How to maximize your gluteus maximus

The gluteus maximus is the largest, heaviest muscle in the human body. In this article we’ll give you our favorite exercises to grow bigger, stronger, better looking glutes.

But first, let’s briefly recap the function of this important muscle group.

Gluteus Maximus Anatomy & Physiology 101

The gluteus maximus (a.k.a. glute max) is the largest of the three muscles that comprise the glutes. The other smaller, supporting muscles of the glutes include the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

The main function of the glute max is to extend the hip.

Hip extension is any type of movement that lengthens the front of the hip. This includes standing up from a seated position, walking, running, or deadlifting (hint, hint).

Now, you may also remember that the hamstrings also contribute to hip extension.

In order to maximize tension on the glutes, and reduce the contribution of the hamstrings, you need to perform hip-hinging type movements (such as the Romanian deadlift) with bent knees. This is due to the fact that a bent knee places the hamstrings at a mechanical disadvantage, thereby forcing the glutes to do the majority of the work.

A&P lesson over let’s proceed with our list of the best exercises to maximize your gluteus maximus!

Best Exercises to Maximize Your Gluteus Maximus

Barbell Hip Thrust

Popularized by Dr. Bret Contreras (the “glute guy”), the barbell hip thrust is the king of exercises for building bigger, stronger glutes.

The reason for this is that this exercise provides horizontal loading on the glutes in a bent-knee position, placing constant tension on the glutes throughout the exercise. 

The barbell hip thrust allows for a peak level of contraction where the muscles are shortest, something not achieved with most other glute exercises. This makes the hip thrust a prime exercise for developing strength at short muscle lengths.

Deficit Reverse Lunge

The deficit reverse lunge begins with you standing on an elevated surface (typically a step platform). 

As you lunge backwards, the non-working leg travels below “ground level”, forcing your body into deeper hip flexion, which places a greater stretch on the glutes and forces them to work harder to extend the hip through the increased range of motion.

Fair warning your ass will be on fire for days after doing 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps of these!

Romanian Deadlift

We mentioned this above, but the Romanian deadlift is a great exercise to build the glute. It’s also great for teaching hip hinge pattern, too.

The Romanian deadlift can be performed using a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells, and is a perfect deadlift alternative for those who may not feel ready for conventional deadlifts.

Fat Burner


Killer Workout to Maximize Your Gluteus Maximus




Barbell Hip Thrust


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Romanian Deadlift



Deficit Reverse Lunge



Kettlebell Swings