18 Dumbbell Glute Exercises (Workouts To Build Your Butt)

Growing a strong-looking set of glutes is tough, especially if you’re trying to do it using only your dumbbells. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and the correct exercises to ensure your glutes are stimulated enough to grow.  

In this article, you’ll discover the X best dumbbell glute exercises to perform during your workout to increase the size, shape, and strength of your glutes.   

1. Suitcase Squat 

The suitcase squat is a fantastic dumbbell glute workout that is easy to perform almost anywhere, making it ideal for most home gyms. All you need is a set of dumbbells and a small amount of space.

This exercise is easy for beginners to learn and isn’t overly complicated. If you're a beginner, you would benefit from reading through our workout tips for beginners guide. 

Since the weight is held at your sides, it doesn’t stress the lower back, so it’s ideal for anybody with back issues.  

The only downside to this exercise is that it activates your quadriceps more than it works your glutes. It’s also worth noting that as you increase the weight, you rely heavily on grip strength to hold onto the dumbbells.  

How to do it: 

  • Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands, and let them hang at hip height. 
  • Place your feet at hip-width with your toes pointing out slightly.  
  • Bend at your knees and squat downwards while maintaining a straight spine.  
  • Squeeze the glutes and push through your feet, reversing the movement.  
  • Repeat. 
Suitcase Squat

2. Romanian Deadlift 

The Romanian deadlift is a popular glute and hamstring exercise that many gym-goers perform in the gym. The straighter leg position helps engage your glutes and hamstrings more than the traditional version of the deadlift.  

During the movement, your glutes work through a large range of motion and are forced to stretch at the bottom of the movement before contracting hard at the top end.

If you want to build your glutes, you cannot leave this dumbbell exercise out of your program.

How to do it: 

  • Hold two dumbbells in your hands with your shoulders retracted and chest open.  
  • Place your feet at hip-width with your toes facing forward.  
  • Soften the knees (not fully bent).  
  • Hinge from the hips, bringing your upper body forward until your hamstrings are at full stretch. Maintain a straight, neutral spine throughout. 
  • Fire your hips forward and squeeze your glutes together.  
  • Repeat.  
Romanian Deadlift

3. Deadlift 

The deadlift is one of the best glute exercises with dumbbells. As with many other exercises on this list, it requires hardly any room and uses minimal equipment.  

This exercise works the posterior chain, such as your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. It’s excellent for injury prevention (when performed correctly) as it strengthens the back and develops the glutes. 

My only issue with this glute exercise is that some beginners might struggle to grasp the hip-hinge movement. The last thing you want to do is perform a deadlift incorrectly, as it can cause lower back issues.  

Read through our head to head comparison of dumbbell deadlifts vs squats to see how effective this exercise really is.

How to do it: 

  • Hold a set of dumbbells at your sides and draw your shoulder blades back and down.  
  • Maintain a straight (neutral) spine and hinge forward from the hips, bending your knees slightly.  
  • Take the dumbbells to mid-shin height and fire your hips forwards, squeezing your glutes at the end of the movement.  
  • Repeat and finish your set.  
Stiff Leg Deadlift

4. Curtsy Lunge With Kick 

This is one of the most unusual dumbbell glute exercises you’ll come across, but it gives your glutes a lot of bang for your buck.  

The movement targets your entire lower body, including some additional muscles that aren’t stimulated during the traditional versions of the lunge. When your leg crosses behind the other, your stationary leg’s glute medius activates along with your hip abductors during the kicking part of the movement.  

While it’s a good glute builder, I’d be cautious of this movement if you’ve had knee issues in the past, as it places more stress on the knee joint than other exercises on this list.

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet placed hip-width apart, holding two dumbbells.  
  • Take your left leg back and across while lunging downwards.  
  • Let your legs reach 90-degrees and stop before your knee touches the floor.  
  • Push up back to the start and swap legs.  
  • Repeat.  

5. Lateral Lunge 

The lateral lunge, or “side lunge” as it’s commonly known, is a great lower bodybuilder that helps develop your glutes, abductors, quads, adductors, and hamstrings.

It works your body in a different way to the regular lunge as you’re moving laterally, so it’ll engage your muscles in a way it’s not used to, which is a nice change.  

Along with developing your lower body muscles, you’ll improve your body’s stability and balance. It’s an excellent exercise to add to your program if you participate in sports.

If you're often on the go, you need some exercises in your arsenal that don't require equipment like this one.

