Exercise & Fitness

The Top 10 Upper Glute Exercises for a Stronger and Firmer Butt

Upper Glute Exercises

In matters relating to muscling up and having a good, compact, well-toned behind, the top portion of the glutes plays a vital role. Not only do these muscles help give bodies the desired shape figure, but they also have an important function in the strength and coordination of a lower body. Upper glute exercises can help with any of these goals: It is flexible whether you are interested in sports performance or are seeking a better posture or a leaner look; training upper glut exercises can boost your results. In the following article, the reader will find out how the ten best exercises meant to strengthen and tone the upper glute area can help achieve your goals.

Understanding the Upper Glutes

Before diving into the exercises, it’s important to understand what the upper glutes are and why they matter. The glutes, or gluteal muscles, are comprised of three main muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The upper glutes primarily involve the gluteus medius and the upper part of the gluteus maximus. These muscular structures play pivotal roles in facilitating hip abduction internal and external rotation, as well as providing essential stabilization to the pelvis.

By targeting the upper glutes, you can enhance the lift and firmness of your buttocks, improve hip stability, and decrease the risk of injuries, especially in the lower back and knees. Now, let’s look at the best exercises to target these important muscles.

1. Clamshells

Clamshells are a fantastic exercise for activating the gluteus medius. They help in strengthening the hip abductors and improving pelvic stability.

How to Perform Clamshells:

1. Assume a lateral position with your legs aligned and knees flexed at a 90-degree angle.

2. Rest your head on your lower arm and place your top hand on your hip.

3. Keep your feet aligned and elevate your upper knee as much as possible while maintaining stability in your pelvis.

4. Slowly lower your knee back to the starting position.


  • Complete three rounds of 15-20 reps for each side.
  • Use a resistance band around your thighs to increase difficulty.

2. Side-Lying Leg Lifts

Side-lying leg lifts are another excellent exercise for the gluteus medius. They focus on hip abduction and are great for building strength in the upper glutes.

How to Perform Side-Lying Leg Lifts:

1. Take a position lying on your side, with your legs extended and aligned, one on top of the other.

2. Support your head with your lower arm and place your top hand on the floor in front of you.

3. Keeping your legs straight, lift your top leg towards the ceiling.

4. Lower it back down with control.


  • Please complete three sets of 15-20 repetitions on each side.
  • Add ankle weights to increase resistance.

3. Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants are perfect for targeting the upper glutes and hip abductors. This exercise also helps in enhancing hip mobility.

How to Perform Fire Hydrants:

1. Start by getting into a position on your hands and knees, making sure your wrists are directly below your shoulders, and your knees are aligned under your hips.

2. Keeping your knee bent, lift one leg out to the side until your thigh is parallel to the ground.

3. Return your leg to the starting position.


  • Please complete three sets of 15-20 repetitions on each side.
  • For added intensity, wrap a resistance band around your thighs.

4. Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are a compound exercise that primarily targets the gluteus maximus but also engages the upper glutes when performed correctly.

How to Perform Glute Bridges:

1. With your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, lie on your back. Bend your knees.

2. Position your arms at your sides, palms facing downward.

3. Lift your hips towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes.

4. Hold the position for a second at the peak, and then return your pelvis to the starting position.


  • Perform three sets of 15-20 repetitions.
  • For an added challenge, perform single-leg glute bridges by lifting one leg off the ground.

5. Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks are great for isolating the upper glutes and improving hip extension.

How to Perform Donkey Kicks:

1. Start on your hands and knees, ensuring your wrists are directly below your shoulders and your knees are in line with your hips.

2. While keeping your knee bent, elevate one leg toward the ceiling until your thigh is parallel to the floor.

3. Lower your leg back to the initial position.


  • Please complete three sets of 15-20 repetitions on each side.
  • Add ankle weights for extra resistance.

6. Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are a powerful exercise for the entire gluteal region, particularly effective for the upper glutes when done with proper form.

How to Perform Hip Thrusts:

1. Sit on the ground with your upper back resting against a bench and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.

2. Place a barbell or weight across your hips.

3. Press through your heels to raise your hips towards the ceiling, engaging your glutes at the peak.

4. Lower your hips back down to the starting position.


  • Perform three sets of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Make sure your shins are vertical at the peak of the movement for maximum engagement.

