Estimating your Glute recovery time: a calculator

Please view Optimal training frequency for the glutes part II for the latest and most in-depth calculator.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about workout schedules, and especially how often to train the Glutes. Well here’s my answer: when they’re recovered.

Multiple factors affect recovery time.

As you can read in my article on optimal training frequency for the Glutes, one of these factors is the type of exercise you do (stretcher, activator, or pumper).
recoverytime-exertypesIn short:
Stretcher exercises cause a lot of muscle damage in the Glutes (Squats, Romanian deadlifts, etc.)
Activator exercises cause a lot of muscle tension in the Glutes (Hip thrusts, Step-ups, etc.)
Pumper exercises cause a lot of metabolic stress in the Glutes (Band exercises for higher reps)

However, this is only part of the story…

Part II of Glute recovery time

On the other hand, how developed your Glutes are also affects recovery time. A great way to assess Glute development is to look at your strength on the Hip Thrust. After all, a bigger (more developed) muscle is a stronger muscle.

Bret Contreras (the Glute Guy) has outlined ranges of Hip Thrust strength to indicate how developed the Glutes are (beginner, intermediate, advanced, elite). Scientific research shows that the more developed your Glutes are, the shorter it takes for them to recover.

However, there’s another factor we need to take into account. Science shows that just like training stress, psychological stress has a major impact on how quickly you recover. High-demanding jobs with a lot of demands and responsibility, or poor stress coping abilities will thus increase your recovery time for a given workout.

To help you decide on how often to train your Glutes, I’ve created the calculator below. It estimates how long it takes your Glutes to recover (and grow back bigger/stronger) for different types of exercises, based on Glute development and stress levels.

The calculator

Note again that these are just estimates. The assess whether your Glutes are truly recovered, look at your Glute strength compared to the previous workout. If you’re stronger on an exercise like the Hip Thrust, there’s a good chance your Glutes have grown back bigger (and are thus recovered).

Example

Jane has a moderately stressful life, being a manager with a lot of responsibility at a big firm, but able to cope with this well. She hip thrusts 60 lbs for 10 reps. The calculator estimates that her Glutes take 36 – 54 hours to recover. We take the high end to enter as a recovery time, because Jane primarily performs stretcher/activator type exercises during her workouts. After entering 54 hours into the field under the picture, we see that Jane should optimally train her Glutes 3.1 times per week.

 

References

1. Damas, F., Phillips, S., Vechin, F. C., & Ugrinowitsch, C. (2015). A review of resistance training-induced changes in skeletal muscle protein synthesis and their contribution to hypertrophy. Sports Medicine, 45(6), 801-807.

2. Stults-Kolehmainen, M. A., Bartholomew, J. B., & Sinha, R. (2014). Chronic psychological stress impairs recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations over a 96-hour period. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(7), 2007-2017.

2018-01-07T07:35:00+00:00 August 10th, 2017|51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Felipe August 10, 2017 at 17:21

    Hi, i didnt quite understand the calculator. Could you post exampled on people? Please?

    • Stijn van Willigen August 16, 2017 at 18:22

      Hello Felipe,

      If you fill in the 2 questions about your training experience (glute strength) and stress levels, a picture will show below. In this picture you can see your estimated recovery time if you do 3-6 sets of either Stretchers, Activators, or Pumpers (for more info on these, check out my other article: http://www.bodylogiq.org/en/optimal-training-frequency-glutes-part-exercise-type/ ).

      This is a range, for example when you hip thrust your bw x20, and have a moderately stressful life, your recovery time will probably range from 48 hours (pumpers) to 72 hours (stretchers). This translates (after you fill it in below the picture) to an optimal Glute training frequency between 2.3 and 3.5 times per week.

      Hope that helps.

      • Felipe August 21, 2017 at 01:01

        Thanks, th calculatoe says 7 times a week. I was working on my glutes twice a week, and now five times a week, looking for getting that 7 times a week. Thanks for answering!

