Choosing the exercise machine that will give your booty the best workout is a challenge, especially since there are so many. Making the right decision is vital because strong glutes help your body balance, stay comfortable, and give its best athletic performance.
Whether you’re new to the gym or just trying to build stronger glute muscles and a bigger booty, you can use this guide to choose the best machine for a powerful posterior.
(Note: Want our elite trainers to help you tone and strengthen your glutes? Start your Fitplan free trial today!)
What Do The Glute Muscles Do?
They’re for much more than filling out a tight pair of jeans. Your glutes participate in many functions, like running, jumping, climbing, sprinting, and walking. Working together with important lower-body muscle groups like the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and hip abductors, your glutes come into play whenever you want to raise your leg to the side, rotate your hips, or thrust your hips forward.
Your glutes also stabilize your pelvis, spine, and hips. Even when your body isn’t in motion, your glutes provide padding and balance. Stronger butt muscles allow you to sit more comfortably, keep your balance, and propel your body forward better.
Anatomy of the Glutes
Three main muscles make up your glutes.
The shape of your booty is primarily dependent on your gluteus maximus, which is the largest of the glute muscles. Its function is the extend and rotate the hip. It also comes into play when you extend your trunk.
Smaller than the gluteus maximus but no less important, 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.
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.
What Are the Best Glute Exercises?
For the best glute workout, you want to mimic the same movements your glutes are involved in normally. The walking lunge is a great example of this – you perform a task very similar to walking with an additional vertical motion.
Other exercises like the glute bridge don’t really mimic everyday movements, but they do target the glutes exceptionally well. It requires power from the entire back of your leg as well as the glutes.
Helpful Hint: Take your booty to the next level with our 30-Day Booty Sculpt Fitplan!
Best Bodyweight Booty Warm-Ups
Before you hop on one of the 5 best gym machines for working your glutes, prime them with some of these great warm-ups. If you want to make them more challenging you can add free weights or a resistance band.
1. Donkey Kick
Roll out your yoga mat for this move. Get on the ground kind of like you’re about to a push-up, but support your lower body on your knees rather than on your toes. Your hands should still be directly underneath your shoulders and remember to stack your wrists.
Your back should be flat. Slowly raise your right leg up to the ceiling without losing the 90° angle created by your knee. Go as high as you can before your back has to bend, then return to the starting position.
Don’t drop your right knee back to the ground, though. Repeat the movement until all your reps are done on the right leg and then switch to the other side.
All you need to do this glute exercise is a slightly elevated platform. It should be high enough that your knee bends to a 90° angle when you one foot on it.
Lead with your right or left leg. Place that foot on the raised platform with your knee bent, then push through your heel to lift your body up onto the platform. You can raise your other leg up for some extra booty-building action.
Step down with the opposite leg from the one you started with. You can also hold dumbbells to make this move more challenging. Lateral step-ups have been shown to have some of the highest glute muscle activation when compared to other similar bodyweight exercises.
3. Glute Bridge
No workout routine that targets the glutes is complete without a set of glute bridges. It’s a simple bodyweight exercise that you can do with a resistance band or a barbell for extra effectiveness.
Make sure you have the proper form so this exercise works like it should. Lie on the ground with your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 45-degree angle. Engage your core muscles and squeeze your glutes before lifting your hips. The hip thrust should make a straight line from your neck to your knees.
Hold that hip thrust position for a few seconds before returning your lower back to the starting position.
4. Mountain Climbers
Round out your glute day warm-up with this full-body workout that also builds strength in your quads and core. Get down into the push-up position to get started with mountain climbers.
Make sure your back is completely flat, your wrists are stacked, and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Lift your right foot and bring your right knee up to your chest. Then put it back into the starting position and swap your left leg in, bringing that knee up to your chest.
Continue this alternating movement for 10 – 15 reps on each leg.
5 Best Gym Machines For Toning Glutes
You have many options when you walk into a gym, but if booty gains are your priority, make sure a few of these five workout machines are included in your workout plan.
1. Cable Machine
These machines are essentially just a pulley system, but they’re surprisingly versatile. You can attach the handle to your legs to target your glutes and other lower body muscle groups like the quads and hamstrings.
All you really have to do to use a cable machine correctly is set the right amount of weight. Leg day is the most common time when most lifters stack on extra plates because the strain on the lower body usually doesn’t feel as severe as it does on the upper body.
Best Glute Exercise For The Cable Machine:
Cable glute kickbacks work all three of the main glute muscles. They’re simple to do and super effective at building balance and functional strength.
