Build your glutes without growing your legs

By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS

As a fitness professional, I get asked a lot how to grow your glutes without growing the rest of your legs. And I love this question! It used to be me—giant quads with a little bubble butt, and I hit a plateau hard with my rear. Thankfully, I learned how to fix it. I still have big quads, but that’s because I train to have them, and my booty has grown exponentially.

The first thing to note: your glute-focused workouts need to be intense. You’re not going to grow one of the most powerful muscles in your body without some serious effort (and yes; you will need to stop wasting your time with all those body weight exercises you’re doing.). Second: for the ladies that don’t want the big quad look, most leg exercises activate other leg muscles, so, that gets rid of a lotof lower body exercises if we’re just trying to grow glutes alone.

The short answer to this question? You need to stop doing exercises that activate your quads and hamstrings, and start doing exercises that heavily tax your glutes.

The exercises below should not be your only go-to’s; you should be doing lower body exercises to stay balanced. As a personal trainer and health coach, I would never have a client do ONLY these exercises if they want to grow their glutes. Consider this list an addition to your leg days; ease up on the quad and hami building exercises, and then design a program to target your glutes twice a week.

Any glute workout should start with a warm-up that consists of a ton of isolation exercises. The best way to do this and fire up your muscles is to use a band around your knees and complete exercises like side steps, donkey kickbacks, or clams. You can find my absolute favorite band here. *link band article *

Here’s what you should ease up on if your quads are super dominant:

Squats, lunges, Bulgarian split squats, leg press, leg extension, Romanian deadlifts, back extensions, good mornings, adductor exercises, etc.

What you should do to only focus on glutes:

•Activation work before every glute day: band work, donkey kick backs, etc.

•Hip external rotation work: mind muscle connection is imperative here. Otherwise, don’t do it.

•Barbell GLUTE BRIDGES: adding emphasis,  because these are different from hip thrusts. Hip thrusts have some quad activation, so do these instead.

•Pull throughs and kettlebell swings with a booty squeeze.

Hopefully this helps build your booty without growing those legs! Remember to continue to push weight. Growing the most powerful muscle in your body requires a lot of resistance. Happy booty building!

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