Toned, tight glutes are a magnet to the eyes. You can do many dumbbell glute exercises, but only a few prove to give excellent results. The best part is you only need a pair of dumbbells.
Guest article from Matt Adams
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As a co-founder of Exercises.com.au, people often ask me questions like ‘Is there such a thing as the best exercise for glutes?’
As the answer is absolutely ‘yes’!
The glutes are composed of 3 large muscles – the gluteus maximus, the gluteus minimus, and the gluteus medius.
Rather than focus on one just one good exercise, a better approach would be to use the best dumbbell glute exercises that effectively hit these three sections of your gluteus muscle.
The good news is that we’ve gotten to the “bottom” of the matter and have identified the 5 best dumbbell glute exercises for building buns of steel.
You don’t have to drive to the gym as you can easily do the following dumbbell glute exercises at home.
By performing these glute dumbbell exercises consistently – and with excellent form – you’ll soon have a backside that turns heads wherever you go.
Now, let’s get those dumbbells ready and start working on those glutes!
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5 Best Dumbbell Glute Exercises
The glutes are a powerful muscle, and it can be tempting to use heavier dumbbells to up your Instagram game. But you don’t need to lift heavy weights to get great results.
For these dumbbell glute exercises, always focus on:
- Working through the full range of motion
- Getting a good contraction on top
- Maintaining proper form
Dumbbells are harder to balance but allow you to place them in various positions so you can hit the glutes from multiple angles.
That said, when building glutes with weights, choose dumbbells that allow you to hit the higher rep ranges of 10 to 12.
Dumbbell Squats are an excellent exercise for building overall leg size as it hits the large muscle groups of the lower body – the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
Dumbbell squats are one of the best dumbbell glute exercises for tightening the core, strengthening the lower back muscles and hips, and improving mobility.
Athletes who run and jump in their sport, such as basketball and football players, will benefit significantly from including Dumbbell Squats in their workout programs.
How To Do Dumbbell Squats
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and place them on your side with your arms hanging straight down, palms facing each other.
- Take a shoulder-width stance with your feet slightly angled out for better balance; push your chest out, take a deep breath to tighten your core.
- Bend at the hips; push your knees out as you descend, and keep your upper back tight throughout the exercise.
- When your hips’ crease is lower than your knees, exhale and shift the weight from the heels to the balls of your feet.
- At the top, keep a slight bend in your knees. Don’t lock your knees out forcefully.
- Repeat the process until you hit the targeted number of repetitions.
Dumbbell Deadlifts focus on the back muscles of your legs – the hamstrings and glutes – plus the lower back, shoulders, trapezius muscles, and forearms.
Keeping the core tight throughout the exercise also develops the abdominal muscles.
Runners, tennis players, and soccer players who regularly place tremendous pressure on their lower backs from all the running they do can use Dumbbell Deadlifts to protect them from injury by strengthening the muscles commonly used in their sport.
How To Do Dumbbell Deadlifts
- Get hold of a pair of dumbbells and place them in front of your thighs. Your arms should be straightened out but relaxed.
- Assume a hip-width stance; push your chest out and your back muscles tight.
- Maintain a slight bend in the knees; take a deep breath, bring the dumbbells down under strict control.
- Keep the dumbbells close to your body throughout the exercise; don’t let the dumbbells drift forward.
- When you feel a nice, tight but comfortable stretch on your hamstrings, exhale, then bring your body back to the starting position.
- Repeat the process until you hit the target number of reps.
Dumbbell Glute Bridge
Dumbbell Glute Bridge is a go-to exercise for anyone who wants to strengthen and build the muscles in the glutes and hamstrings muscles. You can also use the dumbbell glute bridge as part of your warm-up for Squats.
Dumbbell Glute Bridge is one of the best glute activation exercises and gets the muscles in your glutes and hamstrings ready for Squats and Deadlifts. By activating your hamstring and glute muscles, you’ll be able to handle heavier weights safely and maintain perfect form.
How To Do Dumbbell Glute Bridge
- Lie down with your back on the mat; keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet 15cm apart.
- Place a light dumbbell on your lower abdomen and across your hip bone.
- Drive your heels down the floor; exhale as you push your hips upward.
- At the highest point, you must feel a powerful contraction in the glute and hamstring muscles. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders and neck to generate a maximum contraction.
- Hold the contraction for a count of one, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat the process until you’ve hit the target number of reps.
Dumbbell Lunges are a popular fix for people who have a hard time building their glutes.
It’s thought of as one of the best glute isolation exercises, but Dumbbell Lunges also hit the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, to a lesser degree.
If you’re into physical activities that use lunging and body weight shifts such as boxing, fencing, golf, badminton, tennis, the sprints and jumping events in athletics, make sure to add Dumbbell Lunges in your workouts.
How To Do Dumbbell Lunges
- Grab a pair of dumbbells; allow your arms to hang straight down with the dumbbells on the sides of your body and the palms facing in.
- Take a shoulder-width stance; retract the shoulders, push the chest out, and tighten your core muscles.
- Lunge forward, then drop your opposite knee straight down. At the bottom position of the lunge, your knee must be in line with your foot. The weight of the back leg should be on the ball of the foot to maintain balance.
- Push off the ball of the foot to get back to the starting position.
When you have completed the target number of repetitions, switch to the other leg.
Dumbbell Step Ups
Dumbbell Step Ups primarily targets the glutes and the quadriceps, activates the hamstrings, and works the calves.
Dumbbell step-ups are one of the most recommended glute isolation exercises because you can focus on one leg at a time.
You don’t have to use a heavy dumbbell, and the need to balance helps build mobility and joint stability.
People who participate in activities that require a lot of running in jumping, particularly basketball, soccer, and hockey, and those with lunging motion such as fencing, boxing, and tennis will benefit from adding Dumbbell Step Ups in their routines.
How To Do Dumbbell Step Ups
- Set up an area with a box and a pair of dumbbells. The box’s height should be positioned so that your knee is slightly lower than your hip when you place your step.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and place them in a palms-facing-each-other position on your sides. Relax your shoulders and allow the dumbbells to hang straight down.
- Place one foot on the box; make sure your entire foot is fully set and stable on the box. Look straight ahead, push your chest out, tighten your core, flex the knee, and step up.
- Make sure you maintain a slight bend at the knee when you complete the step-up position. Don’t lock out the knee at the top.
- Step-back down; keep the slight bend in your knee. Repeat with the other leg.
- Repeat the process until you’ve hit the target number of reps.
How to Program Your Dumbbell Glute Exercises for Best Results
These 5 effective dumbbell glute exercises will help you build an ample behind, firm and toned legs, and a tight core.
We recommend training your glutes 2-3 times per week and vary the set and rep ranges for each workout.
For example, you can do 3 sets x 15 reps on Monday, 4 sets x 10 reps on Wednesday, and 5 sets x 8 reps on Friday.
With this schedule, you’re averaging 40 reps per workout and increasing the weight used per session. Select a weight that will allow you to maintain proper form in every repetition.
If heavier dumbbells are not available, simply reduce the rest period between sets to increase the exercise’s difficulty.
Beginners should start out training their glutes once per week following a 3 sets x 15 reps routine for at least one month.
For a Full Training Plan: You can combine these dumbbell glute exercises with:
- Shoulder and Legs Workout
- Kettlebell Swings and Squats HIIT Circuit
- Full Body HIIT Circuit with Weights
- Core Strength Circuit
- Any of the Professionally Designed programs in the RS Shop
Remember to warm up properly before working out. To stay injury-free and speed up recovery, take a few minutes to stretch and warm down after each workout.
Check out this guide to Mobility Work At Home for more info.
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