Is this a pretty perfect glute workout?
Right then! Welcome to my pretty perfect perter posterior session plan, based on most of my clients' requests for "more ass, Jack"!
What makes this glute workout pretty perfect?
Why I think this lower session is practically perfect is, first, you should be able to perform most of the exercises in most gyms. Secondly, it should take you about 60 minutes to do – I don't want you hanging around! – and, thirdly, we know in terms of building muscle that both peak contraction and stretched positions are important.
How to build a practically perfect muscle-building workout
Because we want to grow our glutes, I've programmed a posterior-focussed lower session, with our glute exercises at the top – while we're fresh, while all of our muscles are fresh. This is because our resources seem to go towards repairing the muscles that have been worked with most intensity and typically earliest in the workout. Further, as mentioned above, we want to make sure that we work our target muscles in shortened (big squeeze) and lengthened (big stretch) positions.
"[C]hallenging our muscles in a stretched position stimulates nearly three times as much muscle growth as challenging our muscles in a contracted position"
Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS
Where muscles stretched under load have a "stretch-mediated hypertrophy response", which is to say working a muscle when it's pulled long could make that muscle grow more than simply working it against resistance.
This is one lower session in a week as written out for one of my clients.
To note, we understand through increasing findings that, typically, the more frequently you can train a muscle towards failure, the greater its potential for gainz. The second lower session will feature different movement patterns or rep ranges to complement the work done here.
Naturally, you could then work in your own lower session or, give me a shout and we can discuss building you a plan for your goals with the equipment you have access to.
The above is my pretty perfect perter posterior session plan and is an example of how I layout workouts for clients
Warm-up and intensity recommendations
With reference to the above sheet, suggested warm-up sets are performed after your general warm-up, where 6/10 effort cardio is performed for five to ten minutes, followed, typically by at least one lighter weight set before your working sets.
Mostly, I approach this by doing higher reps with lower weights and then, with every subsequent set towards my working weight, I decrease the reps as the weight goes up. Here, for example, I would warm up on the KAS glute bridges with 70kg for 20 reps, followed by 120kg for 15 reps and then go for my working set of 150kg, which I know I can get at least 10 solid reps of in week one and will aim to get at least 15 reps of in a couple of months' time.
When it comes to the actual work, here, we've got two working sets in a rep range of 10 to 20. And in week one, the intensity is three reps in reserve (3RIR). Reps in reserve describes how many reps you've got in the tank before failure. So if you did 10 reps at an intensity of 3RIR that would mean failure was 13 reps in that set/session.
Next week, you would ideally get 11 reps at that weight so that your RIR would then be two.
The week after that you'd do 12 reps – so RIR would be one – and then, potentially, on exercises where it would be safe to do it – and I think all of these exercises apart from hyperextensions would be safe to take to failure – you would go to 13 reps (so failure in this glute bridge example), which would be 0RIR, or zero reps in reserve. Give me a shout if you want further clarification on that!
Glute-focussed exercise selection
In terms of the exercises themselves, we've got:
The KAS glute bridge
This is a shortened range hip thrust that gets us that peak contraction of the glutes. I like to set it up where the weight is already elevated before you start and then I keep constant tension on my glutes throughout the set by not setting the weight down once it's lifted.
From there, we have step-ups – where KAS glute bridges focussed on the squeeze, step-ups work the glute through a big stretch and will also bring our quads more into the mix – remember this session is glute-focussed rather than muscle exclusionary! Our back foot taps the floor and we ideally work predominantly through the front leg. I like to alternate between these, Bulgarian split squats and walking lunges for my unilateral leg work.
The next exercise is hip abductions, which really go for that peak squeeze laterally, working the glute medius and contributing to the "booty shelf". This is a great exercise for glute shape and mind muscle connection that can also be performed using a hip band around your knees, if, for example, you don't have access to a machine.
Seated leg curls
Just having a big bum, isn't, to my mind, as aesthetic (or anyway as functional) as having great shape through the hamstrings and glutes. Hamstrings are obviously massive in terms of keeping us upright and enabling us to move around the world. I love seated leg curls for their ability to work the hamstrings in a shortened position – for that squeeze – and complementing them with hyperextensions.
Where leg curls focus on squeezing the hamstrings, weighted hyperextensions really stretch them out, as well as the glutes, while also working the lower back, again, aiming for work through the posterior chain and not just the glutes. I also love these towards the end of a session as, I've found, they really chill me out, I think, because your head is under your heart for a lot of the work – the feeling is similar to inverting in yoga. For the most part, I can only do three sets of these at most in my training blocks.
Lastly, we have bird/dogs, which are perhaps my favourite core exercise, as they engender a great ab crunch and stretch without having to hang or lie on your back. Further, working through your shoulders and hips in this semi-supported manner could lead to improved posture over time.
How’s your training going at the moment? If you're looking to step it up with a coach who cares about enjoying the process of achieving health and fitness goals as much as the goals themselves, then feel free to set up a call with me today!
How to Perform the Bird Dog Exercise and Its Core Benefits <https://www.healthline.com/health/bird-dog-exercise> [accessed 14 May 2023]
Elbow Joint Angles in Elbow Flexor Unilateral Resistance Exercise Training Determine Its Effects on Muscle Strength and Thickness of Trained and Non-trained Arms <https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2021.734509/full> [accessed 14 May 2023]
Isometric training and long-term adaptations: Effects of muscle length, intensity, and intent: A systematic review <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30580468/> [accessed 14 May 2023]
STRETCH-MEDIATED HYPERTROPHY CAN TRIPLE MUSCLE GROWTH <https://outlift.com/stretched-muscles-grow-faster/> [accessed 14 May 2023]