“Intensity builds density”-Gym Bros, year? probably since the dawn of time
Let me start off by saying there’s a lot of layers that need to be peeled back when talking about just muscle growth alone. But, I will give a brief amount of information. Just enough for you to read, apply and ya know get some results. That’s why we’re here right?
Your Bands Aren’t Doing S#%*
Now, I am not against the hip circle. In fact, Mark Bell’s Hip Circle is probably something I never workout without. It’s something that helps me warm up my hips and glues before exercise as well as rehab for some knee injuries that still flare up from time to time. The Hip Circle, or any variation, is a good tool to have. BUT if you want to build and strengthen muscle, it should not be seen as your Holy Grail.
For the last 40+ years of research, the most popular conclusion for muscle growth is hypertrophy. When talking about hypertrophy (muscle growth) there are two ideas we have to keep in mind, the muscle needs to be stimulated to grow and muscle that keeps growing requires energy for more protein growth (Brown 2017).
To acquire a higher stimulus, there are dozens of methods to go about accomplishing this. The most common method is to lift heavier loads for a certain amount of reps. The article explains that optimal rep ranges are between 9-11 reps at a moderate weight or 3-6 reps at a heavier weight. Anything higher in reps has been shown to not effect hypertrophy.
Now, what is a good source of energy for hypertrophy? The obvious one is an optimal diet with protein, fats, and carbs. The timing of eating is also important, but not as important as nailing down on your nutrition. The last thing needed is optimal rest or sleep. If any of these factors are compromised, then we won’t see any muscle growth!
What Lifts Will Grow the Booty?
The most common answer has been squats, deadlifts, or lunges. Though the glutes are involved in these exercises, they do not use “all of the glute”. Lifts like the front squat and deadlift only have 45-55% glute activation. BUTT (see what I did there?) the highest glute activation actually are found in lifts like the single-leg bent leg reverse hyper (122%), hip thrust (119%), and bent leg reverse hypers (111%). Thats a 50%+ difference between these lifts and squats!
Now, I’m not saying you have to exclusively only do those 3 lifts for maximum booty gains, but it should point you in a better direction.
Intensity Builds Density (Closing statement)
When it comes to growing your glutes, we have to treat it like any other muscle growth. You can still have a balance of banded exercises, body weight glute workouts, but at the end of the day heavier weights is the key to growing those peaches. Proper strength training programming is needed to get the most out of these lifts.
Ideally a few days out of the week lifting between 9-11 reps for a few sets at a moderate weight are a good base. But you cannot be scared to start lifting the heavier weights once you have had 3-4 solid weeks of 9-11 reps.
There is a lot of material still left on the table as far as glute training goes. However, this is a good foundational piece for those who just need to get started. I recommend following guys like Bret Contreras (nicknamed the Glute Guy for a reason). He has some cool products to help with glute training as well as a literal manual on anything and everything about glute training.
Brown, L. E. (Ed.). (2017). Muscle Growth. In Strength Training (Second Edition, p. 56). Human Kinetics.