Disclaimer: I am in no way a personal trainer, nor am I an expert on this topic. I just wanted to share my experience with lifting and shaping my glutes, and talk about what has worked for me! I have been weight training for around 4 ½ years, and even though I have experience, I do not know everything. What I am sharing with you today are some things that I have learned over the years. If you want to learn more about the glute muscles, what a calorie surplus/deficit is, or what any of these exercises are, I highly recommend you research them further, and make sure the information is from a reputable source. (I am aware that many gyms are still closed due to COVID-19, including my own, but you can still work your glutes at home!)
While it can be difficult to lift and shape your glutes, you WILL get results so long as you are taking the proper steps (keep in mind the the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body). When I first started weight training, I didn’t really have a set goal in mind. I just wanted to learn how to lift weights correctly. After a couple years of learning and creating new goals for myself, I decided that I wanted to start changing things up a bit. I started going to the gym on my own and changing my exercises as well as my workout split.
I’ve found that shaping and lifting your glutes takes a lot of hard work and discipline. While I have seen great changes when it comes to my glutes, I am continuing to learn and work harder to get to where I want to be.
Here are some tips that I wanted to share with you:
- EAT (enough)
If your goal is to grow your glutes, this tip is especially important. When I first started trying to grow my glutes, I had no idea that I would have to eat more than I already was. I was also surprised and a bit discouraged when I learned that it’s not very likely that you will grow your glutes and flatten your stomach at the same time. I have often heard that if you want to grow your glutes, you need to be in a calorie surplus. At first, I really did not know what this meant. I haven’t looked into it very much because I prefer not to track my calories. Through trial and error, I have found what works for me and what doesn’t. I allow myself to trust and listen to what my body needs, and I often go by that. Since I started working on my glutes, I have been eating a bit more than I used to, but the change was not too drastic. Decide what your goals are, and decide what you want to focus on right now, and go from there. Just make sure that if you are going to be eating more or less, to do it safely and make sure to eat healthy foods that will help you reach your goals!
- Mind to muscle connection
My dad taught me this very early on: when performing any exercise, you need to think about the muscles you are targeting. If you are targeting your glutes, really think about your movements and think about working the right muscles. If you are simply squatting without much thought, you will most likely not get the results you are hoping for. Mind to muscle connection is a very real thing for any exercise, so make sure you are focused on what you are doing.
- Slow down
All too often, I see people rushing through their workouts. While I understand some people want to squeeze gym sessions into very busy schedules, rushing through a workout will not lead to great results. Not only that, but you can hurt yourself in the process. If you are running low on time, try to pick a few exercises you know you want to complete that day. By doing this, you can take your time and really focus on your movements.
- Glute activation
Glute activation is when you perform quick and repetitive movements in order to wake up your glutes. Many people do not work these muscles on a daily/weekly basis, so activating them can be difficult at first. Resistance bands have been very helpful to me for activating my glutes. Before I start any lower body day, I grab a resistance band. You want to place the resistance band right above your knees and you can warm up by doing glute kickbacks, fire hydrants, squats, etc. I use a resistance band for most of my lower body exercises. They help you target your glutes and it makes the exercises a bit more challenging. I wouldn’t recommend using these at first. Learn how to correctly perform the exercises and practice it for a while before using any resistance bands. You will still be able to activate your glutes a bit without them.
- Hip thrusts
This exercise has absolutely changed the game for my glutes. I’m not going to lie, this exercise is going to look and feel pretty awkward and maybe even a little uncomfortable. I would recommend practicing it at home beforehand. Make sure that your form is correct before doing this exercise in the gym (this will make you feel much more confident). I felt and sometimes still feel awkward when performing this exercise, so if you can, go to a corner of your gym and do your hip thrusts there. Make sure your movements are controlled, and that you are breathing through it properly. I would also like to say that when starting any new exercise, you should always start with lighter weight. However, you should have a goal to continue to add more weight over time. If your goal is to grow your glutes, you will need to be lifting heavier, just don’t overdo it.
- Hip abductors
This is another exercise that will help grow your glutes. Many people do not realize that we have three muscles that make up our glutes: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Many people are familiar with the maximus because it is the largest muscle of the three (and in the human body in general). If you are only activating your gluteus maximus, you may not see the results you want. You want to be doing exercises that target all of these muscles. The medius and minimus make up the top and sides of your glutes. Hip abductors are just one way to target them. By using your legs to push the weight outward, you will be targeting your medius and minimus, leading to better overall growth.
Squats are probably one of the most popular exercises for your lower body. What some people don’t know is that squats are a compound movement, meaning that your entire body is working hard during this exercise, not just your legs/glutes. However, squatting is really great to incorporate on lower body days. When you are coming up from a squat or deadlift, squeeze your glutes together. By doing this, you are activating the muscles and engaging them. Don’t neglect them, because even though you will see that your legs are getting stronger, your glutes will not be on the same page. You want to have a balanced proportion.
- Be patient
Ugh, I know, but hear me out. When I first started working on my glutes, I wanted to see results right away. Obviously that is not going to happen. It takes hard work and time to grow any muscles. In order to lift and shape your glutes, you need to be eating enough of the right foods, performing the correct exercises, and working hard in the gym frequently. It is going to take time, but you WILL get there. The tips mentioned above have been so extremely helpful to me over the years, and I have seen incredible results! Work hard and don’t give up.
Thank you for reading! Until next time!