Glutes are a MAJOR factor in overall athleticism for both men and women and their ability to produce power and change direction quickly. If your glutes are underdeveloped, you will most likely have a hard time playing most sports, changing direction, and even hiking can be much more difficult if your glutes are not performing like they should. It’s simply a calculation of biomechanics. Minimal activated muscle=minimal force production=minimal ability to move. It’s not magic. Think of a baby deer on ice vs a trained athlete. That brings us to the upside. There is always room for improvement, and we are going to clear up some concepts that may have confused people on what they think will help them build their glutes.
The following are all huge misconceptions and WILL NOT HELP YOU BUILD YOUR GLUTES.
What?!?! Wait... What?!?! I’m so sorry to break it to you, but the concept that squats build glutes is a fairy tale. I feel like I am telling people about Santa here. I’m not the bad guy. I’m trying to help. I’m sorry you were misinformed, but there is still hope! This was an overhyped miscommunication from some uninformed person on the internet, to the point where everyone thinks that squats build glutes. It’s simply not true. Tell me how many times you’ve woken up with sore glutes from squats. I’ll wait. Your quads are probably sore but, those are not your glutes. There are a few random cases of full ROM, rock bottom, pause squats, that, for the weightlifters out there may have caused some soreness and most of the time that comes from stretching the insertion of the high hamstring, not the glutes. Squats are still one of my favorite exercises, but they are simply not a highly effective form of building glutes.
Glute Solution: Bulgarian Split Squats, hip thrusts, banded abduction, lunges, step-ups, heavy sled pushes, single legged squats, etc.
I can’t emphasize this one enough. If you’re the only form of exercise is an elliptical or treadmill, and you want to have healthy glutes..you are in for a BAD TIME. Why? Well, unless you have that treadmill maxed out on an incline, then it’s just a demonstration of physics. Muscles only grow if you stress them out, and make them work. The treadmill, bike, and elliptical are asking nothing of your glutes, so why would they want to join the party? Your spin class is awesome for a number of reasons. Glute growth is not one of them.
Glute solution: Stair Master or any of the exercises listed above.
Not working out is one thing. However, it can get worse. If you sit for prolonged periods of time and restrict blood flow as well as squish those nerve endings on those big muscles, guess what happens...yep, they start to atrophy and it can lead to significant muscle loss. Pancake butt starts to occur. Dead butt is a real thing. Nerve endings start tingling and other things like sciatica can creep in. It’s not good. Sitting is doing you no favors.
Glute solution: Sit less
4. Neglecting Lunges and step ups.
Many people neglect single leg movements like step ups and lunges out of lack of knowledge of how to do them properly or making excuses about certain issues. There are 90-year-old ladies out there doing step ups and not whining. Less complaining and more training. It can be a smaller step, even a 3” plate can deliver a stimulus to activate the glutes. Lunges with some assistance or less range of motion are still valuable and can be a great stepping stone to start building the glutes.
Glute Solution: See above
5. Insufficient protein
Doesn’t have to come from any particular source but if you neglect protein, building muscle will be a long long adventure with fewer results than one would get if they had adequate protein to add muscle. The protein you take in will be sent to replenish organ tissues, skin, and other metabolic functions of the day first and foremost. No more protein? Well, then you are stuck with what you got until you decide to get after it.
Glute Solution: Get more protein
Let us know how you build your glutes in the comments below!