Want to grow your booty and build a better butt? If you’re struggling to improve your glutes, StrengthLog’s Dumbbell Bootybuilding workout combines the best glute exercises into the ultimate butt-building package. You don’t even need a gym to grow your booty; all the exercises are compatible with at-home training using dumbbells.
This article outlines the perfect glute workout for building the butt you deserve, with detailed instructions on performing the exercises for the best results. It is one of many premium workouts in StrengthLog, which you can download for free using the buttons below.
Benefits of a Big and Strong Butt
Everyone likes a well-developed behind – both men and women find the glutes to be one of if not the most attractive body parts.1 Our own data from analyzing training statistics from hundreds of thousands of users of our workout tracker backs it up, with glutes being by far the most popular muscle group among women and the second most popular among men.
However, the butt isn’t just for show and sitting on. It’s also critical to your physical performance in almost any athletic endeavor you embark on. Your glutes sit at the center of your body and help generate power, whether you’re lifting, pushing, or pulling something.
You can’t sit around and wait for your butt to grow on its own. At least not if you want it to be firm and shapely. Trainers consider the glutes the fifth most difficult muscle group to build.1 You have to treat your butt like any other body part you want to improve: practice progressive overload and train it with the training frequency and volume required to force it to grow.
Before we get to the workout, let’s take a couple of minutes to look at the muscles that make up your behind.
Your gluteal muscles are a group of muscles that make up your buttocks, mainly the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. In addition to the gluteus trio, your behind also consists of several smaller muscles that provide essential functions to your strength and mobility. However, you don’t typically have to consider them in your workout plan, as they are involved in all movements that target your legs, hips, and glutes.
You’re sitting on the biggest muscle in your body: the gluteus maximus. Your quadriceps might be the largest muscle group, but it consists of four muscles.
The gluteus maximus makes up most of the shape of your buttocks and plays a primary role in keeping your upper body erect. Its principal function is to extend and externally rotate the thigh, but it only acts when necessary, like when you squat, run, or walk up a stair or hill. In addition, the gluteus maximus supports your trunk and pelvis. You wouldn’t be able to stand on one leg without it.
Between the gluteus maximus and minimus, you find the gluteus medius. It covers the gluteus minimus muscle and is itself partly covered by the gluteus maximus. Together with the gluteus minimus, the gluteus medius abducts the thigh and rotates it internally. It also stabilizes your pelvis and helps keep your trunk upright when you run and perform other activities on one leg.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three gluteal muscles and shares many characteristics with the gluteus medius. It has a similar structure and function, blood supply, and innervation. Its primary function is to stabilize and abduct the hip.
Equipment Needed for Dumbbell Bootybuilding
The beauty of butt training is that you can do it anywhere. You don’t need a fully equipped gym to build the butt you’ve always wanted. All you need is a place to perform the exercises, your body weight, and a set of dumbbells. An elastic resistance band is helpful but optional.
For Dumbbell Bootybuilding to work its magic on your behind, you need at least one pair of dumbbells. Bodyweight exercises are highly effective for many parts of your body, but the glutes are big and strong, and you’ll need added resistance to work them optimally.
You can use a set of fixed dumbbells, but be prepared to invest in new ones as you get stronger. To progress, you must continually increase your workload, meaning the dumbbells you use when starting a workout routine might be too light a few months later.
A better option might be to get a pair of adjustable dumbbells that allow you to adjust the load on the fly with the turn of a knob. You can use the same pair of dumbbells for various exercises requiring different loads, saving you both money and space.
If you prefer kettlebells over dumbbells, they also work fine for this workout.
Before you hit the weights, it’s a good idea to warm up. There are several reasons why:
- It increases your heart rate and blood flow, preparing them for the work to come.
- You activate and prime your nervous system, which improves exercise performance.
- Warming up might decrease the risk of injury.
Perform a few minutes of jogging in place, jumping jacks, or similar aerobic movements to get your heart rate up and break a light sweat. After that, do a couple of sets of bodyweight squats and lunges to stretch and activate your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
How Long Should You Rest Between Sets?
According to research, resting 2–3 minutes between sets is slightly better for muscle hypertrophy than resting one minute or shorter.2 You have time to recover properly before the next lift and can do more reps. On the other hand, a recent study found that shorter rest intervals increase muscle damage and inflammation, both of which promote muscle growth.3
Confusing, right? I suggest you rest for as long as you need to do yourself justice in the next set. Any real-life differences in muscle growth are likely small enough to be irrelevant.
You might need to rest longer to recover adequately in compound movements like the squat but feel ready to go after just a minute when doing isolation exercises with lighter weights. A typical rest interval for Dumbbell Bootybuilding is 1–3 minutes but look at it more as a guideline than a rule.
Dumbbell Bootybuilding: The Exercises
StrengthLog’s Dumbbell Bootybuilding workout consists of five exercises to build your butt from all angles. A combination of free weights and bodyweight exercises targets all three gluteal muscles, focusing on the gluteus maximus to give your butt that full and round look.
