Glute Workouts for Mass

While movements like squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings can be powerful glute mass-building exercises, a dedicated, and often more isolated approach to glute training may need to be done with athletes and individuals who may be lacking in the glorious glutes department.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best exercises for glute mass-building and provide you with two sample mass-building glute workout programs to help you develop athletic and aesthetic glutes!

How Often Should You Train Glutes?

Determining what training frequency and volumes necessary for increasing glute strength and hypertrophy, can be tricky, as every lifter will respond to training differently. That said, general guidelines can be put in place to make sure that the metabolic stress placed upon the glutes are high enough while also allowing for adequate muscle recovery.

Generally speaking, larger muscle groups will take longer recovery times, as the overall volume and loading that is done to elicit a muscle strain and fatigue is higher. The glutes, while not a giant muscle group as compared to the back and legs), are large enough to handle high amounts of load. It is for this reason that we may choose to train glutes only a few times per week if you are to train in higher volumes (8-15 total sets per session). If you are looking to train glutes more frequently (let’s say 4 times per week) you could get away doing 4-8 sets per training session, often without placing excessive stress on the glutes (stress and strain that can be difficult to recover from).

At the end of this article we have included two different glute workouts for mass. The first is a 2-day per week program with 2-3 days in between each session. Sessions include both compound movements and isolation movements, both in higher volumes. The second workout plan is a 4-day routine, that has significantly less overall sets and volume per session that the 2-day program, however equates to roughly the same amount of total weekly sets and volume.

What Exercises Should You Do for Gaining Mass in the Glutes?

Below are 15 of the best glute exercises that can be used to increase glute size and strength, with each exercise categorized into one of three groups.

The first, are compound exercise that place high amounts of eccentric strain on the glutes, often causing high amounts of fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness.

The second group incorporates high amounts of concentric-focused muscular contractions, and should be done with the focus on voluntary maximal muscle contractions at the top of each exercise.

Lastly, glute engagements and/or glute endurance exercises (which can be done before and after sessions) can be used to prime the compound lifts in a warm-up or done to “finish” the glute muscles off in higher rep/time under tension based sets.

Glute Mass-Building Exercises (Eccentric Emphasis)

Below are five (5) compound glute exercise that place high eccentric stress on the glute muscles, increasing muscular strength, hypertrophy, and often resulting in higher amounts of muscle soreness.

Back Squats

Back squats are one of the most effective exercise for adding lower body muscle mass, to the quadriceps and glutes. While they are not highly isolated, they can stimulate a great amount of muscle mass and can be a good foundation for glute building.

Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian deadlifts are a glute and hamstring dominant exercise that can be used as a basis for posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and back) evopment. This can also be done unilaterally, for added muscle activation and development.

Front Squats

Front squats, like back squats, can be used to increase leg and glute development. While these do target more of the quadriceps, the back and glutes are also key muscles during the movement.

Bulgarian Split Squats

The glutes are highly active in the Bulgarian split squat, both in the eccentric phase for hip stability and control, but also at deeper ranges of hip flexion. Additionally, wider splits can also increase hamstring and glute engagement.

Lunges

Lunges of all kinds can be done to increase unilateral glute development, strength, and increase hip/knee stability. Lunges like crossover lunges, reverse lunges, and walking lunges all place high demands specifically on the glutes.

Glute Mass-Building Exercises (Concentric Contraction Emphasis)

Below are four (4) exercises with a high emphasis on peak contractions at the end of the concentric phases, which can increase glute activation and overall development.

Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are great for eliciting peak muscle contractions that can result in high amounts of metabolic stress to the muscle. Furthermore, this exercise is a highly isolated approach to glute training, and can often be done with moderate to high amounts of loading or fuhrer muscle damage.

Cable Pull Throughs

Like the hip thrust, the cable pull through allows a lifter to maximally contract the glutes at the top of every repetitions, while also having increased time under tension as the cables constantly apply load the the glutes and hamstrings.

Quadruped Banded Hip Extension (or with Machine)

The quadruped banded hip extension has been shown to be an effective exercise at eliciting high amounts of glute activation, and can be done with minimal loading using bands, manual resistance, or certain exercise machines.

Elevated Glute Bridge

The elevated glute bridge can be done unilaterally or bilaterally, and is a great way to add increased range of motion and peak contraction exercises to the workout. This exercise can also help to address any muscle imbalances or hip instability that may also be limiting overall glute development and health.

Glute Engagement and/or Glute Endurance Exercises

Below are five (5) exercises with a high emphasis on peak contractions at the end of the concentric phases, which can increase glute activation and endurance.

Banded Clam Shells

These can be done with mini-bands or without loading, and are done to target the smaller glute muscles responsible for hip abduction and stability. Additionally, this can be done in higher volumes to increase glute endurance and finish a glute training session.

Banded “Pump” Squats

Banded pump squats increase time under tension of the glutes, and can be done by squatting below parallel and coming up only a few inches past parallel. This limited range of motion, done in high volumes (repetitions), non-stop, can increase the metabolic damage and fatigue on the glutes and increase muscle hypertrophy, especially at the end of a workout.

Banded Sumo Walks

Banded sumo walks, like the mini-band lateral/monster walks can increase glute activation and muscular endurance. By assuming a wider, sumo stance, you can further isolate and attack the glutes.

Straight Leg Monster Walks

Straight leg monster walks target the gluteus medius, a smaller aspect of the glute that can be often overlooked. By performing monster walks with locked knees, you do not allow the quadriceps to assist in the movement which can challenge glute development and engagement.

Side Lying Banded Leg Raises

Side lying banded leg raises/lifts are great ways to end a glute workout because they require little amounts of loading and can attack the glute in a time under tension basis. Additionally, they increase the glutes ability to move the legs into abduction, furthering hip function and mobility.

Sample 2-Day Glute Workout Mass Program

Below is two-day glute workout program to build mass and strength. Note that this program emphasizes compound lifts with a higher eccentric component and more concentric/contraction based exercises in the same session, often in higher volumes. Due to the higher volumes, muscle soreness may be higher, so 1-2 rest days in between sessions is key.

Day 1

  • Quadruped Banded Hip Extensions – 3 sets of 10 repetitions per leg
  • Back Squat (below parallel) – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  • Romanian Deadlift – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  • Single Leg Elevated Glute Bridge – 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Day 2

  • Banded Sumo Walks – 3 sets of 10 repetitions per leg
  • Bulgarian Split Squat – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per leg
  • Barbell Hip Thrusts – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  • Side Lying Banded Leg Raise – 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions per leg

Sample 4-Day Glute Workout Mass Program

Below is four-day glute workout program to build mass and strength. Note that this program emphasizes many of the same compound lifts as the above program, however daily training volume is significantly lower, allowing the muscles to recover quickier between session and therefore allowing high training frequencies and arguably more quality work sets.

Day 1

  • Quadruped Banded Hip Extensions – 2 sets of 10 repetitions per leg
  • Back Squat (below parallel) – 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  • Single Leg Elevated Glute Bridge – 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Day 2

  • Barbell Hip Thrusts – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  • Side Lying Banded Leg Raise – 4 sets of 12-15 repetitions per leg

Day 3

  • Front Squat – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Banded Clam Shells – 4 sets of 15 repetitions per leg

Day 4

  • Bulgarian Split Squat – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions per leg
  • Cable Pull Throughs – 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions (heavy)
  • Banded “Pump” Squats – 3 sets of 45-60 seconds (aim for 30+ repetitions)

Featured Image: @ashleigh_elizabeth_fitness on Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.