Building A Killer Physique- Glutes In Focus

By Ange

Building body parts through specific training is fun and rewarding!

I think this is why so many people fall in love with the sport of body building!

Believe it or not, not every fitness model is genetically gifted with the body they rock on Instagram. It takes a lot of work and patients, but it is also important to note, that these bodies do not stay diced lean all year round.

But the formula to building body parts is fairly simple; lift heavy(ish) with a mixture of lower rep and higher rep sets and ensure that there is enough repetition to ensure the muscles are broken down and forced to rebuild.

Why Build Legs

The majority of females want defined quadriceps, adductors, perkier glutes and long hamstrings. But physique reasons aside, training legs ensures that you are working your largest muscle groups, which will bring with it a range of metabolic and hormonal advantages.  23W training prioritises compound movements, such as squat and deadlifts to stimulate the greatest production of growth hormone and testosterone in the body. This is important, as females are already at a huge disadvantage to build muscle mass so training effectively with the most mechanical load is critical.

Glutes In Focus

One of the biggest things I have learnt about body building, is that it  takes time. Most people are quite quad dominant with some degree of posterior development lagging. We spend a lot of time sitting, moving forwards and lifting things in front of our bodies… all of which promotes tight hips and lazy glutes.

This is incredibly evident with new girls who join 23W. We see a lot tight hip flexors, immobile ankles, tight pecs and rounded shoulders.

Through our periodised programming, we like to target legs multiple times per week with mobility forming an important aspect of the way we start each workout. Quite often we spend a lot of time trying to open up the front of the body to be able to strengthen through the posterior.

Building strong glutes allow the body to move more efficiently in and out of the gym.

But despite the gluteus maximus being the single largest muscle in the body, it can be a little lazy.

I think it took me almost a year of fumbling around before I truly learnt how to activate them properly. It is important that the 23W ladies do not make the same mistake. We like to start each workout with an activation series, like gluten brings, resistance band walks, adductions, horsekicks, clams and more.


A 23W style of strength and conditioning usually sees our ladies hit a couple of big compound lifts each session, followed by accessory exercises that are designed to compliment the workout and other muscles worked. Unilateral exercises are often programmed to ensure our members improve their balance, strength and stability on both sides. We love exercises such as Bulgarian split squats, step back lunges, single leg step ups and single leg hip bridges for this reason.

Conditioning exercises are important too! We love to finish off a workout with a combination of exercises that support additional fat burning and gets the heart rate up. There is nothing better than finishing off a workout a little out of breath and in a heavy sweat!

Glute Building Protocol

There is no golden recipe for building great glutes. They are made up of a range of fast and slow twitch fibres so a variety of training intensities and volumes should be used. We love barbell hip thrust off a bench because of its relative safety, low degree of difficulty and ability to load up the weights. When squatting to develop the glutes, it is important that full depth is achieved.

Tempo work can be beneficial too. Applying a tempo can be a great way to build intensity and great time under tension in each rep, which will ultimately increase the training stimulus.

The first number represent the eccentric phase or lowering. So in a squat, a 4210 tempo would see you take 4 seconds to lower into the bottom of the rep.

The second number represents how long you should be pausing at the bottom. So in a 4210 tempo, this would be pausing for 2 seconds.

The thirst number represents the ascending or concentric phrase. So in a 4210 tempo, you would aim to explode our of the movement for 1 second.

And finally the last number represents how long you should pause at the top of the lift. In the above example this is 0 seconds.

Top Exercises 

There are a few exercises we love to include in a glute building program. Apart from the usual suspects, back squats, deadlifts and hip extensions, we also love wide stance squats, reverse hypers, 45 degree back extensions, drop lunges and Romanian deadlifts.

If you would like to hear more about our strength and conditioning program, do not hesitate to get in touch with the team

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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