A well-sculpted big butt serves more than just its aesthetic value. It also improves posture and body mechanics, which goes a long way in preventing injuries.
With such benefits, hitting the gym to work on your rear is a good choice. So, you may wonder: how long does it take for your glutes to grow?
Growing your butt to achieve the rounder, bigger, firmer butt you’re dreaming of is a result of consistent hard work in the gym coupled with dedication in the kitchen.
But these aren’t the only 2 factors that come into play when trying to add size to the rear, there are several more that we’ll discuss today that when optimised, you’ll be able to build the derriere you’ve always wanted.
|Table of Contents|
|How long does it take to grow the glutes?|
|Factors affecting glute growth|
But how long does it take to grow the glutes!? That’s why you’re here – so we’ll give you an answer.
On the basis you optimise the elements we talk about today; you can see minor results as early as 4-6 weeks. However, more noticeable changes will occur in about 3-6 months.
And to completely transform your butt, you’re looking around the 1–2-year mark.
Sorry if that disappoints you, but nobody said it was an overnight process. But rest assured, it’s worth it.
Everyone’s different, one person may see results after a month, but another may have to wait 3 months to notice any gains. Several elements go into building muscle in the glute region (and everywhere else on the body for that matter), some of which we can control, and some of which we can’t.
Keep reading to learn how you can avoid wasting time and get to work on building the butt today.
Let’s quickly re-visit the glute's anatomy so that when we refer to it at various stages throughout the article – you know what we’re talking about.
The glutes are made up of 3 muscles. The gluteus maximas, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus.
The gluteus maximas is the largest most superficial muscle in the glutes. The primary role of the maximas is hip extension but aids in abduction and external rotation.
The Gluteus Medius is the second largest muscle and sits at the top of the butt, and travels underneath the maximas. The role of the medius is abduction but also helps with external rotation.
Lastly, we have the gluteus minimus. This is the smallest muscle of the 3 and sits underneath the other 2 muscles. Working in conjunction with the other 2 muscles, the minimus role is for abduction and external rotation.
Many factors go into building a peachy rear. If we can effectively optimise each element, then we’re going to see some serious growth.
Right, I know we just said we’re going to work on optimising each element, but we thought we’d get this one out of the way until we jump onto the elements that you can actually influence.
Genetics pre-determine your body structure. This includes the shape of your hips, waist, and your buttocks.
Some people are born with wider hips, whereas some people are born with narrow hips. This influences our butt shape even before we’ve touched a barbell.
Metabolism is also a result of your genetics. Some people are blessed (or unblessed, depending on how you look at it) with a fast metabolism. Having a fast metabolism is great when it comes to losing fat, as you don’t need to completely restrict your diet to lose weight. Equally, it’s pretty rubbish when it comes to building muscle as you tend to have to eat more than normal to provide the body with the energy it needs for muscle building.
Genetics also decides where we store our body fat. Some people are fortunate enough to store fat in their butt, this helps it appear larger. On the other hand, some people will store fat in their midsection, which can have the opposite effect and make the butt look smaller.
Despite what some websites preach, during a fat loss phase, we don’t get to decide where we lose fat from first. We’ve just got to lose fat and the body will decide which areas it’s lost from first.
Genetics are also responsible for how quickly we build muscle. If you took two athletes, both with sound training and nutrition – one would build muscle quicker than the other, it’s just the way it is. It’s consistency in the long run that is going to yield the best results.
Lastly, our genetics get to say how much muscle we can build in a particular area. You may have heard of the term genetic potential – and the maximum amount of muscle our body can build naturally. I wouldn’t worry too much about this though, the majority of people never reach their potential as it takes years (probably around 5) of training and proper dieting to reach this ceiling.
Now we’ve dealt with the element we can’t control, let’s move swiftly on to the elements we can. Work on optimising these to get the most out of your glute-building journey.
Training is one of the most important factors that go into building the glutes.
Not only do we build muscle by training, but we can lose body fat – both of which have a big impact on glute progression.
When training, it’s important to work on all 3 muscles in the glute region. With the maximas being the biggest of the 3 muscles, it makes sense we prioritise them, hitting both the upper and lower portions.
A combination of both compound and isolation exercises has been found to be the best approach to growing the buttocks.
They are many different variables when it comes to training. Volume, frequency, load, rest, and exercise selection all have an impact on how much the glutes will grow.
But, the most important principle to building muscle is arguably Progressive overload.
Progressive overload involves increasing the training stimulus over time to force the body to continually adapt to meet the demands of the stimulus.
