How To GROW Your Glutes
What you are getting yourself in for -
Word Count - 1500 Words
Reading Time - 5 - 8 Mins What will you take away? - How to train, eat and progress to get HUGE Glutes.
Most Females (and some Males..) will really want to grow their glutes. It’s not surprising, filling out leggings, taking great selfies, looking strong… it’s all positive stuff, right?! The glutes are sometimes the trademark of a ‘chick that lifts’. But some people still struggle.
Let’s just set some things straight.
Spending lots of time messing about on CV Equipment (namely the Stairmaster) playing with multiple settings & whacking it on the ‘glute carver’ or ‘toned glutes’ setting will NOT give you the muscular, lean glutes that you’re after, I promise you it won’t.
Likewise with the endless banded, low resistance #BootyWorkouts that leave you with nothing but a booty bump and some IG Selfies are probably not the best way to be headed when it comes to MAXIMUM Glute Hypertrophy. Firstly, to get amazing glutes, we NEED to lay down some tissue.
How do we GROW Bigger Glutes?
The Glutes are not any different to other body parts in the way that we need to grow them. We will require -
Progressive Overload - Picking exercises, logging them, and progressively adding more load, reps or sets to increase training volume over time.
Food - It’s no surprise, a LOT of people under-eat and still expect to grow, to build the best glutes ever, you’ll have to ensure you are in a calorie surplus to put yourself in the best environment to lay down the muscle tissue.
See it’s not that complex, right? But SO many people over-complicate things & simply just MISS the basics. Please, if you take ANYTHING away from this post, master the basics.
Mastering the Basics
When it comes to mastering the basics, before progression can be chased, I’d like you to consider, and tick the following boxes… 1 - Can you Squat well?
2 - Can you Hip Hinge Well? - (ex - Romanian Deadlift)
3 - Can you Hip Thrust, or Glute Bridge Well?
Whilst the Squat is not the best move for directly targeting the glutes, I’m confident that a beginner or intermediate trainee should be able to perform these moves well to maximise results in the long term. Once you have been able to master the basics, you can now move on to ticking three more, very important boxes.
1 - Are you ready to train HARD?
2 - Are you okay with getting out of your comfort zone?
3 - Have you got a physical log-book?
Now you’ve ticked those boxes, we can move on to some more specific training programming topics.
Exercise Selection for the Glutes.
I’m pretty sure if you ask MOST people in the gym, what the best exercise is for the glutes, they will say “The Squat, but you HAVE to Squat Deep”. It’s not as simple as that, variety is key here.
There are THREE main mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy.
This is why variety when training any muscle group (as a bodybuilder) is very important, some exercises will be great for one mechanism and others won’t.
Mechanical Tension will refer to bigger, compound moves like the Barbell Hip Thrust as you can really load these movements up, progress them and get super strong.
Metabolic Stress will refer to exercises that provide constant tension and the ‘pump’ - for this, it gives the #IGBootyWorkouts some validity, because they are very high rep, constant tension with low to moderate loads, causing a lot of metabolic stress. A great example of this would be Banded Single Leg Hip Thrusts. Muscle Damage will refer to the soreness or DOMS that you feel after a session. Exercises where a large range of motion (ROM) & and a controlled eccentric are absolutely awesome for Muscle Damage - Think of a Bulgarian Split Squat for the Glutes, with the front leg further forward. THIS^^ Is why he best glutes are built upon a VARIED programme.
There is no ONE exercise that is ‘optimal’ for growth of the glutes. (besides you COULD argue that variations of the Barbell Hip Thrust can match all three mechanisms)
Consistency with Exercise Selection
Don’t get carried away when you see the word ‘variety’ - It’s very important that you have some element of consistency when it comes to glute training, as you would for any other body part. If you consistently changed your Barbell Bench Press every week to a Dumbbell Incline Press - your Bench WOULD potentially increase and overload, but it would most likely progress better when you drove the majority of your focus on that movement. Think about it this way, the longer you spend depositing pennies into a bank account, the bigger the interest you get at the end, rather than throwing money into separate accounts every week.
How do we BUILD Session Structure?
