To build size in your glutes, not only do you need to the right exercises, but you’ve got to perform them at a volume and intensity that’s designed to elicit gains in muscle mass. Your glutes, which is a slang term for your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, are responsible for extending and abducting your hips, which means they drive your legs back behind you and out to your sides. In order for your workout to stimulate gains in your glutes, it’s got to adequately overload your muscle tissue.
Workouts that are effective at bringing about increases in muscle size feature numerous exercises for each muscle group. The Kinesiology and Health Department of Georgia State University recommends that each exercise is completed for three to six sets, depending on your training history, with each set consisting of six to 12 reps. This workout volume will break down and overload the muscle tissue of your glutes, which in turn stimulates increases in muscle size. Include three glute exercises to include in your workout and complete your workout two times per week with two days of rest in between each session. The American Council on Exercise recommends compound, multi-joint exercises for building mass, such as deadlifts, squats and lunges.
Deadlifts with a Barbell
Barbell deadlifts primarily target the gluteus maximus, but also work your quadriceps and calves. Grip a weighted barbell with your hands just wider than your hips and hold it town in front of your thighs with your palms facing your legs. With your feet set to hip-width apart, push your hips back and bend your knees so that your lower the bar towards the top of your feet. Extend your hips and knees to return to a standing position. Keep the bar over your feet. Your back should remain straight throughout the entire exercise.
Squats with a Barbell
Back squats primarily develop your gluteus maximus, but also require assistance from your quadriceps and calves. With a weighted barbell positioned on the back of your shoulders, set your feet to hip-width apart. Begin by pushing your hip back and then bend your knees to lower your hips toward the floor. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor and then extend your knees and hips to rise back up to a full standing position.
Lunges while Walking
The glutues maximus is the primary muscle worked during walking lunges. You can either set a weighted barbell on the back of your shoulders or hold dumbbells down by your side. With plenty of room in front of you, take a large step forward with one foot so that you’re in a staggered stance. Bend your lead knee to drop your back one toward the floor until it’s just short of touching the ground. Push off your lead foot and bring your trail foot up so that you return to a standing position. On the next rep, step forward with the opposite foot, continuing until you’re finished with all reps.
Dumbbell Lying Hip Abduction
To hit your gluteus medius and minimus, incorporate dumbbell lying hip abduction into your workouts. Lie on your side with your head resting in your hand and both legs stacked atop each other and hold a dumbbell against the side of your top thigh for resistance. Keeping your knee straight, lift your leg up as high as you can while keeping your hips square and then lower it back down to complete the rep. Switch legs after the set.
Side Bridge Hip Abduction
Another exercise for your gluteus medius and minimus is the side bridge hip abduction. Lie on your side with both legs stacked atop each other and your bottom elbow on the floor directly under your shoulder. Lift your body up off the floor so your weight is on your elbow and feet. From this position, lift your top leg up toward the ceiling, keeping the knee straight. Lower your leg back down and then lower your body to the mat to complete the rep. Switch sides when you're finished.
- Georgia State University Exercise and Physical Fitness Page: Training for Hypertrophy
- ExRx.net: Barbell Deadlift
- ExRx.net: Barbell Squat (Power Lift)
- ExRx.net: Barbell Walking Lunge
- American Council on Exercise: What Exercises Should I Perform if I'm Trying to Gain Weight?
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Lying Hip Abduction
- ExRx.net: Side Bridge Hip Abduction