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How to grow glutes

How to grow glutes

The rule of thirds

The rules of thirds are developed by Bret Contreras (aka The glutes guy). He is the inventor of Hip Thrust and a world-leading glute expert.


To maximize the potential of the glutes, the rules of thirds said that

In terms of effort, around 1/3 of your sets should be carried out to failure or 1 rep shy of failure, 1/3 of your sets should be performed to 2-3 reps shy of failure, and 1/3 of your sets should be taken nowhere close to failure.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfzRPC2AS_r/?utm_source=ig_embed

Exercise categories


Vertically loaded exercisesHorizontally loaded exercisesLateral/Rotary loaded exercises
- Squat & squat variation- Deadlift & deadlift variation- Leg press- Step-ups- Lunges- Hip thrust and hip thrust variation- Bridges- Frog pump- Back extension- Reverse hypers- Sidekick exercises- Kickback exercises- Hip abduction exercises- Fire hydrant- Lateral band walk- Swings
- Develop lower glutes- Low reps: 3 - 10 reps- Develop upper/lower glutes- Medium reps: >= 10- Develop upper glutes- High reps: >= 15 to AMAP (as much as possible)

Vertically loaded glute exercises are the hardest on the body and work lower than upper glute max fibers.

Horizontal is less taxing overall but highly activates both the upper and lower subdivisions.

Frontal plane lateral exercises completely target the upper subdivision of the glute max, whereas transverse plane hip abduction and hip external rotation exercises work both the upper and lower fibers.

To make things more complicated, you also have blends and combinations of vectors.

Glute dominant exercisesQuad dominant exercisesHamstring dominant exercises
- Hip thrust and hip thrust variation - Bridges- Frog pump- Sidekick exercises- Kickback exercises- Hip abduction exercises- Fire hydrant- Lateral band walk- RKC plank- Squat & squat variation- Step-ups- Leg press- Sled pushes- Deadlift & deadlift variation- Back extension- Reverse hypers- Swings- Knee flexion exercises
- Hip thrust should be placed at the beginning of your workouts.- Hip abduction exercises are great for burnouts and developing upper glutes. They should be placed at the end of your workouts.- RKC plank is great to work the core and should be the last exercise.- Squats should be placed at the beginning of your workouts.- Step-ups, Leg press should be placed in the middle of your workouts.- Deadlift should be placed at the beginning of your workouts.- Back extension and Reverse hyper exercises elicit higher glutes activation than other hamstring-dominant exercises.


The glute guy said 3 to 5 depending on the volume. I often train my glutes with heavyweights (around 70 - 80% of 1RM - 1 Rep Max). I can only train my glutes 3 days a week. My lower body will be sore. I need 1 - 2 days to recover. But if you use the medium to lightweights, you can train up to 5 times a week.

  • Low reps: 3 to 5
  • Medium: 8 to 10
  • High reps: > 10

There are no exercises that work for everybody. Everyone is different. I saw a lot of girls with great glutes doing mostly medium/high reps schema. I love low/medium reps schema but I try to keep everything in balance.

I always start with the low reps exercises: vertically exercises such as Squat or Deadlift or Hip thrust, followed by the medium reps exercises such as squat variation exercises (Split squats, Bulgarian split squats, Step-ups, …) or deadlift variation exercises (single-leg deadlift, back extension, sumo deadlift, …) and finish with the lateral/rotary exercises (15 to AMAP) such as Seated Hip Abduction, Sidekick, Kickback, …

If your form is not good, please find a mentor, or at least try to firm yourself when you’re working out, then compare your form with the correct way that was taught in the book Starting strengh.

It is not easy for a novice to pick the proper weights for each exercise. If you don’t have a mentor. Here is the formula that I use to pick up my weight.

For example, if you want to do 10 reps of Squats, you should pick a weight that you can do a maximum of 10-12 reps.

Sample templates

This is an example of my one-week workout. My workouts change every month depending on my current physique, my mood, my routines, and my goals.

Monday (reps x sets)Wednesday (reps x sets)Friday (reps x sets)
1. Barbell back squat 5x42. Hip thrust 10x33. Standing pull through 15x34. Cable sidekick 15/legx41. Conventional Deadlift 5x42. Split squat 10/legx33. Frog Pump 15x34. Seated hip abduction 20x41. Barbell back squat 5x42. Stiff-deadlift 10x33. Cable sidekick 15/legx44. Fire hydrant 20/legx4
Monday (reps x sets)Wednesday (reps x sets)Friday (reps x sets)
1. Barbell hip thrust 10x42. Chin-ups 5x43. Barbell back squats 10x44. Lat Pulldown 10x45. Swings 20*46. Cable sidekick 15/legx47. RKC Plank 30sx11. Barbell hip thrust 10x42. Overhead Press 10x43. Split squat 10/legx44. Push-ups 5x45. Frog Pump 10x46. Seated hip abduction 20x47. Landmine 10x11. Conventional Deadlift 5x42. Dumbell shoulder press 10x43. Barbell hip thrust 10x44. Chess press 10x45. Banded hip thrust 20x46. Fire hydrant 20/legx47. Hanging leg raise 15x1

You can try sample glute workouts from Bret (aka The Glute Guy - the Hip thrust inventor) here.


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