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How To Target Glutes Instead Of Quads (7 Growth Tips)

How To Target Glutes Instead Of Quads

Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Femniqe

It’s a big problem for many people. 

Knowing how to target glutes instead of quads will make or break your gains. And most women only want to make gains in their glutes, not the quads.

During lower body exercises some persons experience over-activating the quadriceps, instead of the intended target muscle, the glutes. 

In this guide, we will look at how to properly target the glutes during exercise and provide a list of exercises that specifically target the glutes.

Why Do I Only Feel Glute Workouts In My Quads?

First, you have to understand how muscles work during exercise. When you perform a lower body exercise such as a squat, multiple muscle groups are activated in order to complete the movement. 

That’s why it’s very important to focus on proper form and muscle activation in order to target the intended muscle group. 

In the case of the glutes, you have to actively engage the muscle during exercises in order to see results.

How To Target Glutes Instead Of Quads With These 7 Tips

how to target glutes instead of quads

1. Proper Form Is King

Make sure that you maintain proper form during exercises to ensure that you are targeting the glutes. This means keeping your back straight, engaging your core, and driving through your heels during exercises.

2. Do Glute Isolation Exercises

Adding isolation exercises, such as glute bridges, clamshells, and glute kickbacks, that specifically target the glutes can help to ensure maximum engagement of the muscle. 

Glute isolation exercises work so well for growth because they allow you to specifically target the gluteal muscles, rather than relying on other muscle groups to assist in the movement. 

This increased focus on the muscle allows for more effective muscle activation and stimulation.

Adding exercises such as hip thrusts, deadlifts, and step-ups, into your workout routine can help to ensure that you’re really targeting the glutes.

4. Make Sure To Warm-up

Before starting your workout, it’s important to properly warm up your muscles, this can include some glute activation exercises such as monster walks, clamshells and fire hydrants.

5. Mind-to-glute Connection

Focus on the sensation of the movement and the contraction of the glutes during the exercises. This will help to ensure that the muscle is properly engaged during the movement.

6. Tempo and Time-Under-Tension

Changing the tempo of the movement and the time under tension can also help to target glutes instead of quads, for example, using a slow eccentric (lowering) phase and a fast concentric (lifting) phase.

7. Change Up Your Glute Routines

This will help to ensure that all areas of the glutes are worked, and will also prevent muscle boredom with your workout routine.

Exercises To Target Glutes Instead Of Quads

Now, let’s take a look at some exercises that really target the glutes.

Glute Bridges

This exercise is great for activating the glutes and building overall strength. 

  • To perform a glute bridge, position yourself on the floor on your back with your legs bent at the knees, and feet planted firmly on the ground.
  • Using your glutes, lift your hips upward towards the ceiling, squeezing the muscle at the peak of the movement.


These target the glutes as well, but it’s important to maintain proper form to avoid over-activating the quads. 

  • Make sure to keep your front knee aligned with your ankle and your back knee hovering just above the ground. 
  • As you perform the lunge, focus on driving through your heel and squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.


A classic move that activates the glutes.

  • To perform a step-up, find a step or bench and step up onto it with one foot
  • Pressing through the heel and squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement


Great for targeting the glutes, particularly the outer glutes. 

  • To perform a clamshell, lie on your side with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle
  • Keeping your feet together, raise your top knee towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement

Single-Leg Deadlifts

Especially single leg deadlifts, these really work the glutes. 

  • To perform a single-leg deadlift, stand on one leg and hinge forward at the hips
  • Make sure your back is straight and your core engaged

Glute Kickbacks

This hits the upper glutes. 

  • To perform a glute kickback, begin on all fours, and raise one leg behind you
  • Squeeze your glutes at the peak of the movement.

Hip Thrusts

One of the best glute exercises to target glutes instead of quads.

  • To perform a hip thrust, sit on the floor with your back against a bench or step and your knees bent
  • Push your hips up towards the ceiling and squeeze your glutes at the top for a few seconds then return to starting position.

Why Glutes Isolation Is Better For Growth Than Compound Movements

When you perform a compound exercise(1), multiple muscle groups are activated to assist in the movement. 

This can make it more difficult to target the glutes specifically, which results in less effective glute activation.

Isolation exercises, on the other hand, focus specifically on one muscle group, allowing for increased muscle activation and stimulation. 

This increased activation leads to greater glute growth and development.

Also, isolation exercises can help to improve muscle imbalances and correct any issues with muscle activation. 

Many people tend to rely on their quadriceps during lower body exercises, leading to an imbalance between the quadriceps and glutes. 

Isolation exercises can help to correct this imbalance, leading to more well-rounded muscle development.

You Now Know How To Target Glutes Instead Of Quads 

Remember to focus on proper form and glute activation during each exercise in order to effectively target the glutes. 

Adding glute-specific exercises into your routine and focusing on proper form during exercises can help you grow a bigger and rounder butt. 

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