The desire for toned well-rounded glutes should not be out weighted by the benefits of having a fully functional and strong set of gluteal muscles. While toned and well-formed posterior hip muscles may be desirable, there are significant health benefits that come from having a powerful set of glutes. Some of these benefits include, reducing knee and back pain, increasing sports performance, reducing your risk of injury, and improving your posture.
The first thing you need to know about developing toned glutes is that exercise alone will only get you so far. Having a toned physique implies that there is less body fat surrounding the muscles you are trying to develop. The less fat present, the more visible your muscle will be, thus giving you a more toned look. So, to get a toned look, your exercise program should also focus on a good diet and calorie burning activities to ensure that fat stores are being decreased to reveal your newly developed glutes.
Secondly, you must understand the differences between the gluteal muscle groups. While most people are familiar with their gluteus maximus and its function of extending the hips as you perform movements like getting up out of a chair, walking upstairs, or jumping, some may not be as familiar with the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Both smaller gluteal muscles located on the side of your hips primarily help your leg perform movements that require your leg to move in the lateral direction.
Now that you know what function these gluteal muscles perform, lets introduce some of the best glute building exercises to ensure your back side is strong and developed.
By far, the squat is the best movement for hip function and development, when done correctly there are few exercises that can match is ability to improve overall human performance.
The hip thrust is also an excellent exercise to perform for maximum glute activation.
Variety of exercise is also key, there are numerous exercises that involve the glute musculature. A good place to start would be to perform a couple sets of 15 repetitions of either, squats, lunges, dead lifts, step ups, and back extensions. When you are confident performing one exercise, try adding additional exercises to your workouts for additional intensity.