Category Archives: Glute Training

An Excellent Body Transformation Powered by Serious Glute Strength

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce you to Roselyn Kennedy, a regular badass. Here’s how I came to learn about Roselyn. Last week, I was tagged in an Instagram post – I think it was her husband Frank who tagged me. Anyway, the video showcased Roselyn hip thrusting 500 lbs for 2 reps. Since Roselyn has some of the strongest glutes I’ve ever seen, I was curious to find out exactly how she trains. I decided to email her to inquire about her training, and we ended up exchanging several emails with one another.

Roselyn and her husband Frank Kennedy own United Cross Training, a gym based in Sugar Land, Texas. She recently lost 23 lbs over a 9 month period, check out the results!

Ros

Roselyn’s 9 month physique transformation. 163 lbs on the left, 140 lbs on the right at a height of 5’6″. Look at those abs!!!

Over the past year, Roselyn busted her ass, setting squat, deadlift, and hip thrust PRs. She can squat 255 lbs, deadlift 325 lbs, hip thrust 500 lbs x 2 reps, and hip thrust 365 lbs x 10 reps. When she set her squat and deadlift PRs, she weighed 140 lbs, but she’s recently put 7 lbs back on which is when she set her hip thrust PRs. Below are the videos:

Squat 255 lbs

Deadlift 325 lbs

Hip thrust 500 lbs x 2 reps

Hip thrust 365 lbs x 10 reps

Another view of the hip thrust 365 lbs x 10 reps

 

Roselyn is not happy with the technique in her squat video, apparently she was trying out a closer stance when she hit that weight  because she was dealing with a injury (her fibula popped out of placed). She usually  has a wider stance on her squats, but It was a PR with a different stance. 

Not to take the spotlight off of Roselyn – she’s the rockstar here. But one thing that I find interesting is that she fits a particular profile I’ve noticed – the decent squatter/good deadlifter/great hip thruster with a high-hipped roundback maximal deadlifting style profile. Roselyn, Sammie, and myself all fit this profile. Each of us are much stronger at the deadlift compared to the squat. Each of us pull with high hips and rounded backs when maxing out. And each of us can hip thrust a ton. I think that our glute strength is far superior to our quad strength, and this leads to less impressive squats, roundback maximal pulls, and serious hip thrust power. I hope to one day get to conduct research on this hypothesis using isokinetic dynamometry, but below is a chart showing our strength (I had to use an online calculator to estimate some of the 1RMs).

chart

I asked Roselyn about her training program, and she was kind enough to send it to me:

MONDAY

Back Squat

6 Reps @ 45%

6 Reps @ 55%

6 Reps @ 65%

6 Reps @ 70%

6 Reps @ 75%

6 Reps @ 80%

1 Rep @ 85%

1 Rep @ 90%

1 Rep @ 92%

Deadlifts

6 Reps @ 85%

Barbell Walking Lunges

6 Reps / 4 Sets @ 145lbs.

Tuesday

5 sets of supersets of:

Dumbbell Row’s 10 Reps

Close Grip Bench Press 8 Reps

5 sets of supersets of: 

Pull Ups 8 Reps

Bodyweight Back Extensions 20 Reps

5 sets of supersets of: 

Underhand Grip Barbell Rows 10 Rep’s

1 Min Planks

Wednesday

Hip Thrust

20 Rep’s @ 70%

10 Rep’s @ 75%

6 Rep’s @ 80%

5 Rep’s @ 85%

3 Rep’s @ 80%

1 Rep @ MAX

Sprints / Meter’s

5 @ 20

4 @ 30

3 @ 40

2 @50

1 @ 60

3 @ 40

5 @ 20

Thursday

5 sets of supersets of:

Push Ups 15 Reps

Hanging Leg Lift’s

5 sets of supersets of: 

Hang Cleans 8 Reps

Balanced Deadlifts 12 Reps

Mid Incline Bench Press

5 X 5 @ 75%

Seated Banded Hip Abduction 20 Reps 5 Sets

Friday

Repeat Mondays Training, Cancel out Deadlifts and replace with:

4 sets of supersets of:

Stiff Leg Dead-Lifts 8 Reps

Box Squats 6 Reps

________________________

Every 16 Days she changes Hip thrust to 3 times a week one day would be volume EX:

1st Day Reps 20,10,6,5,3,1

2nd Day Reps Bodyweight 20 X 5

3rd Day Reps 6 X6 @80%

Also, she changes Squatting to 3 times a week 2 days would be volume EX:

1st Day Reps 8,5,3,1

2nd Day Reps 12 X 5 @ 65 – 67%

3rd Day Reps 20 X 3 Bodyweight

The accessory work varies depending on goals and weaknesses at that time.

Here are the links to United Cross Training’s social media:

United Cross Training YouTube https://www.youtube.com/ucrosstraining
United Cross Training Instagram https://instagram.com/unitedcrosstraining/
United Cross Training Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UnitedCrossTraining
United Cross Training Twitter https://twitter.com/UnitedCrossT
United Cross Training Website http://www.unitedct.com/

Keep it up Roselyn and Frank!

Glute Burnouts

Here at the Glute Lab, I’ve been giving my clients glute burnouts at the end of their training sessions (follow me on Instagram HERE). We always start off with our heavy work (ex: squats, deadlifts, barbell hip thrusts, bench press, chins, front squats, block pulls, Bulgarian split squats), then we make sure to finish off with something that burns the heck out of the glutes. An example session might look like this:

Back squat 3 x 3-5 (or Bulgarian split squat 3 x 8)
Block pull 3 x 3-5 (or barbell hip thrust 3 x 8)
Close grip bench press 3 x 5-8 (or incline press 3 x 8)
Feet elevated inverted row 3 x 5-8 (or band assisted chin-ups 3 x 8)
Glute burnout 3 rounds

These glute burnouts can be done in a variety of ways, but basically you want to pair up some frontal/transverse plane glute work with some sagittal plane glute work. For example, you could superset high rep band seated hip abductions with high rep barbell hip thrusts, or high rep lateral band walks with high rep bodyweight back extensions.

Five months ago, I came up with Bret’s Booty Blasting Protocol. That was my favorite burnout at the time (it was pure hip extension based with no frontal/transverse plane activity in the mix), but now I have a new favorite glute burnout. Here’s the protocol:

20 reps band hip abductions
20 reps double band hip thrusts (bands around knees and hips)
20 reps narrow stance band hip thrusts

Band reps are done rather quickly, so each rep is around 1 second in duration. The entire burnout usually lasts around 60 seconds long, so 3 rounds is 3 minutes of time under tension for the gluteals, with some serious build up of metabolic stress. Here’s a video so you can see how it’s done:

Obviously the best way to do this is with a Hip Thruster. By the way, just to let y’all know, we just stepped up our hip thruster customer service big time. If you purchase a hip thruster in the United States, you’ll receive it within 2 weeks. This is exciting because previously it took 8 weeks to receive a unit.

* U.S. Hip Thruster Orders Arrive Within 2 Weeks! *

If you don’t have a hip thruster, you can set up in a power rack or use dumbbells to pin the bands down.

This picture of Katie Coles is from 2009 in my old garage!

This picture of Katie Coles is from 2009 in my old garage!

Give this glute burnout protocol a try and start doing different glute burnouts at the end of your training sessions and let me know what you think.