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet placed hit width apart. 
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, placed at shoulder height.  
  • Step to the side with your right leg and sit back slightly while bending your knee.  
  • Lower yourself to roughly 90-degrees. 
  • Push through your foot and return to the start.  
  • Complete your reps and repeat with the other leg.  
Lateral Lunge

6. Forward Lunge 

The forward lunge is a dumbbell only leg and glute workout that targets your glute max, hamstrings, quads, calves, and core muscles.  

If you’ve been looking to grow larger glutes, then you don’t want to leave out lunges; they’re fantastic glute developers and allow you to work them through a large range of motion. 

Related Article - Benefits Of Lunges & Variations

How to do it: 

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand tall with your head looking forward.  
  • Place your feet hip-width and step forward while lowering yourself to the floor, taking both knees to 90-degrees (don’t let your knees touch the floor). 
  • Push off of your front foot back to the starting position.  
  • Switch legs and repeat. 

Tip: If you’re losing balance, ensure your lunging hip-width and not "lunging on a tight rope." 

Forward Lunge

7. Reverse Lunge 

The reverse lunge is basically a regular lunge movement, but instead of stepping forward, you step backwards... who’d have thought it.  

This is a brilliant dumbbell glute exercise as it places a lot of emphasis on the glutes and lower body.

Some gym-goers might find this exercise easier on the knee joints as it’s less impactful on the joints, making it suitable for anybody with knee issues.  

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.  
  • Stand up tall with your shoulders drawn back and your head facing forward.  
  • Step backwards (around 2-3 ft) and lower your body until your legs are at 90-degrees.  
  • Push through your leading leg back to the starting position.  
  • Swap legs and repeat. 
Reverse Lunge

8. Curtsey Lunge 

The curtsey lunge is a slightly easier version of the curtsey lunge with a kick and doesn’t require as much balance and coordination.

Performing this exercise not only improves your glute strength, but it helps lower your risk of injuries, increases overall body health, and improves your balance and stability. It also helps develop more stability in your ankles, so if you participate in sports or activities such as dancing, this exercise will help. 

How to do it: 

  • Stand with dumbbells in your hands and a hip-width stance.  
  • Take one leg backwards and across while lowering to 90-degrees.  
  • Push through your front leg back to the start.  
  • Repeat with the opposite leg. 
Curtsey Lunge

9. Front Squat 

The front squat is one of the first exercises I teach my clients. It’s straightforward to learn, difficult to get wrong, and can be performed almost anywhere.  

The movement resembles the suitcase squat mentioned earlier in this article but involves holding the dumbbells at shoulder height. Doing so requires slightly more core work to stabilize the upper body and shifts the emphasis to your quads. 

While it is a brilliant dumbbell glute workout, it doesn’t isolate the glutes as much as I’d like it to. But, it does help to develop the glutes, so you shouldn’t discount this movement.

I like using dumbbells for squats because it forces you to engage your core to stabilize the individual weights. For more information, review our comparison guide on dumbbell vs barbell squats.

How to do it: 

  • Hold a set of dumbbells at shoulder height, pushing your elbows forward.  
  • Take a shoulder-width stance and squat down, bending your knees.  
  • Stop when you reach 90-degrees and push up through your feet back to the starting point.  
  • Repeat the movement.  
front squat

10. Dumbbell Goblet Squat 

Like all squat variations, the dumbbell goblet squat is a fantastic glute developer. As the weight is front-loaded, it keeps your upper body in a more upright position, allowing you to get deeper into the squat than you would with a back squat.  

The increased range of motion places a bigger stretch on the glutes, increasing muscle-building potential.  

Along with developing your glutes, the goblet squat helps build your hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors.

You can also use a kettlebell for this exercise, which some people prefer. Jump over to our kettlebell vs dumbbell guide to see which one is best for you.

How to do it: 

  • Hold a single dumbbell chest height in a goblet position (so the dumbbell is vertical).  
  • Take a hip-width stance with your toes pointing out slightly.  
  • Bend your knees and send your bum backwards until your legs reach 90-degrees (or lower if you can).  
  • Push through both feet and drive yourself upwards.  
  • Squeeze the glutes at the top and repeat. 
Dumbbell Goblet Squat

11. Bulgarian Split Squat 

The Bulgarian split squat is a killer glute exercise that’ll have your glutes firing up in no time at all. It’s a fantastic lower body exercise that works each leg individually. As each leg is required to work independently, it helps you fix any strength differences that may have developed throughout the years.  

It’s worth noting this exercise requires a lot of leg strength and balance, so it’s not suitable for everyone.  

