Skip to main content

How to Train for a Bikini Competition: It’s All About Glutes!

By October 2, 2013October 10th, 2016Glute Training, Glutes

If you want to enter a bikini competition, or just look your best in a bikini, then you better have some glutes! As a matter of fact, in this day and age, you can’t be competitive in bikini competitions if you don’t have a nice set of glutes.

Sure, your other muscles need to be developed, but when a women gets lean, most of the body’s muscles emerge and pop out. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with glutes. If they’re not there, they won’t look good even when you’re at your leanest.

In case you haven’t been to any bikini competitions, let me be very frank. When a competitor doesn’t have good glute development, it sticks out like a sore thumb! I thought about posting some pictures depicting poor glute development but decided against it as that would be rude. Instead, I’ll focus on pictures of great glute development later in this article as it’s important for aspiring competitors to understand how the creme de la creme look so they can plan their training accordingly.

This weekend, former champion Nathalia Melo (see HERE for an interview with Nathalia) was ousted by new champion Ashley Kaltwasser for the 2013 Ms. Bikini Olympia contest. I thought that Nathalia looked incredible, but critics say she was too “hard” looking. Here are the results (click HERE for a more detailed report):

  1. Ashley Kaltwasser
  2. Yeshaira Robles
  3. Stacey Alexander
  4. Nathalia Melo
  5. India Paulino
  6. Amanda Latona

Now, bikini is a tricky little game. Sometimes the judges award the softer, more feminine looking ladies, and sometimes they go with the leaner, more ripped ladies. What the judges never go for is the competitor who has pancake butt!

I’m going to share a ton of pics from this competition so you can see that bikini is indeed all about glutes! As far as training is concerned, if glutes come easy for you and you’re among the genetic elite who can grow glutes easily, then you can adhere to any sort of routine and look better. But this is rarely the case.

As I mentioned earlier, most ladies find that the quads, arms, shoulders, and back are fairly easy to develop and that they end up looking very good as they lean out. The same goes for the abs – just get lean and they tend to look fabulous. However, the exception is the backside. The glutes are the hardest region of the body for most ladies to build.

This is why Strong Curves and Strong by Bret have been so successful. The programs are full body and hit the upper body and core, but they focus on glutes, which is how I feel all good female-based training programs should be written.

The Word “Focus” Implies Specialization

If you try to “focus” on everything, then you’re no longer “focusing.” If you want glutes, then your training must be tailored toward building glutes. You must hammer the glutes and scale everything else back a bit to allow the glutes to thrive. Trying to hammer all the upper body muscles with the same effort you hammer the glutes and trying to add in tons of conditioning work will prevent the glutes from growing optimally. What’s interesting though is that many women find that when focusing on the glutes with high frequency full body training, their upper body strength increases as well.

How Should One Train for Bikini?

Again, bikini training should be centered on glutes. Strong Curves and Strong by Bret are two perfect programs for creating the coveted bikini body for good reason – they hammer the glutes with high volume, high frequency, and high intensity. Most programs have you hitting the glutes 1-2 days per week, but these programs have you hitting the glutes 3-6 days per week with the best exercises and methods for building the glutes.

Going back to the Ms. Bikini Olympia Contest last weekend, here are tons of pics for you to examine, courtesy of Per Bernal (the best fitness photographer in the business) from Muscular Development (the best bodybuilding magazine in the business). For an even more comprehensive set of pictures, click HERE and see the right-hand column of competitors (you can even click on the comparisons tab to see pictures of all of the ladies together).

Prior Pictures of Ashley Kaltwasser, the New Champ (Notice the Incredible Glutes)

Ashley II

Ashley has amazing glutes!

Ashley IV

It doesn’t get much better than this!


New Pictures of Ashley from This Weekend

Ashley III


Glute Pics of the Other Competitors


Amanda Latona


India Paulino


Nathalia Melo


Stacey Alexander


Yeshaira Robles

Pictures of the Ladies on Stage Together

Bikini XXIV

How can you not love Nathalia Melo!

