3 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Strong and Bodacious Glutes

By 18 October 2020Training

So many of us are on the never-ending quest of building big, strong, bodacious glutes. Strong glutes are essential for nearly every aspect of life.

In the gym, strong glutes are needed to move weight and keep our pelvis stable. For sports, we need our glutes for power production, maintaining our center of mass, and much more. And in daily life, we need strong glutes because they can contribute to healthy movement mechanics (gait), while also, attracting significant others… kidding!

For anyone that loves kettlebell workouts who also wants to build their glutes, you’re in luck. We recently put together three of our favorite kettlebell exercises for building strong glutes, and we guarantee you’re not already doing these in your program. Check out the video below from Coach Jake going over the exercises, and read below for detailed how-tos!

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Glute Maximus and Medius Anatomy and Function

Before we dive into the exercises, let’s first cover the glute maximus and medius’ anatomy and function. Often times, we default for glute exercises that are popular (here’s look at you, hip thrust), and neglect variations that could actually serve us better based on how the glutes actually function.

Glute Maximus

  • Function: Hip Extension

Glute Medius

  • Function: Abducts Thigh (whole muscle)
  • Function: Internally Rotates Thigh (anterior fibers)

If we only opt for glute exercises that train the glutes in a limited fashion, then we’re leaving gains on the table.

The glutes play such a large role in pelvis stability and everyday life that we need to frequently explore different exercise variations to best target the dynamic nature that the glutes play in our daily lives.

1. Contralateral Split Squat With Rotation

The first exercise is a contralateral front-loaded split squat with a rotation. This variation is fantastic for targeting the glute medius and can do wonders for working pelvis and knee stability.

Split Squat With Rotation

Contralateral Split Squat With Rotation

How To Do Split Squats With Rotation

  1. Assume your normal split squat stance.
  2. Grab a kettlebell and achieve a front-loaded position on the contralateral side (the offset side of the working leg).
  3. Lower yourself slowly like a traditional split squat, then rotate 30-45 degrees toward the working leg.
  4. Fight to maintain your positioning, then stand back up and rotate back to your normal stance.
  5. Squeeze the glutes at the top, then repeat the process.

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2. Single-Leg Deadlift

The single-leg deadlift with a contralateral load is another amazing unilateral training option for explosive glute gains. This single-leg deadlift has the spin that Dr. Pat Davidson uses when programming this exercise.

Single Leg Deadlift

Contralateral Single-Leg Deadlift (Dr. Pat Davidson style)

How To Do Single-Leg Deadlifts

  1. Stand with your back against a wall, then take between 2-3 steps off of the wall.
  2. Take the foot of the leg that is not being loaded and place it flat against the wall.
  3. Grab a kettlebell and load the body with a contralateral style.
  4. Begin the deadlift and push the offset foot against the wall and slowly lower yourself down.
  5. Think about keeping the weight in the glute of the working leg.
  6. As you lower, try to “cover the toes” with the kettlebell so the torso has a slight rotation.
  7. Once you’ve achieved depth, lift back up and return to your starting position and contract the glutes.

3. Stiff-Leg Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift

The stiff-leg sumo kettlebell deadlift is a killer for working your hamstrings and glutes. This exercise is awesome because it can be performed with high volume and can be a great finisher and warm-up exercise.

Stiff Leg Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift

Stiff Leg Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift

How To Do Stiff-Leg Sumo Kettlebell Deadlifts

  1. Establish your normal sumo deadlift stance, then create a soft-knee bend to assume a stiff-leg stance.
  2. Position the kettlebell between your mid and forefoot.
  3. Maintaining a consistent hip and knee position, lift the dumbbell thinking “roll up” with the back.
  4. At the top, squeeze the glutes, then begin the descent.
  5. Slowly lower the weight with control and focus on maintaining your hip position the whole time.

Wrapping Up

If you’ve been on the quest of building stronger glutes, then try these kettlebell glute variations. They can be performed at the gym or at home, and all you need is a single kettlebell!

Happy training!

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake Boly, CSCS, M.S. is a weathered veteran of the fitness industry. Prior to Pheasyque Lab, he was the Fitness Editor at BarBend.com for four years. To date, Jake has written over 1,700 articles about fitness and health and has trained hundreds of athletes all while continuing to push the boundaries of fitness and health content creation.

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