Best Cardio Machine for Glutes

What’s The Best Cardio Machine for Glutes? (Workouts Included)

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Building strong glutes isn’t just about aesthetic appeal. It has functional effects too!

A strong butt contributes to good mobility and helps stabilize your hips and pelvis. This can help you avoid injury and soreness in your lower back.

But, what are the best cardio machines for glutes?

Below I outline the best cardio machines and their effect on your glutes, the best butt building workouts, and what else you can do to build that booty!



The 5 Best Cardio Machines for Your Glutes

There are a variety of cardio machines that can help you target your glutes and build your butt. Some are better than others. Check out the list below for an in-depth look and effectiveness of each.

#1 — Treadmills

Jogging on the treadmill maximizes glute activation. However, running places a lot of stress on your joints which can lead to painful wear and tear on the protective cartilage at your knee joint.

To maximize glute gain and minimize joint stress, try using your treadmill for short interval sessions rather than extended periods of time. You could try running sprint intervals on an incline in between other glute building exercises like squats or lunges.

Or you could crank up the incline and do walking lunges for 10-minutes straight. But proper form is key. This is what walking lunges on a treadmill should look like:

#2 — Stairmaster

The stairmaster mimics climbing stairs. It helps firm and shape your glutes and strengthens the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. If you’re a runner, it can give your joints a much-needed break.

You can also adjust the intensity to keep things interesting. Try doing a HIIT workout to switch things up. Or select a preset program to get that booty burn.

One of the best ways to kick your butt into high gear is to push through your heels and actively squeeze your glute muscles. If you’re thinking of getting a stairmaster for home, check out the StepMill.

Feeling ambitious? Do your best impression of the stairmaster workout below:

#3 — Stair Steppers

Stair steppers are similar to stairmasters in that they mimic walking up stairs.

For optimal results, take big steps, lean forward, stick your butt out, and avoid putting weight on any nearby handrails. To really push yourself, try throwing on a weight vest during your stepper workout.

Speaking of which, here’s a great stepper workout from Women’s health mag

#4 — Ellipticals

I know people that use the elliptical all the time but make little to no progress. Why? Because they use it wrong.

Ellipticals — when used properly — offer a ton of benefits like boosting your cardiovascular health and burning calories. It’s similar to a running motion but much gentler on your joints.

The best way to target your glutes using an elliptical machine includes sticking your butt back and pushing into your heels throughout the motion. This way you’ll activate over 30% of your glute muscles.

Try to push yourself with this machine. Increase the resistance or play with your speed. For a 30 minute butt burning elliptical workout, try out this workout by Snap Fitness.

#5 — Recumbent Exercise Bikes

A recumbent exercise bike is a stationary bike with a backrest. If you’re just getting into exercise or coming out of a recent injury, the recumbent bike is an effective and safe option to build your butt.

For the most effective and ultimate butt workout, adjust your seat so that your knee is flexed at a 25-30 degree angle in the farthest pedal position. With proper form and in this reclined position, you’ll effectively target the gluteus maximus, your biggest glute muscle!

Other Cardio Machines You Can Try

SkiErg

The SkiErg provides a way to take Nordic skiing indoors. This machine doesn’t offer the same full body engagement as other cardio machines.

However, you’ll feel your glutes and legs burn and you won’t have to bundle up for the cold.

Upright Bikes

The upright bike is your classic stationary bike, with no backrest.

Stand up on your upright bike and maintain a parallel position with your feet for optimal glute engagement. You can add on resistance to further challenge yourself.

Air Bikes

The air bike is a stationary bike with 2 handles that move back and forth. It’s powered by wind and is perfect for high-intensity training.

The downside of air bikes is that you have to make up your own workout as they rarely come with built-in programs. The upside is that it’s a full body workout and can work wonders for your glutes.

To isolate your glutes on an air bike, stand and lean slightly forward with your butt out. You can get creative by alternating between standing and sitting.

Spin Bikes

Spin classes are all the rage right now for good reason. Spin bikes can help you build stronger legs and take your glutes to the next level. They do a great job simulating biking up steep hills.

To really push yourself on a spin bike, try sprinting. Sprinting is where you stand and pedal. This is hands down one of the best ways to isolate your butt and build your glutes.

Rowing Machines

This one may come as a surprise. The rowing machine is frequently regarded as an upper body workout. Yet, rowing machines also target the quad muscles, calf muscles, and glutes.

Rowing machines involve a natural rowing movement and can help you tone your entire body. Similar to the elliptical, it’s easy on the joints. If you suffer from joint pain, this one may be a good option for you.

You want to make sure you maintain the proper form on the rowing machine to maximize the effectiveness. View the video below to double check your form:

Treadclimbers

Treadclimbers combine a treadmill and stair stepper, with dual treadmill tracks that move up and down. It’s similar to the movement of walking up a steep hill or stairs.

The treadclimber can effectively tone your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. It offers a way to mix up your workout and try something new!