 

Glute Training for Men

Guys, I know it’s not yet cool to say to your buddy, “hey bro, I’m gonna go train glutes, I’ll see you in a couple of hours.” In the bodybuilding community, glute training is just implied. You have your chest day, back day, shoulder day, arm day, and leg day, but no glute day. On leg day, it’s okay to train quads and hams, but you don’t dare mention the glutes. No need to worry though, since you can effectively train the glutes under the guise of hammering the quads with squats, lunges, and leg presses and the hammies/erectors with deadlifts, back extensions, and good mornings anyway.

male glutes

Stephen Marino, men’s physique competitor and powerlifter, proudly incorporates hip thrusts, back extensions, and more into his glute training

Time For a Change in Mindset

But why do we have to shy away from glute training? What if we could see even better results by changing it up slightly? I believe that it’s time for a change, and I declare that men should proudly make a stand for glute training. Whether it’s training their glutes directly with unfamiliar exercises, dedicating a separate day for glutes, and/or openly discussing glute training with fellow lifters, we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about and train glutes – the most powerful muscle in the human body. Furthermore, men should stop labeling glute isolation movements as “wimpy” or “girly” exercises. They’re no wimpier than any other targeted movement for any other part of the body. We don’t consider flies, curls, skull crushers, lateral raises, shrugs, or glute ham raises to be wimpy, nor should we consider hip thrusts, back extensions, cable kickbacks, and various hip abduction movements to be wimpy. Bodybuilders have long performed all of these movements to round out their muscles and maximize their hypertrophy. Click HERE to see how bodybuilders train their glutes.

Women Appreciate Glutes Too

Let me let you in on a little secret. It’s not just men who love nice glutes on a woman. Women too love a nice set of glutes on a man, and believe me, they’re tired of the typical bro who is all pecs and no glutes.

Women love nice glutes too!

Women love nice glutes too!

Hit the Glutes from Multiple Angles

If you’re looking to maximize your glute hypertrophy, strength, and/or power, then you’ll want employ more than just sagittal plane hip extension movements such as squats and deadlifts. Don’t get me wrong, sagittal plane exercises will always trump transverse and frontal plane for overall development, including glute hypertrophy. However, by blending in different movement patterns, you will strengthen each joint action, effectively target each subdivision of the muscle, and increase strength and power in multiple vectors.

Tim Tebow isn't afraid to directly train his glutes

Tim Tebow isn’t afraid to directly train his glutes

There are many ways to go about this in terms of programming. HERE are some options I detailed last month. However, one such option is to simply perform some heavy movements that hammer the glutes 1-2 days per week, and then perform some lighter movements that burn the glutes 1-2 days per week. The heavier days would create more mechanical tension, whereas the lighter days would produce more metabolic stress, giving the glutes a potent growth stimulus. If you don’t fully understand the different mechanisms that contribute to muscle growth, please click HERE.

Let me give you an example in my own training. Below is what I did earlier this week.

Monday

heavy front squats 275 x 3, 275 x 3, 275 x 3
heavy barbell back extension 195 x 3, 195 x 3, 195 x 3

 

Don’t get me wrong, these exercises kicked my butt. But it’s a different type of feeling. The heavy 3 sets of 3 requires a ton of muscle force development in the glutes in addition to mental energy. But it doesn’t produce a burn or a pump in the glutes. So tension is very high, but metabolic stress is low. There’s really only one exercise that I can go heavy on and still feel a burn and attain a pump in my glutes, and that’s with the hip thrust. A few weeks ago I performed 4 sets of 6 reps with 545 lbs and my glutes achieved an incredible combination of mechanical tension and metabolic stress. However, in the case of the heavy front squats and back extensions, I just felt tension with no burn. To ameliorate this situation, the very next day I did the following:

Tuesday

light back extensions bodyweight x 30, bodyweight x 30, bodyweight x 30
seated hip abduction machine stack x 30, stack x 30, stack x 30
cable kickbacks 25 x 20, 30 x 15
standing cable hip abduction 20 x 10, 15 x 20

 

 

 

The burn and pump in my upper and lower glutes was phenomenal following this session. I’m sure that some lifters would think that these machine exercises are wimpy and “unmanly,” but this is not true. High reps kick my butt, and the combination of heavy work and lighter work from multiple angles has made my glutes rock solid over the years. Furthermore, I believe that my glutes have grown stronger, denser, and more muscular in the past six months after employing more targeted glute work.

