Long before Kim Kardashian snapped her first selfie, working out to develop shapely glutes has always been a priority for most women. But just because a magazine cover promises to reveal to you the secrets to developing glutes like your favorite celebrity, this does not necessarily mean you can develop a figure exactly like hers. Anyone can, however, make significant changes in their glute development.
There is an increasing amount of research being performed in the field of exercise science about the effects of various glute exercises, but they have their limitations. For example, it is hard to make absolute conclusions about the effectiveness of glute exercises with EMG studies, especially those using surface electrodes, because of the limitations of this type of research.
As for athletic performance, when it comes to glutes, what you see is not necessarily what you get. The glutes are a bit like the calves in that the size of the muscle group does not necessarily reflect its strength. A bodybuilder would want a low muscle attachment so that the bulk of the muscle would be in the center of the calf to give the illusion of greater size, but for athletes a high attachment would provide better leverage for running and jumping. Likewise, it’s possible that athletes who can hoist tremendously heavy deadlifts and have high vertical jumps may not have exceptional gluteal development.
For those interested in aesthetics, specifically women, here are 10 points to consider when designing a workout program to develop exceptional glutes.
1. Losing fat can improve the appearance of your glutes. Just as developing the abdominal muscles will not do you much good if they are covered with a layer of fat, simply reducing body fat can make a tremendous difference in the appearance of the glutes. Just watch any figure competition and you’ll see the one common characteristic of all the competitors with exceptional glute development is that they also have low bodyfat.
2. Steady-state aerobic training can be detrimental to glute development. Steady-state aerobic training can compromise muscle development, and underneath every pleasing curve on a body is a muscle. You can still perform energy system training to help you lose weight, of course, but the most protocols to help the body burn fat for fuel use short- and intermediate energy systems (ATP-CP and glycolytic). In this regard, sprinting is a great way to develop the glutes, but it can be impractical. However, many gyms now have pushing sleds that enable you to precisely overload the exercise. For best results, focus on using a 45-degree angle of the torso in relation to the sled.