The Gluteal muscles are one of the most powerful and strongest muscles of the human body. Once it was a concept that only women should train their glutes but it was no more than a misconception. Men just cannot build or tone their legs without having a strong hip muscle. Men need to train their glutes just as much as women, if not more.
|Table of Contents
|What are glutes
|Why should men train their glutes
|Best butt exercises for men
|Glute workouts for men
|FAQ – How many sets to build muscle
|FAQ – How often should you train glutes
|FAQ – How to improve glutes at home
Glutes, an informal term for the gluteus muscles is the largest muscle group in the body. They are made up of 3 different muscles, the gluteus maximas, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus.
(Picture retrieved from Fitness Volt)
The gluteus maximas is the largest, heaviest and most superficial of the 3 gluteus muscles. It is the most powerful of the 3 and acts as the main extensor of the hip. In addition to extension, the gluteus maximas aids in abduction and external rotation.
The gluteus medius is second largest gluteus muscle and is sandwiched between the maximas and the minimus. The role of the medius is to abduct and internally rotate the thigh at the hip joint. It also works in maintaining side to side stability of the pelvis, especially during single leg movements.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the 3 muscles. Located deep inside the muscle, the role of the minimus is to also abduct and internally rotate the thigh joint, and aids in pelvis stability.
Gluteal muscles are responsible for keeping the pelvis intact and pelvis supports the back, without sufficient strength in your glutes you may be likely to suffer from lower back pain. The glute muscle holds the pelvis and prevents it from tilting forwards, otherwise, the stomach would bulge out and lower backache starts as a result of overstretched ligaments and tendons.
There are many sports like football, rugby, baseball, golf, tennis, hockey and bowling, etc that needs to have stronger glutes for the better performance where all the force required is provided by this core muscle.
To have strong glutes is important in many exercises like deadlifts, lunges, and squats because this is where the driving power comes from. If you start to work on your glutes, you’ll be sure to increase your numbers on your lower body lifts.
You’ve got to agree, having a rounded, well-shaped bottom is better than having a flat untoned one; and we’re pretty sure women would agree too!
A common problem for people that don’t train their glutes is tightness. This can affect hip mobility which will have an impact on your lower body lifts. To reduce tightness you can incorporate a full stretching program into your routine and use the foam roller before and after your workout. [1,2,3]
Employing some clever form tweaks we can increase how much the glutes are engaged during the squat.
Adopting a low bar squat bar position has been found to effectively target the glutes. This can be done by placing the bar on your shoulders in a way that it rests on your rear delts rather than your Traps, this position gains advantage as it exerts lesser weight on knees.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning evaluated the difference in glute activation between the full squat and the partial squat. 15 resistant trained were tasked with completing both exercises at their 10 rep max. The results show that the glutes were activated more during the partial squat compared against the full squat while the difficulty perception remained the same .
If you’re looking to build strength in the backside, then hip thrusts should be part of your routine. Targeting mainly the larger muscle, the gluteus maximas; hip thrusts will also target the gluteus medius, hamstrings and calfs – a complete posterior chain exercise.
These are performed by placing your shoulders on the bench with knees at an angle of 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Now squeeze the glutes muscles by lifting hips up and hold for 1 or 2 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position.
Once you’ve mastered the form you can begin to add some weight to increase the resistance. Place a barbell across the hips and perform and perform the movement just the same. Remember, perform all exercises with sound form to get the most out of the exercise and reduce the chances of injury.https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2018/03000/Electromyographic_Comparison_of_Barbell_Deadlift,.1.aspx.
Once you’ve mastered the form you can begin to add some weight to increase the resistance. Place a barbell across the hips and perform and perform the movement just the same. Remember, perform all exercises with sound form to get the most out of the exercise and reduce the chances of injury.
Having the barbell sit across the hips like this isn't the most comfotable position. Sure you can roll up a yoga matt or jumper, but you're better off saving the hassle and investing in a hip thrust pad. Check out our recommendation below, we suggest getting one with velco as they're the most convenient.
Lunges are another great exercise that effectively target the glutes. Like squats, the lunge is an exercise that hits all the muscles in the posterior chain including the quads, hamstrings, calfs and glutes.
A great tip when it comes to lunges is to perform the reverse lunge. While the forward lunge target primarily the quad muscles, the reverse lunge shifts the emphasis to the backside and targets to the gluteus muscles to a higher degree.
The lunge is a unilateral exercise and will therefore target the core muscles to provide stability during the movement. Training unilaterally will prevent compensating with the dominant side, which will help to correct any muscle imbalances (and help prevent future injuries!).
Keeping that mind to muscle connection in mind will help you to get the most out of your glutes for each of the exercises mentioned.
Known as one of the big three exercises (squat, deadlift, and bench press), the deadlift is a popular exercise amongst powerlifters, bodybuilders and avid gym goers.