        • Stijn van Willigen August 21, 2017 at 19:41

          More than welcome, Felipe. Keep me updated on how it goes for you. Be wary that you divide your current training volume over those 5 days, instead of ramping that up too much.

  2. Karbon August 11, 2017 at 06:10

    I can’t see how you take volume (number of sets and reps) into account. There has to be a difference in recovery time between one set of hip thrusts and 6 sets of hip thrusts (all down for 10 reps with PRE 9), hasn’t it?

    So, with less volume you should need less recovery time and be able to train more frequently. But I think that aspect is missing in your calculation.

    • Stijn van Willigen August 16, 2017 at 18:27

      Hello Karbon,

      Definitely, this will indeed change for amount of volume for one training. The calculator assumes a reasonable 4 – 8 sets of Glute exercises per workout. Less sets need less recovery time. But there isn’t THAT much difference between, say, 3 and 5 sets. Again, the calculator doesn’t give an exact number. It simply gives an estimate to go off and experiment with yourself.

  3. Melissa August 24, 2017 at 14:36

    Thank you so much for such a great calculator. I found your website from your guest post on Bret Contreras’ website and became an instant fan. Maybe I’m imagining this, but did you comment somewhere that you were making a guide for losing fat while also building the glutes? Maybe my imagination is making things up. 😛

    • Stijn van Willigen August 30, 2017 at 00:41

      Hello Melissa,
      You’re more than welcome. Your memory’s not deceiving you. I’m indeed writing such an eGuide. I have a list of people that will be able to get the first copies. If you would like me to add you, please email stijnvanwilligen@gmail.com with your email address.

  4. Sara October 13, 2017 at 00:21

    Hello thanks for all this great info, I’m just wondering why calculator gives me 8 times per week :p I’m using pumpers (lower range) and 5.6 with stretchers. I know I’m missing something cause certainly I can’t do stretchers every day of the week hehe could you please explain? Thanks a lot !

    • Stijn van Willigen October 16, 2017 at 08:40

      Hello Sara, it may actually surprise a lot of women how often they can train their glutes.
      If your stress levels are low, and you’re quite advanced (high level of glute development) you can train them very often. See section 9 of our article at bayesianbodybuilding for more info: https://bayesianbodybuilding.com/why-women-should-not-train-like-men/

      When deciding how often you should train the glutes per week, 2 factors are important:
      1) exercise type (like you correctly said, stretchers take longer to recover from)
      2) training experience (I didn’t discuss this in my article on training frequency for the glutes, but it’s very important to consider)

      How is your Hip Thrust strength? Then I can see if 8 times per week is indeed optimal for you if doing stretchers.

  5. Sara October 21, 2017 at 03:45

    Thank you for your time, I just saw your answer and read the other article very interesting and I agree after HIIT I feel drained !! 🙂 I can tell you after stretchers on day 2 I still feel it and day 3 is almost gone as day 4 I have fully recovered to not feel it at all. I do 3 sets of 8 reps 95 – 105 pounds but I don’t think I have strong glutes at all, my legs are strong though. I’m also not sure how many excersices I should be doing per day if I were to train 4 times a week 2 leg days (trying to hit as mentioned in the article all the glutes) or how to distribute the 8 suggested here. Thank you Stijn

    • Stijn van Willigen October 21, 2017 at 19:36

      You’re welcome, Sara.
      Very good. Indeed, your body perceives HIIT almost like the same type of stress as a weightlifting workout.

      Without detailed counseling, I can not help your individual case. To give you something to work with, I advise doing between 15 and 35 sets for the glutes per week. I would advise doing 1 main exercise for the glutes per day.

      Ideally, you’d train the glutes every day and switch around doing something like: day 1 hip thrust, day 2 romanian deadlift, 3 bulgarian split squat and repeat. You can play around with this to see when you make most progress. If you can only train 4 days, definitely train the glutes every of those workouts.

      Hope that helped.

  6. Alisson November 4, 2017 at 13:38

    Hi, I would like to know how many exercises I should put in a 4-day gluteal routine, I mean how many stretchers, activators and pumps.

