6 reasons why your glutes aren't growing
Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter
We train many women whose no.1 priority is to get in shape and develop their lower body. They tell us that they have tried every glute exercise going, but they still don’t see the progress in their glutes that they would like. Does this sound familiar?
Read on as we share with you 6 reasons why you may be struggling to develop your glutes and some key things to consider when training your lower body.
1. EXERCISE EXECUTION
When you try and do split squats or lunges, for example, all the weight comes through your toes. If you’re struggling to feel your glutes, just watch what happens when you lower into a lunge or split squat. If you feel all the weight is on your toes, you can almost definitely guarantee that the main emphasis of the exercise is coming through your quads and hips, not your glutes. To change this you need to make sure that the weight is placed centrally through your foot and make sure your toes are relaxed. I always refer to a parrot on a perch when I explain this. The parrot’s feet are clenched round just like your toes are when you’re gripping the floor. If you squeeze and push through your toes, you will negatively impact the biomechanics of the ankle joint, which will limit your range throughout the exercise (the next point explains a lot more about range).
2. RANGE OF MOVEMENT
When we watch a lot of women train they use very poor range, especially when they’re trying to target their glutes. Take the squat for example, many women go half way down and then think that they’re going further down by bending all the way forward (not good for your back). If flexibility is an issue for you, take some time to work on your range (foam roller techniques, stretching and regular massage) but don’t waste time on poorly executed squats if you want a nice set of glutes.
Women wear high heels a lot, which makes their calf muscles very tight. So when they try and do a full range squat, split squat or lunge their range is very limited. Despite having poor range women still do all the exercises they read about, but they don’t make the gains they expect. In the case of the split squat, if you don’t get your hamstring to touch your calf muscles on the way down you’re not going to be targeting those all-important glute max muscles.
4. MIND MUSCLE CONNECTION
This is very common. How many times do you do a set quickly and you get to the end without really feeling the muscles you’re trying to train? This is where the good old mind muscle connection comes into play. Before you start the exercise, contract the muscles you’re about to train. On the way down really work hard to maintain your concentration on the muscles throughout, this will help to slow you down. Place the muscles under full stretch and then concentrate all the way back up. This works great in split squats for example, right at the bottom of the exercise really contract your glutes and hamstrings before returning back to the starting position.
5. TIME UNDER TENSION
Staying with the speed of the exercise, to slow yourself down you should employ a principle called time under tension. For muscle building you need to be doing the exercise for a minimum of 40 seconds. If you do your reps too quickly you all too often only take 20 – 30 seconds, which isn’t good for muscle building. Have a set tempo for each exercise that you do. So for a 10 rep exercise, your tempo could be something like 3010, 3020 or 4010. To use 3020 as an example, you would lower the weight for 3 seconds, have zero pause at the bottom, you would then return back up with a count of 2 seconds, before returning straight back down for another 3 seconds. When you see the program at the bottom, you will see the tempo that I use for each exercise.
We see so many women lifting light weights or using the same weight week in and week out, usually expecting to see results. If you want rounder and firmer glute muscles you need to build them up (hypertrophy), this isn’t going to happen if you lift the same weight all the time. Unless someone is genetically gifted there is normally a very strong correlation between great shaped glute muscles and the women who lift heavy and continuously make strength gains. Your program needs to be progressive, if you’re not moving forward you’ll stagnate and so will your glute development.
Just take a minute to think about the training you’re doing at the moment, where do you really feel the exercises you perform? Here’s an example, when women squat most of them feel a large percentage through their lower back, hips and quads. Don’t you think you should be feeling it through your glutes and hamstrings as well as your quads?
Let’s use the back extension for example, how many of you fail when you use it because all the load is coming through your lower back and you can’t carry on because of the burn? Now the next time you use it, lower the hip support slightly, keep your chest up and lower down until you feel a large stretch at the top of your hamstrings. Contract your glutes and come back up to a fully extended position. You should really notice how much more your hamstrings and glutes are involved. So you can now change your back extension from a direct lower back exercise to a full posterior chain (glutes, hamstring and lower back) exercise very quickly (as it’s supposed to be). That’s just one example of doing an exercise and missing the point of it completely, just because you didn’t know what you were supposed to be looking out for.
If you’ve been struggling with your glute development and why not get in touch to find out more about personal training or online coaching with an M10 coach?