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glutes

How To Grow Your Butt FAST (5 Steps ft. Bret Contreras)

by Jeremy Ethier - March 28, 2023

How to grow your butt fast

If you have a weak, flat butt and want to grow it as fast as possible, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, I’m bringing in THE glutes growing expert, Bret Contreras.

How to grow your butt Bret Contreras

He’s dedicated his life to studying the glutes, and the results from his clients speak for themselves.

Together, we’ll use science to build a 12-week plan designed to grow your glutes as fast as possible.

There are 5 steps to this.

Exercises To Grow Your Glutes

Step 1 For Growing Your Butt = Frequency & Volume

The first step is to figure out how often to train your glutes and with how much volume. 

And here's what Bret had to say about that:

Generally what I've found is that three times per week is the sweet spot for the glutes. The glutes are a huge muscle. They have multiple subdivisions. They carry out several distinct muscle actions, and they can handle a lot of volume and frequency as long as you incorporate variety.

Now, the most common training split we use to accomplish this is a lower upper, lower, upper lower.

So I call that L u L U L. So that's three lower-body days with two upper-body days sandwiched between them. But you can tweak this depending on how many days you have available to work out. 

…As for how many sets to do, Bret recommends “36 sets of glutes per week”.

Honestly, I was pretty shocked. 36 sets per week? But then he explained:

You can recover from it. It's not too much.

And most males in the industry would say, oh, that's overkill. According to the published research, we should only be doing 20 or you know, you shouldn't be doing 36 sets, but I'm telling you, the glutes can handle it.

I'm telling you, all my top responders, they're all doing it.

All the top bikini pros, they're all training glutes three times a week. They wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't effective. They figure out the best way. They're obsessed. They care more about glute training than we do about pecks or biceps, you know.

But you can’t just do 36 sets of really exhausting exercises like squats and deadlifts.

Bret explained the key is to split up the 36 sets a week into 3 different types of exercises.

12 sets should come from what’s known as vertical hip extension exercises where the body is positioned vertically in relation to the resistance.

This is the most taxing category of exercises. And although we don’t really know why, both Bret and I have tested this with EMG and found that they favor more of the lower glutes.

Just keep in mind that these exercises will also heavily work your quads and hamstrings, which means that all the glute exercises you’ll be doing will be more than enough for your other leg muscles as well. 

12 sets should also come from horizontal hip extension exercises where the body is positioned horizontally relative to the resistance.

These are a bit less fatiguing and will target both the upper and lower glutes. 

The remaining 12 sets should come from abduction exercises where the legs move out to the side. These are the least taxing, but help shape the upper glutes by mostly targeting the upper glute max and glute medius. 

As for the best exercises to use for each of these categories and how to perform them for the most glute growth, let’s start with vertical hip extension.

Step 2) Vertical Hip Extensions

Back Squat

The first exercise is the back squat.

Use whatever stance width and foot angle is most comfortable for you, and try to descend as low as possible without too much butt wink.

For max glute growth, you’ll want to try to get down to at least parallel or slightly below and focus on pushing through the heels on the way up.

How to grow your butt back squat

Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat

Dumbbell Bulgarian split squats will complement squats very well, so we’d highly recommend adding these in as well.

But to better target the glutes, you’ll want to lean your torso forward and descend diagonally at a slight angle backwards on the way down. Once your back knee almost touches the ground, push up through the heel of your front foot and drive your hips forward. 

Smith Machine Reverse Lunge

Another great exercise my clients have had success with is the smith machine reverse lunge.

The added stability helps them really focus on their glutes. Here we position the feet so that at the bottom, the knee is in line with the foot.

We also use a slight lean at the torso to better target the glutes.

How to grow your butt smith machine reverse lunge

Don’t be afraid to go heavy. My top girls are doing 2 plates a side. 

Romanian Deadlift

Last but not least, the Romanian deadlift.

You can do these with dumbbells or a barbell. But the key to targeting the glutes is to keep your shins vertical, sit back as far as possible, and let your knees bend. Come down to just below your kneecaps then use your glutes to thrust your hips forward. 

How to grow your butt Romanian deadlift

For this category, a lower rep range of about 6-12 reps per set usually works best. 

As we mentioned earlier, these exercises will help build your lower glutes.

But to get the upper glutes more involved and challenge the glutes in a different way, you’ll want to do some of the exercises from the next category, horizontal hip extension.

Step 3) Horizontal Hip Extension

Paused Hip Thrust

One of my favorite exercises for this category is hip thrusts.

They do a great job of activating all the glutes, especially the upper area. But it’s important you do them right.

Keep your mid-back on a bench or pad, and push up through your heels to drive your hips as high as possible. At this point, your shins should be vertical.

How to grow your butt paused hip thrust

If they’re not, move your feet further in or out. Hold that position for 3 seconds before coming back down.

Single Leg Hip Thrust

Now I also like exercises that work the glutes one at a time, and this next one is a great option especially if you don’t have access to weights.

Here you:

  • Spread your arms across the bench in a T-formation and center both feet so they’re touching.
  • Then, come up to the top of a hip thrust and lift one leg off the ground while keeping the knee bent.
  • Lower yourself down and push through the heel of the grounded leg to push your hips as high as possible.  
How to grow your butt single leg hip thrust

Dumbbell Glute Dominant 45-Degree Hyper

This next one works the glutes a little differently than hip thrusts.

Here you’ll need a back extension machine. Set it up so the pad is just under your hips. To better target the glutes, flare your feet out to 45 degrees and round your upper back. Keep your upper back rounded and raise your body up by pushing your hips into the pad using your glutes.

