Weight Lifting to Build a Big Gluteus Maximus

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A man and woman are training in a gym. (Image: BartekSzewczyk/iStock/Getty Images)

The gluteus maximus, the largest and strongest muscle in your lower body, is responsible for extending your hips or driving your legs back behind you. With consistent weight-training workouts designed to build muscle, you will see significant development in the size of your glutes. How long it takes you to notice improvements depends on a number of factors, including your sex, hormone levels and training history.

Targeting the Glutes

Although there are exercises that isolate the gluteus maximus, compound exercises, which involve movement at numerous joints and, thus, work numerous muscles, are better for putting on muscle mass, says the American Council on Exercise. Compound exercises that target the butt include squats, lunges, deadlifts and step-ups. Each of the exercises is considered a free-weight exercise; you can use dumbbells or a barbell to increase the load. If you work out at a gym, you can also incorporate leg press into your regimen.

A Workout Designed for Mass

Select three to four compound glute exercises to include in each of your workouts. Start out by doing three sets per exercise and gradually increase your volume to four, then five and finally six sets. Each set should consist of at least six, but no more than 12 reps. According to Dr. Helen M. Binkley of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, this training volume will be appropriate for overloading and thus bringing about increases in muscle mass.

The Right Load

For sets of six to 12 reps to be effective for building muscle, you’ve got to use an adequate amount of weight to fatigue your muscles. Use a weight that allows you to do at least six reps comfortably, but makes you reach muscular failure by rep number 12. The weight that you’ll need to use will vary between exercises and you may need to make adjustments as you consistently train and develop strength.

Resting Up

When you’re training to build mass, because of the numbers of sets and reps you’ll be doing, your glutes will need more rest than if you were training for strength. It’s during the breaks in between workouts that your glutes will increase in size, so avoid training too frequently or you’ll adversely affect your results. Set up your schedule so that your glutes get at least 72 hours of recovery time in between your workouts. This allows you to get two workouts in per week, such as on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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