    • Stijn van Willigen November 5, 2017 at 18:01

      Hi Alisson,
      This depends on how advanced you are. If you’re very advanced, you’ll need more different exercises to keep the glute growth going (up to 4-5). If you’re a beginner, the hip thrust and bulgarian split squat/romanian deadlift will suffice, along with some accessory abduction/rotation exercises.

      Basically, I can not give you a good answer without knowing how strong you are in the hip thrust (which tells me how advanced your glutes are).

      • Alisson November 9, 2017 at 21:15

        Hello, the truth is that I am not a beginner, as far as hip thrust I can lift 225 lbs.
        I want to train 4 times the buttocks a week and 2 legs, but as I told you, I do not know how many sets of each exercise and how many exercises (stretchers, activators and pumps).

        A

        this is my training:

        Monday: Legs + Glute Pump (Stretchers + Pumpers)
        Tuesday: Glutes (Activators + Pumpers)
        Wednesday: Chest + Back* + Glute Pump (Pumpers)
        Thursday: Lower Body Strength (Stretchers + Pumpers)
        Friday: Arms* + Glute Pump (Pumpers)
        Saturday: Glutes (Activators)

  7. Alisson November 6, 2017 at 16:54

    Hello, the truth is that I am not a beginner, as far as hip thrust I can lift 225 lbs.
    I want to train 4 times the buttocks a week and 2 legs, but as I told you, I do not know how many sets of each exercise and how many exercises (stretchers, activators and pumps).

    Aqui esta en el entrenamiento:

    Monday: Legs + Glute Pump (Stretchers + Pumpers)
    Tuesday: Glutes (Activators + Pumpers)
    Wednesday: Chest + Back* + Glute Pump (Pumpers)
    Thursday: Lower Body Strength (Stretchers + Pumpers)
    Friday: Arms* + Glute Pump (Pumpers)
    Saturday: Glutes (Activators)

    • Stijn van Willigen November 9, 2017 at 21:31

      Hi Alisson,
      Ah all right, if that’s for multiple repetitions that’s pretty advanced.
      A setup like this actually looks good! Maybe perform stretchers+activators on saturday instead of monday, as you’ve got an extra day to recover from them then. Aim for 20-30 stretcher/activator sets per week and you’re golden I think.

      Make sure you try to get stronger on the important exercises like the romanian deadlift and hip thrust to get your glutes to the next level.
      Good luck!

  8. Alisson November 9, 2017 at 22:30

    Thanks for answering.
    It would be bad if what would do the day Saturday that were activators do it on Friday, so I would leave Saturday and Sunday free?

    • Stijn van Willigen November 15, 2017 at 20:46

      Sounds like a good idea.

  9. Samantha November 12, 2017 at 18:53

    hello, could you tell me examples of triggers that are not in the image.

    • Stijn van Willigen November 15, 2017 at 20:47

      Hello Samantha,
      What do you mean by triggers?

  10. Samantha November 18, 2017 at 20:29

    Hello, sorry I mean examples of activators.

    • Stijn van Willigen November 25, 2017 at 14:56

      Ah, some good examples are Step-ups, Hip thrusts, Cable pull-throughs, and Donkey (pendulum) kickbacks.

  11. Kiana November 30, 2017 at 23:34

    Hello,
    I am a bit confused with the extent of the calculator. When entering my stats, the calculator says I should train glutes 9-10 times per week. Can many of these sessions be just bands (or ‘pumpers’)? And how many sets should I be doing each time I work the glutes? I usually do pretty high volume (high number of sets) leg days 3x/wk with a variety of exercise types. I see that you recommended about 8 sets of glute work in a session for a previous commenter which is FAR less than I would typically do. Wouldn’t reducing my volume drastically result in less hypertrophy? And are there different ideal number of sets for different types of exercises (stretchers vs pumpers vs activators)? Thank you!

