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What are the biggest booty muscles?

Having a toned and shapely butt is a fitness goal for many people. The glutes, made up of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, are the main muscles that give shape to the buttocks. Developing these muscles can lead to a rounder, firmer backside.

Anatomy of the Gluteal Muscles

The gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles. This muscle originates on the posterior ilium, the posterior surface of the sacrum, and the side of the coccyx. It inserts into the iliotibial tract and gluteal tuberosity of the femur. This is the muscle primarily responsible for the shape of the buttocks.

The gluteus medius originates along the outer surface of the ilium between the iliac crest and posterior gluteal line. It inserts at the greater trochanter of the femur. This muscle abducts and medially rotates the hip.

The gluteus minimus lies beneath the gluteus medius. It originates between the anterior and inferior gluteal lines of the ilium and inserts into the greater trochanter of the femur. This smallest of the glutes also abducts and medially rotates the thigh.

Function of the Glutes

The gluteal muscles serve several important functions:

  • Hip extension – The gluteus maximus is the main hip extensor.
  • External rotation – The gluteus maximus laterally rotates the hip.
  • Abduction – The gluteus medius and minimus abduct the thigh.
  • Internal rotation – The anterior fibers of the gluteus medius and minimus help internally rotate the hip.
  • Pelvic and trunk stability – The glutes stabilize the pelvis and trunk during movement.
  • Propulsion – During walking or running, the gluteus maximus provides momentum to propel the body forward.

Best Exercises for the Glutes

To build strength and size in the glutes, focus on exercises that maximize contraction of these muscles. Some of the best glute exercises include:

Barbell Hip Thrust

This exercise isolates the glutes while minimizing work of the quads. Set up with your upper back on a bench holding a barbell across your hips. Raise your hips, squeezing the glutes to lift the bar. Slowly lower back down.

Bulgarian Split Squat

This single-leg move challenges your stability while working the glutes. Stand with one foot on a bench behind you, holding dumbbells at your sides. Squat down on your front leg, lowering until the back knee nearly touches the floor. Press back up to start.

Glute Bridge

Lying faceup with knees bent and arms at your sides, lift your hips off the floor into a bridge. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Lower back down with control.

Quadruped Hip Extension

Get on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Keeping the knee bent 90 degrees, raise one leg up and straight back, squeezing the glute. Slowly lower back down to start.

Kettlebell Swing

This explosive move recruits the posterior chain. With a kettlebell between your feet, hinge at the hips and swing the bell back between your legs. Thrust your hips forward forcefully, bringing the kettlebell to chest level. Control the descent.


Bend at the hips to grasp a barbell on the floor with a shoulder-width grip. Drive through your heels to stand up, lifting the bar. Squeeze the glutes at the top. Reverse to lower the weight.

Lateral Band Walk

Place a resistance band around your ankles and take small steps to one side, then the other. Keep tension on the band the whole time to activate your glute medius.


The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus make up the muscular structure of the buttocks. Developing these muscles can lead to better posture, improved athletic performance, and an aesthetically pleasing, strong backside. Focus on lower body compound lifts like squats and deadlifts along with targeted glute exercises for optimal results.