Growing your glutes can be challenging, especially if you are already doing squats and lunges.If you struggle to grow glutes, you most likely need to take a more targeted approach to your glute workouts as well as take a deeper look at your diet.
Glute growth generally takes 6-8 weeks to see noticeable changes, however, some individuals may find it takes 10-12 weeks based on diet, training, and body type. When trying to grow your glutes faster, you should train them multiple times a week (2-3X) and make sure you are eating enough calories to build muscle.
Below I’m going to cover all of the factors that go into how long it takes to grow your glutes, and how to optimize each one.
- Glute Anatomy
- How Long Does It Take to Grow Your Glutes
- Tips to Grow Your Glutes Faster
- The Best Glute Exercises to Target Your Glutes and Grow Them Faster
- Glute Growth Diet Planning
With the Fitbod app, you can build glute growth programs that fit your schedule and abilities to maximize your workout potential. Every workout in the Fitbod app comes with helpful exercise videos, performance tracking, and weekly modifications and progressions. Try the Fitbod app today and see (and feel) the Fitbod difference for yourself.
The Anatomy of the Glutes
The glutes are composed of three glute muscles.
While all three of them are often used in most movements, you can isolate them independently by understanding the movements that target each respectively.
The gluteus maximus is the biggest area of the glute, and is the one that is the most superficial (closest to the surface) of the three.
This muscle provides most of the shape and size of the glute. The gluteus maximus is responsible for hip extension (i.e. straightening the hips) as well as hip abduction (i.e. when the legs move away from one another).
The glute medius is smaller than the gluteus maximus and resides underneath.
Visually, it can help give some shape and size to the lateral (i.e. sides) aspect of the glutes as it is responsible for abduction at the hip.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest glute muscle and is found below the gluteus medius.
Like the medius, it helps to promote pelvic and knee stability, as well as support hip abduction (moving the leg sideways).
- Related Article: 14 Gluteus Minimus Exercises to Grow Your Glutes
How Long Will It Take To Grow Your Glutes?
Muscle growth happens when you train hard, eat enough calories to grow muscle (see below), and allow enough time for adaptation to take place.
Generally speaking, most lifters should be able to notice a difference in glute growth after 6-8 weeks of consistent training (3-4 days a week of training the glutes directly) and eating enough calories (being in a caloric surplus).
If you are someone who struggles to gain muscle or is a thinner build, you may find it may take even longer. For best results, you want to stay consistent and stay with it for 10-12 weeks, or longer..
- Related Article: How Much Muscle Can You Gain in One Month: The Truth
5 Tips to Grow Your Glutes Faster
Below are five workout and diet tips to help you grow your glutes faster.
1. Train Your Glutes with Heavy Loads
Without training heavy loads, you will miss out on training all the muscle fibers of the glutes, which could limit your overall growth.
Using heavy weights (5-10 rep range) when training glutes can help you build glute strength and target more of the fast twitch muscle fibers (muscles are made up of different fiber types, and heavier loads help grow the fast twitch fibers).
2. Train High Reps and Short Rest Periods Too
Just like you need to train with heavy loads, you want to also train in higher rep ranges to near failure or failure.
You should train using 15-30 reps and shorter rest periods (30-60 seconds) with exercises where you can specifically target the glutes and feel a great mind-muscle connection.
Take a Moment to Contract Your Glutes Every Rep
The glutes are working during most lower body exercises, however, if you struggle to grow your glutes you also want to focus on getting a good muscle contraction (i.e. squeezing the muscle) when doing more isolated glute exercises.
At the top of every movement, you should focus on flexing your glutes to contract the muscle. This will help you activate more muscle fibers and create a better mind-muscle connection to help you target the glute more effectively.
Train Your Glutes Directly 3-4 Days a Week
Training your glutes multiple days a week allows you to train them in high amounts of training volume (i.e. total amount of work sets delivered to the muscle in a week’s time).