For a 15-minute interval treadclimber workout, check out the video below

Vertical Climbers

Vertical climbers are cardio machines that mimic the movement of climbing up a wall with your opposite leg and arm.

Although they don’t quite isolate your glutes like the other machines, you’ll still benefit from a full body workout.

If you’re curious about vertical climbers, check out the video below to see it in action:

10 Best Glute Workouts for Mass

You don’t always have to rely on cardio machines to work your glutes. Here are 10 of the best butt building exercises you can do to sculpt your backside.

#1 — The Brazilian Butt Workout

This workout should fatigue your glute muscles. It targets them in a variety of ways ensuring you get a firm backside. Do each exercise for 1 minute and do 3-4 rounds.

  1. Brazilian Butt Explosive Lunge:
  • Lunge by stepping 1 foot forward.
  • To switch sides, jump up and switch your foot positions.
  • Continue to alternate sides.
  1. Brazilian Butt Sliding Squat
  • Begin by standing tall with your feet together.
  • Step your right leg out to the side and bend your knee, sticking your butt back.
  • Slowly slide your left leg toward your right.
  • Repeat for the left side.
  1. Brazilian Lunge Touchdown
  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lunge forward, and touch your hands down on either side of your front leg.
  • Push back up to start.

#2 — The Cardio Blaster Workout

This workout is simple. You alternate between strengthening exercises and incline running on the treadmill. It helps burn fat and tone the glutes. Do a total of 3 rounds.

  1. Incline run for 1 minute.
  2. Squat Pulses
  • Start with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly bend your knees and squat down.
  • Pulse for 3, then push back up to start.
  • Do 20 repetitions.
  1. Incline run for 1 minute.
  2. Squat and Kick
  • Begin with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly squat down.
  • As you go to stand back up, kick one leg out to the side.
  • Alternate sides and do 20 repetitions (10 each side).
  1. Incline run for 1 minute.
  2. Glute Bridge
  • Begin lying face up on a comfortable surface, with your knees bent and your feet flat.
  • Squeeze your glutes and slowly lift your hips and butt up off the ground.
  • Slowly lower your hips back down and repeat for 20 repetitions.

#3 — The Isolated Glute Workout

This workout takes less than 10 minutes. It’s quick and can be performed every second day. Do 3 rounds. Make sure to squeeze your glutes for maximum effectiveness.

  1. Squat Jump
  • Begin standing tall, with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly squat down.
  • When you go to push back up, jump.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  1. Glute Bridge Holds
  • Begin lying face up on a comfortable surface, with your knees bent and your feet flat.
  • Squeeze your glutes and slowly lift your hips and butt up off the ground.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds and do 3 times.
  1. Donkey Kicks
  • Begin on all fours.
  • Kick one leg back and up, while keeping your knee bent.
  • Slowly lower and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Do 10 times per side.

#4 — The Squat Workout

If you love squats, this one is for you. Squats are a killer glute and thigh workout, meaning they tone your backside and your legs. Get low on your squat for the ultimate butt workout and do a total of 4 rounds.

  1. Basic Squat
  • Begin upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly bend your knees and stick your butt back, lowering into a squat.
  • Slowly push back up to start.
  • Do 12 repetitions.
  1. Sumo Squat
  • Begin with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Point your toes out.
  • Slowly lower into a sumo squat.
  • Slowly return back to start.
  • Repeat 12 times.
  1. 180 Degree Squat Jumps
  • Begin standing tall, with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and slowly lower into a squat.
  • Push up through the heels and jump, turning your entire body to face the opposite way.
  • Repeat 8-10 times.
  1. Squat Pulse Holds
  • Do a basic squat.
  • At the low point of the squat, pulse for 8 counts.
  • Repeat 8-10 times.

#5 — Supermans and Glute Bridges

This workout is another simple one with only 2 exercises. You can add cardio intervals in between your sets or do a quick butt workout to start or end your day.

For the superman exercise, begin lying face down on a comfortable surface. Extend your arms straight in front. Your legs should be extended straight back.

Simultaneously lift your legs and arms off the ground. Squeeze your glutes here! Hold this position for 30 seconds.

For the glute bridge, lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat. Lift your hips and buttocks off the ground, squeezing your glutes.

If this is easy, lift one foot off the ground as well. Hold for a count of 5 and do 10 repetitions (if you’re doing individual legs, do 10 for each side).

Alternate between the 2 exercises and do 3-4 rounds.

Man doing glute bridges

This is what glute bridges look like. Source: Crossfit H20 (Flickr)

#6 — Box Jumps with Squat Holds

This is a quick workout that you can add to your workout or do on the fly. You’ll need a plyo box or a step to jump up onto.

Box jumps are great for building power in your glutes. It’s an explosive move and when combined with squat holds, it’s a killer workout.

To perform a box jump, stand facing your bench. Slowly bend your knees, sticking your butt back. Get low. Then, explode up, pushing through your heels, and landing with your feet on the bench or box.

To perform a squat hold, squat down and hold for as long as you can. The easier alternative to this is performing the squat against a wall.

