Glutes training for women: Is the squat really the way to go?

We hear it all the time:
"Big squat equal big butt"…

Is that really true? Yes, for some individuals, squat really is the way to go if you are hip dominant. Just like the bench press can promotes chest hypertrophy for some. But what if you are doing squat since a decade and nothing happens to your glutes except a big pair of quads that seems to grow like weed while your back train doesn’t improve a bit. Maybe you should think about changing something to your workout nah?

Sometimes you have to go incomplete on a program to produce results where you want it to be. When I say incomplete, I don’t mean to not train a muscle at all, but to change the ratio of work. Let’s say your are training legs at an equal ratio of 1:1 (quads:hamstring).

Why not change it to a 2:1 ratio (hamstring/glutes : quads). Yes on paper the workout could look incomplete and unbalance, but in reality, it will fit perfectly to the goal of moving the volume more over posterior chain than quads.

But first you have to find the cause of this lagging muscle. It can be many variables such as:

  • Bad mind muscle connexion
  • Body’s lever (some body type will be more quads dominant or the complete opposite)
  • Bad innervations 

Once you find the right factors, here’s how you can adjust your workout.

  1. You can program each leg day by pumping up the volume on exercises like Romanian deadlift, hip thrust, wide/high feet stance leg press, kettlebell swing, and fewer squat, hack squat and more quads dominant exercises.
A1. Romanian deadlift x 8-12

A2. Frog hip thrust x 15-20
Do 3-4 sets

B1. Wide/high feet stance leg press x 10-12 with 3 sec pause at the bottom to stretch the glutes

B2. Posterior plank x 10-20 reps (as long as you can keep control of the contraction)
Do 3 sets

C. Back squat x 6-10 reps
Do 3 sets

D. Dumbbell walking lunge x 12-15 reps
Do 2-3 sets
  1. Or you can also add supplemental work into each training session. Adding a glutes giant set at the end of your workout, something like:
A1. Single leg deadlift x 10-12 reps

A2. Frog hip thrust or reverse hyper with a resistance band (hold at the top for 4-5 sec on each reps) x 15-20 reps

A3. High reps kettlebell swing* (something as high as 50 to 100 reps)

*I find that on some people, going high reps put more fatigue on quads and hamstring, and glutes begins to take over as reps go higher, that when the clients begin to feel it. From this point, it is easier for him/her to know when her glutes are contracting.

Activation before starting to work out is a great tool for those who lack mind muscle connexion. Some exercises like Posterior plank, clams with a resistance band, bird dog and monster walk can definitely help by activating the glutes and by adding volume without too much fatigue. 

So sometimes, a specializes program based on people individualisation can be seen as incomplete. But in fact, it addresses people weaknesses directly and when the problem is correct, you can come back to a more balanced workout or work on another lagging/weakness body part.

Article written by : Stéphane Aubé - HUNGRY FOR VICTORY