    • Stijn van Willigen December 2, 2017 at 12:01

      Hello Kiana,
      Amount of sets heavily depends on the type of exercise. For example you could do 20 sets of pumpers and recover fine, but 5 sets of stretchers would take longer. Try to always get stronger on the main exercises for the glutes, because a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle. Examples of these are: Romanian deadlifts, rack pulls with focus on glutes, barbell hip thrusts, split squats, etc. You can add in glute pumpers, sure, but for most people they shouldn’t constitute the ‘bread and butter’ of your program.

      Remember that 9-10 times per week is an estimate. But yes, some women fare well on training their glutes twice daily. If you’re really as advanced as you say (strength-wise) aim for 20-30 sets of stretchers and activators (combined) per week. You may add in pumpers, but it’s not entirely necessary.

  12. Katia December 9, 2017 at 13:22

    Hi, could you tell me what kind of exercises are these:
    1.Lying Cable Bent Knee Hip Extensions off Bench
    2. Lying Cable Leg Curls
    3. Lying Cable Leg Extensions
    4. Standing Cable Hip Extensions
    5. Standing Cable Hip Extensions Bent Knee
    6. Standing Cable Hip Flexion
    7. Lying Cable Hip Extensions Bent Knee

    Thank you

    • Stijn van Willigen December 10, 2017 at 13:43

      Hi Katia,

      All of the exercises you mentioned are Activators, as is mostly the case with cable exercises. Band exercises are often Pumpers, and barbell/dumbbell exercises are often (but not always) stretchers due to the nature of the force pull from gravity at longer muscle lengths.

      If you have any other questions concerning the article I’d be glad to answer.

  13. Katia December 14, 2017 at 16:53

    Hello, if I put weight on frog pumps, could I become an activator?
    Thank you

    • Stijn van Willigen December 17, 2017 at 09:25

      Definitely. Basically it becomes a glute-emphasized glute bridge. Great idea actually.

  14. Sofia December 16, 2017 at 21:39

    Hello, a consultation in stage of definition can train 4 times the buttocks to the week, in the calculator it came out to me 4 times and that I train, of course thank you very much.

    • Stijn van Willigen December 17, 2017 at 09:26

      Your intuition was right, which is pretty rare when it comes to glute training. Great job and you’re welcome.

  15. Rachel December 28, 2017 at 16:28

    Hello Stijn!

    After doing this calculator, my results came back that I should be training glutes 10.5 times a week…I’m a little excited and confused by this.
    Could you please explain how it is possible to train glutes 10.5xs a week and what that would look like?
    Really trying to optimize glute growth as always!
    Thank you!!

    • Stijn van Willigen December 30, 2017 at 12:16

      Hello Rachel,
      This means you’re very advanced. Are you sure about your stress levels? People tend to underestimate these.

      For some women (such as pro competitors) it’s optimal to do 2 training sessions per day. This is how you could optimize it if you’d really want to:
      Training 5x per week
      Morning workout:
      Bulgarian split squat – 3 sets
      Pumper exercise of choice (optional) – 2 sets

      Evening (home) workout:
      Single-leg hip thrust – 3 sets
      Pumper exercise of choice (optional) – 2 sets

      Of course, you should rotate between all major glute exercises. Generally, romanian deadlifts and bulgarians go well with hip thrust variations on the same day. Squats go together well with more isolated weighted glute exercises on the same day (kickbacks, etc.)

      I do recommend recalculating your optimal training frequency using my other articles (more precise) calculators to make sure: http://bodylogiq.org/en/optimal-training-frequency-glutes-part-2-training-status-stress/

  16. Hein January 4, 2018 at 15:23

    Hi Stijn

    I am a skinny guy who managed to get my weight up from 53kg to 60kg in the last two years. Year one I was on a Mass Builder and year two I decided to up my nutrition and water only.

    It paid of good dividends whilst I did not get to 65kg I am happy with the growth. I started following Bret and my mind was blown after I tried the hip thrust. Being a skinny guy who has never done sports – all the exercises great exercises (squat, deadlifts etc.) hurt my lower back. Until I got the glute exercises in.

