The Two Paths to Glorious Glutes
If you take a look at the various training camps in the world of strength and physique sports, you’ll usually find that there are two groups. The high intensity, lower volume team, and the moderate to high volume group, lower load team. Take a look at a powerlifter’s butt. That thing has gone through some high mechanical tension reps and supplemented with some isolation work for accessories. If you modify that type of training for muscle-building, you end up with dense, hard muscle that sticks around. Then you take a look at a bikini athlete, whose glutes are an important part of their physique for the stage, and they do a lot of glute isolation work which necessitates lighter loads.
So, there are two paths:
- Progressive overload
- Squeeze and pump
Progressive overload will require that you use more compound movements, which will result in an overall thicker look, ie: wellness division thicc. You will have to track your loads, rep counts, and sets, carefully managing fatigue. This route, albeit the more exhausting of the two options, has the potential to yield the most predictable, long term progress. Because you can’t typically progress isolation movements via load for as long, you will still use those accessory movements as a way to maximize your pump and add volume to your glutes without adding volume to your leg training if that is your goal. A healthy dose of squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and lunges are all great movements you can continually make load and/or rep progressions on safely.
The squeeze and pump route is great if you are seeking a very specific result of just maximizing booty growth without additional leg growth. With this method, you can focus most of your time in the gym on bringing your glutes through a full range of motion, focusing on hard contractions and mind-muscle connection, leading to a nice dump truck pump and an exaggerated glute look.
Now, we should note that you don’t have to stay loyal to your chosen team. You can create training blocks where you focus on one or the other training method, or blend them to a degree, but as we always mention, whichever route you choose, just make sure you’re fueling yourself with food for performance and recovery, supplement with amino acids as an insurance policy against losing muscle, and manage your fatigue wisely.