Let’s take a closer look at the exercises, with tips on turning each into the best possible glute-builder and videos demonstrating optimal form. You can see the exact number of sets and reps in StrengthLog.
The first exercise of the Dumbbell Bootybuilding workout is the glute bridge. It serves three primary purposes in this workout:
- It’s an excellent warm-up for your glute muscles. Going straight to the heavy weights is not recommended, and the glute bridge prepares them for the work to come. And while the risk of injury from strength training is already low, warming up can decrease it further.
- The glute bridge is an great way to activate your butt muscles. If you start your workout with, for example, the squat, one of the best exercises for your glutes, many people feel it primarily in their leg muscles. That’s great for a general lower body workout or building your quads, but if you’re looking for booty gains, you want your glutes to fire from the first rep.
- The glute bridge is a great exercise for building strong glutes and an essential part of a good butt workout. Research shows that the glute bridge is superior to hip thrusts for activating the gluteus maximus.4 You should train the primary muscle group of the training session (meaning the gluteal muscles in this case) first.5 That means the glute bridge is your number one exercise to get the workout off to a great start.
If the regular glute bridge feels too easy, perform the one-legged variant instead.
Muscles Worked in Glute Bridges
How to Do Glute Bridges
- Lie down with your feet on the floor.
- Tuck the pelvis in to properly activate the glutes.
- Push your hips towards the ceiling by using your glutes, until your body forms a straight line from head to knees.
- Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
- Reverse the movement, and repeat for reps.
The squat is the reigning monarch of lower body exercises for muscle growth, strength, and general athletic performance. It can also be one of the best butt exercises if performed correctly. In this home workout, the default exercise is the dumbbell squat, although you can, of course, do the traditional barbell squat instead if your home gym is equipped with a squat rack.
The trick to turning the squat into a top-tier glute exercise is manipulating your squat depth and stance width.
When your goal is to build quadriceps muscle mass, focusing on a relatively narrow stance is a good idea. However, the best way to make the squat hit your glutes with full force is to change your squat position and widen your stance significantly.6 7
A full range of motion is key! That means no half-squats. Instead, squat with a full range of motion as deep as your mobility allows with proper form. You don’t want your upper body leaning forward excessively and putting stress on your low back. During a full squat, the gluteus maximus contributes significantly more to the lift than partial squats or parallel squats.8 Indeed, a 2019 study found more significant muscle growth in the glutes from deep squats compared to half squats.9 Want to grow your booty? Deep squats are the best bet.
Dumbbell squats work the same muscles as regular barbell squats and are fantastic for building muscular legs and a bigger butt. If you’re using heavy dumbbells, holding onto them might be the biggest challenge. In that case, you can use lifting straps to reinforce your hold. You don’t want your grip to fail before you exhaust the main muscles of the exercise.
Muscles Worked in Dumbbell Squats
How to Do Dumbbell Squats
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
- Inhale, lightly brace your core, and squat down as deep as possible.
- You might have to adjust the position of the dumbbells, holding them between your legs, with a wider stance.
- Reverse the movement, and return to a standing position. Exhale on the way up.
Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian split squat is a unilateral exercise (you train one side of the body at a time) that most people who try it love to hate. The reason: it’s a really challenging exercise, and once you’ve completed your reps for the right leg, you have the left leg to go before calling it a set.
Not only does the Bulgarian split squat build bigger and stronger glutes, quads, and the muscles in your inner thighs, but it’s also great for improving your balance and fixing muscle imbalances in your lower body.
If you can’t do Bulgarian split squats yet, don’t worry. Instead, switch it out for the dumbbell lunge. Lunges activate the same muscles and are a great addition to any booty workout. However, it is significantly less challenging because you don’t need to balance your entire body weight on one leg.
Some people experience knee discomfort when lunging forward. If you feel pain or discomfort in your knees, try performing a reverse lunge by taking a step backward instead of forward.
Whether you go for the Bulgarian split squat or the dumbbell lunge, you can rest easy that they are two of the best moves to grow your booty.
Muscles Worked in Bulgarian Split Squats
How to Do Bulgarian Split Squats
- Stand with your back turned against a bench, which should be at about knee height. Stand about one long step in front of the bench.
- Place one foot on the bench behind you.
- Inhale, look forward, and squat down with control until right before the knee of the back leg touches the floor.
- Reverse the movement and extend your front leg again, while exhaling.
- Inhale at the top and repeat for reps.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Compared to the regular deadlift, the dumbbell Romanian deadlift removes the quads from the equation. It shifts the focus almost entirely to your posterior chain, primarily your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.
To make your glutes do more of the work and grow your booty, you want to perform the movement with a full range of motion to increase the activation of the gluteus significantly. Hinge as far as your flexibility allows without rounding your back. That typically means a 90-degree angle for most people.
Gluteus muscle activation during the Romanian and stiff-legged deadlifts. The most extended range of motion (middle bars) shows the best activation during both the ascending and descending phase.
Muscles Worked in Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
How to Do Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
- Stand upright holding a pair of dumbbells.
