WHY AREN'T MY GLUTES GROWING? A Physio's Explanation

The Glute Vs Quad Battle: Why am I training so hard and not achieving the body I want?

Are you one of the many ladies who email me saying that you’re training your glutes day in day out and you’re not noticing any gains? Yet instead, your quad muscles are growing in size (front of the thighs). It’s the most frustrating feeling ever, training so hard and feeling like you’re not making progress. trust me, I’ve been there!

If that is the case, you’re not the only one and please don’t stress, there is a way of resolving this! It just requires a little fine tuning of your training programme.

So what’s the reason for your lack of ‘glute gains’?

There are actually quite a few potential causes, most of which can be resolved.

My first bit of advice is to be patient and keep working at it. muscle growth and development takes time and results of your hard work can take a while to show.

Secondly, consider your nutrition, muscle growth and training performance is very much determined by the correct nutrition.

Thirdly, and the area I am going to discuss in more detail, is that you may not be training correctly for your specific body type.

So let’s explore this is more detail...

In a nutshell, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to training your glutes and what works for your friend, may not work for you. It all depends on your body type. If you’re one of those unlucky ladies who struggles with building her glutes, keep reading on for help. I’ve got your back on this one!

A little bit of simple background anatomy:

Our genetics determine our default movement patterns. So, in a nut shell, the movement pattern our body chooses to make is mainly as a result of our anatomy. This isn’t to say that we can’t train our body to change.

By breaking exercises down into smaller, slower movements and teaching your body the correct biomechanical form, we don't only avoid injury, but also change movement patterns to target specific muscle groups.

When it comes to sculpting and building your glutes, there are 2 main components you have to consider:

1.     Are you anterior or posterior chain dominant?

2.     Is your training programme specific to your body type?

I know this may all sound a bit complicated, so I’m going to break it down into 4 bite size chunks to help you ladies with your glute sculpting and growing journey.

The Anterior Vs Posterior chain dominant battle

Just a quick anatomy lesson for you all. I’ll make it quick but factual, I promise!

The body is made up of 6 muscular chains, and the ones we are going to be discussing are:

-       Anterior chain

-       Posterior chain

-       Posterior-oblique chain

Those people who are posterior chain dominant tend to tone the back of their legs most easily: hamstrings (back of your thighs) and glutes (bottom muscles)

Whereas those who are anterior chain dominant are the exact opposite, loading and toning the quads (thigh muscles) more easily

This means that when an individual who is anterior chain dominant performs a squat exercise, they are likely to feel the load in their quads rather than the desired glutes.

I.e. The muscles you feel working on completing a squat are the quad muscles. Meanwhile, the glutes are ‘switched off’ and not contracting at all, thus no growth or sculpting is taking place

How do we find out what chain dominant we are?

There are many tests that can be completed by physiotherapists and/or sports professionals. 

However, in my opinion, the best feedback is in your results, aesthetically and proprioceptively.

Firstly, if you feel that when you are completing leg exercises you are mainly feeling the ‘load’ in your quads instead of your glutes and hamstrings, it’s highly likely you are anterior chain dominant.

Secondly, if you have noticed a significant increase in ‘mass’ or tone in your quads in comparison to your glutes and hamstrings, again you are likely to be anterior chain dominant.

‘load’ = the weight or source of pressure felt in the muscle

‘mass’= the weight of the muscle, excluding fat (which can more than often be seen in the size of the muscle)

How do we activate the posterior and posterior oblique chains & get the results we want?

Well this is something that can’t be explained on paper, but I’ve got you ladies!

Check out my guides and activations, as these are for all fitness levels and will do the job - find them on the LEAN App!

If you're not the app, but want a taster of the activations included, check out my video here for an 8 minute activation that will get you FAST results.


I really hope you found this useful ladies!

Good luck!

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