In this article, we’re going to show you how to do lunges properly to build big powerful glutes. You will learn the proper form and techniques that guarantee glute activation and maximize growth. There is no better way to target and activate your glutes than with lunge exercises. The benefits lunges have for building bigger and rounder glutes far outweighs any other glute building exercises.
It is amazing how easily lunges can isolate and fire up your glute muscles compared to other exercises.
Resistance training is a must for building round and shapely glutes. You can perform lunges using a barbell, though I believe it is more practical and safer to use dumbbells or kettlebells for lunge workouts. By practical I mean much more convenient to use in your home or apartment. And by safer, I mean that you have more control over your center of gravity and keeping yourself stabilized without losing your balance while performing lunges.
The great thing about performing lunges is that they come in so many variations. There are literally countless lunge exercises to chose from. Some of the best lunges for glutes are the forward lunge, the reverse lunge, the jumping lunge, slide lunges, incline treadmill lunges, and the stationary lunge and curtsey lunge. I could go on and on. But you get the picture. That said, there is a lunge to hit your glutes from every possible angle, and you will never get bored.
Lunges vs Squats
Lunges, by far, is one of the best butt building exercises you could perform to build bigger rounder glutes quickly and effectively. Most would argue that squats are the one and all for building huge glutes. But I would beg to differ.
Let me ask you this. Would you do pull-ups to build bigger biceps? Some would answer yes to this question. However, the primary muscles used are the back muscles, and the secondary muscles used are the biceps. So the answer would be no.
Furthermore, would you do bench presses to build bigger tricep muscles? No. The primary muscles used for this exercise are the chest muscles or pectoral muscles. The chest is the primary muscles group used for this exercise, and the triceps are the secondary.
That said, the same holds true for squats. The primary muscle group being engaged in squats are your quads. Thus your secondary muscle group would be your glute muscles. Nevertheless, with proper form and glute activation techniques, it is possible to engage the glutes more when performing squats. However, for most, this is not an easy task.
You will find more often than not, people complaining about how sore their quads are after doing squats, but never their glutes.
With lunges, on the other hand, it is much easier to target your glute muscles. It is pretty much a given that you will be sore after a good lunge workout routine.
So if I had to choose between lunges vs squats to build bigger and stronger glutes, it would definitely be lunges. Lunges, in my experience, are the best exercises to perform to target your glutes and make them grow. I find some of the best lunges for glutes to be the walking lunges and the Bulgarian split squat.
Why are Lunges Better for Building Bigger Glutes?
As we said earlier, the primary muscle group used to perform squats are the quadriceps or front leg muscles, and the secondary muscles would be the glutes. So why would you perform an exercise to build glute muscles when it is not the primary muscle group being utilized for that exercise? This does not mean you should stop doing squats to build your glutes. But if you are doing squats to specifically build glutes, you may want to change your routine or at least perform the squats properly to reap the full benefits.
If you do not go at least parallel or lower when performing squats, you will be mostly targeting your quads and not your glutes. And many people never even activate their glutes at all when doing squats. Do you perform heavy squat routines but only get sore legs and feel barely anything in your glutes the next day?
Then maybe you are one of those people who are unable to activate your glutes properly when doing squats.
What Muscles to Lunges Work the Most?
So why might you decide on choosing lunges over squats?
Because the primary muscles targeted are your glute muscles.
Muscles Worked Doing Lunges
|Primary Muscles||Secondary Muscles|
If I had to pick the best lunges for glutes, I would choose walking lunges every time. The great thing about walking lunges is that the motion is uninterrupted and the constant movement really fires up your glutes quickly. If your looking for a great pump, walking lunges are by far the best lunges.
When performed correctly, they will directly target your glutes and guarantee soreness deep inside your glutes every time.
Build Bigger Glutes
And because heavy weights can be used with this exercise, it is great for effectively building bigger glute muscles quickly. There are many varieties of lunges, but my top pick will always be the walking lunges.
Tone & Tighten Your Glutes
If size is not a factor and toning your thighs and keeping your glutes tight and round is your primary goal, then do more high rep lunges with light weights. You could also perform lunges using no weights and rely solely on your body weight as resistance. A great way to firm your glute muscles.
Make sure to check out my review on inexpensive yet effective glute building machines for your home or apartment.
15 Best Lunges for Glutes You Should Know
Here are 15 lunge variations being demonstrated by Ashley Castleberry, Ms. Health and Fitness, you don’t want to miss. Ashley shows how to perform each exercise without weights, which is a good idea for beginners to get acquainted with the exercise first.