How to grow your butt Dumbbell Glute Dominant 45-Degree Hyper

If you don’t have access to this one, you can do the reverse hip extension exercise that Jeremy and I covered in our past article together.  

For this category, a moderate rep range of about 8-20 reps per set usually works best. 

Step 4) Hip Abduction Exercises

Last but not least, hip abduction exercises.

Bret explained how most people overlook the effectiveness of these because they aren’t big, heavy movements. Yet he’s found that when his clients do these properly and consistently and really push hard during them, they see massive growth, especially in the glute medius.

An important muscle not just for looks but for function and knee and hip health as well. Here are his top picks.

And this is exactly why, in every Built With Science program, you'll find that we always include a good mix of big, heavy movements and tiny accessory ones — to ensure you develop a well-rounded physique that not only looks great but also performs great. If you're interested in joining one of our fitness programs, just take our analysis quiz below to find the best plan for you:

Click the button below to take my analysis quiz to discover the best program for you:

Seated Hip Abduction Machine

Most girls love this machine, but guys don’t be embarrassed to hop on here. It’s extremely effective for glute growth. I like to recommend leaning forward and holding onto the support.

Drive your knees out as far as you can then control the weight back until your knees almost touch together.

How to grow your butt seated hip abduction machine

If you don’t have a machine, you can replace these with bands or the next exercise. 

Side Lying Hip Raise

But for an exercise that doesn’t involve any equipment, this next one is a great option. Get into a side plank position with your hips and knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

“It’s like the bottom of a parallel squat but with knees bent at 90 degrees”

Drive up through the grounded knee while driving your hips forward and separating your knees as much as you can. Let the hips move back on the way down. You should feel both sides of your glutes working.

How to grow your butt side lying hip raise

This is a tough exercise though, so take your time and only do as many reps as you can with good form.

Cable Standing Hip Abduction

Last but not least, if you have cables make sure you include this one.

Stand sideways to a cable machine and use a strap to attach the foot of your far leg to the cable.

Hold onto the column with your opposite arm, take a few steps sideways until there’s tension in the cable, and then move your working leg in front of your planted leg with your foot slightly turned in.

How to grow your butt foot placement on the cable standing hip abduction

From here, swing the leg outward as far as you can to your side without rotating your foot outward.

Don’t let your lower back arch as you do this and keep your core braced strong.

How to grow your butt cable standing hip abduction

You can also try swinging your foot behind instead of in front of your planted leg and see if that feels better.

Now for this category, a higher rep range of about 12-30 reps per set is what I’ve found works best. 

Step 5) Building The Workouts

You’ve got the workout split, you’ve got the exercises, but now you need the actual workouts.

This step is the most important. You need to build your workouts in a way that doesn’t create excessive soreness throughout your week yet also challenges your glutes in different ways.

Here are 3 sample glute workouts you can get started with that do just that.

How to grow your butt 12 week routine
How to grow your butt 12-week glute workout plan cover image

But Bret and I have also created a free 12-week glute workout routine that will guide you week by week with all your workouts You can click on the link below to download it.

Click the button below to grab your FREE copy of the 12-week glute workout routine:

Trust me, use this 12-week routine, and I guarantee you’ll see better glute growth than you ever have before. And before I end this article, let's discuss 2 questions likely on your mind ...

How Long Does It Take To Grow Glutes?

It’s a 12-week glute routine — but will your butt truly grow (like, visibly) within 12 weeks?

Well, for answers, we can look toward a previous article I did on the 4 ways to tell if you’re making muscle gains.

Research done on the rate of muscle growth in the arms and thighs suggests that you may see anywhere between 4-6% increase in your hip circumference (which is indicative of your glutes size) from 8-12 weeks of training.

This should roughly translate to an increase of 1 cm in your hip circumference every 1-2 months.

Note: how quickly your glutes grow also depends on 2 things:

  1. Whether you progressive overload
  2. How trained you are (i.e., are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter?)

In general, beginners will see the fastest gains (maybe 1 cm every month), while more advanced lifters will see slower growth (maybe 1 cm every 2 months).

To see if your glute growth is on track, I highly recommend you track your hip circumference over time: once before you start the 12-week glute workout routine and subsequently at every 4-week mark.

What Foods Make Your Butt Grow?

Now, guys, here’s the thing. You can:

… and yet fail to see optimal growth in your glutes. Why?

That’s because beyond training hard and smart, plus recovering well, one other key piece of the grow-your-glutes-fast puzzle is this: a calorie surplus.

As mentioned in my past article on how I packed on serious shoulder muscle gains, a recent meta-analysis suggests that a calorie surplus is likely necessary to maximize muscle growth. That said, don’t take this as a go-ahead to eat whatever — and however much of it — you want.

Instead, you should do 3 things:

  1. Eat at only a slight calorie surplus
  2. Hit your daily protein intake requirements
  3. Prioritize more whole foods and less processed foods in your diet

For more specific guidance on exactly how many calories and grams of protein you should be eating, check out this past article I wrote detailing the best bulking meal plan.

It comes with a free muscle-building sample meal plan — complete with a full day of meals, recipes, and even optimal meal timings — you could consider implementing with the 12-week glute workout routine in tandem.

Alright, and that's all I have for this article! Big thanks to Bret for his help with this.

The man truly is a master at his craft, and feel free to check out his programs and social media below:

By the way, here’s the article summed up into a YouTube video:

How to Get ROUNDER Glutes FAST (5 Steps) ft. Bret Contreras

How To Grow Your Butt FAST (5 Steps ft. Bret Contreras)

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