    Now its one of my favorite exercises and I recommend it to everyone. My current best incline leg press is at 210kg. I can do RDL’s, I can Squat and hip thrust drop sets 70kg, 65, 55 etc.

    The calculator estimated I can exercise glutes 3.5 per week. My question I guess is, in this 3 day cycle- can I barbell hip thrust on every glute day (is it recommended) or do I variate considerably? As I have noticed If I do drop sets lets say Tuesday and do low to high sets Thursday or Friday I only feel the glutes at the higher KG’s (60 and up). Or is there a better way of growing.

    As I always try to incorporate various squats, box jumps, Bulgarian squats etc on days when I do not do glutes so I am always doing stretches. An example is:

    Monday
    Spin class

    Tuesday
    Back and Glutes

    Wednesday
    Chest + Arms and Calves

    Thursday
    rest day or Shoulder +Legs and glutes

    But if I do it thrice a week with two cardio classes – I would like to gain and not just do it for the sake of doing thrice if that makes sense.

    Excuse this long post.

    • Stijn van Willigen January 7, 2018 at 07:41

      Hey Hein,

      Good for you that you discovered the Hip thrust. Bret struck gold with that exercise. Definitely change up exercises to allow max recovery from the movement pattern. I really like the combo of Hip thrusts day 1, RDLs day 2, and Bulgarian splits day 3.

      The most important thing is tracking progress on these exercises. A stronger glute muscle is a bigger glute muscle, so make sure you’re getting stronger on these exercises over time to know you’re getting somewhere. Try to get a logical systems, only do squats step ups, etc. when youre actually training glutes that day, which for you should be 3.5 times per week.

      • Hein January 8, 2018 at 07:31

        Hi Stijn

        Thanks for the feedback, I will track according a three month schedule and keep glute day’s to glute only.

  17. Rachel January 10, 2018 at 17:30

    Hi Stijn,

    I’ve recently read your part 1 and this article and calculated my glutes to be elite. Even at high stress times I should be able to workout my glutes 5x a week. My question is how soreness correlates with the SRA curve? I’ve created a 4 day glute split of; Wednesay (activators & pumpers), Thursday (arms & pumpers), Friday (stretchers & pumpers) and Sunday (stretchers & activators). I’ve kept my weekly sets for stretchers and activators around 30-35. I did the first workout two days ago and my glutes are still pretty sore, does that meant he SRA curve is not finished or do these two things have nothing to do with eachother and should I just push through the soreness for my next glute workout?

    I hope that made sense! Thank you!

    • Stijn van Willigen January 13, 2018 at 14:16

      Hi Rachel,
      Soreness is an indicator of muscle damage, which often occurs when a muscle hasn’t been trained in a while. Being sore is not related to how much the muscle will grow, however. Don’t stress it too much. Your glutes aren’t accustomed to this sudden increase in volume yet. You should be fine after 1-2 weeks of following your new program. You can push through the soreness. Just make sure it doesn’t prevent you from doing the movements correctly. Then it’s wise to wait a day extra.

  18. nina January 12, 2018 at 14:06

    Hi, what do you think about training glutes every day and switch like : day 1 hip thrust , day 2 romanian dealift, day 3 bulgarian split squat etc and add some activators and stretchers ?
    Is it wrong to do every day a stretcher exercise knowing that it takes longer to recover from ?

    • Stijn van Willigen January 13, 2018 at 14:18

      Hey Nina, that’s totally fine. Well, when your glutes are advanced/elite training status they recover quite quickly, even from stretchers, so they can be performed quite frequently. It’s different when you’re a highly stressed beginner of course, then you’ll likely need more rest between your glute sessions. You can read more about it in my newest article: https://bayesianbodybuilding.com/optimal-training-frequency-glutes-part-ii/

  19. Kira Ortmann@online.de January 15, 2018 at 11:14

    Hey, I am totally confused… Is it okay if I train my legs/glutes twice a week on Monday and Friday and do three tretchers in each workout and activators? Your calculator says I am an advanced Trainee.. So my plan would by on Mondays: Hip Thrusts (4sets), Romanian Deadlifts (4 Sets), Bulgarian Squats (3 Sets), step ups (3 Sets) and Banded Kick Backs and on Fridays: Squats (4 sets), Hip Thrusts (4 Sets), Lunges (3 sets), legpress(2 sets) and abduction (3 sets).Would you say that this plan is good or too much? I am also bulking and eating in a calorie Surplus.

