Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the God of the Glutes: Brett Contreras. Yes–he’s that good. Contreras (or the Glute Guy as he calls himself) is known world-wide not only by his ability to transform pancake booties but also by his ground-breaking research in the sports-science realm. It’s safe to say his approach to booty building is heavily supported in scientific literature and has shown his faithful followers some incredible results. I highly recommend visiting Contrera’s website for more info on all things sports science as well as, Stijn van Willigen, who outlined the info in this article as well.
For the glutes, there are a wide range of exercises to choose from. Contreras himself preaches “The Same But Different” philosophy: focus on the fundamental exercises types, be smart about exercise selection, and your booty will grow.
Now, let’s get in to the 3 types of exercises you need to do to build-a-booty:
- Stretchers (E.G. the squat)
- Moderate muscle activation
- Large range of motion
- Large Eccentric Contraction
- Need about 3-4 days of recovery
Stretchers are HARD. Think squats and deadlifts: your glutes go from a relatively shortened position (standing) to end range of motion, where the glutes are under high muscle tension . These types of exercises do a good job at recruiting the glutes but load a lot of stress on the muscle, and as a result, require more time between exercise frequency.
- Activators (E.G. the hip trust)
- Excellent muscle activation
- Moderate range of motion
- Moderate Eccentric Contraction
- Need about 1-2 days of recovery
Activators are the bread and butter of any good booty building program. They cause less muscle break down the the Stretchers, but still are excellent for the growing glutes beacuse of the high level of muscle activation
- Pumpers (E.G. lateral band walk)
- Low to average glute activation
- Small range of motion
- Small focus on eccentric contraction
- Need about 1-2 days of recovery
Pumpers are great as they generally require less recovery time. Their activation is also low, but are able to be done more frequently to help you get those glute gains.
Now that we’ve gone over the 3 different exercise types and how much recovery time they need, let’s go over actual example exercises. The following chart, originally posted by Stijn van Willigen, gives examples of each type of exercises:
Lastly, let’s go over programming. Your workout program should align with your goals, so it’s impossible to get a “one size fits all” program. Some people will respond better to more pumpers and some by more activators. It’s all about strategic trial and error. For me, I can train glutes up to 4x/week and see continual progress. Others may need to train 2x or 6x/week. In the end, you need to do what your body responds to the best. By using the above info as a guideline you can incorporate a better strategy to building a better booty fast.
Here’s an example of my favorite way to train glutes:
- Pick a “Frontal Abduction” and “Transverse Abduction” exercise and do 2 sets 10-20 reps
- Pick a quad dominant “Head Driver” exercise and do 3 sets of 6-10 reps
- Pick a hip dominant “Head Driver” exercise and do 3 sets of 6-10 reps
- Pick a “Hip Driver” and do 3 sets of 10-20 reps
- Banded Side-lying Clams 2×15
- Lunges 3×10
- Romanian Deadlift 3×8
- Barebell Hip Thrust 3×15
Want to read more? Find the full article on Bret Contreras’ website here.