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Glute Training Workouts that Work
6/19/2018 12:52:36 PM

 
Seeing as how the glutes are the largest muscle group in the body and have numerous functions, it’s almost more difficult to find lower body exercises that don’t work the glutes than those that do. That said, there are some exercises that work specific functions of the glutes more effectively than others, so the challenge is to come up with a balanced glute training program that will give you the results you seek.
 
EMGs are a popular method to determine the effectiveness of glute exercises. Unfortunately, the most accurate (but extremely painful and potentially harmful) way to test glute activity is by inserting needles into the muscles then have subjects perform exercises. As such, surface EMGs are the preferred testing method, but these results can be misleading. For example, one early EMG study found that bodyweight reverse hypers produced higher EMG activity than hip thrusts, whereas another study found that weighted hip thrusts produced higher EMG activity than weighted reverse hypers. What to do?
 
The answer is to experiment with different glute exercises and focus on those exercises that work best for you. As former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu suggests, if you don’t feel an exercise working for you, scrap it. If hip thrusts (i.e., pelvic bridges) are giving you the results you want in glute development, do hip thrusts. If bent-leg back extensions are getting the job done, do bent-leg back extensions.
 
With that background, one logical way to design a glute workout is by examining the resistance curves of an exercise. Thus, for complete development of the gluteus maximus, you should strive to perform exercises that overload the muscle at the full stretch position, the mid-range, and the fully contracted position. As a practical example, your workout could include lunges and squats (full stretch), deadlifts and good mornings (mid-range), and cable pull-throughs and hip thrusts (peak contraction). Here is one way such exercises could be arranged in a single workout:
 
A. Walking Lunge (full stretch)
B. Romanian Deadlift (mid-range)
C. Cable Pull-through (peak contraction)
 
Or, when performed as a tri-set:
 
A1. Walking Lunge
A2. Romanian Deadlift
A3. Cable Pull-through
 
That’s a good start. But consider that a good case can be made for activating the glutes at the beginning of a workout, such as with the side shuffle with bands hooked around the ankles. Also, because gluteal amnesia is often caused by tight hip flexors, you should stretch these muscles at the end of a workout, when the muscles are warm and thus more responsive to stretching.
 
As for reps and sets, for maximum muscular development a combination of training protocols should be performed. Often, with specific exercises such as single-leg hip thrusts and the banded clam exercise, some people find that performing especially high repetitions (such as sets of 20) give them better results. That said, here is a 4-week gluteus maximus program that has you performing higher reps (accumulation) for two weeks followed by lower reps (intensification) for two weeks.
 
Weeks 1-2 (Accumulation)
A. Single-Leg Bodyweight Hip Thrust, 1 x 15, 1012, rest 30 seconds
B1. Split Squat, Front Foot Elevated, 2 x 10-12 (reps each leg), 2011, rest 30 seconds
B2. Romanian Deadlift, 2 x 10-12, 4011, rest 30 seconds
B3. Cable Pull-through, 2 x10-12, 20X2, rest 90 seconds
D. Hip Flexor Stretch, 1 minute each side
 
Weeks 3-4 (Intensification)
A. Single-Leg Bodyweight Hip Thrust, 1x15, 1013, rest 30 seconds
B1. Split Squat, Front Food Elevated, 3 x 5-7 (reps each leg), 2011, rest 45 seconds
B2. Romanian Deadlift, 3 x 5-7, 4011, rest 45 seconds
B3. Cable Pull-through, 3 x 5-7, 20X2, rest 120 seconds
D. Hip Flexor Stretch, 1 minute each side
 
Give this workout a try, then consider adding exercises that target the other glute muscles. For example, the banded clam exercise and the side step-up will help stimulate growth in the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. To show you how it’s done, here is a glute-emphasis workout that includes side step-ups:
 
Weeks 1-2 (Accumulation)
A. Side Shuffle with Bands 1 x 15, 1010, rest 30 seconds
B1. Back Squat, Wide Stance, 2 x 10-12 (reps each leg), 4011, rest 30 seconds
B2. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift, 2 x 10-12, 4011, rest 90 seconds
C1. Side Step-up, 2 x 10-12, 2010, rest 30 seconds
C2. Back Extension, Knees Bent, 2 x10-12, 20X2, rest 90 seconds
D. Hip Flexor Stretch, 1 minute each side
 
Weeks 3-4 (Intensification)
A. Side Shuffle with Bands, 1x15, 1010, rest 30 seconds
B1. Back Squat, Wide Stance, 3 x 5-7 (reps each leg), 4011, rest 45 seconds
B2. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift, 3 x 5-7, 4011, rest 120 seconds
C1. Side-Step-up, 3 x 5-7, 2010, rest 45 seconds
C2. Back Extension, Knees Bent, 3 x 5-7, 20X2, rest 120 seconds
D. Hip Flexor Stretch, 1 minute each side
 
Again, don’t think you’re missing out because you are not doing a specific glute exercise or repetition scheme. Experiment with a wide variety of glute exercises and set/rep protocols so you can fine-tune the ultimate glute training program for you!
 
 
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