What would an average session look like?
Well I’d like you to take into account a few things -
What exercises can you perform well & safely with no pain?
What exercises do you really ‘feel’ targeting the glutes?
What exercises are realistic to set up in your gym?
Anyway - what I’ve seen from working with a lot of female clients is they can REALLY hammer Glute Training Volume, recover and progress.
Here are examples of a few Lower Body Sessions that you could implement.
1st Lower Session -
Squat - 4 Sets - 4 - 6 Reps
Barbell Hip Thrust - 3 Sets - 10 - 15 Reps
Stiff Leg Deadlift - 3 Sets - 6 - 10 Reps
Bulgarian Split Squat - 2 Sets - 10 - 15 Reps
Leg Curl - 2 Sets - 8 - 12 Reps.
2nd Lower Session -
Deadlift - 4 Sets - 4 - 6 Reps
Front Squat - 3 Sets - 6 - 8 Reps
Walking Lunge - 2 Sets
Reverse Hyper - 3 Sets - 10 - 15 Reps
Leg Extension - 2 Sets - 8 - 12 Reps
3rd Lower Session -
Barbell Hip Thrust - 4 Sets - 6 - 8 Reps
Stiff Leg Deadlift - 3 Sets - 6 - 10 Reps
Leg Press - 2 Sets - 8 - 12 Reps
Bulgarian Split Squat - 2 Sets - 10 - 15 Reps
Hip Abductor - 3 Sets - 15 - 20 Reps This gives you a basic outline, I’d even opt to sometimes add more work into a 4th Day, but alongside some Upper Body Training - this may be lateral band walks or single leg banded hip thrusts. This is also MORE of a bodybuilding style split, that would suit perhaps slightly more advanced trainees, and would fit a good progression from my previous Upper/Lower Split Blog Post, for more of a Lower Body Focus OR you could simply finish these sessions with some Upper Body work to make it a Full Body Session, beginner trainees could definitely benefit from this. I also think it is very beneficial for you to activate your glutes prior to these sessions. Side Abduction, Frog Pumps, Lateral Banded Walks and Banded Bodyweight Hip Thrusts are great for this.
How do we make Progression??
As I touched on in the start of the post, it’s very important that we treat the glutes very similar to other muscles that we want to grow…. We need to APPLY overload in some form.
Whether that’s - More Reps, More Weight or More Sets - Training Volume must increase over time to elicit a hypertrophy response.
This is where it’s really, really important that you are taking one thing in with you to the gym - and that’s something to log your training with. Don’t log it in your phone.
Don’t say you will bring it next week.
Buy a physical log book (note pad) and a pen, and take pride in that. So how would we look to increase your lifts?
For a relatively new trainee, you can benefit from the ability to pretty much linearly increase the load on the bar week in, week out, but there will be a point where you need to take a slightly different approach.
Let’s say you have the Barbell Hip Thrust in the 10 - 15 Rep Range. First off, I want you to find a weight that you can do 3 sets of 10 with, and for the final set to be an RPE 9 - 9.5 (See Below Graph). Let’s say this weight is 100kg. Next week, I’d encourage you to try and get 3 sets of 11, then 12, then 13, then 14, then 15. Within at least 5 Weeks you’ve added 5 Reps and 1500kg of Hip Thrust Volume to the Glute Account. Now to progress in weight, sometimes overall volume may well drop, but this is fine, as it provides a nice way for you to progress lifts over the long term - longevity is key and if you can keep momentum with progressing movements that’s awesome. So once you hit 15 with 100kg, I’d advocate a 5-10kg increase of weight on the bar, and heading back down to 10 reps, before working that back up again to 15. It’s a simple process of logging, thrusting and repeating. Do it, eat enough and you’ll have bigger glutes, I promise.
Some of the main things I would like the reader to take away from this article are…
Nail the basics.
Progress your lifts & eat enough to grow.
Have variety in your glute training protocols.
Don’t be afraid of BIG, heavy weights, you CAN beat your boyfriend on Hip Thrusts.
Growing Glutes is not complex, but it’s not EASY either, it takes hard work.