Essentially if we keep our training the same each week, once the body has adapted, if the stimulus stays the same then the body no longer sees a reason to adapt – meaning progress will plateau.
We need to keep pushing the boundaries to ensure we continue to grow.
There are many ways we can do this including:
Increasing the resistance is the most common method, probably because it’s the easiest to track and implement.
Our diet is the most important factor when it comes to building muscle.
In order to build muscle, we need to be eating more calories than we burn daily. If we don’t, then we’re not going to grow, simple as that.
We could be smashing the gym, following the best training program that optimises each training variable, yet if we’re not eating enough calories, then we’re not going to build muscle.
If you feel that you’re working hard in the gym, yet you’re not seeing the growth in the glutes that you expected, then this could be the reason why.
Eating more calories than we burn on a daily basis provides the body with the energy needed for muscle growth. During our workouts we break down muscle fibres, the surplus energy is therefore required by the body to rebuild the muscles to become bigger and stronger.
Protein consumption is also vital for muscle building. It is the proteins amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle.
When the muscles are broken down, it’s the amino acids in proteins that rebuilds them.
If we don’t consume enough protein, then we’re not going to be able to optimise the rebuilding process.
When trying to gain mass, it’s recommended to eat 1.6–2.2 grams per kg of body weight. This is much higher than a regular person’s requirement of 0.80 grams.
Don’t overlook carbohydrates and fats though.
Carbohydrates provide us with energy, the energy we need to perform our high-intensity workouts. If we deprive ourselves of carbs then performance in the gym may take a hit.
Fats also play a role in hormone regulation, so neglecting fat altogether is never a good idea.
To learn exactly how much you should be eating to build muscle, check out our recent article ‘How many calories do I need when bulking?’. Grab a pen and pencil and work out your daily macro requirements.
Muscles aren’t built in the gym; they’re built outside of the gym.
During our workouts, muscle fibres are broken down. It’s once we’ve finished in the gym that the muscles start to rebuild themselves. If we don’t allow enough time for the rebuilding process to finish, and decide to workout again, then the muscles are going to be broken down either further, before they’ve had a chance to build back up to the starting point.
An article published on ‘The Glute Guy’ website demonstrates this really well.
The above graph shows the optimum SRA curve.
Brief SRA curve background – The ‘S’ stands for stimulus, this is the breaking down of the muscle in the gym. The ‘R’ stands for recovery, this is the recovery outside of the gym back up to the baseline starting point. The ‘A’ stands for adaptation, after the body has finished recovering, it prevents future breakdown of the muscle from happening again by building it bigger and stronger (adaptation).
As we can see from the graph above, the optimum time to workout again is once we complete the SRA curve. In other words, once the adaptation phase is finished.
Not allowing enough time for recovery could actually have a negative impact.
As you can see from the graph above, progress will downhill if we’re not recovering enough. This could be another reason why you’re not experiencing the gains you were expecting.
Similarly, not training often enough also doesn’t benefit our progress.
Several variables go into how often you should train a muscle group. Exercise selection, training age, volume, and intensity all play a part in how long it takes to complete the SRA curve.
A systematic review of the studies available conducted by Hypertrophy specialist Dr Brad Schoenfeld found that training twice a week promoted superior hypertrophic outcomes to training once a week.
So, as a rule of thumb, training the glutes twice is recommended to maximis glute gains.
Lastly, it’s worth touching on glute activation.
Due to our jobs, many of us spend the majority of the day sitting down at a desk. As a result, the glutes can become dormant as they’ve had a long period without being activated.
Before we work out it’s essential to ‘Switch on’ the glutes so that they are awake and ready to perform the exercises.
Failure to activate the glutes could result in the surrounding muscles overcompensating to lift the weights when it should be the glutes taking the brunt of the load (depending on the exercise of course!).
This could lead to all sorts of problems including injuries and muscle imbalances. Not ideal.
It only takes 5-10 minutes of glute activation before the workout to prevent this. Take a look at our favourite glute activation exercises below. Performing 2-3 sets of 15 reps on a couple of the exercises should set you up nicely for the rest of the workout.
Deficit Glute Bridge
If you don't already have resistance bands, we highly recommend getting a set of these:
With a well-structured training program and the right nutrition, you’ll be well on your way to growing the butt of your dreams.
Building muscle, regardless of where you want to build it, is not something that happens overnight. It’s a result of consistent work inside and outside of the gym.
You may be lucky enough to notice small changes within 4-6 weeks with more noticeable changes arriving in months 3-6. For a full glute transformation, dedication for 1-2 years is required – but it’s worth it!
We hoped you liked today's article, as ever, if you have any questions, drop them down in the comments and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.