Science Based Glute Growth by Savannah Westerby

The glutes:

Glutes: the biggest trend on female fitness social media right now? It seems that posing, leggings, workouts, even supplements, are aimed at helping us achieve the largest, roundest glutes humanly possible. While this isn't everyone's body goal, if it is yours, we are going to discuss how you can bypass wasting money and hours in the gym to build the lower body of your dreams.

The ‘glutes’ are comprised of three muscles, the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. Gluteus maximus is actually the largest muscle in the body, by weight, cross sectional area and volume! The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation and internal rotation of the hip joint. These are the movements we want to focus on loading to challenge and develop them.


With some understanding of the anatomy of the glutes (proving form and execution of exercises is correct) can put together a programme to effectively hit the glutes from all angles.

An example session encompassing everything we have discussed so far could look as follows:

Hip Thrusts

This is your heavy compound movement for this session, work up to sets of around 5 reps. Find a set up which allows you to be able to roll the bar onto your hips and go straight into your set so that you do not have to waste energy lifting yourself and the bar up onto an overly high bench or surface, and use a bar pad to keep bruising to a minimum.

Stiff Legged Deadlifts

A great builder of the entire posterior chain. A barbell or dumbbells can be used- whichever gives the best connection. Sink into the heels are you lower the weight to feel a stretch in the backs of the legs (usually around mid shin) then recruit the glutes to explode back up to the top. These can be performed with constant tension on the hamstrings or a glute squeeze at the top (preferred for this session).

Single leg press

Some leg presses will allow you to position yourself on a side to get an even greater range of movement out of this exercise. Don't let the weight fall onto the front of the foot as this will increase quad involvement.

Reverse lunges

These are best performed with a barbell, but body weight or dumbells can be used as a first step if balance/confidence is an issue. Step one leg back, sitting into the glutes, perform 8-12 reps per leg.

Hip abductor machine

These are excellent to build the outer portion of the glutes for a more pleasing, rounded look. Go for higher reps, controlled and using a full range of movement.

Hip Extensions with back rounded

With body weight alone, these result in an excellent pump. Rather than extending the back, allow the upper back to relax and squeeze up into the glutes.

Diet and Supplements:

No matter what muscle we are trying to grow, we can build it most effectively in a small calorie surplus. It is incredibly difficult, especially in advanced trainees, to literally construct new tissue without the materials to do so! The next most important thing is protein. Protein synthesis is the process by which amino acids are linearly arranged into proteins (including muscle). Therefore, hitting a complete amino acid through consuming sufficient total protein in our diet is essential. Protein also helps repair muscles bigger and stronger when they are broken down during resistance training.

Carbohydrates around training are also incredibly important less directly as they can help fuel heavier sessions.

Protein powders be useful in hitting goals and as a fast digesting source following a session.

By Savannah Westerby @savannahwesterby

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