With the revolution of booty challenges and the worldwide ”strong is the new skinny” movement towards fitness, the online world is filled with booty challenges and workouts. Typing ”booty challenge” in Google gives around 10 million hits, so the list of workouts is endless. So we are all highly aware that we should get training that booty, but did you know these four things about training glutes?
1. It’s not all about squats
With 50-day-squat-challenges and endless ‘Drop it like a squat’ quotes, squats are often viewed as the ultimate exercise for booty building. The 2006 American Council of Exercise Research ‘Glutes to the Max’ used electromyography (EMG) measurement to measure muscle activation during various glute exercises. They found that squats did not activate the glutes to the highest degree and concluded that they alone will not maximize glute development, but should be paired with a variety of glute exercises to maximize gains. For instance, hip extensions, step ups and vertical leg presses elicited more muscle activation for the gluteus medius.
2. The impact of genetics
Research points out the not-so-surprising conclusions that men generally have greater glute size than women. However, it has also been highlighted that there is an inter-individual variation of 500% when looking at gluteus maximus volume, pointing out that some people have 5 times the glute size of others. Therefore, as we come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which can be – to some extent – genetically impacted, we also have a variety of needs for optimal training and exercise.
3. Rep variety is key
Two research studies have examined the fiber type percentage of the gluteus maximus. The first one concluded gluteus maximus to consist of 68% slow-twitch and 32% fast-twitch, while the other found the ratio to be 52% slow-twitch and 48% fast-twitch. So unlike the usual assumption, the gluteus maximus is not primarily a fast-twitch muscle, meaning that both high and low reps and weights should be involved when training the glutes. Furthermore, Bret Contreras – also known as the Glute Guy – highlights that research is showing evidence for equal effectiveness of higher rep bodybuilding and lower rep powerlifting-style training when aiming for muscular hypertrophy. Therefore, in order to effectively activate both muscle fiber types, a variety of rep ranges can be recommended for optimizing results.
4. Emphasize quality over quantity
With the typical 30 day squat challenges and the alike often starting from a few squats and finishing with often hundreds of squats to perform in the last days, often a quantity over quality vibe takes over. Even though it is good to vary between high and low rep workouts, going to hundreds of reps of the same exercise can easily lead to improper form and wasted time. As said before, it is better to vary the type of exercise, rep amount and resistance when training glutes in order to maximize your time use. You are better off doing 10-20 reps with weights than reaching for that 250 squats, after all you want to do perform the exercises properly and safely to avoid injuries!
Electromygraphy (EMG) measurement, which evaluates electrical signals of nerves and muscles controlling the contraction of the muscles, is widely used when performing scientific research on muscle activation. Everyone’s muscles and their characteristics are unique. This means that the effectiveness of single exercises can vary between individuals – calling out for a sense of personalisation of training and understanding of what is best to YOU specifically. Mpower is the first ever gadget to bring fine-tuned EMG measurement out of the laboratory settings by allowing athletes to measure the activation of individual muscles to understand how and when they activate. With Mpower, you can forget the guesswork and see which individual exercises activate your muscles the most effectively. If you’re interested in how you can use Mpower to determine the most effective exercises for you specifically, stay tuned with our blog!
While these highlighted points are only the tip of the ice berg to getting your A-game on with glute training we’d also like to hear from you! Share your own booty training secrets below in the comment section!
American Council of Exercise (2006) Glutes to the Max. ACE Fitness Matters. [Online] Available from: https://www.acefitness.org/getfit/GlutesStudy2006.pdf.
Contreras, B. (2014) 6 Glute Training Myths. Fitness RX Women. [Online] Available from: http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/training/workout-tips-advice/6-glute-training-myths.
Johnson, M. A. et al. (1973) Data on the distribution of fibre types in thirty-six human muscles – An autopsy study. Journal of Neurological Science, 18 (1) pp. 111-29.
Preininger, B., et al (2012) The sex specifity of hip-joint muscles offers an explanation for better results in men after total hip arthroplasty. International Orthopedy, 36 (6) pp. 1143-8.
Schoenfeld, B. J. et al. (2014) Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on muscular adaptations in well-trained men. Journal of Strength Conditioning Resistance, 28 (10) pp. 2909-18.
Sirca, A., Susec-Michieli, M. (1980) Selective type II fibre muscular atrophy in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip. Journal of Neurological Science, 44 (2-3) pp. 149-59.