Back with another hypertrophy guide and getting closer to the end of our volume series, today’s topic is not only beloved by men, but also women pay way more attention to a sexy ass than most guys might think.
Yes you’re right, today’s article is going to be all about the optimal glutes volume.
For most men, training your glutes seems unnecessary. That’s for women, right?
Should we focus more on our glutes? Do strong glutes benefit us? And how to train for maximum outcomes?
Whether these are only some of your questions or you solely strive for tighter bottoms, give this article a read.
Before we get started with volume recommendations, let’s take a short look at the glutes anatomy.
Anathomy of the Glutes
To put it in simple terms, the gluteus medius moves from the top of your pelvis to your thigh.
One main function can be observed for the gluteus medius.
- Moving and stabilizing the hip joint.
For further info, click here.
The anatomical fixation points of this are reasonably complicated but to put in a nutshell, the muscles moves from your iliac crest (area at the front and outside of the hip bones of your pelvic belt), sacral bone (bone at the base of the spine) and tailbone (small bone at the bottom of the spine) to your thighs outside.
The functions are diverse.
- External rotation
- Hip extension
- Hip stabilization of the supporting leg while walking
Because I am not a specialist for glutes anatomy I’ll keep it as simple as possible and make it for convenient for both of us.
But, if you want to know more in detail about the gluteus maximus muscle, its anatomy and functions, more information can be found here.
The exact Latin designations are not of immense importance for most of you, but what you should know is that muscle moves from your iliac scoop (uppermost and largest part of the hip bone) to your thighs outside.
Six functions can be identified.
- Internal rotation of the hip
- External rotation of the hip
- Flexion of the hip
- Extension of the hip
- Abduction of the thigh
- Stabilization of the hip in one-legged position
For more information about the gluteus minimus, click here.
Now that we have a better clue what the glute muscles do and where exactly they’re located, the questions arises:
Does exercising glutes benefit us? If yes, how?
Benefits of Strong Glutes
1. Better posture
Especially nowadays where most individuals sit almost all day every day, it’s of tremendous necessity to walk, stretch and strengthen the opposing hip flexors.
This will improve your body posture and might reduce back pain for a lot of people.
For instance, squats, deadlifts and lunges are exercises that you can integrate into your training routine.
They will help to improve your glutes, as well as properly stretch your hip.
2. Pain reduction and injury prevention
Strong glutes support the lower back. If, you have poorly developed glutes, in fact, they are too weak to perform their hip extension function.
Problem with that is, other muscles need to take over the job despite that they are not designed for that job.
Eventually, this can result in overstressed muscles and pain.
All in all, strong glutes protect your hips, knees and ankles.
3. Improved Athletic Performance
What if I tell you that the gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscle of the human body?
Yes, I’m not joking, guys.
At first glance, this might sound confusing, but it is true.
This means, with strong glutes performance in various sports-specific areas like speed, acceleration, distance and endurance can benefit enormously from proper glutes workout.
Moreover, there are two other benefits, but these ones are more general and not glutes specific.
1. Increased Bone Density
The older we get, the old and damaged bones are dismantled faster than the body is capable forming new bones.
This in a general fact that weighted training does increase bone density and does not particularly correlate with glutes.
Thus, keeping your body physically fit benefits the human body in unbelievable many ways.
2. Increased fat loss
Similarly, the same principle applies for this aspect.
The more muscles your body consists of, the more calories does your body burns.
Having said this, it’s again not particularly aligned to glutes but weight training overall.
If this aspects seem interesting to you and make you want to know more about it, you can find a whole article here.
Now after we’ve answered some questions and took a look at the glutes anatomy, let’s get to work and dive into the optimal glutes volume.
MV – Maintenance Volume
What does MV mean?
MV refers to Maintenance Volume which indicates the amount of work that is required to maintain your muscle’s current size.
In other words, the amount of volume required to avoid losing any gains.
Why is it important to know your MV?
If you have to fall back from training or need to reduce your workouts for a certain period, you don’t want to lose your hard acquired gains, do you?
After a period of heavy workouts in between your MAV and MRV or even above, it is for sure a good thing or even indispensable to lower your volume.
This will desensitise your body again and enable it to fully recover.
Such phases after heavy training where you lower the volume, are so-called “deload” phases.
They often occur after 4-5 weeks of your mesocycle.
On average, you reduce your weights about 40-50% and train with the same amount of sets but within higher rep ranges.
As a result, your body can recover and when starting your new mesocycle, you’re in charge of full strength.
Moreover, either way, you need to change exercises over time to stimulate new incentives.
For beginners, you can stick to every 2-3 mesocycles, advanced athletes can even switch exercises every mesocycle.
Concluding, it is crucial to know what the MV is and what you can use as benchmarks to ensure you don’t lose any muscles.
Also, something notably important that gets underestimated a lot, is keeping the volume in your “deload phase” appropriate.
Some folks tend to train “too heavy” in their deload week. I find myself in the same situation, for sure, but for best results and enhanced performance, we need to stick to it.
Where about is the MV for the optimal glutes volume?
MV: 0 sets/week
Here’s the deal.
With normal leg training, particularly squats, leg press and similar quad and hamstring exercises, glutes get already stimulated quite well.
To that end, the Maintenance Volume for glutes is around 0 direct sets/week for most individuals.
It can be different for you, because everybody is unique.
These are only average figures which are likely to work for most people, but don’t take them as fixed, immutable values.