For this workout, do 5 box jumps, then a squat hold. Try to do at least 3 rounds.

#7 — Kickboxing

Kickboxing is well-known to help sculpt the glutes. It also can provide a great chest workout. If you’re new to kickboxing, try out the 15-minute kickboxing workout below.

#8— Single Leg Squat Workout

This workout can also be added to your workout or done on the fly.

Perform one-legged squats for 10 repetitions for each leg. In between your single leg squat sets, do 5 jumping lunges. Perform 3 rounds. For a detailed look at the single leg squat, see the video below.

#9 — Run and Lunge

For this workout, you don’t need any props. Find a hill. Alternate between sprinting up the hill and performing walking lunges up the hill. Do at least 5 rounds for a full cardio and glute strengthening workout.

#10 — 5 Minute Butt & Thigh Workout

This workout will lift and tone your backside and is mixed with jumping moves and strengthening exercises. This means you get your cardio in, as well as build muscle mass in your derriere.

What Else Can You Do To Get a Big Butt?

Building strong glutes doesn’t just take place in the gym. What you do with the rest of your time matters just as much. Your diet, cooldown, and sleep can significantly impact your glute gains.

Watch Your Diet

Protein makes up the muscle in your body. When you workout, small tears are created in the muscle. You need protein to repair and build this muscle tissue. Essentially, this is how you get ‘big.’

To build muscle, you should aim for a ratio of 30% protein, 20% fat, and 50% carbohydrates. This means that 30% of your total caloric intake will come from protein.

Go for high protein foods such as eggs, salmon, greek yogurt, and whey protein. Avoid high-calorie, low nutrient-dense foods, such as pre-packaged items and fast foods. These don’t serve your body well and won’t help you build your glutes.

Lastly, hydrate. Lots of people mistake thirst for hunger. Before every meal, drink a glass or 2 of water. This will help you minimize cravings and stay on track with a healthy and balanced diet.

Stretch

After any workout, stretching is important. If you don’t stretch, you may risk injury and tight and sore muscles later on. Injuries often mean rest, which means you won’t be hitting the gym anytime soon to perform your glute building workout.

To stretch the glutes, sit in a chair or on a bench. Cross your ankle over top of your opposite lower thigh then, lean forward at your waist. You should feel a gentle stretch in your buttocks.

Hold here for 20-30 seconds. Do 2-3 times after your glute workouts.

Foam Roll

Foam rolling, like stretching, can prevent injury. It improves blood flow to the area, and it’s a form of myofascial release, which helps to release tension in the muscles.

Foam rolling can improve your mobility, your recovery after a tough workout, and your overall performance. If your muscles are tight and contracted, movement may be difficult and your workouts may be harder.

Sleep

This should really go without saying. Yet, many still neglect getting a proper and full night’s sleep. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Most adults only get about 6 hours of sleep a night.

Good sleeping habits promote muscle growth and repair, as well as allow you to make healthy decisions throughout your day. The chances that you’re going to reach for that chocolate bar are much higher after a bad night’s sleep.

A bad sleep every now and again happens, and that’s okay. The goal is to try to make sure you keep your sleep schedule consistent overall.

Yoga class

If you’re not good at stretching on your own, try doing a yoga class once or twice a week to stay nimble. Source: Yoga (Flickr)

FAQs

Q: Why should I care about building glute muscle mass?

A: Strong glutes are important for overall muscle balance. They also support the pelvis and back, which can help prevent lower back pain, and play an important role in hip mobility.

Q: Which cardio machines burn the most calories?

A: This depends on how hard you’re working and what intensity you set your machine at.

If you have your hands on the handrails of the stairmaster and are walking up it fairly slow, you’ll burn less calories than if you were not holding the handrail and were running up it.

However, if you’re at your maximum intensity for each machine, the stairmaster, the treadmill, and the rowing machine may burn slightly more calories than the other cardio machines.

Generally, all the machines burn about 500-1200 calories an hour, depending on your weight, body composition, and intensity.

Q: Which cardio machines are best for bodybuilders?

A: If you’re a bodybuilder, the rowing machine and treadmill (on an incline) provide the best cardio workout. When done in shorter bouts of 20-30 minutes, you’ll build muscle and burn calories, without jeopardizing your gains.

It may also depend on your goal. If you want to build the upper body, focus on a lower body cardio. If you want to build the lower body, try an upper body cardio machine.

Don’t do more than 3 50 minute sessions per week. This could lead to the loss of your bodybuilding gains.

 

Final Thoughts

Strong glutes equate to a strong body. There are a variety of workouts and machines you can use to build up your backside.

The body adapts quickly and variation is key to making progress. Don’t be afraid to mix up your workouts to keep challenging your muscles. Make sure to prioritize your diet, recovery time, and sleep for optimal results.

What’s your favorite glute workout? What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Let us know in the comments below!


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I grew up in Canada, played college basketball, and moved to California in 2014. Foam rolling is my best friend. More about my story here.