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. To assess whether your Glutes are truly recovered, look at your Glute strength compared to the previous workout. This calculator can help you with that. 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.

Your own optimized glute training program

Want a training program that’s optimized to your glutes’ training status and sleep and stress levels? Have a look here.

 

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.