Dumbbell glute exercises for stronger butt

Dumbbells are a great way to get in a lower-body workout. There are various exercises to improve the shape, size and strength of your glutes in and out of the gym.

Dumbbell glute exercises will help you build lean muscle while improving your strength. Dumbbells also allow you to add unilateral movement, which is ideal for improving strength and addressing any underlying muscle imbalances.

woman doing squats for dumbbell glute exercises

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You can use barbells, kettlebells, machines or dumbbells.

Anatomy of the glutes

Your glutes are made of three main glute muscles:

Gluteus Maximus

The shape of your booty is primarily dependent on your gluteus maximus, which is the largest in the muscle group. Its function is the extend and rotate the hip. It also comes into play when you extend your trunk.

Gluteus Medius

The gluteus medius moves your legs away from the body’s midline and rotates it. When you’re in motion, the gluteus medius secures your pelvis.

Gluteus Minimus

The gluteus minimus assists the gluteus medius in its functions. All the exercises that feature gluteus medius activation will do the same thing for the gluteus minimus.

Benefits of using dumbbells for lower body exercises

Beginner friendly

You can be new to strength training and get a good workout similar to someone who uses a barbell for glute exercises.


Dumbbells allow you to try many variations to lower body exercises.

Improve muscle imbalances

Using dumbbells in your lower body workout can allow you to add unilateral exercises which can help improve muscle imbalances you have. Single leg exercises like single-leg deadlifts, single-leg bridges and single-leg hip thrusts allow you to focus on one leg and glute muscle at a time.

Reduces back pain

Your glutes control your hip extension and external rotation. Strong glutes lower your back pain by assisting with pelvic, hip and torso movements.

Improved hip, knee and ankle mobility

Adding dumbbell glute exercises to your workout routine improves your glute strength as well as your hip, knee and ankle mobility. Strong glutes and stabilized hips mean your knee and ankle joints won’t need to compensate for poor hip mobility — all three joints can work and move cohesively.

Add dumbbell glute exercises to your workout

Dumbbell squats

woman doing squats for dumbbell glute exercises
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Brace your core and lower yourself by bending your knees and until your quads are parallel with the ground.
  • Keep your chest up by focusing on raising your sternum.
  • Pause for a second and then return to your starting point.

*Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground the entire time. Do not rock and let your heels come off the ground.

Bulgarian split squat

  • Stand in front of a step, bench or elevated platform with your back toward it.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand at hip level. 
  • Place your right leg on the top of the bench and take a step forward with the opposite leg.  
  • Brace your core and lower yourself by bending your left knee until it reaches 90-degrees.  
  • Push through your foot and bring yourself back to the start.  
  • Finish your set and switch legs.  

Sumo squats

dumbbell glute exercises sumo squat
  • Stand with a wide stance and your feet turned outwards slightly.
  • Turn your feet outwards slightly.  
  • Hold a dumbbell in your hands toward the floor between your feet, squat down, bending your knees.  
  • Stop when your legs reach a 90-degree bend and push up back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat the movement. 

Weighted glute bridge

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90-degrees and hip-width apart. 
  • Place a dumbbell across your hips and secure it with your hands.  
  • Push your hips into the air, squeezing your glutes hard throughout the movement.  
  • Pause at the top for 1-2 seconds and slowly lower your body back to the floor.  
  • Repeat. 

*You can place a mini resistance band above your knees to help with glute activation.

High dumbbell step-up

dumbbell glute exercises hitting quads too with step ups
  • Stand facing a box or in front of a bench that’s at least knee height. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lift one foot and place it on top of the box. Drive down through your heel and step up onto the box. Remember not to use your trailing leg for assistance.
  • Step back down and repeat.

You can do this exercise using an alternating leg action or switch leading legs set by set as you prefer.

*Try NOT to push off the floor with your back leg. Instead, keep it as straight as you can so your lead leg takes most of the weight.

Curtsy lunge

dumbbell glute exercises curtsy lunge
  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand and feet hip-width apart.
  • Take one leg backward and across while lowering to 90-degree angle 
  • Push through your front leg back to the start.  
  • Repeat with the opposite leg. 

Hip thrust

  • Sit on the floor with your legs bent and feet flat and your upper back resting against a flat bench. Rest and hold a dumbbell (or dumbbells) across your hips.
  • Drive your feet into the floor and lift your hips up, forming a straight line with your knees and shoulders. Pause with your glutes fully contracted for 1-2 seconds.
  • Lower your butt back down to the floor and repeat.

*You can add a looped resistance band above (or below) your knees to add to your glute activation as they work to keep the knees straight. Forcing your knees against the side of the band will keep them from collapsing in while performing the exercise.

Dumbbell single-leg romanian deadlift

dumbbell single leg deadlift
dumbbell glute exercises usingle leg deadlift
  • Place your feet together and hold a set of dumbbells in each hand.  
  • Shift your weight to one leg and lift your other leg behind you while hinging from the hips.  
  • When your torso is parallel to the floor, hold the position for a second and slowly head back to the start.  
  • Squeeze your glutes at the end and repeat.  
  • Switch legs and perform another set.  

Walking lunge

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells with one in each hand.
  • Stand tall and perform a walking lunge, allowing the knee to barely touch the floor.
  • Stand up and keep moving forward.
  • Repeat for reps, and be sure to always control the lowering aspect of the lunge.

Side lateral lunge

  • Stand with your feet together and hold your dumbbells down by your sides.
  • Take a step to your right, bend your right knee, push your hips back and descend until your right thigh is roughly parallel to the ground. Keep your left leg straight.
  • Push off your right leg and bring your feet back together.
  • Next, step out to the left and repeat.
  • Alternate leading legs for the duration of your set.

Dumbbell glute workout

(Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise with a 60-second break between sets) 

Dumbbell weighted glute bridge 

Bulgarian split squat 

Sumo squat 

Lateral lunge

Step ups

Single leg hip thrusts

Download dumbbell

glutes workouts

Can I grow glutes with dumbbells?

Yes, there are many exercises you can perform using dumbbells to stimulate your glute muscles into growth. So long as you follow the principle of progressive overload, your glute muscles will grow. 

How often should I do glute exercises?

The ideal frequency for working your glutes is two or three non-consecutive days per week.

Wrap up

Glute training with dumbbells is one way to easily add dumbbell exercises into your workout routine. Glutes are the largest muscle in the body and it takes progressive overload to get them to transform and get stronger.

Working your posterior chain can be fun and challenging. Picking the right exercises will give you the results you are looking for while improving your glutes strength and shape.

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