Got Glutes?

While training, your goals constantly evolve so you can be in even better shape!

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 22 Jan 2018

Training Intermediate
10 Mins

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Amazing glutes is often aspired towards, particularly by women. There seems to always be room for improvement in this part of their physique. And as for the men; if you ask any male RNTer if he’s satisfied with the size of his arms – nine times out of 10, the answer will be a firm ‘no’.

This is part of the beauty of the transformation journey, you’re always pushing for progression. You’re in a consistent state of self-evolution.

So, how we do go about building the perfect set of glutes?

The first three principles everyone should follow is:

  1. Train using progressive overload (get stronger).
  2. Train using standardised form (don’t train super strict with slow eccentrics one week, and then a partial range of motion the following).
  3. Ensure that a minimum protein threshold is met and if possible, supplement additionally with EAAs around the workout window.

Once you’ve got those three aspects nailed down, with consistency, you can then focus on the specifics.

Frequency


Many people train each body part once per week, but for the most part this simply isn’t enough to see real, tangible change.

Each time you train a body part, you’re stimulating Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) locally. The big issue is that, assuming you train that body part just once per week and take zero holidays – you’re sending a signal to promote MPS locally in that areas 52 times throughout the year.

Depending upon the size of the muscle group as well as volume/intensities used, that a muscle can typically recover within 24-72 hours.

So, if you train on a Monday, you could actually be ready to go again by Wednesday – yet you’re prolonging this period by another five days on top of that. This is valuable training time that you could be missing out on to maximize your transformation.

Instead, if you train each muscle group two, perhaps three times per week, you’d potentially now be stimulating MPS locally 104-156 times per year, tripling your previous progression!

At an absolute minimum, we’d recommend training the lower body in its entirety at least twice per week, but for those really wanting to push glute development progress, consider reducing the total volume slightly and designing a training split that allows for three sessions per week that include some glute work.

Rep Ranges


While small muscle groups such as the rear delts, biceps etc. appear to respond relatively well to the moderate-high rep ranges (anywhere from 12-25 reps), large muscle groups that have multiple functions respond best to a variety of rep ranges.

On the bigger, more complex exercises that can handle more load, going through periods of training with a 5-7 rep range is critical. On the other hand, if you’re doing a smaller isolation-based exercise like a lying banded clam, pushing this from 15-25 reps and forcing as much blood into the muscle also provides enormous benefit.

The take home here is not to fall into the trap of pigeon-holing yourself into the standard ‘3×10’ on everything – variation is key here.

Exercise Selection


To maximise your glute work out, squats are simply not enough, you must target all functioning areas of the glute. In order to do this, this requires an understanding of the different functions of the glute, and how to effectively train each one.

The main three movement patterns the glutes are involved are hip extension, external rotation of the femur (thigh bone) as well as abduction (taking the thigh away from the midline of the body).

With these in mind, you can now decide which exercises are best suited to training the glutes from all angles.

For example, if you wanted to target the glutes primary function (hip extension), exercises such as barbell hip thrusts, squats, and Romanian deadlifts are most beneficial here.
If you wanted to target abduction, select lying clams, and lateral band walks etc.

For targeting external rotation, use frog pumps or even add something as subtle as a band around the knees whilst performing hip extension work.

Ultimately, to design a well-rounded routine that ensures maximum growth potential for developing the glutes, you want to be picking exercises that cover each of the three movement functions.

Below is an example of part of a glute specific routine that not only involves exercises using multiple movement patterns, but also demonstrates a variety of rep ranges:



Not only do you have the primary function covered via the hip extensions, lunges and RDL’s, but you also have both the external rotation and abduction covered via the inclusion of the slingshot band as well as lateral band walks.

Common Mistakes Holding You Back


While knowing what you are doing is right is important, knowing where you could be going wrong is likewise just as important. Below are the three most common mistakes that we see:

1. Training with progressive overload

Forgetting the all-important number one principle we referenced in the opening paragraphs, training with progressive overload, is one way to hit a plateau in your progression.
It’s easy to become complacent and confident knowing that you can barbell hip thrust a plate per side. It took a while to get to that milestone, but you got there. You’re now comfortable in being able to head into the busy gym, slapping on a 20kg plate each side and performing in your typical rep ranges.

The issue?

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

The long-term transformation journey does not hit its peak and level out, it continues on to reach a new peak, a new goal. Sure, you might have reached your initial goal, but why should you stop there? Keep pushing for the next goal to avoid stagnation. New challenges are exciting, it gives your training greater purpose, more goals to smash. Even the most gradual of progression is headed somewhere.

Great work on hitting that 60kg milestone, but need to now set your sights higher. Think long-term, think bigger and better. Two plates aside, the elusive 100kg. Are you going to hit it overnight? No, that’ll be a fast-pass ticket to spinal surgery.

The key is now utilising your logbook and making small, consistent progressions week-on-week.

65kg for 8
70kg for 8
72.5kg for 8
75kg for 6
75kg for 8
77.7 for 7
77.7 for 8

And so on, and so forth.

Your goal on the first 1-2 exercises on every session should be to beat the previous session in either reps or loads used. That can be as small as an additional 1-2 reps, or 1.25-2.5kg on the bar. Nevertheless, over time it all adds up and will have you on your way to hitting your next performance goal.

2) Using a partial Range of Motion (ROM)

While you’re progressively chasing bigger numbers each time, have you really progressed if your ROM through an exercises has gone from 6” of movement down to 3” of movement? Definitely not.

Don’t lose form and technique at the expense of running before you can walk in terms of weight progressions.

Our best advice here is to simply record yourself performing each exercise from time-to-time. This is an exercise our coaches regularly ask of our members to ensure the execution of their training exercises are perfect.

Not only ensuring maximum benefit is gained from the exercise, this also prevents any risk of injury – and that will certainly hinder your progression!

3) Gravitating toward exercises you enjoy

Prefer using the leg press over the Bulgarian split squat? That’s probably because you’re not the best at the split squat, are we right?

We are all guilty of sticking to what we know and like but, again, without challenging yourself, progression is severely limited. The only way to get better is to practice. In the long run, paying your dues on these exercises that you’re not automatically strong at pays off in dividends.

Turning those exercises that you dread from weaknesses into strengths is a great way to improve your physique as opposed to avoiding them with a passion. Your workouts will become more varied and enjoyable. You might not think so at first, but in the long-term you’ll thank yourself.

If you think of it this way, you can only get better!

The Butt Of It


To summarise, the key points to take home are:

  • Don’t be afraid of pushing training frequency up – the more you train, the more you gain
  • Train in a variety of rep ranges
  • Maximise a ‘full’ glute workout by training a variety of movement patterns
  • Record your workouts to ensure correct execution
  • Keep note of your lifts and always strive for progression
  • Don’t stick to what you like, challenge yourself

And so there you have it! A simple, uncomplicated blueprint to giving your glute training a much-needed shake up. Bear these points in mind the next time you plan your training sessions and you’ll have buns of steel in no time!

Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-sellilng book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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