I’m definitely not saying that you have to perform these machine exercises to be manly, nor am I saying that you have to lift weights at all to be manly. But if you shy away from various glute exercises because you’re worried about your image, then I’m calling you out for being unmanly. If you train at a commercial gym and seek glute hypertrophy, these machines are great when combined with squats, deadlifts, and other heavy compound movements. If you train at home or at more of an athletic training studio, then you can perform reverse hypers, cable pull-throughs, kettlebell swings, and various lateral band walking exercises.

The take home point is to not be afraid to perform glute exercises that are traditionally thought of as exercises primarily suited for women. These are great movements for both sexes. Real men aren’t afraid to train glutes!

GSP

GSP sported some impressive glute development, which probably enhances his overall athleticism as a fighter

How to Design an Optimal Glute Training Program

In efforts to help the readers of my blog more effectively train their glutes, I thought I’d shed some light on program design tactics for glute building. This isn’t as easy as it seems, since the design of each training session depends on many factors, including the goal of the lifter, the training split, training frequency, equipment availability, and more. Some of my readers inevitably adhere to bodypart split routines, while others stick to lower/upper splits, push-pull splits, or total body training protocols. Some lifters train for purely aesthetics/physique purposes, while others have strength (powerlifting) or athletic goals in mind. I happen to like total body training for myself and most of my clients, but there are ways to make each training template highly effective for glute building. Below I will provide some tips and examples to satisfy a wide variety of lifters.

All right, all right!

All right, all right!

Bret’s Preference: Full Body Training

As I mentioned earlier, I love my total body training routines. I’m going to give you a sample four day glute training program that I’d give someone who trained with me at my gym – The Glute Lab. I have posted most of the exercises listed below on my Instagram channel at some point in time, and I have many detailed explanations on my YouTube channel too. I realize that most of my readers don’t have access to all of the equipment I have in my garage gym, but I didn’t want to compromise my ideal program. Later in the article I’ll stick to more common exercises. Keep in mind that I train mostly women whose primary goal is to build their glutes. I train female powerlifters differently, which I’ll outline below. By the way, this is the type of system Kellie and I use with Strong Curves and also with Get Glutes.

Monday

barbell hip thrust pyramid 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 15
goblet squat 3 x 12
heavy kettlebell deadlift 2 x 15
45 degree hyper 2 x 20
band seated hip abduction 2 x 20
incline press 2 x 10
lat pulldown 2 x 10

Tuesday

band hip thrust 3 x 10
walking lunge 2 x 50 (total steps, so 25 per leg)
reverse hyper 3 x 10
lateral band walk 2 x 20
push up 2 x AMRAP
Hammer Strength row 2 x 10

Thursday

barbell hip thrust 3 x 6
Bulgarian split squat 2 x 10
45 degree hyper 2 x 30
pendulum quadruped hip extension 2 x 10
band side lying clam 2 x 20
dumbbell shoulder press 2 x 10
one arm row 2 x 10

Friday

double band hip thrust 3 x 20 (band around knees and band over the hips)
Cybex leg press 3 x 10
American deadlift 2 x 8
band standing hip abduction 2 x 20
dumbbell bench press 2 x 10
inverted row 2 x 10

Some people would rightfully point out that this is a lot of volume for the glutes, but trust me, they can handle it. When combined with sound nutrition, I would argue that this program is equally effective at burning fat since these routines are brutal in terms of revving up the metabolic rate. This is how I go about building glutes, and it’s why I see such great results with my clients.

But make no mistake about it, my clients also tend to develop great upper body strength and development simply because they’re performing compound pressing and pulling movements four days per week. The program is centered around hip thrusts, which is what I think builds glutes the best, but it contains a ton of variety to hit the upper and lower fibers with high reps, medium reps, and low reps. This routine will deliver what I believe to be the optimal amount of mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage to the glutes (see HERE for an explanation of these terms). But not everyone wants to train in this manner, especially men who desire more isolation movements for their upper bodies, so let’s move on to other popular forms of training.