Related Article - Split Squat Vs Lunge

How to do it: 

  • Stand in front of a step, bench, or elevated platform with your back towards the bench. 
  • Hold two dumbbells in your hands at hip level. 
  • Place your right leg on the top of your platform 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 swap legs.  
Bulgarian Split Squats

12. Staggered-Stance Deadlift 

The staggered-stance deadlift is a helpful exercise to help you progress to the single-leg deadlift. 

It gives you some of the benefits of training your leg singly while providing your body with additional stability. Eventually, when you’ve mastered this glute exercise, you can move on to the single-leg deadlift.  

As your body is more stable, this version of the deadlift lets you lift more weight than you can with the single-leg deadlift, increasing your lower body’s muscle stimulation.  

During this exercise, your glutes work through an extensive range of motion, stimulating the muscle fibers for growth.  

How to do it: 

  • Place your feet hip-width with your toes facing forward.  
  • Hold two dumbbells on the front of your hips/upper legs. 
  • Stagger your stance, so one foot is slightly further back than the other. A good benchmark is having your toes in line with the other foot’s heel.  
  • Keeping a neutral spine, hinge from the hips until your body is parallel to the floor.  
  • Push your hips forward, squeezing the glutes, and repeat.  
  • Swap legs. 
Staggered-Stance Deadlift

13. Squat to Lateral Leg Lift 

This combination exercise not only stimulates your glutes into growing, but it aids with your lower body’s stability. During the squat to lateral leg lift, your hips are required to elevate your leg to the side; this improves your hip function, increasing your range of motion and strengthening the joint.  

I like this exercise as the hips are often one of the most underworked areas of the body and, if it’s not trained sufficiently, can lead to injuries.  

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. 
  • Squat down by bending your knees and pushing your hips back (keep a straight back).  
  • Push through your feet, and at the top of the movement, elevate your right leg to the side.  
  • Bring your foot back down slowly and repeat.
  • Swap sides. 
Squat To Lateral Leg Lift

14. Sumo Squat 

This sumo squat is a wide stance version of the traditional squat that increases the amount of work your hips and glutes need to do to move the weight. 

It’s a compound movement that works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, and core muscles.  

The sumo squat’s widened foot position engages your hips more than other squat positions, which helps you improve your balance and helps protect your hips from injury. It’s a brilliant move to do if you participate in heavy physical activities.  

Tip: If you’re new to this exercise, perform it without the weight to begin with, and build up the resistance gradually. 

How to do it: 

  • Pick up a set of dumbbells and stand with a wide stance (2x shoulder width). 
  • Turn your feet outwards slightly.  
  • Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level and 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.  
Sumo Squat

15. Weighted Glute Bridge 

The weighted glute bridge is a fantastic exercise to work the glutes. The glutes are the primary muscle worked throughout this movement with some assistance from the hamstrings and core.

It’s suitable for all ability levels and has many different progression levels to make the exercise more challenging.  

Using this exercise to strengthen your glutes helps increase your other lifts, such as deadlifts and squats. It also improves your lower back and knee health, which is a massive bonus as we get older.  

How to do it: 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90-degrees and spaced hip-width apart. 
  • Put two dumbbells on your hips and secure them 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. 

Tip: Want to increase your glute activation? – Place a resistance band above your knees and push out slightly.  

Weighted Glute Bridge

16. 5 OClock Lunge 

The 5 O’clock lunge is a more challenging version of the standard lunge, which not only targets your glutes and lower body but also builds strength in your ankles and knees.  

It’s a brilliant exercise to add to your glute dumbbell workout, helping you develop well-rounded glutes capable of working in multiple directions.  

How to do it: 

  • Place your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell by both ends at chest height.  
  • Take a big step sideways with your right leg, rotating your foot, so it’s placed at 5 o’clock compared to your starting point.  
  • Bend your right knee until it reaches 90-degrees, and keep your left leg straight.  
  • Stand up, pushing through your right foot, rotating back to the start.  
  • Repeat for both legs. 
5 O’Clock Lunge

17. Single-Leg Deadlift 

The single-leg deadlift is one of my favorite glute exercises as it works each side iso-laterally, allowing you to overcome any muscular imbalances that might have occurred throughout your training.

This dumbbell butt exercise helps develop your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core muscles. While you’re performing this movement, your body has to work incredibly hard to keep you balanced, activating more core than the regular deadlift.  

It’s suitable for all levels; however, if you find it too challenging, try the staggered stance deadlift mentioned previously in this article.  

How to do it: 

  • Place your feet together and hold a dumbbell 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.  
  • Swap legs and perform another set.  

