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

13 Comments

  • Josh says:

    Straight dudes aren’t the ONLY dudes who exercise. Don’t be so afraid to go there. Some dudes like having nice glutes and some dudes like dudes having nice glutes. Not a taboo subject to mention.

  • msytc says:

    Awesome post Bret. I live in a small town in NZ and I’m the only person doing hip thrusts (I’m female). I had one guy come up to me with a look of disapproval on his face who said ‘That doesn’t look very good’, (I should have asked him to elaborate) and someone else looked really concerned when I was doing an isohold and asked if I needed help like I was pinned under the weight or something. (was doing 90kg and I’m 53kg). Most of the guys that come in seem to do no lower body except squats and even that seems rare. Many of them could definitely do with more developed leg and glute development. It’s bizarre that more guys don’t work their lower bodies more and that it is considered ‘unmanly’ because it would help so much overall with their physiques and other sporting stuff they’d be into.

  • Logan says:

    Completely agree, I don’t understand how training such a powerful muscle is unmanly. Question: what is the best bench for hip thrusts? All the ones I have (including my rogue bench) dig into my back real bad when doing heavy hip thrusts. What is a good bench with decent padding on the sides? A hip thruster isn’t in the budget, sorry.

  • Matt says:

    Hey Bret,
    Great article. I’m 38 but have the outline of a six pack and a balanced physique. I get compliments but the thing that women can’t stop talking about after being naked with them is my butt. Even had lesbians grab it. I put the highest priority into training shoulders and glutes. These two muscle groups create lots of power and give a powerful looking physique. It’s also attractive. Dudes who don’t train glutes are idiots.

  • Thomas says:

    I completely agree with all of the above…. I’m from Germany, and I think I’m the only one in my studio who ever HEARD about hip thrusts…. I’m asked at least once a week what strange exercise I’m doing, and they stare at me like at an alien when I’m doing 6 reps @ 440lbs / 200 kg……
    Even the trainers over here don’t have the slightest idea… so I basically put together my own program, which would have been impossible without your website, Bret, so thanks for all the amazing work and energy you put in this project……
    But even if noone in the gym understands what I’m doing, my girlfriend really appreciates 😀 …. 3 years ago I had the typical male flat non existent butt, now I’m having 44 in / 112 cm which is quite nice as I’m tall and quite slim built.
    The only thing I’m struggling with is time…… I found it necessary for my glutes to grow to train them quite excessively, 2-3 times a week, so there’s few (and often no) time left for my upper body….. but I suppose you can’t have it all, can you?

  • Thomas says:

    sorry it’s 102 cm / 40 in…. this was phantasy over reality…. 😉
    just give me another year!!

  • Oreste Lombardi says:

    For me to get a glute born, requires that I do rapid fire hip thrusts or glute squeezes. Squeeze hard and move fast with only moderate resistance. A hundred of such reps produces a nice hot burn. I am 84 years old.

  • Oliver says:

    Im a personal trainer and rugby player and thanks to a lot of deadlifting, hip thrusting and other methods that Bret talks about (and good genetics I should add) I have a very impressive backside, let’s just say it’s very easy for me to convince potential female clients that I can get their glutes in shape. Add to that all the other performance and health benefits that strong glutes have given me, my training programs always incorporate exercises that target these muscles, and the other muscles in the posterior chain, they’re lifechangers.

    Those tough guys out their that think these exercises are for girls or sissies or whatever should try doing 3 o 4 sets of hip thrusts with a decent weight till failure and see how long they keep their breakfast down, I always have to finish my sessions with hip thrusts cos if I do them earlier I get dizzy, all the blood goes to my glutes!

    Oreste, you are a champ, hip thrusting at 84 years old!

  • Steffen says:

    Hello Bret,

    we stumbled upon an article regarding your subject:
    http://breakingmuscle.co.uk/uk/strength-conditioning/why-the-glute-bridge-will-not-make-your-squat-better

    I’d love to read your reply!

    All the best & thanks for all of your efforts!

    Steffen

    • Bret says:

      Hi Steffen, I don’t disagree too much with the article. Problem is, many people have emailed me saying that their squat went up when they started hip thrusting. Am I supposed to tell them that it’s all in their heads? So although the kinematics are indeed very different, it does appear to help/transfer with some individuals. Now, if I had to put 100 lbs on my squat in the next year and I could choose one assistance lift to perform, I’d definitely go with the lunge ahead of the hip thrust. However, I’d rather front squat than lunge. Thanks for sending the link my way, I like reading these things. – BC

  • bubba29 says:

    I agree with everything except GSP’s glutes appear to be a bit flat. not much depth or roundness. just sayin’.

  • JESUS QUIJAS says:

    HI BRET

    I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING THIS INFORMATION, VERY WELL WRITTEN AND INFORMATIVE, I’M GOING TO START THIS WORKOUT 2 TIMES A WEEK NOT SURE WHICH OF THE 2 OR 3 CHALLENGES I SHOULD START OFF WITH AND YOU PLEASE ADVISE. I CURRENTLY DO SQUATS, GOOD MORNINGS, BACK EXTENSIONS, JUST CURIOUS HOW LONG BEFORE YOU SEE RESULTS, I GUESS WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT SO RESULTS WILL VARY. AGAIN JUST WANT TO THANK YOU AND I APPRECIATE YOUR WORK, VIDEO AND WEBSITE.

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