How to Burn the Glutes and Get a Glute Pump

By February 15, 2014 Glute Training, Glutes

Hi Bret, your blog has taught me so much about glute training, so thank u for that. I have a question for you. I like to start my lower body training off with heavy compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, but I never feel the glute burn or achieve a glute pump when I do these lifts. I love gaining strength, but it wasn’t until I started doing hip thrusts that my glutes started growing appreciably. I now do total body training but I really miss feeling the burn and getting a pump like I did when I performed bodypart splits. And even then, I never trained glutes on their own day, so I’m not sure of the best way to go about achieving a glute pump or getting the biggest glute burn. I know that you’re the man to ask, so I thought I’d pose this question to you. Thanks for all that you do! – Selena

Booty

Hi Selena, you’re right, this question is right down my alley. At The Glute Lab, we’ve come up with all sorts of ways to burn the glutes and elicit a glute pump. But please allow me to digress. Some of my readers have actually measured their glute pump and have noted that their glutes can grow 2 full inches when fully pumped! I’ve had times where I can’t walk correctly because my glutes are so pumped.

When I trained The Glute Squad two years ago, I’d have all six ladies alternating one by one with high rep sets of hip thrusts. They’d rest around five minutes in between sets, and I’d have them perform 3 sets in total. Some of them would have to stand up in the middle off their rest periods since their glutes were burning so badly. They’d never experienced this sensation before. Many of them would text me on their drive home stating that their glutes were still burning (some even the following day).

Why is this important? Click HERE to read about the 3 primary mechanisms of hypertrophy. Also, click HERE to read about the muscle pump (click on “article as a pdf” on the right side to access the full pdf). So you want to achieve high metabolic stress and elicit some cell swelling in order to maximize muscle growth. There are tons of ways to do this. And the best methods differ from one client to the next, so you need to do some experimenting to find out what works best for you. Here are some of our favorites (we listed the weight but obviously you’ll need to figure out your own loading):

Bret

  • 1 set of 225 lb hip thrusts to failure
  • 1 set of 50-rep bodyweight back extensions with glute emphasis
  • 3 sets of 10-20 rep 315-405 lb barbell hip thrusts with 60-90 sec rest between sets
  • 3 sets of 10 sec RKC planks supersetted with 203-lb HAKS (heavy ass kb swings)
  • 3 sets of band hip thrusts with the strong band for 30, 25, and 20 reps

Andrew

  • 2 sets of 25 sec RKC planks supersetted with 185 lb hip thrusts for 15-20 reps w/a 3 sec pause at the top
  • 30 reps of 25-lb db back extensions holding the top of each rep for 1 sec, drop the dumbbell and finish off with 20 reps with bodyweight
  • 2 sets of 25-rep band hip thrusts with the strong band with a 10 second isohold on the last rep

Joey

  • 3 sets of 225 lb hip thrusts to failure, followed by 135 lbs to failure
  • 2-3 sets 10-20 rep band hip thrusts with strong band supersetted with 20 rep band seated hip abductions
  • 2 sets of 20 rep American deadlifts with 225 lbs supersetted with 20-rep bodyweight back extensions
  • x-band walks, monster walks, sumo walks, and glute marches

Sammie

  • 3 sets of 10-20 rep hip thrusts with 185-275 lbs with 10-sec hold at top of last rep
  • 3 sets of 20 rep back extensions with 50 lbs
  • 3 sets of 20 rep band hip thrusts with strong band supersetted with 20 rep band seated hip abductions with short miniband

Diana

  • Glute burners (see video HERE)
  • 2-3 sets of 20-30 rep bodyweight feet elevated glute bridges (see video HERE)
  • 2 sets of a triset involving 20 reps of band hip thrusts with strong band, bodyweight glute extensions, and short ROM band side lying clams (see video below)

How to Burn the Glutes and Create a Glute Pump

Let me teach you how to come up with something on your own. It’s quite simple. You want to choose exercises that keep constant tension on the glutes and don’t allow blood to escape the veins. You can do regular sets of medium to high reps, supersets, or tri-sets. Experiment with combinations of the following movements:

  • X-band walks, sumo walks, monster walks, band seated hip abductions, band side lying clam, band standing abduction
  • RKC planks, kettlebell swings, American deadlifts, back extensions (done with a glute emphasis), cable pull-throughs
  • Barbell hip thrusts, band hip thrusts, barbell glute bridges, American hip thrusts, feet elevated glute bridges, glute marches

I hope this answers your question!

