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Glute Workouts for Women

Four Weeks to Your Best Butt

Use this offset-loading program to sculpt and define a better behind.

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When your glutes workouts start to feel as exciting as the teacup ride at the county fair, you know you need to shake up your program. Well, there’s no time like the present: we’ve put together an effective, fun and challenging workout that utilizes a technique called “offset loading.” Not only will these exercises sculpt and define your glutes and legs, your core and postural stability will also be challenged. Ready? Then let’s get started!

How It Works

Offset loading involves distributing resistance unevenly between the right and left sides of the body — for example, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with nothing in your left. It can also be done with a heavier weight held on one side and a lighter weight on the other, or by carrying a dumbbell on each side in different positions, and it can even be performed unilaterally, standing on one leg instead of two. This challenges the body differently compared to holding equal weight in both hands or performing an exercise with both feet on the ground.

Not only is this a great way to add variety to your program, it provides a fresh stimulus to promote new adaptations. A review article in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism stated that unilateral resistance exercises provide a disruptive, or offset, torque to the body. This unstable condition can challenge the coordination, balance and stability of certain joints and the torso, depending on the location of the weight. What does this mean for you? It means new challenges with your favorite exercises, as well as a reduced risk of injury.

Your Program

This program consists of six exercises that are split up into mini circuits associated with a particular number (see the chart). For example, while the single-legged burpees will be performed in eight straight sets with 30 seconds in between each, during the second circuit, you will be supersetting the two listed exercises, performing one set of the offset front squat, followed by one set of the offset single-legged deadlift. Perform all sets and reps in one particular circuit before moving on to the next one on the chart.

The tempo or speed of the exercise has four numbers associated with it, read as A/B/C/D: “A” is how many seconds it takes to perform the downward phase, “B” is how long you’ll pause, “C” is how many seconds it takes to perform the upward phase, and “D” is how long to pause at the top. The burpees will be performed as fast as possible (AFAP for short), and the idea is to do as many reps as you can within the time given.

Do this program twice per week, leaving at least 48 hours of rest between workouts. Balance this plan with weekly upper-body and abdominal workouts, as well as lower-body routines that focus on your quads and calves.


Single-Legged Burpee


Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominals

Set Up: Stand with your weight entirely on one leg, and bend your opposite knee to lift your foot from the floor.

Action: Bend your standing leg and squat, placing your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Jump your leg behind you to bring your body into a straight line, then immediately hop it back towards your hands and explode upwards into the air. Continue, switching legs with each rep.

Tip: This move requires pristine balance. If you find it too intense the first time around, cut the jump out at the end.

2a Offset Front Squat


Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings

Set Up: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in one hand in front of your shoulder.

Action: Bend your knees and hips to sink into a squat . When your thighs are about parallel to the ground, stop, then extend your legs to return to the start. Once you have completed your reps, hold the dumbbell in your other hand and repeat.

Tip: For your supersets (2a and 2b, and 4a and 4b), do the exercises back-to-back, rest, then start again.

2b Offset Single-Legged Deadlift


Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, erector spinae

Set Up: Begin by standing on your left leg, with your right foot lifted behind you and a dumbbell in your right hand.

Action: Keeping a slight bend in your left knee, hinge forward from your hips until your upper body is about parallel to the ground. Hold, then reverse to return to the start. When you have completed your reps, switch legs and repeat.

Tip: If you feel wobbly, graze the toes of your lifted foot against the floor in between reps.

Offset Walking Lunge


Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius

Set Up: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your left arm towards the ceiling, palm facing in.

Action: Step one foot forward and bend your legs to lunge. Extend your legs, then immediately move your other leg forward and lunge again. Continue in this manner for your set; once you complete six to eight reps, change the positions of your arms and repeat.

Tip: As you perform your walking lunges, your steps may be longer than they would be during regular lunges.

4a Single-Legged Hip Thrust


Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, erector spinae

Set Up: Position two benches about three to four feet apart. Place your back against one, extending your arms and grabbing the sides of it for support, and place one foot on the other bench. Bend your opposite knee, raise your foot from the floor, and lift your glutes until they line up with the bench.

Action: Bend your hips to lower your glutes towards the floor; your back should pivot against the bench behind it as you lift and lower. Pause, then extend your hips to return to the start. Switch your working leg and repeat when you have completed all of the reps prescribed.

Tip: Ideally, try to set your benches in front of a Smith machine or squat rack so you can reach back and hold the poles for stability.

4b Single-Legged Weighted Hip Lift


Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, erector spinae

Set Up: Lie faceup on a mat with an exercise bench by your feet. Place one heel on the bench and hold a weight plate on your opposite knee as shown.

Action: Lift your hips from the floor to create a straight line from your shoulders to the knee of your working leg. Hold, then slowly lower back to the start until your hips just touch the ground. After your reps are through, change leg positions and repeat.

Tip: This move can be equally effective without a weight plate if you concentrate on squeezing your glutes and using your hamstrings and butt to complete the lift.