Why your glutes aren’t growing

“You can target and isolate the muscle, but there’s no magical routine - you’ve got to have the right nutrition, loading and recovery to get results.”

Some of us are blessed with a booty you could rest a cup of tea on. For others trying to grow their glutes but not seeing results from lower body workouts, personal trainer Chris Pattison has got some tips to get bootilicious.

Start with your form

Growing your glutes isn’t just about looking good in activewear, they’re super important to our posture and support a range of compound movements. But you can’t slack off if you want to get your glute gains rolling. There’s a reason why trainers always bang on about technique, it’s because if you get your form right results will follow.

Although glutes should be the strongest muscle in the body (because let’s face it, they be big), Pattison says, often they take a back seat to your hamstrings and quads.

“If you’re doing squats or lunges at the gym, you might actually be using your quads too much so deepen your squat to accentuate the hip extension and get more glute activation,” explains the personal trainer.

It makes sense then that your glutes might get a little lazy if your quads are taking all the glory. To make your squats and lunges more efficient, Pattison has some easy tips.

“It might be as simple as where your knees are aligned, they might be landing on your toes rather than your heels so you’re using your glutes as breaks. A great way to learn how to activate your glutes is to use resistance bands” the personal trainer suggests.

And if you load up your squats, a 2012 study by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that low-load workouts do wonders for your explosive power.

For Pattison it’s quite simple, if you want to look like an athlete you’ve got to train like an athlete. That means ticking all boxes. “You can target and isolate the muscle, but there’s no magical routine - you’ve got to have the right nutrition, loading and recovery to get results.”

Maybe your glutes are getting bored

Most of us have heard the old saying variety is the spice of life and this is definitely applicable to your workout routine. Don’t be afraid to switch things up, because it might just boost your booty gains.

If you’re more of a gym junkie, Pattison recommends taking a stroll over to the group fitness studios and trying some dynamite glute lovin’ workouts.

“Any sort of Pilates or yoga where you’re stretching through that muscle and you’re making that muscle longer and stronger is perfect for your glutes. Another great option is CX group fitness classes, where you’re working your core (including your glutes) with resistance-based exercises,” says the personal trainer.

He adds it takes time to learn how to activate your glutes and recommends adding isometric holds, plyometrics and any lower-body resistance band work to compliment your strength training.

Live your best glute life

If you’re after a sweet tush think about what you’re fuelling with and how you’re recovering.

“Protein is the main nutrient for growing muscle and it’s all about matching your calorie intake to your output in your workout,” the personal trainer advises.

And don’t forget to treat yo’ self either. “Things like massages, flush out toxins, it’ll free-up the myofascial, increase blood flow - the more blood through a muscle is going to help it grow and repair,” explains Pattison.

He suggests giving your glutes a bit of lovin’ because when you’re busting out squats and lunges you’re ripping and tearing the glutes and recovery helps make it grow to regenerate strength and size.

“If you recover quicker, you’re not hindered by stiffness, soreness or fatigue and you can train more efficiently and effectively, so massage alone won’t help you strengthen a muscle, but it will help you train better the next time you hit the gym and that’s what will strengthen and build the muscle,” Pattison says.


Chris Pattison is an Aquanation personal trainer and has a Cert III and IV in Fitness, Level 1 and 2 Padwork for boxing and a Beck Health Certificate of Nutrition and Diet. Learn more.