Best Supersets – Glutes

barbell hip thrust alternatives

Here are some of the best supersets to perform to build up your glutes!

Everyone needs to work the glutes more. But without properly activated glutes, many movements cannot be done properly, or at least effectively.

Since most of us spend our days sitting, hunched over computers and behind steering wheels, we shut off our glutes. That tightens our hips and shortens our hamstrings, leading to all manner of muscular dysfunction, most notably back problems. Not only are we setting ourselves up for ailments and injury, but we also end up with a flat butt that nobody finds attractive.

If you approach daily life as one big glute workout, you’ll be well on your way to muscular glutes and pain-free living. Squeeze your cheeks one at a time while stuck in traffic or an endless meeting. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Walk instead of driving short distances.

One study suggested that some of the most common exercises produce significant improvements in the glutes. In this glute superset workout, we’ll pair a bodyweight glute activation move with one that works the glutes through lifting This way we both activate and challenge the glutes in an efficient manner that enables us to keep moving through the workout with no rest.

Pete Williams is a NASM certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of several books on performance and training.

Split Squat


Knee Hugs

What it does: This move stretches the hamstring and glute of your front leg as well as the hip flexor or your back leg. 

How to do it: Lift your right knee to your chest and grab below the knee with your hands. Pull your right knee to your chest while squeezing your left glute. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side. Continue alternating sides.

How many? 10 reps. 

Split Squats

What it does: Squatting in the gym and daily life works the glutes, but the split version with dumbbells places them fully on stretch.

How to do it: Step out into a lunge with dumbbells at arm’s length at your sides. Lower your hips by squatting back and down. Without letting your back knee touch the floor, drive your weight back up with the front glute. Do 10 sets on one leg and then repeat with the other.

How many? 10 reps to each side.

Glute bridge


Glute Bridge

What it does: It’s one of the best moves to improve the activation patterns of the glutes.

How to do it: Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent 90 degrees and feet on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and bridge your hips to the ceiling. Only your shoulders and hips remain on the ground. Hold for two seconds and then lower your hips toward the ground without touching. Repeat for a set of 10.

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps. 

Romanian Deadlift

What it does: Perhaps the most recognizable hamstring move, and for good reason; it’s effective in building the proper activation patterns in your hamstrings and glutes while also strengthening your back.

How to do it: Start with a light set of dumbbells. The form is especially key to getting the full benefit from the RDL; don’t think of the exercise as bending forward but rather as sitting back with your torso moving forward instead of staying upright.

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps.

Single Leg Squat


Quadruped Rocking

What it does: This move is a combination of two familiar yoga poses: cow and child’s pose and provides a great stretch for the quads and hips.

How to do it: Get down on all fours and let the lower back sag. Push your hips back as far as you can, holding the lumbar arch. You should feel a stretch in and around the hips. Return to the starting position and repeat.

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps.

One-Legged Squats

What it does: This not only challenges your glutes – one at a time – but your overall balance and core strength.

How to do it: Stand on one foot holding dumbbells on your shoulders with elbows pointed out. Squat on one leg until your thighs are parallel to the ground – or as parallel as possible. Return to a standing position using only the leg you’re balancing upon. Do 10 on one side and then the other. 

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps per side. 

Lateral Lunge


Squat Jumps

What it does: This move works the hips, knees, and ankles but the key is using your glutes to generate power.

How to do it: Stand with feet just outside the shoulders and hands behind your head. Squat, keeping your knees behind your toes and squeezing your glutes. After holding this position for two seconds, jump vertically. Pull the toes to your shins in midair to prepare for landing. Land in the starting squat position, hold three seconds and repeat for 10 reps. Be sure to land softly, with the hips back and down.

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps. 

Lateral Lunges

What it does: Lateral movement is important to sports and the motions of everyday life, but too often we ignore it in the gym. The lateral lunge hits the quads and glutes, along with the hamstrings.

How to do it:  Step out to the right, keeping toes pointed straight ahead and feet flat. Squat down only your right leg, keeping the left leg straight. Squat as low as possible, keeping the left leg straight and holding for two seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat for a set of 10. Switch sides.

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps (per side). 

Front Squat


Inverted Hamstring

What it does: This move forces you to fire (activate) your glutes. Practicing such movements becomes a habit while training and in everyday life.

How to do it: Balance on your right foot, keeping tummy tight, and shoulders back and down. Bend at the waist with both hands out to the sides and extend your left leg back as you fire the left glute. Your shoulder and heel should move together, forming a straight line. Return to starting position and switch legs, performing a set of 10 on each leg.

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps per side.

Front Squat

What it does: Like the inverted hamstring, the front squat forces you to fire your glutes.

How to do it: Stand holding a barbell across the front of your shoulders, palms facing you and elbows in front of you. Squat until your thighs are as parallel to the ground as possible. Push from the hips and return to a standing position.

How many? 2 sets of 10 reps.

Pete Williams
Pete Williams is a NASM-CPT and the author or co-author of several fitness books, including Core Performance and Every Day is Game Day. His work has appeared in multiple publications such as Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, and USA Today.