by Bret Contreras March 04, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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by Bret Contreras August 17, 2017
The results are in: Going 5 weeks without any lower body barbell training (I did smith machine squats, lever machine squats, smith machine good mornings, lever machine good mornings, hammer...
The post The No Barbell Experiment On Squat And Deadlift And Hip Thrust Strength: The Results appeared first on Bret Contreras.
by Bret Contreras July 07, 2017
I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment on myself. For no good reason aside from curiosity and pure passion for strength training science, I am going to perform zero barbell...
The post The No Barbell Experiment on Squat and Deadlift and Hip Thrust Strength appeared first on Bret Contreras.
by Bret Contreras May 03, 2017
Huge props BJ Gaddour, Fitness Director for Men’s Health, for choosing me to host the Men’s Health Glute Project. Here I presented my top 10 exercises for building and strengthening the glutes. The Men’s Health...
The post Men’s Health Glute Project: Top Ten Glute Building Exercises appeared first on Bret Contreras.
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