I like big butts: How to grow your glutes

Looking through social media, big butts seem to be very on trend at the moment, and while some people may think it’s great and want to grow their glutes, others may not, and that’s perfectly okay, everyone has different goals for their bodies! But if you’re looking for some tips to grow those glutes, keep reading.


Anatomy of the glutes

The Glutes are made up of 3 muscles, the Gluteus Minimus, the Gluteus Medius, and the Gluteus Maximus. Each plays a different role, so you want to ensure you are working all three, just like you would train the front and back of your legs.

1. The Glute Maximus is one of the largest muscles in your body and is the most superficial (close to the surface) of your glute muscles, which means that this is the muscle that will give you some shape and mass.

2. The Glute Medius is located on the sides of your butt and main role is hip abduction (think taking the leg away from the body) and helps with overall stability of the pelvis.

3. The Glute Minimus is the deepest and smallest of the glute muscles. It works with synergy with the glute medimus to abduct and internally rotate the thigh. They provide stability, and assist with simple tasks like walking and running.


Why should you train your glutes?

It’s not just about getting a Kim K butt (although, I’m not convinced hers is 100% real!) Bigger and toned glutes not only look ascetically pleasing but strong active glute muscles are great injury prevention. A sign of inactive glutes can be lower back pain, knee pain, tightness in your quadriceps, poor posture or excessive fatigue in your quadriceps to name a few. Bear in mind that inactive glutes are not the only cause of these injuries, and you should always get these issues checked over by a physiotherapist.


How to train in the gym:

Start with training the big compound exercises first, which for your glutes is 3 main movements:

  1. Squats
  2. Deadlifts/ Hip Hinge exercises
  3. Hip thrusts

There is lots of variations of the 3 compound movements. Make sure you are using a weight that is challenging for you but can still preform with perfect technique. Think about squeezing and contracting the glutes with each rep. You want to push yourself to fatigue where you can feel the burn in the glute muscle. If you finish the set and you could of done 5 more reps, try increasing the weight. We ideally want to finish the set 2 short of failure (2SOF), meaning you had only 2 more reps left in the tank for that set.  Aim for 8 – 12 reps.

Then you want to add more isolated exercises:

  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Bridges
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Curtsey lunges
  • Donkey kicks / kick backs
  • 1 leg Romanian Deadlifts
  • Hip abduction exercises


Resistance bands and glute activation:

As we generally sit a lot with our daily life, our quadriceps can become tight and dominate. If you only feel your quadriceps working when you do a squat, glute activation is really important for you to “switch on” the glute muscles for your workout. This is key to be able to grow your glutes.

You can activate your glutes by using a mini band. You want to make sure that the resistance band is tight around your thighs, just above your knees, or around your ankles. There are a number of exercises you can do to warm up your glutes, such as squats, crab walks, clam shells, glute bridges, donkey kicks, fire hydrants and many other hip abduction movements. It should only take you about 5 minutes to warm up your glutes, you don’t want to tire yourself out before you’ve even started your workout!


How long will it take to grow my glutes?

This will depend on genetics, how often you train, and what you eat.

Nutrition is really important as well as the training to grow your glute muscles. You want to make sure you are in a calorie surplus and eating adequate daily amount of protein. We recommend eating 1 x BW (KG) to 1.5 x BW(KG) = grams of daily protein.

You can still gain muscle on your normal number of calories or even in a deficit, but it will take longer. Eating a calorie deficit can work well if you would still like to lose body fat while still toning your glutes.

While eating in a surplus, it is said to take around three months to really grow your glutes and see progress. However, genetics also plays a part. By adding some of those compound and isolated exercises to your next leg day, I’m sure you’ll start to see some results soon!