Building the 3-D Booty

In this article we will touch on the topic of gluteus maximus (glutes for short) training and the importance it has on pretty much everything that we do. Simply put stronger glutes make everything better. With my experience I’m almost under the assumption that everyone’s glutes are weak compared to what they can be with the proper training progressions and optimal neural/muscle recruitment. Whether it’s training for a bodybuilding/bikini/figure competition, improving power/explosiveness for athletic improvement, or injury prevention having a stronger set of glutes will give you that edge or curve (pun intended) that you need to be successful.

When it comes to training you would think that your Core Lifts like the Squat and Deadlift should be staples in your training program. This is true for overall strength development but they aren’t optimal for gluteus maximus development. Studies have shown that you get more gluteus maximus recruitment when doing hip lifts. (Dispelling the Glute Myth) Both the squat and the deadlift occur in the sagittal plane (squat/hinge) and it is imperative that we train outside of the sagittal plane (frontal and transverse plane) to give us that 3-Dimensional shape that most people strive for. An example of this would be to pair up two exercises like the barbell hip thrust with a mini band lateral walk or monster walk. These exercises target different parts of the glutei and different parts of the glutei control different types of movement. The upper glute max is involved in 5 different types of movement (hip extension, hip hyperextension, hip external rotation, hip abduction, and hip transverse abduction) while the lower glutei max assists in ideal glutei development. (Dispelling the Glute Myth)

Glute activation

Some good coaching cues for the hip lift are digging the heels into the floor as you fully extend your hips squeeze your glutei at the top of the movement and brace your core. You can palpate your glutei by touching them or have a training partner do so to makes sure they are turning on.
Training for Glutei Development

Mobility and Stability in the Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Hip Flexors, and Hip Rotator are essential for maximal glutei muscle fiber recruitment. A good way to start your training session would be to focus on Movement Prep. In Movement Prep we foam roll, stretch, warm up, and then do an active warm to get our body ready for the strength training part of our session.
Movement Prep (20-30 minutes)
1. Foam Rolling: Hip rotators, quads, adductors, hamstrings, and calves. (10-12 passes each)
2. Stretching: Hip Flexors, Hamstrings, Adductors, and Hip Rotators (5-8 deep breaths per muscle group)
3. Warmup: (quadraped hip extension, leg lower, and supine hip flexion w/ band.)
4. Active Warmup: (Static Forward & Lateral Lunges, Dynamic Forward & Lateral Lunges, Bodyweight Single Leg Dead Lifts (SLDL), High Knee Skip, Lateral Skip, Lateral Shuffle)

Strength Training for Glutei Development (30-60 minutes)

We always recommend starting the strength training portion of our sessions with explosive movements like box jumps, jump squats, or kettlebell swings. Here’s a sample training template example for glutei development. You would start the training by going to A1 and performing the amount of reps required then move onto A2 and repeat until all the sets and reps are finished then move onto B1 and B2.

A1. Box Jump 3×5
A2. Bird Dog 3×8/side

B1. Weighted 2-leg Hip Lift 4×8
Regression: Shoulder Elevated Bilateral Leg Hip Lift
B2. Goblet Reverse Lunge 3×8/side

C1. 1-leg slideboard leg curl eccentrics 3×8/side
C2. Med Ball Lateral Lunge 3×8/side

D1. Kettlebell Deadlift 3×8
D2. Elbow Plank 3×45-60 secs

E1.Kettlebell Goblet Squats 4×8
E2. Goblet Carries 3 passes

For more information check out Midwest Muscle Report for more info!


Contreras, Brett. “Dispelling the Glute Myth.” Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store. T Nation, 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 03 June 2016.