Use an ankle cuff attachment to connect the cable pulley to your leg. Hinge at your hips and bend your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor. Grab onto the cable machine for balance if need be.
Lift your cuffed leg and send it back as far as you can. You’re aiming to get it parallel with the floor in line with your upper body. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the move and then return to the starting position.
Always remember to exercise both legs evenly when you’re doing these kickbacks.
Helpful Hint: Learn more cable machine exercises as part of our Slay the Weights Fitplan!
2. Leg Press Machine
Easily one of the best butt workout machines, the leg press allows you to get your glutes and legs into a unique position that isn’t possible on cardio machines such as the treadmill. The same warning about putting too much weight on the machine applies for the leg press machine as well.
Also pay attention to your lower back and your glutes, which should both stay pressed against the seat of the leg press machine if you want to workout with the proper form. Some leg press machines have a place for your hands as well.
Best Glute Exercise For The Leg Press Machine:
It should come as no surprise that the leg press is the best move for the leg press machine. The good news is that you can change the position of your feet to make leg presses work different muscles.
To do a standard leg press, climb into the seat and put the soles of your feet flat on the platform above you. Start with your feet hip-width apart in the center of the platform. Release the platform and take on its weight with your feet.
Brace your core and push the platform up until your legs are completely straight. Return to the starting position to complete one rep.
If you move your feet higher up on the platform, you can target your hamstrings and glutes and get less quad activation. You can substitute strength training exercises like deadlifts and hamstring curls this way.
A low foot position will work your quads more, which is a nice replacement for squats but not ideal for people with bad knees. Work your inner quads with a wide stance and the outside muscles by bringing your feet closer together.
3. Stair Stepper
One of the best glute machines is the stair stepper, which gives the user a realistic motion unlike some other popular alternatives like the Smith Machine. The stair stepper is also a great way to get some cardio on your glute workout day without sacrificing your gains with long-distance running on the treadmill.
If you use the stair stepper with the proper form, it’s possible to avoid knee pain. Press your whole heel down to activate your hamstrings and glutes and reduce strain on knees if that’s a problem area for you.
Best Glute Exercise for the Stair Stepper:
Similar to the leg press machine, stair steppers are fairly limited in their possible applications. All you need to do is decide what speed and resistance level to set the machine on.
Although that might seem limiting, it actually offers a great way to slowly increase functional strength by increasing the speed and resistance over time. You can also use lower settings for a cooldown exercise.
Using the machine is intuitive. Step on it with the right settings applied and the pedals will move your legs how they need to be moved. To have the proper form, make sure your whole foot is flat on the pedal throughout the exercise.
Keep a light grip on the handrails. Many people automatically take a vice-like grip, but you just need to have your fingertips resting there. Your steps should be moderate and full, not quick. Leaning forward very slightly will also help you go through the stair stepper motion.
Helpful Hint: Our Strong & Lean 2 is full of great leg exercises, including leg presses!
If you’re tired of putting in time on the treadmill, you can swap it out for the elliptical. Most of these machines can mimic elevation for a tougher workout and additional cardio.
Functional strength is the name of the game on the elliptical. It’s kind of like a cross between cycling and running. The elliptical might not be a very versatile glute machine at the gym, but the workout it gives you easily places it in the top 5 most effective machines for a stronger butt.
Best Glute Exercise For the Elliptical Machine:
Using the elliptical is an exercise all its own. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re using this machine with the proper form:
Make sure your feet are aligned. They should be even with one another and pointing ahead, not out to either side. Grab the handrails before you get onto the pedals so that you have enough balance when the machine starts to move.
Keep your back straight. Push your pelvis forward a bit to avoid curving your spine. Leaning forward is a natural response to the strain of an elliptical exercise, but if you want to get the most out of this machine you have to keep your back straight.
Your knees should be slightly bent the whole way through the exercise. It will be much more comfortable and natural this way as well. Your quads will be under constant tension if you keep your knees bent, an added benefit to the glute workout you’ll get on the elliptical.
Maintain a fluid pace. Even if you’re switching between inclines, intensities, or speed, you should aim to keep moving on the elliptical for a half-hour if possible. Really intense workouts can last around 20 minutes, but the 30-minute mark should be your goal to get the best workout out of an elliptical machine.
5. Hip Abduction Machine
The unique range of motion of the hip abduction machine helps build important muscles in your thighs and hips that will add to the glute strength you build with this and other workout machines. All you have to do is set the right amount of weight and get right into it.
If you’re not able to hit the gym, you can loop a resistance band around your legs and mimic the motion of the hip abduction machine with a bodyweight exercise at home or even at your desk.