Bikini XXII

Poor glutes really show up in this portion of the contest that has the competitors walking up and down the stage. Luckily all of these competitors look incredible!

Bikini IX Bikini IXV Bikini VII Bikini XVIBikini XVIIII will elaborate on optimal glute training later this week where I share with you my glute training methods. But before I share my secrets, I wanted to first emphasize the importance of glutes in creating the ultimate bikini body.

Bear in mind that these are the top competitors in the world. At local bikini competitions, the physiques are not so perfect. Don’t be discouraged if you’re interested in competing, these ladies have been training for many years. Stay tuned for more information later in the week!


  • Did not read…

    I like picture books. I like this story.

  • Mariah Rivera says:

    I LOVE your posts. They’re always so informational. One day, I hope, I can fly to Arizona for a private consultation with you. Thank you so much for always providing valuable information!

  • Becky says:

    This post is very timely, as I am in the very beginning stages of preparing for a bikini comp. I probably won’t compete until late Spring, early Summer, but my glutes need a lot of work. I have put on some size due to the advanced program in Strong Curves (I’m in the final stage right now), but I need all the help I can get!

  • Bryleigh says:

    Love this! This motivates me soo much.. Can’t wait until the next post!

  • Tiara says:

    Although all of the women looked phenom I was so thrilled that Ashley Kaltwasser took home gold! Her physique was on point and it was definitely the look I prefer going into my first bikini competition. I agree that Nathalia looked a little too hard for bikini but I’m still such a huge fan of hers. She’s an incredible athlete and still placed well. I’m hoping to compete Spring 2014. I know I’m a little early. I’m about six months out but I want to give myself enough time to kill it on stage. My glutes need to be on point!

  • Claire says:

    Hey Bret,
    Is the Gluteal Goddess program from Strong Curves a good format to follow in preparing for a bikini competition, or would you add in any additional exercises? I know most competitors do at least 30 – 45 minutes of cardio a day in addition to strength training. Would you recommend any extra shoulder work either?

  • Donna Selagea says:

    where are you in AZ? I just started training for a bikini few weeks ago.

  • Kathy D says:

    I am currently training for a Half Ironman and Im hating it. My Event is March 29 Oceanside CA and as soon as I am done I want to start training to for a bikini. I am 53 soon to be 54 so I am a little on the senior side of the event but what the heck. Can you or anyone recommend a “how to ” training program. I have put weight on (unfortunately ) during my IM training so I am up to 117lbs for 5’1″. So I will need a lean down plan for sure. I’m in the Calabasas – Westlake Village , belong to Equinox – so if you know anyone is this are for training that would be appreciated also.

  • abby says:

    Thank you for this great article Bret! I am a national level bikini competitor and trainer and I am so happy that I discovered your site and everything you have to say about the importance of training your glutes. I 100% agree.
    I purchased your “Strong Curves” book and so far I’ve been impressed with the amount of information you share.
    I am 6 1/2 months pregnant now but plan on implementing a lot of your methods after I have the baby.

    Thank you!


  • rojin says:

    Hi there Bret,
    Just wondering if I could ask what youre studying for your PhD? Im trying to figure out a life path that is beyond being a personal trainer but that falls into my passion for the human body and fitness… anatomy… without it becoming super dry.
    Any suggestions? Haha!

  • Nicole Robinson says:

    I’m really interested in Bikini competition.Would love more info please..I hve to glutes Jst not sure what to do lol..Thsnks a bunch

  • Caroline says:

    Im curious as to your analysis as to why Amanda Latona is 6th when several others above her are less curvy, especially through the abs. Any insight? I think her body is by far the best but then I don’t really know anything.

Leave a Reply


and receive my FREE Lower Body Progressions eBook!

You have Successfully Subscribed!