Optimal Glute Training
Take your glute training to a whole new level with these principles!
Contrary to popular belief, the back squat isn’t all that great at building the glutes. It shows decent levels of activation but nothing like exercises like the hip thrust. As @bretcontreras1 say’s “the thrust is a must” if you’re looking to grow your glutes.
Stretchers: Place maximum tension when the muscle is at full stretch. Examples of this are any squat variation, deadlift variations, and lunges. These exercises place a great stress on the muscle which is key for it to grow bigger+stronger. These should be done every 3-4 days for usually 3-5 sets of 5-12 reps.
Activators: Maximum tension on the muscle happens when the muscle is fully shortened/contracted. Examples of this are hip thrusts, glute focused back extensions, and cable kickbacks. These a great movements as well but they don’t damage the muscle quite as much as stretchers do. Thus, these should be done every 2-3 days for usually 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps.
Pumpers: Show low levels of muscular damage with high metabolic stress which leads to a great pump, but not much actual muscle damage. These exercises are best performed for higher reps (15+). Examples of this are frog pumps, elevated glute bridges, and banded donkey kicks. These can be done up to 5-6 days per week because of the low amount of damage they cause to the muscle. These are usually done for 2-5 sets of 15-30 reps.
You want to have a mix of all three categories in your training on a weekly basis. For example, you could structure your training like this:
Monday: 2 Stretchers, 2 Activators, 1 Pumper.
Tuesday: 2 Pumpers
Wednesday: 3 Activators and 2 Pumpers.
Friday: 2 Stretchers, 2 Activators, and 3 Pumpers.
Saturday and Sunday off.
The Bulgarian split squat shows the highest lower glute activation and the hip thrust shows the highest upper and overall glute activation of all exercises.