How to grow your glutes
by Freya • 9 minutes read
Last updated: 18 Nov, 2022
If you are looking to get some serious glute gains, you have come to the right place.
Growing your glutes can be a tricky task if you are not doing the right things, it is important that you are eating enough and doing the correct exercises to reach your goal, which I assume is a bigger butt!
Glutes are one of the largest muscle groups in our body, making it harder to grow than you might think.
There are 3 muscles that make up the glute anatomy:
The Gluteus Maximus: the largest muscle of the group
The Gluteus Medius: the second biggest which found closer to the hips
The Gluteus Minimus: the smallest muscle that sits under the medius
If you’re looking to build muscle and body strength, training your glutes is important for all round strength as they play a key role in several activities, such as running and lifting.
First, let's take a look at what glute exercises you need to be doing, because it’s not just squats… trust me!
Of course, squats will help but there is more you need to be doing to reach glute activation. There are different types of squats you should be doing, not just your average squat.
A barbell squat is a compound functional movement, this means it uses a range of different muscles and joints, making it a key exercise to build your glutes.
To complete a back squat, you need to use your core, glutes, quads, hamstring, and posterior chain. If you are just beginning your journey, ensure you don’t go too heavy if you are using a barbell.
How to back squat
Make sure the barbell is set at shoulder height on the rack
Place the barbell on your shoulders and traps with your arms holding the barbell a little past shoulder length
Lift the barbell off the rack by placing one foot forward and lift from the rack
Stand with your feet shoulder length apart and your toes slightly angled out
Inhale and brace your core and keep your chest and head up
Slowly push your hips back while going down
Make sure you feel it in your glute muscles by keeping your knees behind your toes
When your thighs are parallel to the ground push through your heels to slowly come back up, exhale while you come back up
A sumo squat is similar to your regular back squat but with a wider stance, you would also use a single dumbbell for better range of motion rather than a barbell.
How to sumo squat
Using a dumbbell or kettlebell, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width
Push your hips back and squat down slowly
Keep your upper back straight and your chest open
Push through your heels with your core engaged as you slowly go down until your dumbbell nearly touches the ground
Pause for a second
Come back up, pushing through your heels and keep your chest open and core engaged.
Like a back squat, a front squat uses all major lower body muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. Front squats can be considerably more difficult when it comes to packing on weights, you may notice that you will struggle to front squat the same amount of weight you can back squat, this is why back squats are more common as more weight will help grow your muscles.
However, frequently doing front squats with progressive overload will be more beneficial for your glutes and overall strength.
How to front squat
Set the barbell to chest level on the rack
Grab the barbell with a overhand grip just beyond shoulder length
As you lift it off the rack, make sure you lift your elbows in front of your chest at a 90 degree angle to ensure you have enough strength to lift it off
Loosen your grip and allow the bar to roll to your fingers
Step back form the rack
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes pointed forward
Move your hips back and down
When your thighs are parallel to the floor hold for a second
With your torso upright slowly come back up putting weight into your heels
The Romanian deadlift is considered a compound movement as it uses the how of the posterior chain, including the glutes. You will be training your hip extension by contracting the glutes and hamstrings to straighten up the hips and come to a standing position.
How to romanian deadlift
With the barbell on the floor in front of you, stand with your feet hip-distance apart
Hinge forward at the hips while keeping your spine straight as your torso reaches the forward
Grip the barbell with both hands at shoulder width apart
With your shoulders back and down, secure your spine and brace your core
Look down with a slight tilt forward to align your neck with your back
Tighten your hamstrings, glutes, and core while putting your weight in your feet, lift the barbell to your upper thighs
Squeeze your glutes at the top
Lower the barbell at a height between your knees and toes
Repeat the movement (you do not need to put the barbell back on the floor)
Conventional deadlifts are known to be beneficial for the whole body, they don’t just activate the leg muscles but your core and back. When done correctly, it can be super beneficial for you growing your glutes.
How to conventional deadlift
Stand with feet hip- to shoulder-width apart
Ensure your shins are resting against the bar
Hinge at the hips and move back into your glutes while keeping your spine extended and chest up toward the ceiling.
Grip the bar with one hand facing palm-up and the other hand facing palm-down.
Squeeze the bar with your hands as you move back into your hips. As you move into your hips, pull your back and down to engage the lats.
Push your feet into the floor to straighten your legs and lift your chest as you lift the barbell
As you stand up, pull back on your knees and push your hips forward.
When you get to the top of the movement, hold your shoulders back as you keep your spine straight and tall
Pause in this position for a moment
Slowly push your hips back while keeping your spine long and chest in the air
Use your thigh muscles to resist the downward pull of gravity as you lower the weight
Bulgarian split squat
Bulgarian split squats are great for building strength in the legs, not just the glutes but the quadriceps and hamstrings too. The stabilising leg of the Bulgarian split-squat is elevated behind you, this allows a greater range of motion and depth, helping you achieve greater muscle hypertrophy.
How to Bulgarian split squat
Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in both hands in a vertical position hanging on each side of your body
Stand with your right foot forward and the left foot placed back behind the body on a bench or box that is either knee height or just below
Keep your shoulders stacked directly above your forward-facing hips,
Descend into a lunging position
Keep your back straight while lowering your left knee towards the floor
Try to go as low as you can while still ensuring your chest is open and the front knee is not in front of your toes
As you lower your left knee, press your right foot into the ground, pull back on the right knee, and push the top of the left foot into the box to return to standing
Some other great exercises for glutes include
Single leg deadlift
Barbell hip thrusts
Your diet is equally as important as your workout program. If you are wanting to gain muscle, whether that's your glutes or elsewhere, you need to be eating enough, and that usually means a slight calorie surplus.
This may seem scary, some fear they may put on unwanted fat, but this will not be the case if you are eating and exercising right. You will need to eat 110% of your total energy expenditure.
You also need to make sure you are eating enough protein so that your muscles can repair and grow.
You should be eating 2.2 grams of protein per kg of your bodyweight, for example if you weigh 58kg, you should be aiming for 127 grams of protein in your diet.
Carbohydrates and healthy fats are also just as important. Carbs are protein sparing, meaning the body looks to glycogen for energy instead of breaking down muscle tissue for energy. You should be eating 4-7g of carbs for each kg of body weight.
Fat is important as it is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. You should eat 0.5-1.5g of fat per kg of bodyweight.
Growing your glutes is not just squat challenges, it takes time and patience. You need to exercise well and eat right, and make sure you take breaks to allow your body to recover.
- How To Do a Romanian Deadlift - https://www.health.com/fitness/romanian-deadlift
- How to Do a Bulgarian Split Squat the Right Way - https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/bulgarian-split-squat#:~:text=What%27s%20the%20point%3F,overdrive%20to%20maintain%20your%20balance.
- India's Best Body Building Supplements - https://www.muscleblaze.com/articles/Diet/the-importance-of-fats-in-building-muscle/4637
- Bodybuilding Nutrition 101: The Ins and Outs of Bulking - https://gazellenutrition.com/bodybuilding-nutrition-101-bulking/#:~:text=During%20the%20bulking%20phase%2C%20eat,your%20glycogen%20stores%20post%2Dworkout.
- 7 Best Glute Exercises To Grow Bigger Stronger Glutes - https://swolverine.com/en-gb/blogs/blog/best-glute-exercises
- Glute Muscles – All you need to know - https://www.houseofpeach.com/glute-muscles-all-you-need-to-know/
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