7. Curtsy Lunges

Curtsy lunges not only target the upper glutes but also help in improving balance and coordination.

How to Perform Curtsy Lunges:

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

2. Step one leg behind and across the other leg, bending both knees to lower into a lunge.

3. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.


  • Please do three sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side.
  • Hold dumbbells for added resistance.

8. Step-Ups

Step-ups are an effective exercise that works the upper glutes as well as the lower body.

How to Perform Step-Ups:

1. Position yourself facing a robust bench or step.

2. Elevate one foot onto the bench, exerting pressure through your heel to raise your body.

3. Lower the same foot back down and repeat the process.


  • Please do three sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side.
  • Use dumbbells to increase the intensity.

9. Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squats represent a high-level workout, focusing on the upper glutes while boosting lower body strength and stability.

How to Perform Bulgarian Split Squats:

1. Stand a few feet in front of a bench, with one foot resting on the bench behind you.

2. Lower your body into a lunge, keeping your front knee over your ankle.

3. Press down on your front heel to come back to the initial stance.


  • Please at least do three sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.
  • Hold dumbbells to increase the challenge.

10. Banded Walks

Banded walks are excellent for activating the upper glutes and improving hip stability.

How to Perform Banded Walks:

1. Secure a resistance band around your thighs, positioned slightly above your knees.

2. Adopt a stance with your feet at a hip-width distance, gently bending your knees.

3. Sidestep while maintaining tension on the band, then follow with the opposite foot in the same direction.


  • At least three sets of 15-20 steps in each direction.
  • Use a heavier resistance band as you progress.

Incorporating Upper Glute Exercises into Your Routine

To get the most out of these upper glute exercises, consider incorporating them into your regular workout routine. Aim to do these exercises 2-3 times per week, ensuring you allow adequate rest and recovery for your muscles. Here’s a sample weekly workout plan to get you started:

Sample Weekly Workout Plan:


  • Clamshells: 3 sets of 20 reps (each side)
  • Side-Lying Leg Lifts: 3 sets of 20 reps (each side)
  • Fire Hydrants: 3 sets of 20 reps (each side)


  • Glute Bridges: 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Perform three sets of 20 repetitions of donkey kicks on each side.
  • Hip Thrusts: 3 sets of 15 reps


Perform three sets of fifteen repetitions of curtsy lunges on each side.

  • Step-Ups: 3 sets of 15 reps (each side)

Perform three sets of Bulgarian Split Squats, with 12 repetitions for each side.

  • Banded Walks: 3 sets of 20 steps (each direction)

Tips for Success:

Warm-Up: Start every session by ensuring you warm up properly, priming your muscles and joints for the workout ahead.

Form: Focus on maintaining good form to effectively target the upper glutes and prevent injury.

Progression: Gradually enhance the resistance or difficulty of the exercises as you get stronger.

Consistency: Consistency is no doubt a key to seeing results, so stick to your workout schedule.

Benefits of Upper Glute Exercises

Incorporating upper glute exercises into your fitness routine offers numerous benefits beyond just aesthetics. Here are some key advantages:

1. Improved Posture:

Well-developed upper glute muscles play a crucial role in preserving optimal pelvic alignment, thereby enhancing posture and lowering the likelihood of experiencing back pain.

2. Enhanced Athletic Performance:

Upper glute strength is crucial for movements that require hip stability and power, such as running, jumping, and lifting.

3. Better Balance and Stability:

These workouts improve the stability of your hips and pelvis, which is crucial for sustaining balance and averting falls.

4. Injury Prevention:

Strong upper glutes can help prevent injuries by providing better support to the lower back, hips, and knees.

5. Increased Muscle Definition:

Targeting the upper glutes contributes to a firmer, more lifted butt, which can enhance your overall physique.


Building stronger, firmer upper glutes requires dedication and the right exercises. By incorporating the top 10 upper glute exercises given in this article, you can effectively target these important muscles and reap the benefits of improved strength, stability, and appearance. Remember to maintain good form, progress gradually, and stay consistent with your workouts. With time and effort, you’ll achieve a stronger, more defined butt that supports your fitness goals and enhances your overall well-being. Happy training!