You know who you are! You’re the person on the stairmaster sidestepping and kicking back whilst taking two steps at a time – well Hun I have news for you – while that burns your glutes, they aren’t actually growing!
The stimulus just isn’t there, the burn you feel is lactic acid, yeah they hurt the next day but that isn’t them growing – great tip to know whether your PT is good or not (if the PT makes you burn and ache so bad you can barely move after every session, they aren’t very good.)
You would have seen a difference at first, yes but that’s because you have gone from not doing anything to then training them, so the stimulus would have been there when you first started for probably no longer than a month, but it just isn’t there now and it won’t come back if you carry on doing the same. it will get less and less, you will end up losing size.
Here’s what you should be doing to grow those glutes and start seeing actual results.
Hip thrust – now while everyone will tell you to squat, the hip thrust (done correctly) will give you almost double the stimulus of what the back squat will give you (1), but again, this won’t work unless you use weights and I don’t mean light weights (2), I mean the type of weight that scares you but the type you can do safely and correctly with good control of the bar, doing this using a barbell has also been shown to have a greater stimulus than banded (3), so make sure you grab a barbell and some plates!
Next on the list is Cable pull throughs – these are very similar to stiff leg deadlifts or Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) however they force you into that correct position better than doing RDLs with a barbell or dumbbells, again you need to do them with some weight on the cable to get that stimulus, you need to squeeze your glutes the whole way through the movement while keeping control of the weight, the reason this is 2nd on the list is because of the ease of the movement and stimulus you get through your glutes.
Back Squats – These are incredible for everything you do, walking, jumping, carrying your kids, picking your kids up from the floor whatever it maybe, although the squat movement isn’t actually used in day-to-day life much, because of the stimulus it places on all your whole body it gives you a massive bang for your buck, the muscle stimulus for the glutes is greatest on the barbell back squat, and again done with good technique this will completely change your training and day-to-day life all while helping build that bum you want.
Frog pumps – These are tough but great for opening your hips up while giving you a different angle to hit your glutes and give your glutes a bit more shape and density – these target a muscle called your Gluteus Medius or Glute Med which is on the outer part of you bum, it’s important to work your glutes from different angles to give it the muscle stimulus it needs to grow and to hit muscles you might not get the best activation from doing something else.
Other exercises you should include are reverse hyperextensions, glute press (not leg press), banded fire hydrants, reverse lunges, RDLs, box or squat jumps, side lunges. All these target your glutes in different ways and using different movement patterns and planes of movement which means as long as the stimulus is good enough you will grow your whole glutes and will minimize your risk of injury as you won’t have a weak link.
1 - https://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/abs/10.1123/jab.2014-0301 - Bret Contreras et al. A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyographic Activity in the Back Squat and Barbell Hip Thrust Exercises
2 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15438627.2017.1282358 - Cochrane, Darryl J et al.
3 - https://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/abs/10.1123/jab.2015-0091 - Bret Contreras et al.