An Industry Full of Gibberish
‘Learn form my experiences, mistakes and wins’
#31 – Glute Training Tips
As you’re aware at First Class Fitness we train a fairly large amount of females who either 1) want to improve the shape of their lower body (especially their glutes) 2) need to develop the muscles in their glutes for many reasons (lower back pain, following pregnancy, strength for sport etc.,)
In this article I’m going to give you some advice and tips on how to train your glute more effectively if you want/need to develop a great set of glutes! Obviously, having a great set of glutes requires you to have a normal to low amount of body fat, however I will be focussing on just the training aspect of glute development in this article.
Firstly, its key to remember that females are much stronger than they think, especially through hip flexion and extension. This means most of you can life heavier than you think, and if you don’t push the intensity in terms of weight lifted you won’t get the training stimulus and glute adaptations you desire.
Secondarily, it’s important to consider the anatomy and physiology of the glutes. The glutes are made up of three muscles (each side). The glute maximus, minimus and medius. The maximus, given away in its name is obviously the biggest of the three, and actually is the largest muscle in the entire human body!
Below I am going to give you lots of training tips which you can put into practice, and then at the end I will give you two example sessions plans:
1 – MIN OVER MAX– Now, although the minimus and medius are important to train, in this day and age, and due to social media and more specifically Instagram famous fitness models, I see a lot of girls overdoing the amount of volume (sets and reps) they complete on these exercises and not focussing enough on the MAXIMUS! They spend plenty of time on ‘accessory glute exercises’ such as glute kickbacks, band crab walks and cable abduction, but little time doing the exercises below which will ultimately get you the glutes youre striving for.
WHAT TO DO– Use a greater portion of exercises that specifically target the maximus such as, Glute Raise, Hip Thrusts, Romanian Deadlifts, Sumo Squats and Sumo Deadlifts, Single Leg Glute Raise & Hip Thrust, High & Wide Leg Press and Hyperextensions to name a few.
2 – TRAINING IN A PARTIAL RANGE– When I see females in the gym training without a coach they often don’t sit low enough into a squat, lunge, or Bulgarian split squat to initiate the glutes. Half squats and lunges will only engage the quadriceps (thigh’s) which often girls want to avoid developing! Furthermore, there is such thing as a glute focussed squat, lunge and split squat, where the exercise is adapted to favour stimulating the glutes. A lot of females are knee dominant, meaning they don’t flex the hips enough in a squat to force the glutes to work.
WHAT TO DO– When training your glutes, ensure you sit to parallel (thigh/thighs parallel to the floor) or below on squats, lunges and split squat variations. If this means dropping the weight and/or having to work on your hip flexibility/mobility/technique before adding any weight at all so be it. Master the basic.
3 – WEIGHT THROUGH THE TOES– On squats, lunges, glute raise, leg presses and split squat variations its common that people push through their toes and the balls of their feet. This is probably one of the key mistakes I see every day in the gym in relation to training legs. If you push through your toes you very likely only utilising the quadriceps and hips, NOT THE glutes during the exercise.
WHAT TO DO– Ensure you push through your heels, or at least place the weight centrally through your foot and relax your toes. Don’t be a parrot on a perch!
4 – YOU RUSH – Again, I see this regularly in the gym. People finishing a set within 15-30 seconds. Unfortunately, this will get you nowhere. Muscles need to break in order for them to develop, and generally a muscle requires 40+ seconds of time under tension to create a stimulus big enough for it to adapt
WHAT TO DO– When training if you’re doing 12 reps, each rep needs to be 4 seconds in length from start to finish (48 second set). If you’re doing 10 reps, then each rep need to be 4-5 seconds, etc., If you understand exercise tempo, then a 3010 or a 3020 tempo is perfect, sorry if that’s confused anyone who doesn’t understand exercise tempo.
5 – CONTRACTION– People often perform exercises in the gym just focussing on moving a weight, an object or their bodyweight from a to b, however there’s so much more to it than that. You need to concentrate on creating a good muscle contraction through mind to muscle. This takes time, effort and concentration to learn, however once mastered takes your training to another level!
WHAT TO DO– Before starting an exercise, squeeze your target muscle or muscle group. Get tension in the right place, and then aim to keep this tension throughout the whole exercise. On the way down (eccentric phase), work hard to maintain your concentration on the muscle, which will help if you slow down. Place the muscles under a full stretch and then concentrate all the way back up (concentric phase). This works amazingly well on a Barbell Glute Raise for example, contract your glutes hard before staring the exercise, then squeeze hard all the way up and down, not just at the top (what most people do!)
6 – PROGRESSION– Are you writing down your sessions? Are you tracking your weights? How long have been using that particular weight, and following that specific programme? The body gets very used to what its given, therefore if you want to improve the shape of your glutes, then you need to monitor your sessions, and ensure you’re slowly but surely getting stronger and increasing your session volume and intensity.
WHAT TO DO – Get a notebook or use the notes section on your phone. Follow a specific programme (ensure you’re specifically training your glutes at least twice a week) and track your weight lifted and reps/sets performed each and every week. Ensure you change your sessions ever 3-4 weeks.
So as promised, below is a very simple glute focussed session plan. You would genrall add some more quadricep and hamstring work into this to call it a leg session. Remember, the glutes stimulate and adapt well under a range of high-low weight and reps, which means you can be quite creative with your sessions in comparison to other muscle groups. Remember, to go through all of the points below again before completing the session. Additionally, don’t forget that a session can look great on paper, however it’s all down to the execution!
Glute Focussed Session Plan:
Warm-Up (15 Bodyweight Glute Raises, 15 Deep Sumo Squats, 15 Leg Abduction Machine x 2)
1 – Barbell Romanian Deadlift (Keep the bar close to your legs at all times) – 10-12 Reps x 3-4 Sets (Tempo 3110 – Second pause in the stretch position)
2 – Barbell Hip Thrust (Dive through the heels) – 15 Reps x 3 Sets (Tempo 3011 – Second pause at the top/peak contraction)
Next Three Exercises Complete Back-To-Back:
3a – Barbell Back Squat Sit into the heels, focus on hip flexion, and drive the knees out) – 12 Reps x 3 Sets (Tempo 3020 – 3 seconds down and a strict 2 seconds back up)
3b – Bulgarian Split Squat (Back knee to floor, IE, get low, and again drop your weight into the front heel) – 12-15 Reps (each leg) x 3 Sets (Tempo 2020)
3c – High & Wide Leg Press (Drive through the heels, and pull heels down towards the floor as you push away) – 12-15 Reps x 3 Sets (Tempo – 3110)
Cool Down – Stretch!