    • Stijn van Willigen January 18, 2018 at 13:46

      Hi Kira,
      You in particular could get a lot better results by spreading the exercises over 4-6 days in the week: make sure the total number of sets per week stays the same.

      • Kira January 18, 2018 at 16:11

        but why would it be better to spread the exercises over 4-6 days instead of doing them on two days ? MY worload would be the same? And I don´t have more time than two days for training legs.. Is my way uneffective?

        • Stijn van Willigen January 21, 2018 at 09:52

          It’s better because at your level of glute advancedness, your glutes only grow about 24-36 hours after a workout. If you only train 2 times per week this leaves about 4 days out of the week where your glutes aren’t growing. Of course, if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, training 2 times is still effective, but it’s not optimal.

          • Kira January 21, 2018 at 12:04

            do we talk about with two times Training my glutes its only 80 % effective instead of 100 % or do you think there is more difference? Personally, I also have a huge volume in my workouts and when I train like I want I have counted 40 sets or even a littble bit more for my glutes in a week. Do you think that is still okay or too much?

  20. Kira January 21, 2018 at 12:40

    and would it be a good idea despite my huge amount of sets to involve one day where I only do pumper exercices for my glutes? With this way I would train them three times instead of only two. And on my usual leg days I perform all the stretchers and activators? But I am worrying about that, because then the number of my sets increases

    • Stijn van Willigen January 25, 2018 at 18:16

      Training 2x per week instead of 6x for example would be 50-70% as effective, if I can estimate. Better to take 2 exercises from your main workouts and do those at home if you only want to go to the gym 2x per week.

      For example:

      Workout 1 (gym)
      Squat
      Hip thrust

      Workout 2 (home)
      Single-leg hip thrust on bed

      Workout 3 (gym)
      Deadlift
      Bulgarian split squat

      Workout 4 (home)
      Banded Bulgarian split squat on bed

      For 25-35 sets in total.

      • Kira January 26, 2018 at 17:15

        But I do my stretchers heavy till moderate heavy and I don´t wanna omit this… at home I don´t have weight for those exercices, so I have to do them in the gym… This whole worout schedule Thing is making me crazy, cause I want the good results so much… Can you maybe tell me how I can do many stretchers in 2 sessions and still make good results? I have already told you what stretchers I usually do and I don´t want to relinquish my sets of stretchers. And are 40 sets still okay for glutes/legs in a week?

      • Kira January 26, 2018 at 17:18

        I also have the feeling after a workout where I´ve done less sets than normal and in total maybe only 30 sets instead of 40 in a week that this is not enough, since after my workouts I still feel fresh in this case and don´t feel much in glutes.. Or is this normal ?

  21. Amanda January 23, 2018 at 21:04

    I am considered elite level but I don’t think I am training enough. Can you critique what I am doing currently?

    So far I do the following:

    Monday
    Low bar squats
    Leg Press
    Lunges
    Leg Curls
    Heavy Hip Thrust

    Friday:
    Deadlift
    Hip Thrust (Light to moderate)
    Moderate high bar squat
    Single Leg Deadlifts
    Back Extensions

    What type of exercises do you recommend me adding? I train 6 days a week.

    • Stijn van Willigen January 25, 2018 at 18:12

      Hi Amanda,
      You only train Monday and Friday but you train 6x per week?
      I suggest spreading 30-40 sets of Activators/stretchers over the 6 days. So about 6 total sets per training session. You can add in pumper work as you please.

      It’s so important not to do too many exercises per single session. Spreading is better than piling up. Especially when you’re Elite.

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