Bigger and Better Glutes
I have seen many body types come in and out of fashion over the years - among both men and women. As fitness and weight lifting continue to get more popular the aesthetic of the “ideal” body types has changed greatly. Through the 80s and 90s, women exercised for thinness. The new century brought us a bit more of a lean fitness look, with bodies like Madonna, Britney Spears and Kelly Ripa leading the way. Men exercised for a V shape with an extremely heavy upper body look. All this changed dramatically in the 2010s.
I credit the rise of both CrossFit and Instagram to the change in fashionable body type. For the first time, we were watching women crush athletic feats all over the world. Women who didn’t even compete in the CrossFit games were posting videos of themselves do muscle-ups and squatting werisous weight. In pop culture, we also had Kim Kardashian changing the way we thought a feminine body should look. And just like that, large butts came back with a vengeance. Not since the times of the victorian bustle skirt had butts been so popular. Even men’s training asetetic changed to include more leg and glute work.
What is nice about the popularity of large butts is that it is a body part that can be worked on. There is no amount of lifting that will make hip bones stick out more or breasts bigger. But the glutes, yes, with some hard work and a caloric surplus, you can make your butt much bigger than it is. Here are some of the best tips to train your glute for growth.
Hit it three times a week
The training rule is that if you want to get better at something, train it two to three times a week. Being such a large group of muscles, training the gluts three times a week is very easy to do. If your training splits allow only twice a week for glute training, that is fine as long as you hit the glutes really hard.
Combo of large and small movements
Ideally, you are going to hit both compound lifts and single-joint exercises. This means a combination of barbells, dumbbells, and band work. Do NOT slap a band on every move you do as this is setting you up for weakness and injury. Keep bands AWAY from squats and save them for the smaller movements like adduction and bridges. Deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, lunges, squats, and heavy hip thrusts should all be in your glute program and done mostly without bands. Plant with tempo and include some holds to get a nice variety and increase strength.
Abduction rounds it out
Any good glute program is going to have abduction work. These should be in the super high rep range. Your sets of adduction should be 20-50 reps and superset with something else that is hip hinge-related. The same goes for lightweight bridging and hip thrusts. Go for the burning sensation. This means we are producing some serious growth. It’s not completely necessary to burn out your glutes with that intensity but if you want lots of growth, go for it.
Pay attention to positioning
The positioning of your feet during movements like lunges, squats, and sumo deadlifts will dictate whether your movements are quad or glute dominant do pay close attention to it. To hit the glutes in lunges, lean and walk in a forward position. Your torso should not be moving upright but moving/leaning forward. With squats, usually a wider stance and pushing through the heel will make it more glute dominant. Sumo deadlifts will have your toes angled outward to produce a more glute dominant lift. Keep in mind these suggestions really need more nuance. Your best bet for this is to watch some videos or get an experienced trainer to watch you move and correct it.
Remember hamstring and back work
We always want to include some hamstring curls and back extensions in our program because powerful glutes need a good supporting cast. The problem with many glute-oriented programs is that they build large glutes without building any structure around them. This leads to lots of injury and poor movement technique. It’s like your butt is writing checks your back cannot cash. By including hamstring and lower back work, you are ensuring a fuller more rounded look, better overall strength, and safe movement practices.
Hip thrust, hip thrust, hip thrust
The hip thrust is your friend. Yes, it’s weird to hump the gym but who cares. OWN IT. This is the single most effective move to glow your glutes. Thrust with dumbbells, barbells, machines, bands, single leg, double leg, hold it for 5 seconds, double pump, release slowly, on a ball, on a bench on the floor. Thrust all over the place and own it. If you have goals, stay committed to them no matter what anyone thinks or how strange you feel. If you want it go for it. If someone wanted to grow their glutes and could only do one exercise, I’d tell them to thrust. Plus this is the one movement where women can easily push 200, 300, and 400 pounds.