- Inhale, brace your core slightly, and lean forward by hinging in your hips. Keep your knees almost completely extended.
- Lean forward as far as possible without rounding your back. You don’t have to touch the dumbbells to the floor, although it is OK if you do.
- Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Exhale on the way up. Squeeze your glutes as hard as you can.
- Take another breath, and repeat for reps.
The fifth and final exercise of Dumbbell Bootybuilding is fire hydrants, a bodyweight movement that isolates your glutes for a great burn.
Your glutes control three major movements of the hip joint: hip extension, hip abduction, and hip external rotation. When you do fire hydrants, you perform all three actions in one exercise, making it an excellent finisher for building a firmer booty. It might look like one of the most simple exercises for your glutes, but you’ll be glad you included it in your butt training session.
If your body weight isn’t enough and the last rep feels too easy, you can use a resistance band around your knees or an ankle weight for added challenge.
Muscles Worked in Fire Hydrants
How to Do Fire Hydrants
- Stand on all fours, with your gaze on the floor.
- Lightly brace your core and lift your leg to the side by using your glute muscles. Lift your leg as high as possible while maintaining contact with your glutes.
- Slowly lower your leg and repeat for reps.
How Many Times Per Week Should You Do Dumbbell Bootybuilding?
You can perform this workout once or twice weekly for the best results. If you’re a beginner or intermediate trainee, one butt workout of this caliber is enough. If you’re an athlete, advanced trainee, or bodybuilder who wants to focus on building your glutes, you can perform the Dumbbell Bootybuilding workout twice weekly.
Regardless of training experience, getting enough rest and recovery after your glute workouts is crucial. Your muscles don’t grow bigger and stronger during your workout but in the hours and days following the training session, when you give them adequate recovery and enough calories and protein to support growth.
How to Incorporate Dumbbell Bootybuilding into Your Training Routine
There are no strict rules when it comes to lifting. You decide what muscles you want to focus on and when you want to train them.
However, it’s a good idea to train your entire body for muscular balance. Even if you don’t necessarily want to gain overall size, strong muscles offer benefits beyond appearance: better posture, improved quality of everyday life, greater joint flexibility, and stronger bones.
An upper/lower workout split, training four days per week, is an excellent way to incorporate Dumbbell Bootybuilding for optimal butt gains and maintain a strong and healthy body.
A week of upper/lower body training implementing this workout could look like this:
- Monday: Upper body
- Tuesday: Dumbbell Bootybuilding
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Upper Body
- Friday: Dumbbell Bootybuilding
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Rest
StrengthLog’s Dumbbell Bootybuilding workout includes enough movements that involve your quads and hamstrings to be a complete leg workout for most people. You can add some leg extensions and leg curls if you want and if you have access to a gym.
Track Dumbbell Bootybuilding in the StrengthLog App
Stick with Dumbbell Bootybuilding, and you’ll see your butt become bigger (and stronger!) before your eyes.
The key to fast and consistent gains in strength and muscle is progressive overload: you increase the weight you use in your training or do more reps over time.
It’s almost impossible to keep track of your progress without a workout log. StrengthLog is 100% free to download and use as a workout tracker and general strength training app. All the basic functionality is free – forever.
You’ll also find a bunch of training programs and workouts in the app, Many of them are free, although our more advanced programs and workouts (such as this one) are for premium users only.
Want to give premium a shot? We offer all new users a free 14-day trial of premium, which you can activate in the app.
Download StrengthLog for free with the buttons below:
If you enjoyed this workout, check out our other home dumbbell routines:
- Home Arm Workout With Dumbbells
- Home Back Workout for Muscle Mass and Strength
- Home Chest Workout for Strength and Muscle Mass
- Home Leg Workout With Dumbbells
- Home Shoulder Workout With Dumbbells
- Home Upper Body Dumbbell Workout
- Evol Psychol. 2019 Apr-Jun;17(2). Men’s Bodily Attractiveness: Muscles as Fitness Indicators.
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 30(7):p 1805-1812, July 2016. Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men.
- Front Physiol. 2022 Feb 28;13:827847. Higher Muscle Damage Triggered by Shorter Inter-Set Rest Periods in Volume-Equated Resistance Exercise.
- Sports Biomech. 2022 May 19;1-15. Electromyographic differences of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis between the barbell hip thrust and barbell glute bridge.
- J Sports Sci Med. 2016 Mar; 15(1): 111–117. Comparison Between Pre-Exhaustion and Traditional Exercise Order on Muscle Activation and Performance in Trained Men.
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 23(1):p 246-250, January 2009. The Effect of Stance Width on the Electromyographical Activity of Eight Superficial Thigh Muscles During Back Squat With Different Bar Loads.
- Sports 2022, 10(9), 136. A Multi-Experiment Investigation of the Effects Stance Width on the Biomechanics of the Barbell Squat.
- J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Aug;16(3):428-32. The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles.
- European Journal of Applied Physiology Volume 119, pages 1933–1942 (2019). Effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes.