveled each repetition to confirm that the subjects were doing a full range of motion rep vs. a partial rep. The weights gradually progressed, so the subjects’ muscles were stimulated for muscle growth. The subjects maintained their diet so that there were no differences in calories and protein between the groups.


At the end of the study, both partial and full squats caused a similar increase in the quads, and neither partial nor full squats caused increased hamstring growth. However, the full squat caused a 7% increase in growth in the glutes, while the partial squat caused a 2% increase in the growth of the glutes. The full squat also caused a 6% increase in adductor size, while the partial squat caused a 3% increase in adductor size. (Kubo et al., 2019)

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Why are deep squats more effective in growing the glutes than partial squats? One reason might be that deep squats stretch the glutes more. Research indicates that muscles stretched at longer lengths can grow in size. When you perform a full squat and touch the back of your butt, you’ll feel the stretch in the glute muscle, unlike in a partial squat.For those aiming for a larger butt, the most effective gym exercise targets the glutes with a full squat in a wide stance. It’s best to work out the glutes twice a week, as studies have found this frequency maximizes muscle growth.


Contreras, B., Vigotsky, A. D., Schoenfeld, B. J., Beardsley, C., & Cronin, J. (2015). A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyographic Activity in the Back Squat and Barbell Hip Thrust Exercises. J Appl Biomech, 31(6), 452-458. https://doi.org/10.1123/jab.2014-0301

Fitzgerald, B., & McLatchie, G. (1980). Degenerative joint disease in weight-lifters. Fact or fiction? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 14, 97-101. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.14.2-3.97

Kubo, K., Ikebukuro, T., & Yata, H. (2019). Effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes. Eur J Appl Physiol, 119(9), 1933-1942. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-019-04181-y

McCaw, S. T., & Melrose, D. R. (1999). Stance width and bar load effects on leg muscle activity during the parallel squat. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 31(3), 428-436. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-199903000-00012


Neto, W. K., Vieira, T. L., & Gama, E. F. (2019). Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation and Performance: A Systematic Review. J Sports Sci Med, 18(2), 198-206. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6544005/

Paoli, A., Marcolin, G., & Petrone, N. (2009). The effect of stance width on the electromyographical activity of eight superficial thigh muscles during back squat with different bar loads. J Strength Cond Res, 23(1), 246-250. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181876811

Steiner, M. E., Grana, W. A., Chillag, K., & Schelberg-Karnes, E. (1986). The effect of exercise on anterior-posterior knee laxity. Am J Sports Med, 14(1), 24-29. https://doi.org/10.1177/036354658601400105

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