Known as a full body exercise, the deadlift targets all the muscles in the posterior chain while putting a big emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings.
Deadlifts need to recruit many muscles in order to perform the lift. The recruitment of these muscles causes the release of key muscle building hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormones .
Including deadlifts in your routine can also aid in injury prevention. A strong lower back can help when performing other exercises such as the squat and can help with day-to-day tasks – especially as you get older.
It’s important to remember, while deadlifts are an exercise that allows you to lift heavy, you need to ensure that your form is on point, a lapse in concentration or bracing during the lift could leave you with a nasty injury.
You don't to stick to the conventional deadlift, both Sumo deadlifts and Romanian deadlift are great exercises to build strength and size in the glutes.
Check out our recent article 'The 5 best glute exercises for mass' for the complete scientific breakdown!
With there being so much information online nowadays, it’s hard to filter the good from the bad. We have taken the painful process out of your hands and have designed 2 workouts to build strength and size in the glutes.
We don’t think it necessary to include 1 day for glute training and 1 day for leg training in one week, this is likely to be overkill, and it would be hard to recover ready in time for the following lower body workout. Instead, we recommend designing a leg workout that incorporates exercises that adequately hits the glutes with enough volume.
You now know how important glute training is for men, and that we shouldn’t leave the glute building all down to the women. A large factor to progressing in the gym is staying injury free, if we can achieve this, we don’t need to take time out for recovery, and we should be able to progress over time (both in terms of hypertrophy and strength).
We don’t need to be dedicating hours each week to training glutes, but we do need to consider which glute building exercises we should programme into our leg day to ensure we’re hitting them with adequate volume.
Ps. As a guy, you may get some funny looks when hip thrusting in the gym, but it’ll be worth it in the long run!
Let us know in the comments your favourite glute building exercises!
As a rule of thumb, most people should be doing between 10-20 sets, per muscle group, per week to build muscle. For new lifters, you are likely to be able to build muscle at the lower end of this range, whereas intermediate/advanced lifters should be aiming towards the upper end of this limit.
That’s not to say all 10-20 sets need to be done in 1 workout. In fact, research suggests that doing over 10 sets on one muscle group in a workout does not bring any additional benefit in terms of muscle growth. If we are an experienced lifter needing to do say 16 sets to build our glutes, a better approach would be to do 8 sets on one day, and 8 sets on another day – totalling 16 sets weekly volume.
The 2 workouts listed above have a total of 20 sets, but these 20 sets aren’t directly focusing on isolating the glutes. These workouts include both leg and glute exercises, half putting more emphasis on the glutes, and half putting more emphasis on the legs.
When deciding how often we need to be hitting the glutes for maximum benefit we need to consider several different factors such as training intensity, exercise selection, training age, and training volume.
An untrained muscle takes 3-5 days to recover from a good workout and therefore should only be trained once a week.
Whereas an advanced lifter can recover a lot quicker and can hit the same muscle group multiple times a week.
If we’re doing tough workouts with compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts we’re going to need longer to recover than if our workouts consisted of banded side walks and the abductor machine.
As a guideline then, we would suggest targeting the glutes twice a week. This should allow for enough time to recover and means you can spread your weekly volume across 2 workouts.
Can I improve my glutes from working out from home? Of course, you can! Whether you workout in a gym or at home, muscle building principles stay the same and you can grow the glutes without leaving the house.
To build muscle, you need to be applying progressive overload. This means that each week you’ll should be increasing the stimulus placed upon the muscle to force the body to continually adapt to meet the increasingly difficult demands. This can be done in a variety of different ways such as – increasing weights, increasing reps, increasing sets, reducing rest times etc etc, you get the picture.
Let’s take the squat as an example. To start with you can do bodyweight squats, from here you can do goblet squats with a weight and then you can move onto back squats with a barbell (providing you have a barbell). Each week from here you can work on increasing one of progressive overload elements to ensure the body will continually adapt.
Once you start working with heavier weights it may be time to invest in a squat rack. Up until now we’ve probably been able to lift the weights over our head and onto our shoulders enabling us to perform barbell back squats. Once we get to a certain weight, it’s no longer a good idea to do this is we want to stay injury free. A squat rack will allow us to safely work with heavier weights and mean we’re not limited to how much we can lift over our head.
Our recent article ‘The cheapest home gym squat racks’ uncover the best, cheapest squat racks which are perfect for a home gym. We have found several different designs so you can select the one that best suits your home gym setup. Not only is the squat a great exercise for glute development, it’s also a great leg builder and calorie burner!
 da Silva, J. J., Schoenfeld, B. J., Marchetti, P. N., Pecoraro, S. L., Greve, J., & Marchetti, P. H. (2017). Muscle Activation Differs Between Partial and Full Back Squat Exercise With External Load Equated. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 31(6), 1688–1693. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001713