4 Upper-Glute Exercises to Build Your Butt

4 Upper-Glute Exercises to Build Your Butt

Is it just us, or are leg days the hardest workouts during a weekly routine? You know, the circuits that leave us slightly sobbing at the bottom of the stairs two days later, knowing how much pain each step will cause. Or, God forbid, we drop something and have to squat and pick it up. That post leg day agony that we love to hate oh so much. But the gains after a consistent couple of weeks? Totally worth it.

Post leg day pain makes sense if you think about it. Since your legs hold some of the largest muscles in your body, it’s pretty normal to feel totally spent after leg and booty focused exercises. Not to mention the heavy weight people tend to lift when doing intense, dynamic movements like deadlifts, RDLs, bulgarian squats, barbell squats, etc. Phew!

While those commonly practiced exercises are so, so important (perhaps, mandatory) to help grow your little peach, today we’re specifically focusing on your upper glutes. And that means we’re going to concentrate on movements that improve hip mobility, ab strength and lower back by lowering the resistance and focusing more on form. This may be one of the few cases where we will say, put the weight away (for now at least!).

Why Should I Work My Upper-Glutes?

Yes, we know that the under booty and side booty are top of mind when you want to grow your butt. But it’s also super important to think about your upper-glutes aka gluteus medius as this muscle tends to be forgotten or ignored. According to personal trainer Holly Roser from Holly Roser Fitness, your gluteus medius is responsible for both internal and external rotation of the hip joint, abduction and stabilizing while working out.  

Plus when you incorporate upper-glute-focused exercises into your routine, you’ll reap all sorts of benefits. We’re talking about reducing lower back pain, keen pain, decreasing your risk of ankle sprains (due to stabilization training), have a faster running speed and even be able to increase the resistance used in your workouts. And don’t worry. You’ll also see a more lifted and pronounced peachy booty as a result of our top upper-glute exercises below. Have we caught your attention yet?

Our Top 4 Upper-Glute Exercises to Help You Build Your Butt

Side Leg Lifts 

Did you just have a flashback to an 80’s Jane Fonda-esque workout video? Or is the early 2000’s classic, Centrestage exercise scene more your style? Either way, side leg lifts are not exactly new. Spoiler alert: because they work. Maybe they’re not as hardcore as a hip thrust, but side leg raises do an excellent job building strength in your hip abductor muscles, and improve your hip mobility. Not to mention this seemingly easy workout (do 2 sets of 25 on each leg and get back to us though) also helps build a sturdy core, maintain good posture and prevent back injury and pain. 

Alright, since we’re in a nostalgic mood here, let’s queue Montel Williams. This is how we do it:  

  1. Lying on your right side with your feet stacked on top of each other, lean your head to your right arm.
  2. While keeping your legs straight, lift your opposite, or left leg up in the air and then bring it back down to meet your other leg in the starting position. 
  3. Do 2 sets of 25 reps on each leg.

Cira’s Soleil Squad Form Tips:

  1. When lifting your leg in the air in step 2, avoid letting your pelvis tilt. 
  2. Lean against a wall and have your top leg slide for a quick fix if you’re finding your body is slanting or your pelvis is tilting. 

Clam Shell 

Now, you’re going to notice some common themes pop up as you continue down this list. That’s because by working your upper glute muscles, you also get to stabilize your pelvis by default. Clamshell exercises are great for balancing the muscular exertion between your outer and inner thighs as well as your pelvic floor. Of course, it’s also amazing to help strengthen that gluteus medius. So let’s get into it!  

  1. On your right side, bend your knees and lean your head on your right arm to support your neck.
  2. Heels should be together and touching throughout the entire exercise. Now, place your left hand on your pelvis.
  3. Lift your left knee apart from your right knee and lower. 
  4. Complete 2 sets of 25 reps.
  5. Without allowing your back to arch.

Cira’s Soleil Squad Form Tips:

  1. Try your best to keep a neutral spine throughout the exercise and avoid arching your back.

Curtsy Squat 

Get your best Bridgerton curtsy ready. No corset or debutante dress required. Netflix references aside, the curtsy lunge is amazing for building those upper-glutes. Plus, it’s also great for improving your overall stability. We’ve included this exercise because stability is something that is totally overlooked as it isn’t as targeted in common movements like standard squats and lunges. Enter: the curtsy squat. Here’s how you do it:

  1. First, get your posture in check by pulling your shoulders back, core engaged, feet shoulder width apart.
  2.  Place your weight onto your right foot, step back and around with your left foot, as if you were curtsying, allowing your arms to come up in front of you. Chest is proud. Stop lunging when your right thigh is parallel to the ground. 
  3. Begin to straighten your right leg, pushing up through your heel and finally returning your left food to the starting position.
  4. Return to standing and repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

Cira’s Soleil Squad Form Tips:

  1. Make sure your chest stays upright so that you keep that glute activation. You can do this by ensuring your gaze stays directly ahead.
  2. No partial reps! Be sure you’re lowering your thigh as close to parallel to the ground as comfortable.
  3. Keep those hips square and avoid twisting them as you're curtsying. 

Banded Walk

And the pièce de résistance… the actual resistance band. This weighted walk is perfect for glute activation and will yield amazing results if you do this BEFORE you begin your booty workout. There are a few movement options here, too. You could opt for a lateral or sumo band walk, x walks or monster (long stride) walks. It depends on the strength of your resistance band in most cases. Another reason why we love this? It’s totally travel-friendly. All you need is a little space and a compact band and you’re good to go! Ok, let’s talk about technique. 

  1. Grab your resistance band and place it around your shins.
  2. Place your feet hip-width apart and drop your body down into a squat position. 
  3. Step your right foot to the side in line with your other foot. Step together and repeat.
  4. Do 3 sets of 15 reps in each direction.

Cira’s Soleil Squad Form Tips:

  1. Avoid swaying or bouncing as much as you can and try your best to move smoothly and in control throughout the entire movement.
  2. Avoid tilting your hips up and down or sideways. You should feel it in your upper glute and thighs if you’re doing it correctly. 

You’re all set! Be sure to include these juicy booty workouts into your next leg day and thank us later. By the way, if you’re needing a little extra push to get to the gym today, check out our top 25 positive quotes that will fuel your fitness goals. These are some of our absolute favourite words said by total queens. Because sometimes we all need a little extra motivation, especially if we’re trying some new killer moves at the gym.