5

Justine Munro (FacebookInstagram)

Tips for Bodybuilders that Stick to Bodypart Splits

Every bodybuilder has his or her own unique routine, but the vast majority of them adhere to bodypart splits. Let’s consider the lifter that prefers bodypart split training but is severely lacking in glute development. This lifter might benefit from straying from the norm and training lower body three times per week and upper body twice or three times. For example, the lifter could train glutes on Monday, chest/shoulders/triceps on Tuesday, quads on Wednesday, back/rear delts/biceps on Thursday, and hammies on Friday. This way, the glutes are hit effectively on all 3 lower body days. Let’s assume that this lifter trains out of a common commercial gym. Maybe the various  sessions look like this:

Monday (glutes)

barbell hip thrust or barbell glute bridge: 3 x 8-12
butt blaster machine or cable glute kickback: 3 x 10-15
bodyweight back extension or bodyweight reverse hyper: 3 x 20-30
cable standing hip abduction or lateral band walk: 3 x 10-20
seated hip abduction machine or band seated hip abduction: 3 x 20-30

Tuesday (chest/shoulders/tri’s)

barbell incline press or dumbbell incline press: 3 x 6-8
barbell military press or seated shoulder press: 3 x 8-12
push ups: 3 x AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
dumbbell lateral raises or cable lateral raises: 3 x 10-12
rope tricep extensions or v-bar tricep extension: 3 x 10-12

Wednesday (quads/glutes)

front squat or back squat: 3 x 6-8
leg press or hack squat: 3 x 10-12
dumbbell walking lunge or smith machine reverse lunge: 3 x 8-12
leg extensions: 3 x 10-20
crunch 2 x 20
side crunch 2 x 20
hanging leg raise 2 x 10

Thursday (back, rear delts, bi’s)

weighted or band assisted chin up or lat pulldown: 3 x 6-8
chest supported row or seated row: 3 x 8-12
one arm row or inverted row: 3 x 10-12
prone rear delt raise or reverse pec deck: 3 x 10-12
easy bar curl or alternating dumbbell curl: 3 x 10-12

Friday (hams, glutes)

conventional deadlift or Romanian deadlift: 3 x 6-8
weighted back extension or single leg back extension: 3 x 10-12
stability ball or Valslide leg curl: 3 x 8-12
lying leg curl or seated leg curl: 3 x 10-20
calf raise machine 2 x 10
seated calf raise machine 2 x 20

As you can see, this program would hammer the glutes three times per week. Monday’s session would involve very high amounts of tension and metabolic stress for the glutes, Wednesday’s session would involve moderate amounts of tension and high amounts of muscle damage for the glutes, and Friday’s session would involve moderate amounts of tension and metabolic stress for the glutes. Moreover, the upper and lower glutes would be hit very hard, especially on Monday’s session.

The lifter could attain even greater volume load with the glutes by performing glute activation exercises (HERE are some examples of low load glute activation exercises) during the dynamic warm-up on each lower body day, and additional hip thrusts and lateral band work could be tacked onto the end of the Wednesday and Friday leg sessions. Of course, shoulders or arms could be taken out of the Tuesday/Thursday sessions and added onto a separate Saturday session.

Tips for Powerlifters 

There are many effective ways to train for powerlifting strength, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s consider the powerlifter that has a squat day on Monday, a bench day on Wednesday, a deadlift day on Thursday, and a hypertrophy day on Saturday. Sticking to just squats and deadlifts alone can build some great glutes, especially with males. But let’s say that this lifter isn’t satisfied with his or her level of gluteal development. Something like this could work quite well in this situation:

Monday (squat day) 

back squat 5 x 5
barbell hip thrust or barbell glute bridge 3 x 10
back extension or reverse hyper 3 x 10

Wednesday (bench day)

bench press 5 x 5
military press or close grip bench press 3 x 10
chest supported row or seated row 3 x 10

