In this blog post, I want to talk about tips to building your glutes. So let's get right into it.
Building a solid set of glutes is hard! I remember for many years as a trainer, I always struggled to give clients a good glute workout. It isn't easy for clients to develop the mind muscle connection to your glutes. Even if you workout for many years it can still be a struggle to even feel a good glutes workout!
As a trainer, for a long time I would struggle to get clients to actually feel their glutes the way it was supposed to be done. And when you are unable to do this efficiently it makes it intimidating to actually give clients good glute workouts especially if you aren't sure what to do and point out.
When I was lifting heavy weights as a young man playing football I was working out my glutes in theory, but I never really paid attention or "felt" my glutes. We would do squats, deadlifts and other exercises that technically worked your glutes but it just wasn't the same as having awareness & intention towards this goal.
Our goal was to lift as much weight as possible so that we can be strong enough to beat our opponents. Looking at photos back in the day, I had big quads and hamstrings, but a little flat butt. Not completely flat, but like petite, while my legs were huge. This happened naturally with what we were doing.
I was squatting 400+ pounds & deadlifting 300+ but still had little glute development. Why? Because my focus and energy wasn't necessarily focused on building better glutes. So while my glutes naturally grew a little they were disproportionate to the rest of my legs.
Having strong glutes at the time could have prevented back pains, knee cave ins and ultimately would have made me lift heavier weight.
Now i have significantly better form with greater intentions, and have much better glute development than back in the day.
Tip #1 Workout your glutes with intension. It is in a persons best interest to learn how to workout their glutes & take the time to do so!
Having strong glutes is important to being functional and injury proof. When you have strong glutes this helps support your knees & your back! Making it a priority to workout your glutes is important for more than just aesthetics.
Take the time to do workout sessions committed to working out your glutes. 1-2 times per week is good! 3-4 times a week is great! Make sure you give yourself proper rest or your routine can be counter productive.
Tip #2, make sure that you squat! This may sound obvious but it is not. People talk about how squats are great for glutes, but at the same time people avoid squatting or squatting heavy all together! I know I did this in my early to mid twenties! I did this because I felt like squatting was a hazard and not worth the risk, but I was wrong.
Squating is a functional movement! You are not supposed to get hurt when squatting. You have a greater risk of injury avoiding squats all together because you lose the basic function of being able to do so! So if you dont use it, you lose it!
Your body is designed to be able to squat. So practicting good squatting is important. Having great range of motion & technique is very hard to do. Making this a priority is great for your glutes & your health.
I've gone through phases in my views of squating. When I first started lifting heavier weights at 15-16 years old until about 19-20 years old, my back was getting super fucked up. I thought it had to do from the excess squatting and to a degree that was correct, but in more detail another time that is not the sole reason at all.
You can listen to my podcast episode Solutions To Back Pain By Clicking Here
That episode will go into more detail as to how to fix back pain. This relates to when my back was messed up in high school and almost missed games because of it.
But, had I known how to do the right things that I know today to implement my strategies, then that would have helped. These days I'm executing techniques on my young athletes so that they don't have to go through the same pain that I went through. Because there are ways to improve your strength without feeling like shit.
One way that could have been avoided was proper glute development.
I used to not like squatting. I thought it was really damaging. Thought it wasn't necessary. But then, I learned how to squat correctly and now I love squatting. Especially heavy.
I learned about the benefits of squatting and how it is important for your health. And now at 31 years old, I am squatting better than I ever have. I don't lift the same weight (yet) but my range of motion is superior to what it was then. I am so much more comfortable now.
When you squat, your glutes get the most stretch & activation at the bottom of a squat and a few inches above the bottom. This occurs with a full range of motion.
Squatting works your lower glutes and the more weight you lift with a full range of motion, the more benefit you will get. I also think squatting all the way down below parallel is better for your back because your spine is between your glutes. Instead of jam'ing your spine into a tight lower back because you dont have full range of motion, you go deeper and your glutes fire up more and stabilize your back as you drive up to standing position.
If you are on top of your nutrition and can do a smooth full depth squat this can be really beneficial in proper glute development & back stabilization.
Tip #3, make sure you deadlift and focus on your hip hinge/hip extension movements. Focusing on your deadlift movements are very important for glute development & your back. This works your lower glutes as well. So this is another way to work out your lower glutes while being able to load a lot of weight.
Not only that but squatting & deadlifting teaches you how to move your spine safely through ranges of motion while baring weight. This is one of the most important reasons to squat & deadlift. Not only is it a leg workout but it is also a back, spine & core workout! Being able to effectivly train your spine while baring weight through a range of motion can make you injury resistant.
The lack of squatting & deadlifting can make you more injury prone because these are functional movements that you are not practicing. You dont use it, you lose it!
Tip #4 lift heavy weight. I see people work their glutes doing light weight, high volume, cardio and other ways. This is not as efficient as lifting heavy weight with good form. Doing volume certainly is effective inconjunction with lifting heavy weight but not on its own. Being an athlete doing sports works your glutes and you might develop glutes this way, but doesn't mean you will optimize your glutes. So making sure lifting heavy with good form is key!
Tip #5, workout your upper glutes. This is this important to understand. Your upper glutes are where your hips are attached to your back, like your spine is inserted to your hips. And that is where your upper glutes are as well. Stabilizing you at the waist.
This is an important part of your body that you want strong, otherwise that can cause discomfort & lack of glute development. Some great ways to Improve your upper glute training is by doing abduction movements, straight leg movements, vertical hip extension movements, hip hinge movements, hip extension movements in a horizontal load, such as glute bridges, hip thrusts, single leg hip thrusts, hyper extensions, glue kickbacks. There are a lot of ways to work those upper glutes.
Tip #6, make sure you're doing horizontal load. So a way to think about your programming and how to not be redundant would be to do exercises in different positions. Specifically for this tip doing horizontal positions in an upright or downward facing position.
Working similar/same muscles, but in different positions. Thus, you are optimizing the muscle you are working out.
Hip thrusts, glute bridges, hyper extensions, quadruped kickbacks with ankle weights or cables are all very good exercises, to improve the development of your glutes. There's a lot of things that you can do that are great in a horizontal load.
Tip #7, if your goal is glute development you don't need to do cardio. Cardio is important for different goals, general health & a balanced routine, but for optimal glute development it is not key at all.
Resistance training with a blend of heavy lifting & high volume reps is the number one option for optimal glute development in my opinion. Resistance training is in my opinion the best for many things. Being overall healthy, injury resistant, looking good, staying lean, burning fat, losing weight, resistance training is superior.
Resistance training should be the base of your program and other stuff you like to do should be an accessory.
Having fun and mix it up is important !
These are all tips for you to help optimize your glutes. I hope that this helped and stay tuned for the next blog/podcast.
Have a great rest of your day!