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Bench Glute Workout, Simple Yet Effective

February 07, 2024

Bench glute workout by Robor Fitness


If you haven’t got access to masses of workout equipment available because you’re training your glutes at home, or if you’re gym doesn’t have much in the way of glute machines – all you need is a bench to have an awesome glute workout (or even just a platform!).

Or even if you do have access to all the fancy glute equipment, but you just want to add some variety to your workout, introducing bench-based glute exercises is a great way to keep things fresh.

Today we’ll be looking at the best bench-based glute exercises and program these into a workout for you to try.


Glute Anatomy and Role Overview

Before we jump into the best bench glute exercises, it’s worth recapping the anatomy of the glutes and what movements the muscles are responsible for.

Glute anatomy


The glutes are made up of 3 muscles.

  1. Gluteus Maximas – This is the largest of the 3 muscles and is responsible for the majority of the shape of the butt. The role of the maximas is hip extension which means to increase the angle between the thigh and the hip.
  2. Gluteus Medius – The medius is the 2nd largest but is a fair bit smaller than the maximas. The medius is situated above and to the sides of the maximas and is responsible for hip abduction (moving the leg out towards the side of the body) and hip external/internal rotation.
  3. Gluteus Minimus – The minimus is the smallest of the 3 muscles and works alongside the medius to aid with abduction at the hip and external/internal rotation.

Each of the muscles works together to stabilise the hip and are involved in everyday tasks such as walking, running, bending, stepping and so on. 

Not only is it important to train each of the 3 muscles for functional reasons, but if you’re working to build a rounder, fuller glute appearance – it’s important not to neglect the smaller glute muscles.


Best Glute Exercises With a Bench

Now we know the glute anatomy and the roles of each of the glute muscles, let’s dive into the best bench glute exercises.


Hip Thrust

Barbell hip thrust exercise example


Starting with the queen of glute-building exercises – the mighty hip thrust. Since being invented in 2006 by glute expert Bret Contreras, the hip thrust has found itself as a vital exercise in many glute-building programs.

As you thrust your hips upwards against the resistance, the glute maximas will be working hard to extend the hip creating a powerful contraction. The high levels of muscle activation, combined with the load directly acting against the muscle creates a unique muscle-building stimulus.


Step Up

Step up exercise example


Seemingly a simple exercise, yet an exercise that should not be overlooked, let’s see why. A study published in 2020 compared glute activation among the popular glute-building exercises. To many people's surprise, the step-up elicited the greatest amount of glute activation among all of the other exercises test – check out the table for yourself.


Muscle activation of popular glute exercises


While glute activation doesn’t directly mean it’s better for building muscle, the research tells us the two are linked. It therefore makes sense that we should introduce step-ups into our training if we haven’t already done so.

The gluteus maximas will be working hard to extend the hip as you step up onto the bench and the unilateral nature of the exercise will mean the medius and minimus will be recruited to stabilise the hip.


Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian split squat exercise


Another powerhouse exercise in the glute building department. As we alluded to a second ago, the single-leg nature of this exercise introduces an element of instability, forcing the glute muscles to work in unison to stabilise and balance the body throughout the exercise.

As you lunge down towards the bottom of the movement, the glute maximas will be placed in a deep stretched position which has been found to provide a unique muscle-building stimulus. The maximas will be forced to work hard to propel you back up to the starting position.


Reverse Hyperextension

Reverse hyperextension exercise

The reverse hyperextension is a hidden gem in the booty-building world. This movement not only works the glutes but also targets the hamstrings and lower back muscles – an overall great exercise to target the posterior chain muscles.

By lifting your legs against gravity, the maximas will be working hard to extend the hips and the muscles will contract hard at the top of the movement. The Reverse hyperextension is a low-impact exercise making it perfect for those either recovering from an injury or looking to give the lower back a rest from previous loaded exercises.


Bench Romanian Deadlifts

Bringing you a slight twist on a popular glute-building exercise – a Romanian deadlift (RDL), on a bench. It’s similar to the b-stance RDL; only one side of the body will be working at a time, but instead of having the resting foot on the floor for support, you’ll have it placed on the bench.

This RDL variation is not only a great exercise for igniting the glutes, but it also targets and strengthens the hamstrings which will help to develop the lower glute look.

The support you gain from resting one leg on the bench helps you to focus on the leg you are targeting. This allows you to improve the mind-muscle connection which can be helpful for those who struggle to feel the glutes working during some exercises.


Bench Glute Kickback

A glute kickback is one of the best cable glute exercises, but did you know you can perform the kickback on a bench?

Whether performed on a cable machine or a bench, the glute kickback is a precision move designed to isolate and fire up the glutes. The exercise involves extending your leg backwards while keeping the rest of the body stable. The maximas will be heavily involved during the extension part of the exercise whilst the smaller medius and minimus will be recruited throughout for balance and stability.

After mastering the bodyweight version, it’ll be time to upgrade the exercise and put a dumbbell between your calf and hamstring to continue your glute-building progress. 


Bench Glute Workout

We’ve covered the best bench-based glute exercises, so it’s time to bring it all together into a workout for you to try on your next glute day.

We have designed 2 different workouts for you to try. Give them a go and let us know how you get on!

Glute Workout A


Sets and Reps

Hip Thrust

4 sets of 8-10 reps

Bulgarian Split Squat

4 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

Reverse Hyperextensions

4 sets of 10-15 reps

Bench Glute Kickback

3 sets of 12-15 reps for each leg

Glute Workout B


Sets and Reps

Hip Thrust

4 sets of 8-10 reps

Bench Romanian Deadlift

4 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

Step Ups

3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg

Bench Glute Kickback

3 sets of 12-15 reps for each leg


These workouts are designed to be challenging. If you’re a new lifter, we recommend starting off using your body weight as the resistance. Once you’ve mastered the exercise form and can perform the number of sets and reps listed in the table, then you can progress onto the weighted variations.

For intermediate and advanced lifters, we recommend that you add resistance to these exercises. This resistance should be in the form of a dumbbell as it can be used for each of the exercises we have included in our workout.

If you don’t already have some dumbbells, we recommend getting your hands on an adjustable dumbbell. This will allow you to adjust the resistance for each exercise without purchasing a set of 5 different weighted dumbbells – a real game changer for home glute workouts.

Adjustable dumbbell
Check Price on Amazon



Final Thoughts

There we have it, the best bench glute exercises and 2 workouts for you to try. If you don’t have all the fancy workout equipment, but you’ve got a workout bench, then you can still have an awesome glute workout.

As with any training program, focus on progressive overload for continued progression and ensure you supply your body with the nutrients it needs to grow and you’re on to a winner. Enjoy!

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Thomas D
Thomas D


Thomas is a dedicated fitness enthusiast with over 12 years of experience in the gym. As a level 2 qualified gym instructor, he combines his passion for working out and nutrition to help others achieve their fitness goals. Thomas stays up to date with the latest fitness research and follows the work of top experts in the field. With a balance of textbook knowledge and real-life experience, he provides practical guidance to help others reach their full potential.

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