Thursday (deadlift day)

conventional deadlift or sumo deadlift 5 x 5
front squat or Bulgarian split squat 3 x 10
single leg hip thrust or kettlebell swing 3 x 10

Saturday (hypertrophy day)

lat pulldown 2 x 10
dumbbell bench press 2 x 10
inverted row 2 x 10
lateral raise 2 x 10
hammer curl 2 x 10
cable tricep extension 2 x 10
prone rear delt raise 2 x 10
lateral band walk 2 x 20
bodyweight back extension 2 x 20

As in the case with the bodybuilding program above, the glutes are hit three times per week in this sample powerlifting plan. Saturday’s session will pump some extra blood into the upper and lower glutes while not interfering with recovery for Monday’s squat session. Extra volume load for the glutes can be attained by performing glute activation exercises during the dynamic warm-up on Monday and Thursday.

4

Tips for Athletes

Athletes train in a variety of manners, but most of them stick to full body training protocols. Here’s a sample program that combines explosive training with heavy lifting. We’ll assume that the athlete trains three times per week and does his/her lifting after already completing any sprint, plyo, agility, and medball work.

Monday

hex bar jump squat 4 x 3
heavy kettlebell swing 3 x 8
back squat 3 x 6
barbell hip thrust 3 x 6
close grip bench press 3 x 6
chest supported row 3 x 8
cable hip flexion 2 x 10
ab wheel rollout 2 x 10
side plank 2 x :30 sec

Wednesday

heavy sled push 3 x 20m
explosive 45 degree hyper 3 x 8
Bulgarian split squat 3 x 8
block pull 3 x 6
incline press 3 x 8
weighted chin up 3 x 3
Nordic ham curl 3 x 3
Pallof press 2 x 10
hollow body hold 2 x :20 sec

Friday

jumping lunge 3 x 6 (3 jumps per leg)
one arm power snatch 3 x 5
back squat 3 x 6
barbell hip thrust pyramid 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 20
close grip bench press 3 x 6
chest supported row 3 x 8
ankle weight standing hip flexion
RKC plank 2 x :20 sec
farmer’s walk 2 x 20m

As you can see, this routine will build and strengthen the glutes so they can produce incredible amounts of force and power in sports. This routine has two explosive lifts per day (see HERE for videos of the explosive lifts), along with a knee dominant exercise, a hip dominant exercise, an upper body push, an upper body pull, and some accessories sprinkled in such as multidirectional core stability, hip flexion, and/or eccentric hamstring work. If the athlete prefers Olympic lifts, these can be performed in substitution for the explosive lifts listed above.

Jessica Arevalo (Facebook, Instagram)

Jessica Arevalo (Facebook, Instagram)

Tips for CrossFitters

CrossFitters are already performing a high amount of work, so we don’t want to add much more onto their plates. They can just do their normal CrossFit training but add in two glute WODs per week. See HERE for some example glute WODs.

Tips for the Newbie that Trains at Home

The beginner who trains at home can train very frequently since he or she won’t be getting “beat up” by heavy loading. They can begin with plenty of low load glute activation work (see HERE), and they should master the box squat, hip hinge, and glute bridge (see HERE). They can initially use furniture to perform various glute exercises (for some ideas, see HERE and HERE), then eventually graduate to a commercial gym or purchase equipment for their home. First, some short bands, dumbbells, and kettlebells can be purchased, and eventually a barbell with plates (preferably bumper plates), a rubber mat, a bench, a power rack or squat stands, and a thick bar pad for hip thrusts (or better yet, a hip thruster for band and barbell hip thrusts). An excellent recipe for training at home, assuming the individual possessed all the necessary equipment, could involve daily band hip thrusts, goblet squats, kettlebell swings, and lateral band walks.

Conclusion

I hope that this article has given you some ideas regarding how you can best build your glutes no matter what type of program you prefer. Happy gluting!