Tip: Keep your shoulders level; try not to twist or tilt your torso to one side.  

Single-Leg Deadlift

18. Single-Leg Deadlift to Reverse Lunge 

This exercise combines the movement of the single-leg deadlift and the reverse lunge.  

It requires a lot of balance and coordination, and I’d recommend this exercise for intermediate to advanced gym-goers. Mainly due to the learning curve for this exercise, if you’re a beginner, you’d be better off learning the two movements separately before combining them.  

It’s one of the best glute exercises with dumbbells that works your hamstrings, quads, calves, and core. 

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet hip-width with your dumbbells in hand.  
  • Hinge from your hips and raise your right leg, stretching your hamstring.  
  • Stop when your torso is parallel to the floor.  
  • Push the hips forward to the starting position.  
  • Step backwards with your right leg and bend your knees to 90-degrees.  
  • Pushing through your front leg, stand up tall and squeeze your glutes.  
  • Repeat with the opposite leg. 
Single-Leg Deadlift To Reverse Lunge

Benefits Of Glute Exercises (For A Stronger Butt) 

There are several benefits to training the glutes, including: 

  • Better Looking Butt
    Who doesn’t want a better-looking butt? Training your glutes using dumbbells is an easy way to increase your glute strength and improve your body’s aesthetics.
  • Increased Lower Body Strength
    By strengthening your glutes, your entire lower body’s strength increases. The glutes are the largest muscle in the body and are used in most functional movements. Your other lifts will improve, such as your deadlift, squats, lunges, and many others.
  • Helps Reduce Lower Back Pain
    A common problem that occurs with age is lower back pain. But, you can offset this by training your glutes. It’s well known that a stronger posterior chain results in less lower back pain and reduces your risk of injury. 
  • Improves Balance and Agility
    The glutes play a significant role in stopping and changing direction quickly. It’s an essential skill to have; not only does it helps with sports, but it helps you have better control over your body while you’re on the move. 
  • Superior Sports Performance
    By strength training your glutes, you’ll run faster, be more efficient, and have more power. This gives you the edge over your opposition. Sports such as football, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, MMA, running, swimming, and many others will benefit.

Training Schedule For Glute Exercises With Dumbbells

When it comes to training your glutes, you want to be working the muscle as much as you can without overtraining. Most people can get away with training their glutes twice a week, while some people can do more; it all depends on your recovery rates.  

Personally, I’d recommend that most people train their glutes twice a week, as it’ll provide your glutes with enough stimulus to grow without the negative side effects that can occur from overtraining a muscle.  

If you want to add some of the glute exercises (above) to your dumbbell only leg and glute workout, I’d recommend you select a handful (4-5), working your glutes through multiple ranges of motion and from different angles.  

An example workout would look like this: 

(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 
  • Romanian deadlift 
  • Goblet squat 
  • Lateral lunge with a kick 

This workout should generally take no longer than 45-60 minutes, which is the optimal amount of time for resistance training.

Performing these exercises together will increase the strength and size of your glutes while improving your overall physique.  

Tip: Space your lower body sessions between your upper body workouts. This gives your lower body and glutes plenty of time to recover before working them again.  


Common Dumbbell Glute Exercise Questions 

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 long does it take to grow glutes at home? 

Muscle growth rates are different in everyone, so it would be impossible for me to provide you with a definitive answer. However, if you train consistently and have a brilliant diet, you should notice a difference in your glutes within three to six months.  

Consistency is the key to muscle growth, so stick to your plan.  

How much should I lift to gain glutes?

So long as you’re performing each exercise correctly using excellent form and fatiguing your glutes, they should grow.  

A recent study has shown no significant difference between heavy and moderate resistance when building muscle.  

Yet, even though the amount of resistance isn’t too important, you must stimulate your muscle fibers enough to promote muscle growth. My advice is to select a weight where the last 2-3 reps of each set are tough.  

Can my butt grow without lifting heavy weights? 

You can build your glutes without needing to lift heavy weights. There is a wide range of bodyweight exercises you can perform, such as air squats, lunges, donkey kicks, and many others.  

If you perform each exercise through a full range of motion and ensure you can feel your glutes working on every rep, your glutes will grow.  


Conclusion

If you've been looking to develop your glutes but only have dumbbells available, it can be challenging to target your glutes from the multiple angles they need to be worked. 

The list above gives you 18 of the best exercises for an excellent dumbbell only glute workout. Choose several exercises, add them to your workout routine, and watch your glutes become bigger, stronger, and more powerful. 

Paul J

Last Updated on March 21, 2022