Use them as benchmarks from where to start your programme and work your up to your optimal volume.
MEV – Minimum Effective Volume
What does MEV mean?
Minimum Effective Volume relates to the least amount of work that is necessary to stimulate some muscle growth.
Why is it important to know your MEV?
Briefly speaking, just like it’s important to know how much volume your glutes need to maintain its current size, it is at least of similar importance to know how much volume is required to grow your glutes
What’s the minimum amount of volume that is required to get bigger and stronger glutes?
MEV: 0 sets/week
Similarly to glutes MV value.
If you just do your normal quad routine like squats, leg press, hacksquats, you get enough glute work to grow them a lot.
If you look at especially powerlifters, most of them don’t target their glutes isolated but still have massive, big glutes.
Not as big as they could be, but relatively big without any direct focus.
Accordingly, if you don’t want to maximize your booty as much as possible, you will be fine with 0 sets of direct work/week.
MAV – Maximum Adaptive Volume
What does MAV mean?
MAV relates to the Maximum Adaptive Volume.
This reveals to the amount of work where probably most of the muscle growth will happen, on average.
Why is it important to know your MAV?
We need to put more effort into our workout and increase the volume consistently over time for maximum growth.
That is why it is important to know what the MAV is and which benchmark we can refer to.
So whats the MAV range?
MAV: 4-12 sets/week
If you want to prioritize glutes and add size, try to start with 4 sets/week and adjust up to 12 sets/week for the MAV.
This takes only direct work into account, additional to your normal leg work.
Therefore, start low and work your way up and see how it goes.
MRV – Maximum Recoverable Volume
What does MRV mean?
Maximum Recoverable Volume, which refers to the maximum amount of work that your body is able to fully recover.
In other words, the maximum amount of work that your body can sustain until your strength and performance may even decrease.
Sooner or later in your mesocycle programme, you will reach a point where progress isn’t going as fast as it used to and your performance starts to stagnate or even decrease.
This is an indication that you most likely overreached your MRV.
Why is it important to know your MRV?
Considering all the above-mentioned aspects, it is relatively logical.
Who wants to take superfluous breaks from training?
I suppose nobody wants that.
All things considered, that’s why it’s important to know what and where your MRV is to avoid redundant breaks and overreaching too quickly.
What’s the maximum recoverable volume for glutes?
MRV: 16 sets/week
This does seem quite a lot, doesn’t it?
Glutes are really big and strong and they take damage quite well.
Therefore, it is possible to train glutes with relatively high volume.
What’s more, this does not include leg training. Squats and all other exercises does involve glutes but do not count as direct work.
In conclusion, on average, most folks are capable to sustain 16 sets/week of isolation glutes work.
How often can glutes be exercised for the optimal glutes volume?
Most people can train their glutes more than once a week, because glutes do recover pretty well and fast.
But, the key thing here is to remember that glutes are really big and strong.
Thus, it takes a lot of effort to train them. If you want to train glutes more than 2-3 times/week, you have to ask yourself if you want to limit your training intensity and frequency just to train them more often.
In summary, for most individuals, 2-3 glute workouts/week work well. How often you should go depends on your goal. Do you want to maximize your glutes, or maybe only maintain them?
Adjust frequency and intensity according to your goals.
How intense should glutes be trained for the optimal glutes volume?
Glutes are partly desinged for running. They are compound of a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibres which is a good reason to go as low as 6 reps/set.
In general, between 6-20 tends to be the optimal rep range.
From heavy forces around 6 reps nd above up to higher reps around 15-20, there is something of everything.
Glutes workout – Exercises
What exercises are best for glutes?
- Sumo squats (different squat variations)
- Lunges (dumbbell/barbell)
- Deadlifts (different variations)
- Glute Bridges
- Abductor leg raises (different variations)
- Leg press
There are many more exercises, particularly for isolation work but most of them are machines.
All exercises listed above are heavier compounds that probably are already integrated in your workout routine. If not, give it try and see what works best for you.
Range of Motion
If you could only keep one thing in mind regarding range of motion, then it would be to never question if you should do half or full range of motion.
Range of motion is always a big deal, for some muscles more for other less.
But in general, if you execute exercises with a full range of motion, it will almost always benefit you with increasing growth potential.
Here is what you should remember.
MV: 0 sets/week
MEV: 0 sets/week
MAV: 4-12 sets/week
MRV: 16 sets/week
Frequency: 2-3 times/week seems to work for most individuals. At least almost everybody can train glutes more than once a week. Glutes are really big and strong muscles but recover really well. Anything above 2-3 workouts/week is probably too much and will only limit other body parts training.
Intensity: 6-20 reps is a good rep range for glutes. They are compound of a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibres which respond best to heavy forces. 6-20 reps/set is something of everything.
Exercises: Squats, deadlifts, lunges, leg press, abductor leg raises, glute bridges and all kind of variation of these exercises can be integrated into your routine.
Range of Motion: Always strive for a full and deep stretch. For example, when doing glute bridges this really makes your ass burn.
For glutes there are not really specific techniques that have proven to be very helpful.
Of course, you can still integrate some super sets or drop sets into your programme from time to time, but it’s not necessary.
Special shout-out to Dr Mike Israetel, we really value his knowledge and the content that he shares with us on his YT channel and his blog.
Definitely check out his video about glutes volume!
How often do you train glutes?
Guys, thanks for reading and see you next time!