5 Tips If Your Glutes Aren't GrowingFeb 06, 2023
If you're planning on turning your cake into a full blown bakery in 2023 with a set of glutes that would give a IFBB/WBFF bikini competitor a run for their money... then you've come to the right place.
All you need to do is address these five things below to transform your glutes.
1/ Consume Sufficient Calories
Just like with any muscle group, if you want to grow your glutes, you need to be eating enough calories!
For some people, this may mean learning to be comfortable with being slightly uncomfortable - paradoxical I know but hear me out.
Whilst you can grow muscle whilst dieting, your potential to do so will typically be far more limited and less likely to occur too. With potential exceptions to this being when A) you’re a beginner, B) you’re returning to training after time off (injury etc.) and/or C) you're taking drugs.
Plus, you can also potentially grow muscle at maintenance too and consume contextually more food relative to dieting, whilst maintaining a roughly similar level of body fat. This sounds great, because you’ll grow without adding body fat, right?
Well, the reality is for most people who aren’t a beginner, returning after time off, or taking drugs, a calorie surplus is typically what you want to add the muscle mass you seek. Whilst you may gain some body fat with this approach, the positive is you’ll maximise your muscle building potential and likely reduce the time needed to acquire the hypertrophy you’re seeking.
Now, you don't need to go turbo-bulk 5000 calories here and head to your nearest Pizza Hut ready to order a triple meat supreme, because "gainz". You simply want to find your maintenance calories, then start by adding approximately 10-15% to those calories initially, whilst biasing more to carbohydrates. Then you get to work and watch your response, adjusting your calories and training as needed.
Chances are though, you'll have to increase calories at least once, if not more, to continue to see growth and this will inevitably bring about an increase in scale weight but guess what? In the long term, that scale weight is just as easy to take off as it is to put on if you pivot to a fat loss goal. Especially when you have more muscle mass and you've spent a longer period of time consuming superior calories.
2/ Audit Your Training Intensity
I don't know about you but to me, this new trend on TikTok of women and men posting their hard, heavy sets of glute bridges, RDLs, leg presses etc where they're pushing themselves right to failure and putting motivational music on it is the best thing ever!
For so long the "glute training" space on Instagram, YouTube, mainstream media etc was dominated by poxy little band workouts and stair master routines that often left another gym goer with a bloody nose or a swollen face when they were booted while trying to walk past (I myself witnessed this happen in the first gym I worked in, ouch!).
But if you want to grow a serious pair of glutes, then you need to train them just like you would any other muscle group and that is with adequate intensity.
Train them hard, with your working sets sitting within 2 - 3 reps from failure and progress your weights where you can each week.
Something I really like to do here to encourage this with my clients is if I set a rep range of let's say 6 to 8 reps, I ask the client to shoot for a weight they think they'll get 6 reps with. 9 times out of 10, they'll get the 6 reps and keep going and hit 8, working harder than they thought they could initially.
Bizarrely, it's the way of the human brain, that if I did the same thing with the 8 reps side of the range, the client would just stop at 8 regardless of if they had two more in the tank simply because that's what's written on the program. So, if you find yourself struggling to push yourself, set yourself a rep range and load up expecting to hit the lower end. You might just surprise yourself.
3/ Audit Your Glute Training Frequency
Whilst it’s tempting to think more Glute training equals more progress, this isn’t always true. This is because we have to balance training progression with recovery!
So, if you’re always smashing your Glutes 5 x per week all the time, there’s a good change you’re limiting your growth potential. Simply because your recoverability may be subpar which can stunt progression and growth, even if you’re applying effort.
An approach we take here at Team ATLAS, is that our clients who want to grow glutes typically train them 2 – 3 x a week, depending on their goals and their training split at the time.
If you're training them 3 x per week which is usually our preferred approach and running a glute specialisation block, you may look to spread your volume across something like this:
Lower A – Back Squat, Glute Bridges & Romanian Deadlift
Lower B – Floating Deadlift, Reverse Lunges & 45° Back Extension
Lower C - Hip Thrust, Leg Press & 30° Kickback
So here you’ve performed 3 exercises in each workout, performed with quality of execution in mind at a 3 x per week. Plus, we of course could acquire more Glute training volume by adding in more leg abductions, split squats, hip hinges and numerous other variations!
4/ Strategic Program Design > Glute Finisher
I get it, booty band crab walks and "don't stop til you drop" walking lunges are fun and really bring the burn 🔥. Yet, there’s more to muscle gain than a burning butt!
The dilemma with bands is progression can be much harder to track, whilst the resistance may be too light to be highly effective for glute growth. So, whilst bands can have value, if you’re going to use them prioritise an appropriate resistance intensity. Plus, ensure you’re working hard enough to recruit as many individual muscle fibres as possible, with sufficient recovery too!
So, if you’re going to use banded glute exercises, just don’t neglect them at the expense of your quality staple movements, coupled with overload and sound execution. Plus, if you still want to feel a burn using some spicy finishers, consider adding in a sneaky drop set or rest pause method where appropriate.
Good training doesn't have to be boring but that doesn't mean we want a helter-skelter, scattergun approach.
5/ Prioritise Technique
I've mentioned it before in every single point about training but that's because one of the most important components of growing your glutes is... drum roll please...
You can perform all the "best" glute movements in the world for the most optimal amount of volume... but if you're not moving well and executing them properly then it can impact your training outcomes.
For example – we love hip thrusts for glute building, but where you place your feet along with your execution can impact the degree to which other muscles (quads and hamstrings) contribute to the movement. Plus your ability to achieve full hip extension can be negatively impacted too with some setups and poor executions.
This is why at Team ATLAS we prioritise our exercise technique reviews in our clients check ins, as it ensures our clients are optimally executing the movement as intended to aid muscle growth potential.
So, there you have it. A brief but comprehensive guide as to how to open your own personal bakery by the end of 2023.
And if you still need further help, well... you know where to find us.
Thanks for reading,