For standard muscle growth rates, you should train the glutes with 15-20 total work sets over the course of 2-3 hard training days, but if you want to maximize your glute you should bump this up to 20-30.
By training more frequently, you can devote enough time to develop the muscle as needed yet still allow some recovery between sessions (rather than doing 20-30 sets in a single workout).
Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Calories
If you aren’t eating enough calories to fuel muscle growth, you will have limited glute growth, regardless of your workouts. For best glute growth, you want to follow all the training tips above, as well as make sure you are in a caloric surplus.
To determine how many calories you should be eating to grow your glutes faster, take a look at the nutrition section below.
Looking to grow your glutes ASAP? Try out the Fitbod app and start building your glute program today using the exercises and tips in this article. With the help of the Fitbod app, you can track your workouts and let the Fitbod app guide you every step of the way.
6 Best Exercises For Growing Your Glutes
Below are six of the best exercises you can do to target and grow your glutes.
Note: All of the below exercises can be found in the Fitbod app, and are easily integrated into any program.
1. Bulgarian Split Squats
The Bulgarian Split squat can be done with body weight, dumbbells, or barbells; however, it’s an advanced movement because you need to have superior balance and coordination.
To perform the Bulgarian split squat, you first need to decide if you want to use the barbell, dumbbells, bodyweight, or any other form of loading. Once you have selected that, either place the barbell on the back like you would a squat or hold the dumbbells/weights to your sides
Stand in front of a bench or box that is roughly as tall as your shin (ground to knee) and place your back leg on the box. You should be able to bend your back leg and drop into a kneeling position with your front foot flat on the ground.
From there, stand up using your lead leg, and then go back down, softly touching your back knee to the floor every rep.
- The Bulgarian split squat can build lower body strength and help attack one leg at one time, making it a great way to address muscle weaknesses.
- This can be a good way to challenge your lower body strength when you do not have access to heavy enough weights to get similar muscle-building stimulus as when doing two-legged squats.
- This can be a challenging exercise and may be too advanced for some beginners.
When performing this exercise, you want to make sure that you go as low as you can before adding more weight. Ideally, you should be able to touch your back knee to the ground every rep. If you have issues with your front heel lifting, move the foot out in front of you an inch or two.
- Related Article: Squats vs Hip Thrusts: Which is Best for Glute Growth?
2. Walking Lunges
The walking lunge can be done with any form of weight or body weight, and is a dynamic single-leg exercise.
To start, grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them by the sides, or use a barbell or body weight.
Take a step in front of you, allowing your weight to transfer to the lead leg. Your back knee should bend as you allow the back knee to touch the ground as you lunge forward.
To stand up, push through the ground on the lead leg, and bring your back leg back underneath you as you step forward and stand up.
- Great way to train the lower body in a way that translates to real-world movements (walking, running, etc).
- Can improve balance and coordination as well.
- This may be a lot of stress on the knees if someone is not strong enough yet to handle this movement.
If you stay more upright you will target both the quad and the glutes, whereas if you lean your torso forward and don’t allow the knee to move past the front toes, you will emphasize more glutes.
3. Romanian Deadlifts
The Romanian deadlift is a hamstring and glute exercise that is great for strengthening and growing your glutes.
To perform this exercise, grab a barbell (you can also use dumbbells, however, a barbell will allow you to use more loading and potentially have a great muscle-building effect) and load it with some weight.
Stand in front of the barbell. While standing upright, push your hips back while still keeping them up in the air (this will force you to keep your knees almost straight). You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
Once you have a stretch on the hamstrings, flatten your back and grab the barbell. With the back flat and the knees pulled back, lift the barbell using your hamstrings and glutes and stand up, making sure to not flair your ribcage outwards as you stand up (i.e. arching your back too much).
Lower the weight slowly to the ground, then repeat.
- Great way to add a ton of muscular stress and tension to the hamstrings and glutes.
- This can be a tricky exercise, as it requires good postural control, however when done properly, it can be one of the most potent hamstrings and glute builders.
