Guide to Building Bigger More Proportional Glutes:

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Guide to Building Bigger More Proportional Glutes:

           In terms of maximizing an individual’s progression within a specific muscle group, understanding the anatomy of the muscle group and following a proper training program are two crucial components to yield real results. This article provides insight over the anatomy of the gluteal muscle group, as well as how to optimize glute focused training. Understanding the anatomy of a specific muscle group allows the individual to properly structure a training program that yields real results. The gluteal muscle group consists of three separate muscles, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. This specific muscle group is comprised of type I slow twitch muscle fibers, meaning the group will be more receptive to lower volume with heavier loads. Due to the muscle fiber make-up of the gluteal muscle group, heavy compound movements yield greater overall progression. Compound movements promote the most muscle growth and help promote fat oxidation (fat loss) due to their high intensity requirements. Understanding the muscle fiber make-up of specific muscle groups allows an individual to determine proper exercise selection when designing a training program. A common misconception that occurs when looking to grow the gluteal muscles is that of using a resistance band for the main focus of building a bigger more proportional gluteal region. The resistance band “fad” floating around the fitness industry is nothing short of ridiculous. For beginner and intermediate lifters, using a resistance band will not yield the results one may be looking for. The premise for building a bigger, more proportional gluteal region lies within the utilization of compound movements.           

            Due to the anatomy of the gluteal region, utilizing compound movements such as barbell back squat, leg press, and barbell front squat will ultimately yield the most results. Performing two training sessions per week will help to maximize one’s progression in this specific muscle group. The two variables that play a major role in yielding results when training the glute muscle group are technique and total volume. Since the gluteal region is comprised of mainly type I slow twitch muscle fibers, the utilization of lower volume with high loads will lead to the greatest overall progression. The muscle fiber make-up of the gluteal region is more receptive to rep ranges of 6-12 reps when performing compound movements, meaning the load (amount of weight) will need to be heavier and more challenging. Accessory movements for this muscle group requires lower total volume to ensure the muscle group reaches complete fatigue. In order to train this muscle group twice a week and maximize progression, one will need to break up their specific leg training sessions into a hamstring/glute focused training day and a quad/glute focused training day. Utilizing two training sessions per week for the leg/gluteal muscle groups allows optimal progression and decreases the chances of muscle imbalances. We will also focus on training each muscle groups from different angles in order to promote proportional growth. Implementing plyometric exercises on leg focused training days can also help to maximize an individual’s training program. Plyometric exercises force the entire muscle group to engage and provides a different training dynamic that can increase overall progression. 

            Utilizing proper technique and form is crucial when aiming to optimize overall progression while training the gluteal region. The utilization of slow and controlled reps helps maximize time under tension as well, as this utilization of the progressive overload principle will lead to real results and take an individual’s training to the next level. When training legs/glutes, one needs to avoid locking out the knees at all times; this helps decrease the risk of injury and helps maximize time under tension. Prior to a glute/leg focused training session, performing a dynamic warm-up (high knees, bodyweight squats, lunges, etc.) helps increase overall training performance and can decrease the risk of injury during a training bout.

 Progressive Overload: This training concept causes strength gains to occur. When the reps decrease, increase the load (weight) being used in order to maximize muscle fatigue and progression. A good rule of thumb is to increase the weight in 5lb increments, do not make big jumps in weight. Progressive overload needs to be utilized when aiming to increase muscle size and overall strength.

 Maximal Time Under Tension: This training concept implies maintaining a constant load on the targeted muscle during each set. Utilizing this concept forces the muscle to its limit which leads to increased training progression.

 Example Glute Focused Training Protocol:

 

Hamstring/Glute Focused Training Session:

 

            Barbell Back Squat- x 10, 8, 8, 6

                        (drive hips forward during the eccentric portion of movement)

            Romanian Deadlift- x 10, 10, 8

                        (place two 5lb plates together on the ground to elevate toes and keep heels on the ground)

            Dumbbell Walking Lunges- 3 x 8 (each leg)

            Barbell Hip Thrusts- x 10, 10, 8, 8

            Dumbbell Goblet Squat- 3 x 12

            Hamstring Curl- x 15, 15, 12

 

Plyometric Protocol:

             Box Jumps- 4 x 8

            Jump Squats- 4 x 12

            Dumbbell Step-Ups- 4 x 8

                        (each leg, drive up through the heel to activate glutes)

 

Quad/Glute Focused Training Protocol:

 

            Barbell Front Squat- x 10, 8, 8, 6

                       (drive hips forward during the eccentric portion of movement)

            Single Leg Split Squat- 3 x 8

                       (each leg, hold dumbbell on same side as leg performing the squat)

            Barbell Hip Thrusts- x 10, 10, 8, 8

            Glute Extension Machine- 3 x 12

            Single Leg Lateral Squat- x 3 x 8

                       (each leg, place resting leg on box or stationary bench)

            Hip Abductor Machine- 3 x 15

 

Plyometric Protocol:

 

            Dumbbell Step-Ups- 4 x 8

                       (each leg, drive up through the heel to activate glutes)

            Wall-Sits- 4 x 45 seconds

 

            I hope this article provides some insight on how to properly train and target the gluteal muscle group. Understanding the anatomy of the specific muscle group being targeted allows an individual to take their training to the next level. Combining proper technique with compound movements will lead to proportional muscle growth and optimize overall progression within the targeted muscle group. Utilizing the principles stated in this article will lead to real results and aid in building bigger more proportional glutes. Give the sample workouts a shot and let me know what you think!

 (I go more in depth with specific leg training principles and provide 6-weeks of hamstring and quad focused leg workouts in my “6-week guide to bigger more proportional legs” training guide, check it out on my products page if you want to take your training to the next level.)