Barbell and Dumbbell Stepups exercise to Build Strong Glutes and Hamstrings

Why training glutes and hamstrings is so critical for body function

The glute muscles {gluteus maximus and medius} and the hamstrings are the body' most powerful muscle groups with amazing functional benefits.

Strong, muscular lower body muscles are the key to muscle gain, balanced body and injury free knees and hips.

These are few of my favourite butt building exercises with barbells and dumbbells.

Barbell Step Ups

Execution Steps - Make sure you are doing this exercise in a relatively free area in the gym.


1. Load a barbell on your shoulders with about 30% of regular squat weight and stand in front of a flat bench.

2. Place your right foot on the bench firmly on the center of the bench.

3. Now press with your right heel in to the step and push your body until you raise yourself on the bench. Your entire weight is on the right foot. Keep your head straight, shoulders back and back straight.

Do not make changes to your right foot stance.

4. After a brief pause, lower yourself onto the floor until your left foot just touches the floor. Do not rest completely as it takes the pressure off the glutes.

Repeat for recommended number of repetitions

5. Repeat on the other side.

Advanced version - Lateral stepup

In the first version you took a step forwards to land on the bench.

In the advanced version, which requires more balance, you can place the bench on your side and step onto the bench laterally, from the side.

This requires greater muscle co-ordination and I suggest you start with lower weights.

Dumbbell stepups


The execution steps are similar to the barbell version, but instead of barbell placed on your shoulder, you lift two dumbbells of moderate weights and do step ups.

You can also do the lateral stepup version described above.

Point to remember

  • The exercise starts with your foot {right or left} placed on the bench or step
  • Use moderate weights. Heavy weights will be difficult to handle, at first.
  • Make sure the landing area is smooth and clear of any equipment including soft things like towels.
  • Concentrate hard on the muscles, squeeze your gluts hard at the top of movement.

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