15 Comments

  • Erika says:

    Hi Bret,

    I am a fan of your work and I am currently a member of GG. I read every article you post in your website and Facebook page. However, I remeber reading one that stated that feeling burn was not synonim of working better or harder that actually you did no recommend working out to a point that you could not move. So as you may imagine, I am a little confused about the premise of this article.
    Thank you and again for all your hard work!

    • Bret says:

      Erika, read the two articles I linked in the post. They will tell you all you need to know about this question. Anyone who says that metabolic stress isn’t good for muscle growth does not understand the science of hypertrophy.

  • Randy says:

    Brett

    What company makes that back extension machine.

  • kim says:

    Im going to try some of these ideas.

    I like to do lunges or a split squat variation. Then my bb bridges. Then lightweight or BW hipthrusts focusing on holding at the top for as long as possible . Then seated band abductions. That gets the job done.

  • Erin says:

    Awesome article! I’m currently working through the Glutes Only programme in y’alls Strong Curves book, in addition to my normal splits, and I am really loving it. All of these videos really help to drive home the form variations that can be employed to effect greater glute engagement in and a better pump through these exercises.

    Diana’s video really helped illustrate this with the bodyweight glute extensions, which for me were really at first. I couldn’t find my glutes at all and was really digging into my erectors, but I started cueing a long back neck while consciously engaging some thoracic and lumbar flexion and it really helped. Without these cues, my erectors just took over and I have no video but it felt like there was some serious anterior pelvic tilt going on.

  • mg says:

    the only time I ever get a glute pump is when I do a set of glute bridges followed immediately by barbell supine glute squeezes (1 set to failure)

  • That’s a nice Routine. I wish I could afford that HipThruster. I can’t find one of those in any Gym that I’ve been to lately. Possibly a Cross-fit type of Gym might have one, but I Body-build. Guess I’ll have to start saving for one.

  • Gabriele says:

    Hey Bret, awesome stuff as always. Just wondering, where do you get the smaller circumference bands (for clams and seated abductions)? Are they available online? (I am in Australia) thanks!

    • Ivonne says:

      Hi Gabriele
      I’m also in Oz and I use the elastic bands that physios use. They come in rolls and you just cut off the length you need and tie it. I got mine from a physio but I think Rebel may stock something similar. Also, some of the online stores on ebay should have it cheaper.

  • Stew Toal says:

    Surprised I see no reverse lunges(loaded is better) above. I love doing these along, alternating with hip thrusts every other session.

  • Tonya says:

    Hi Bret,

    I have a question about the Strong Curves programmes and butt size/shape. I decided to do the lower body only but 4 times a week and i kept this up until i had 2 weeks left of the programme. Unfortunately my boyfriend noticed that my butt was smaller and less juicy and he was right, it had flattened out although i had gotten stronger and worked with full dedication in the gym. I got to about 100 kg on the hip thrust. I think i lost quite a bit of weight, so if I am to continue, I need to step my eating game up, but im afraid of losing my butt completely and dissapoint both myself and my booty crazed bf!
    Did it get smaller due to weight loss or is the size changing because of muscle development? Ive always had a nice behind probably due to many years of ballett but i would love to add size and perk!

    Do you have any answers or tips in regards to my situation? I think i might reduce to 3 times a week and eat alot more to see if it helps. Wonder what else i could be doing wrong..?

    Thanks for your time and an amazing website!

  • Rhonda says:

    Tonya,………… EAT !!! (clean ofcourse, lots of protein!)

  • Kat says:

    Hey, Bret.
    I have a question. Your example of pump is it just “pump part” of workout or it’s a whole workout? And how often should I implement pump? Every glute workout or once in week?
    Thanks
    Kat

  • Lily says:

    Hi Bret,
    This was a great read, like the rest of your articles. I love how you take the time to explain the scientific reasoning for everything. I take your website to be my gym bible. But I think Jen Selter’s photo here makes the article less credible, at least for me, because I think she is not accountable or has any expertise in fitness, in contrast to your deep knowledge and dedication. She is actually a “just squat” bro. And her body doesn’t look like it was made in the gym (Well okay she has nice abs, to be fair). I think a lot of fitness aficionados agree with me when I say this about the repulsiveness of how underdeveloped her body is.

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