Estimating your Glute recovery time: a 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).


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.

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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.

2017-12-10T13:46:44+00:00 August 10th, 2017|27 Comments


  1. Felipe August 10, 2017 at 17:21 - Reply

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

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

      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: ).

      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 - Reply

        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 - Reply

          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 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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 with your email address.

  4. Sara October 13, 2017 at 00:21 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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:

      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 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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 - Reply

        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).


        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 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      Sounds like a good idea.

  9. Samantha November 12, 2017 at 18:53 - Reply

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

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

      Hello Samantha,
      What do you mean by triggers?

  10. Samantha November 18, 2017 at 20:29 - Reply

    Hello, sorry I mean examples of activators.

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

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

  11. Kiana November 30, 2017 at 23:34 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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 - Reply

    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 - Reply

      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.

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