The 12 Best Dumbbell Exercises For Glutes

Dumbbell glute exercises are a very effective way to build a strong lower body and glutes. Here we provide a variety of dumbbell exercises and information that can be used to build a dumbbell glute workout.

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In This Resource
  • Benefits of Glute Training With Dumbbells
  • Hypertrophic Effect (Muscle Growth)
  • Improved Athletic Performance
  • Movement Patterns That Work The Glutes
  • Hip Dominant Exercises
  • Hinge Exercises
  • Squat Exercises
  • Training Considerations
  • Sets and Repetitions
  • Glute Anatomy
  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can you build your glutes with dumbbell exercises?
  • What weight dumbbells should I use for a glute workout?
  • Do the dumbbell squats exercise build glutes?
  • Are dumbbell glute exercises more effective than barbell hip thrusts?
  • Sample Dumbbell Glute Workout (superset)
  • References

Adding dumbbells into your training if you’re looking to build strong glutes is a great way to ensure results. They will not only provide far more variations compared to bodyweight training but they will also create better results as the glutes will be presented with a greater stimulus in comparison to bodyweight training.

Benefits of Glute Training With Dumbbells

Hypertrophic Effect (Muscle Growth)

Mechanical tension is what drives hypertrophy (muscle growth), creating sufficient mechanical tension in the glutes without an external load can be very difficult. This makes bodyweight glute exercises far less effective at eliciting a hypertrophic effect. Thus making dumbbell glute exercise very effective as they can produce more mechanical tension and are far superior at overloading the glute muscles, having more of an impact on muscle growth.

Improved Athletic Performance

Having strong glutes is very important when it comes to running speed, hip stability for injury mitigation and agility. All three of these elements add up to not only be important for everyday functions but also for athletic development, making glute work a key part of any strength and conditioning regime.

Movement Patterns That Work The Glutes

Let’s break down the different types of movements that can be used when using dumbbells to grow the glutes.

Hip Dominant Exercises

This is the most specific movement pattern that works the gluts and the most popularised, but that doesn’t mean that other movement patterns arn’t a key part of building strong glutes.

Feet positioning is a key part of getting hips dominant exercises correct when doing this common dumbbell glute. If foot positioning is incorrect it can result in the hamstrings doing more work than the glutes, if the exercise is performed to create adaptation in the glutes then performing the exercise in this manner will take away from that potential adaptation to the body.

It’s also important to press the back into the floor when doing hip dominant exercises in a glute dumbbell workout. This will position the pelvis in such a way that the glutes can be much easier activated. This pressing the lower back into the floor should be done every rep not just for the first rep.

Hinge Exercises

The hinge pattern is one of the three movement patterns that promote muscle growth and strength adaptations in the glutes. Have a look at our full library of hinge movements here .

Squat Exercises

Finally the squat, both bilateral and unilateral, movement pattern is very effective at building strong glutes.

Squat exercises isolate the glute less specifically but the glutes play a key role in the squatting motion. The dumbbell goblet squat is a good example of a knee flexion (squatting) movement that requires a great deal of glute activation. It also requires a strong, stable core and midline. Have a look at our full library of squat movements here .

Training Considerations

Sets and Repetitions

The key aspect to building strong glutes is moving through these movement patterns consistently with good technique. Each movement pattern should be performed 6-12 sets throughout the week depending on the training age of the individual. These working sets should be challenging and close to failure (4-1 reps from failure). This will ensure great results and muscular growth of the glute muscles.

If you want to read more about how volume effects muscle growth have a read through the study referenced below by Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Jozo Grgic & James Krieger (1). For more practical training volume advice specifically related to body building, have a read through RP Strengths volume landmark guidelines .

Glute Anatomy

The glutes are a group of three muscles that are behind the pelvis. These consist of

  • Gluteus maximus
  • Gluteus medius
  • Gluteus minimus
  • Gluteus Maximus

    This is the largest of the three muscles and it creates that shape of the glute muscle. The gluteus maximus lies on top of the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus hence why it makes the shape of what we refer to as the glutes or buttocks. The gluteus maximus extends and externally rotates the hip joint.

    Gluteus Medius

    The glute medius is underneath the gluteus maximus and helps to support the hip joint. It is often under utilised and worked on during rehabilitation programmes. Other than stabilizing the hip, it’s primary movement is hip adduction. It’s also very important in walking as it stabilizing you whilst you are stood on one leg.

    Gluteus Minimus

    The glute medius is underneath the glute medius and acts as a flexor, abductor and rotator. It also acts as a stabilizer of the hip.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you build your glutes with dumbbell exercises?

    Yes. They are a very effective tool for building the glutes.

    What weight dumbbells should I use for a glute workout?

    It really depends on a number of factors. Your training age, your current strength levels etc.

    Do the dumbbell squats exercise build glutes?

    Yes, dumbbell squats do build glutes, if done at the correct volume and intensity.

    Are dumbbell glute exercises more effective than barbell hip thrusts?

    No they are not, the barbell hip thrust is probably the most effective glute exercise as it can be effectively loaded to create high levels of mechanical tension.

    Sample Dumbbell Glute Workout (superset)

    Complete 3 rounds

    1. DB Goblet Squat In Lunge

    Complete 8 repetitions

    2. DB Hip Thrust

    Complete 20 repetitions


  • Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Jozo Grgic & James Krieger (2019) How many times per week should a muscle be trained to maximize muscle hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of resistance training frequency, Journal of Sports Sciences, 37:11, 1286-1295, DOI:  10.1080/02640414.2018.1555906
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