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Smith machine exercises for glutes: Build a strong, firm bum with these 4 amazing workout ideas!

By Natasha Hernández
Last Updated on 8th November 2020

While there are dozens of exercises that work the glutes, that aren't that many exercises or Smith machine workouts that actually isolate the glutes.

And when you want to firm up your bum to the max, that's a problem. Because in order to grow your glutes to their fullest potential, you need to isolate them. Otherwise, you won't stimulate all of the muscle fibres, which means that you'll be leaving gains on the table.

So, to help save my fellow Brits from flat backside syndrome, I've selected the top 4 Smith machine exercises for glutes that'll add some serious mass to your bum.

"Glutes! The most important body part known to man and woman alike."
Dr. Mike Israetel
Renaissance Periodisation

Top 4 Smith machine exercises for glutes

Here are the top 4 best glute exercises on Smith machine systems that you can perform.

1. Hip thrust

Why? Because the Smith machine hip thrust enables you to overload your glutes with more resistance than virtually any other exercise.

And as I'm sure that you know by now, you need to perform your Smith machine bum exercises with heavy weights if you want to grow your glutes.

Step 1: Place a bench or step up box in the entrance to a Smith machine and attach a thick bar pad to the barbell.

Step 2: Dig your upper back into the bench and place your feet shoulder-width apart, allowing a 15-degree foot flare to put your hips into a slight external rotation (this increases glute activation).

Step 3: Rest the bar pad in the crease of your hips and gaze at the point where the wall and ceiling meet.

Step 4: Thrust the bar upwards by forcefully contracting your glutes. Hold the contraction for a second and then lower the bar down under control.

Step 5: Repeat for 8-15 reps. Or, if you're performing it as a finisher at the end of one of your Smith machine booty workouts, shoot for 20-30 reps to really burn out your glutes.

Tip: always warm up your hips and perform pre-activation drills with a hip circle to get the most out of your leg workouts [1].

2. Glute bridge

Why? Because the Smith machine glute bridge is the ideal high-rep glute burnout exercise. It's also incredibly easy to set up, and it’s the perfect stepping stone to the full range of motion hip thrust.

Step 1: Set the bar to the lowest position and add a protective pad to the barbell.

Step 2: Lie under the bar and centre it over the crease of your hips.

Step 3: Shuffle your feet towards your hips and place them shoulder-width apart. If you feel too much thigh activation, move your feet forwards a bit (this positioning also takes the pressure off your knees).

Step 4: Push the bar upwards by pressing your heels into the ground. Extend your hips until they’re in a straight line with your back, and make sure to contract your glutes as hard as you can.

Step 5: Lower the weight back down by stretching your glutes. Repeat for 15-30 reps and do around 2-4 sets.

Tip: avoid fully resetting the weight if you want to keep the tension on your glutes.

3. Donkey kick

Why? Performing donkey kicks on the Smith machine is one of the best methods for developing symmetrical glutes. After all, who wants one bum cheek that's bigger than the other?

As you may know, this exercise has many alternative names. You have the simple Smith machine reverse leg press, the buttblaster (my favourite), funky Smith machine frog kicks and good old Smith machine glute raises.

So, here's how to perform the buttblaster Smith machine style (sounds intense, doesn't it?)

"The glutes have the potential to be the biggest, strongest, most powerful muscle in the entire body. They need to have a lot more attention than what's given to them in a traditional training program."
Robin Gallant

Step 1: Set the safety catches so that they're just above your back when you're on your hands and knees. This setup prevents the weight from falling on your spine if the bar was to slip off your foot (very unlikely).

Step 2: Get on your hands and knees and place your midfoot underneath the barbell. There should be roughly a 90-degree angle between your upper and lower leg.

Step 3: Kick your leg straight up until you feel the unmistakably intense glute contraction. Hold the contraction for a second or two (make those glutes work!) and then lower the bar down under control.

Step 4: Perform 15-20 reps and then repeat for your other leg.

Tip: train your weakest leg first to improve your muscle imbalances.

4. Kneeling squat

Why? Performing a kneeling squat on the Smith machine is a great way to pump up your glutes because it focuses on the peak contraction. Plus, kneeling squats have the highest glute activation out of any leg exercise. What's not to love?

Step 1: Place a thick balance pad underneath the Smith machine bar.

Step 2: Set the bar to shoulder height and kneel on the pad.

Step 3: Unrack the bar and lower your hips down until your glutes make contact with your calves.

Step 4: Thrust your hips forwards and squeeze your glutes forcefully. Perform 10-15 reps for your working sets, and 15-25 reps for pre-activation purposes.

Tip: always use a thick balance pad to protect your knees and shins.

Smith machine glute workout routines

Workout 1: Overall mass

man putting chalk on his hands during a powerlifting meet

There are many different gym machines for glutes. However, few offer as much versatility as the Smith machine. As such, it's one of the best pieces of equipment for adding overall mass to your glutes.

Bodyweight hip circle thrusts: 2 x 20 reps (warm-up)

Hip thrust: 4 x 10-12 reps

Reverse lunges: 4 x 10-12 reps

Glute kickbacks: 3 x 12-15 reps

Glute bridge: 2 x 30 reps

Workout 2: Symmetry

blonde woman performing glute exercise

These 3 Smith machine booty exercises will ensure that your glutes never look out of proportion. It's a brilliant workout to do if you train glutes multiple times a week because you can do your heavy hip thrusts on a different day [2].

Just be sure to train your weakest leg first for the fastest and best results.

Glute kickbacks: 4 x 12-15 reps

Single-leg hip thrust: 4 x 10-12 reps

Reverse lunge: 4 x 10-12 reps

Workout 3: Back to basics

woman doing lower body exercise on the floor

When you're performing your glute exercise on Smith machine stations, it's easy to get carried away with all the crazy butt blasting movements that are currently in fashion.

However, when you're using Smith machines for glutes, no exercises work as well as the tried and tested old favourites. And by that, I means squats and hip thrusts, of course [3].

Hip thrust: 5 x 8-10 reps

Squat: 5 x 8-10 reps

Hip abductions: 3 x 15-20 reps

Glute bridge: 2 x 30 reps

What are the most effective Smith machine glute exercises?

Doing a glute workout on Smith machine stations not only gives your stabiliser muscles a break, but it also enables you to take advantage of unconventional exercises. Donkey kickbacks are a prime example of this.

However, out of all the Smith machine exercises for glutes, the hip thrust reigns supreme. I've been doing this exercise for years (before it was a "thing"), so I might be a bit biased. Nonetheless, I've never seen an exercise transform so many backsides in such a short amount of time (thanks, Bret Contreras).

What can I say? Hip thrusts just freakin' work! And they work like gangbusters for growing the glutes.

I especially like the Smith machine version because you can focus purely on working your glutes. So definitely give it a try if you have trouble establishing a strong mind-muscle connection (and don't forget those squats, either).

Natasha Hernández
I was born in sunny Spain, and I've always enjoyed keeping active by lifting weights and playing beach sports. I manage the social media side of Smith Machine UK and also create exercises guides to help the British public get healthy and stay in shape.
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