If you do not feel you glutes make sure your knees are only slightly bent (the shins should be perpendicular to the ground), your lower back is not rounded, and your hips are pushed back.
- Related Article: 11 Best Smith Machine Exercises For Glutes
4. Hip Thrusts
The hip thrust is a classic glute-building exercise and should be included in any program looking to grow your glutes fast.
To perform this exercise, you can either find a hip thrust machine or use a barbell. For the sake of this article, we will decide how to use the barbell. The execution and setup on the machine hip thrust are nearly the same.
You will need a barbell with weight on it and a bench. You may also want to have a pad that you can lie on your lap, as the weight on the hips can get uncomfortable.
With your upper back on the bench, and your hips on the floor, roll the barbell into the crease of the hip (on the pad). Your knees should be bent at about 90 degrees. Lift your hips to lift the barbell off the floor, making sure to pause at the top and drive through the heels.
- An excellent way to isolate the glutes, take the stress off the lower back and add a ton of muscle-building stimulus.
- When done incorrectly, this can aggravate the lower back, especially if you are not extending your hips at the top.
Focus on the top ¾ of the range of motion to keep more tension on the glutes. If you are struggling to feel the glutes pause at the top and make sure your lower back is not arched.
5. Cable Hip Extensions
Using the cables to perform a hip extension can be a great way to isolate the glutes if done correctly.
To perform this exercise, attach a loop strap to the end of a low cable pulley, and attach the strap to your ankle. Stand facing the weight stack.
With your leg straight, lift the leg that has the loop around the ankle backward, keeping the leg straight. This will target the glutes. Pause at the top of the movement, and then lower slowly and repeat.
- A good way to isolate the gluteus without loading the lower back.
- Does not require a ton of weight, making it safe for any level.
- It takes some body awareness to be able to lift the leg without letting the lower back or pelvis move.
To get the best contraction, do this exercise with a slight lean forward. This will give you more room to lift the leg backward and increase the range of motion.
6. Cable Pull Through
The cable pull-through is a less advanced version of the hip thrust and Romanian deadlift.
The cable pull-through can be done by standing in front of a cable stack with a rope attachment set to a low position. Stand facing away from the cable stack, with the cable and rope running between your legs.
Step out from the cable stack while holding the end of the rope handles about 3-4 feet. With your feet hip-width apart, stand upright and flex your glutes. This is the top of the movement.
Softly bend the knees, and allow the cable to run between your thighs back towards the weight stack, as if you were performing a Romanian deadlift.
With the back remaining flat, push the hips forward and stand up, using your glutes, and repeat.
- Great way to isolate the glutes (and hamstrings if you go all the way down)
- You can target the glutes with very high reps and minimize strain and stress on the lower back.
- Can be difficult for some people to figure out how to extend (i.e. straighten) their hips without using the lower back.
Similar to the hip thrust, focus on the top ¾ of this movement. This will help you really isolate the glutes.
- Related Article: Struggle from lower back pain? Try these lower back-friendly leg exercises
Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try 3 free workouts on Fitbod.
How To Eat When You Want to Grow Your Glutes
If you want to grow your glutes quickly, you need to eat enough to support muscle growth.
If you are in a caloric deficit (i.e. restricting calories or simply not eating enough), such as in a weight loss program, you may find it difficult to grow bigger glutes.
You will want to consume 10-20% more calories than your maintenance levels (i.e. the number of calories you need to consume on a daily basis to maintain your current weight). The extra calories, in addition to you training hard in the gym, will go towards building muscle.
You can estimate how many calories you need by finding your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), and then add 10-20% more calories to your daily diet and monitor your progress. Be sure to consume enough protein as well, which should be about .8-1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
- Still unsure how many calories you should be eating? Check out this Ultimate Bulking Guide!
- No Gym? Here is the truth about growing your glutes with bodyweight exercises only…
- Struggle to grow your legs? Check out this article on How to Get Bigger Legs.
- Struggling to grow your glutes? Maybe you are doing too much cardio.
About The Author
Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.