Two Lunge Routines for a Super Pump!
All lunge variations are good as long as you are using weights for resistance and the intensity of the workout is fairly high. There are two methods I feel are most effective and will effectively fire up your glutes and give you a great pump.
1st Lunge Routine – Once per Week
This routine is a 2-step exercise routine meant to create a pump from hell.
The first part of this exercise is to perform 10 reps of walking or forward lunges (preferably walking lunges) with heavy weights. By heavy I mean enough weight to prevent you from doing any more than 10 reps for one set. Perform this exercise for 3 to 4 sets with only 1.5 minutes to 2 minutes of rest between sets.
When you are done, rest another 2 minutes and go immediately to the second part of this exercise routine (see below).
The second part of this exercise, I continue with a lighter weight for 5 sets times 20 reps of walking lunges. You will be absolutely exhausted after this routine, but you will also feel a tremendous pump on your glutes. Furthermore, I guarantee you will be feeling very sore for the next few days.
I only add the second part of this routine once a week. But I would not suggest more than twice per week. Especially if you are hitting your glutes hard with other glute exercises. Overtraining can compromise your gains.
Just as a side note. If you are leaning more towards toning and tightening your glutes, and less on adding size, then, by all means, work them as much as 3 to 4 times per week. However, I would suggest with lighter weights and higher reps.
2nd Lunge Routine – Once per Month
Here is a routine I do maybe once per month just to shock my glutes into growth, but also give them a good pump.
This routine is even more intense than the previous one. That is why I only do these once per month.
The following are 2 separate routines and are not meant to be done together as a 2-step routine as in our previous workout. Again, I prefer using walking lunges for these exercises.
Moderately Heavy – Higher Reps (10×20)
Perform your lunge exercise for 10 sets of 20 reps each with a heavy weight. If you can do more than 20 reps it is not heavy enough. You should be struggling on 20th rep. Rest periods between these sets can be longer since they are much more intense than even the previous routines. With that said, try a 2 to 3-minute rest between sets.
If at some point before reaching your 10th set you are no longer able to complete 20 reps, either complete as many as you can or drop the weight.
Heaviest Load – Moderate Reps (10×10)
Perform your lunges for 10 sets of 10 reps. You will need to use heavier weights than used in the 1st routine since you are now performing fewer reps. Remember that you want to aim for a weight that lets you complete the 10 reps, but no more.
Always try to figure out your max, and don’t be afraid to go heavy. Many of us underestimate how strong our glutes are. Your glutes are much stronger than you think.
Just remember to always keep proper form. Comprising form can lead to injuries.
6 Ways to Properly do Lunges for Glutes to Grow
Here are some great tips to follow that will help you properly perform lunges. These tips will significantly improve your form, help you better target your glute muscles, and help you avoid making mistakes that could otherwise result in injuries.
#1 Go Deep for a Better Stretch
Go deep when doing walking lunges, or any lunges for that matter. Make sure each step is wide and that your opposite knee almost touches the floor when you come down. This will give you a better stretch and target your glute muscles more.
#2 Knee Position
Don’t ever let your knee extend over your toes. By avoiding this, you will be avoiding knee problems in the future. A wider stride will help prevent this.
#3 Lean Slightly Forward for more Glute Activation
Try to lean slightly forward, rather than keeping your back completely straight. This will put more emphasis on your glutes when doing walking lunges.
#4 Keep your Head Up
If you are looking down at your feet while performing lunges you will be more prone to throwing yourself off balance. Your balance will significantly improve by keeping your head up and focusing straight ahead. This way you can concentrate more on your exercise and less on your balance.
It is always important to make sure your form is correct. Never sacrifice form by using weights that are too heavy. As soon as you notice your form is being compromised, immediately decrease the weight. Proper form will always lead to better results and help avoid any injuries.
#6 Foot Position
Performing walking lunges in a tightrope form is another mistake made by many. Keep your feet waist to shoulder width apart, even while performing your lunge exercise. This goes for any type of lunges. This is the best way to stabilize yourself and not lose your balance.
Thanks for reading How to do Lunges Properly for building bigger glutes. Add some lunges to your routine today. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’re looking for another top glute building exercise, check out our article on dumbbell deadlifts.
With over 30 years of experience in strength training and fitness, Mark LaRue is the founder of Fitness Mastered, a blog to help educate fitness enthusiasts of all fitness levels, age, and gender. We write topics that range from weight training and exercise routines to weight loss strategies, motivational videos, and home workout machine reviews, to name a few.