No! We’re not talking about throwing some implants into that tic tac butt of yours you so consciously peer at every mirror you pass with that sad look at your face (or is that just me?). We’re talking about growing it, the natural way and feeling proud of what you’ve earned, no secret, no quick fix and no super sadness about the minus’ in your bank account.
We’ve learnt that in the ‘gym world’ that consistency is key, however, when it comes to building your glutes, the key is load and repetition! Much like your calves, the size of your butt doesn’t necessarily reflect the strength in it. But who cares about strength when you’ve got size?
Now HOLD ON. Before we start, what SHOULDN’T we believe? Lesson 101: of glute growth. That the step-mill and the step-mill alone will not help build that butt of yours. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of spending hours on end doing cardio (for any reason other than training for a marathon) when I could just ‘lift some heavy shit’ and be done with it.
First things first. The warm up. Never skip a warm up, as much as you would like to. Warm ups prevent injury, but in the case of glutes, it can actually help develop growth. The reason for this is simple, your glutes are stupidly sleepy due to all that sitting down, at home, in the office, on the tube, in the car (basically everywhere) and they need stimulating. The easiest way to wake them up is dynamically (so body weight squats, walking lunges or hip abduction).
As with everything, the classics are the best! I’m talking about deadlifts, squats and lunges, which all help to create strength and balance to your lower body. Because these are ‘big lifts’, they produce a lot of metabolic stress on the body, which also aids fat loss. Win, win. Wahey! Deadlifts are what we would consider hip-hinging movements. During this movement, the lever arm is at its longest and gives you the least mechanical advantage. ‘Least mechanical advantage?’. Don’t worry guys, this isn’t a bad thing, it actually forces your muscles to work the hardest they can.
In order to develop those glutes of yours to their fullest capacity, you also need exercises that apply load to the glutes and hamstrings in a stable environment. The most efficient exercises at doing this is Romanian deadlifts(RDL’s), Hip Bridges, Unilateral leg press and wide stance back squat or heavy box squats.
Hip bridges (or thrusts, they go by a number of names) are those crazily awkward looking exercises that most likely make you feel super uncomfortable to perform. But when you know how to and you see the gains, you really couldn’t care less! So, what are the important points to hip bridges:
1. Your back should be hinged on the bench at the line that’s just beneath your scapulae. If you’re sweaty, it’s likely that you’re gonna slip and slide a little on the bench, but dry yourself off and DON’T!
2. Set up with a medium to wide stance with your feet pointed straight ahead or slightly flared. This footing will help you hit those glutes perfectly.
3. Remember to push through your heels and avoid rising up onto your toes. You want all that effort to go through your posterior.
4. Make sure you can fully extend (or thrust like your life depends on it) to really make those gains. If you can’t lock out the hips, then you’ve gone too heavy and should drop a little weight to perform the form and engage the glutes.
5. And finally, use a smooth tempo, ideally a 3 second eccentric, but if you feel you can hit 4 or 5 seconds, be my guest. 🙂
Now, a little something to beware of is that as you increase the weights, the force of the bar on your pelvis will increase (this means unbearable pain). As much as you may not want to use padding on the bar, it really is going to be the only thing preventing you from focusing on the pain instead of your technique.
WORKING TO FIX IMBALANCES:
Performing hip bridges as a single leg exercise can help to prevent an imbalance in your glutes. The key to getting this right is to place the weight (if you’re using a dumbbell or kettle bell) on the side of the hip of which the foot is planted to ensure you’re not causing an unnecessary twist in your spine. Injuries not welcome!
Other exercises that are super effective are lunges and split squats as they increase mobility and help minimise tightness through the hip and ankle joints, whilst also increasing strength.
YOUR CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK:
Barbell Hip Bridges (don’t forget your padding)
HEAVY 10 x 10
PERSEVERE THROUGH THIS! There may seem like a lot of reps of the same exercise, but the rep range important for you to grow and stimulate those muscle fibres.
BodyBuilding.com. (2017). Good morning: exercise database. Retrieved from:https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/main/popup/name/good-morning
Contreras, B. (2014). Bigger, Better Glutes: Master the Hip Thrust. Retrieved from: https://www.t-nation.com/training/bigger-better-glutes
Contreras, B. (2015). 4 Myths About Female Glute Training. Retrieved from: https://www.t-nation.com/training/4-myths-about-female-glute-training
Poliquin Group. (2015). 6 Tips for Women to Build Stronger, Leaner Glutes. Retrieved from:http://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/1328/6_Tips_for_Women_to_Build_Stronger_Leaner_Glutes.aspx
Poliquin Group. (2015). Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know about Glute Training. Retrieved from:http://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/1278/Ten_Things_You_Probably_Dont_Know_about_Glute_Trai.aspx
Tumminello, N. (2015). Build Glutes That Melt The Internet. Retrieved from: https://www.t-nation.com/training/build-glutes-that-melt-the-internet