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Squat Variation for Glute Emphasis?

I’m looking for some ideas as to squat variations to be used on my light squat day as part of general training and also to emphasise my glutes and core stability as rehab following back injury.

On my heavy days I’ll be doing low bar squats with belt or variations of that.

I’ve been thinking maybe some beltless low bar squats and variations. I tried high bar out today and positioning on the back feels terrible.

Are there any glute emphasis squat variations that would be appropriate?

Edit: Does SSB emphasise glutes?

Maybe wide stance box squats. Squats in general aren’t really a glute-dominant movement. I feel like my glutes are working extra hard when I squat heavy in wraps because hip extension becomes the limiting factor, but that’s not really what you want for a light day.

RDLs, GMs, and back raises all work the glutes. Hip thrusts too. Also you could just do some glute activation stuff before training to get the fired up, like side clamshells and glute bridges.



Your brain is your best tool for emphasizing glutes in a squat. As @chris_ottawa said, squats aren’t really glute dominant so it’s easy for other muscles to do most of the work. To get any “secondary” muscles to work more efficiently during a competition movement, you have to use weight that is light enough to allow you to focus on contracting the muscle throughout the entire movement.

I would recommend starting with body weight or an empty bar. Squeeze your glutes (while making sure you aren’t tilting your pelvis in ways you don’t normally) and do some tempo reps while focusing on maintaining the contraction the entire time. Over time add weight, but focus should be mentally cueing the contraction. Eventually it will be second nature and your glutes should start doing more during your heavy lifts.


Maybe one for the future

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To echo- no squat variation is meant just for the glutes.

Good mornings, lunges, barbell humps, dimel deadlifts, etc target the glutes.

Glutes are invovled in the squat but there’s no “glute squat”


I like to do SSB Good mornings as if I’m doing a really ugly squat

I tried em once. Felt like death. I’m usually an upright squatter for at that angle it’s all kinds of bad

But insta fit chicks who squat with a resistance band around their knees though

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Dang, I already pitch forward a little so SSB Good mornings just feel like bent over quarter squats

Thanks for the advice. I can’t lose focus on the back squat.

Would there be any utility in squatting with a band around the hips like resisting hip extension?

I’d just do a deficit stiff legged deadlift and not worry so much about the squat.

If you really want to get your glutes involved when squatting then use a hip circle/mini band on some of your squat warm ups and superset with glute bridges/clam shells (also with a hip circle/miniband).

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If Dan Green does it then it must be good.

Stiff leg deads are a lot of hammy for me. My glutes are working but hammies is where I feel it

This is how I call this from now on.

and Guienea, I think that is the best glute exercise. But any Squat that you lean a bit more forward will work the glutes a bit more.

Most of the fit chicks are doing like 135 with it at the most. It’s a great tool to help someone learn to open up their hips and engage the glutes but it doesn’t increase glute activation, it just reinforces using your glutes.

Here’s the thing, you’re actually supposed to turn off your glutes ( not really but more slow down the contraction ) right before lockout, so you don’t get that dramatic bar pop at the top ( because that IS bad for you ).

As for the stiff legs, you feel those in your hamstrings because the knees are locked, think more RDL/goodmorning those should get a good glute focus. When the knees are locked and you push the hips back it’s going to load the hamstrings more than anything, however if the knees are a bit bent and shins more vertical you’re going to hit the glutes a lot harder.


@guineapig I guess a bit more detail is needed on what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to get your glutes to work more effectively during the squat, with the goal of translating to a bigger 1RM? Or are you just looking for ways to target the glutes for general strength/hypertrophy gains? If the second, as most have said don’t use squats since there are tons of other movements that are more natural for working the glutes.

If the first, and you want your glutes to help your comp squat, a band around the hips or some other tactile feedback (even someone poking your buns during your squats) can be good for initially teaching how to “feel” your glutes during the movement, but ultimately you will need to train yourself to do this without external cuing, and preferably minimal internal cuing since there are probably a lot more important things to focus on than squeezing your butt.


End goal is bigger prettier squat. Probably gonna need bigger stronger muscles for that

I never liked hip thrusts because they seem to hard to set up. Im glad Im never programmed these

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Then I’d do leg presses with feet up highish on the platform.

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Unlocking the knees a bit takes tension off my hammies a bit but I think my right side is overly dominant.

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More glutes?