Your optimal training frequency for the Glutes part 2: training status and stress

How often should (wo)men train their backsides for optimal results? In my previous article I showed how different exercise types affect the optimal training frequency for the glutes. Still, many people asked me how they should go about designing their ideal glute program. It’s frustrating to put in all those hours of training into a routine, without being sure it’s right for you.

Is your current program right for you?
My answer is always: it depends. On different factors that we will unravel in this article.

Read the full article on



2018-01-05T05:08:33+00:00December 28th, 2017|14 Comments


  1. Irina at - Reply

    Awesome article!! Very detailed and explains a lot without BS. Thank you!

    • Stijn van Willigen at - Reply

      Thanks, Irina!

  2. Emily Summers at - Reply

    Great article ! I don’t have Facebook so cannot join in the discussion there so decided to write here. After using the calculator on the article, I ended up in the ‘Elite’ category. At the moment I am doing 4 legs days per week, on one day doing back squats and hip thrusts with weighted seated abductors, low weight Romanian deadlifts and a pumper to finish. On my other day, I do very heavy Romanian deadlifts with single leg press, leg press, lifted seated abductors and pumpers to finish. I normally leave one day between these workouts, however after reading your articles I am worried I may be over-exercising my glutes, therefore impeding muscle development. Although I am leaving four days between a particular stretcher exersize e.g. hip thrusts, are these stretcher exercises all the same ? I was wondering whether this kind of split is ok for my muscle development in general? I am a pretty lean and small-framed person and find it hard to grow muscle. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated ! Thanks, Emily

    • Stijn van Willigen at - Reply

      Thanks, Emily.
      Are you getting stronger from workout to workout? This is the single most important thing to assess to determine whether your program is right for you. You can hypothesize about the optimal amount of reps, sets, and exercises all day long, but if it doesn’t translate into results something needs to change.
      Again, consistently gaining strength over the long term is the best way to assess whether your glutes are getting enough recovery, and are growing. If that’s happening, keep doing what you’re doing.

  3. Jo at - Reply

    Hi Stijn, thank you so much for your informative articles on this topic! I have a possibly quick question regarding sets. I am curious as to how many sets to aim for each week for activators, stretchers, and pumpers. Your calculator tells me to train glutes 5.3 times per week. Currently, the program I came up with has about 26 sets of stretchers, 26 sets of activators, and miscellaneous pumpers (about 14-26). What is an optimal approach to programming sets and reps? (I will follow up with a more detailed programming post if this does not give you enough insight)

    • Stijn van Willigen at - Reply

      Hello Jo and thank you.
      Optimal glute training volume depends on how advanced you are. Most of my clients are intermediate so I’ll assume you are, too.

      A total of 50-60 activator and stretcher sets per week is very likely way too much volume to recover from. I recommend you get this down to 20-30 sets per week spread over 5 workouts and see what happens.

  4. Erika at - Reply

    Hi Stijn, thanks so much for the great article! After using the calculator it says that I’m elite and said to train 8 times a week. Currently, I train legs 2 times a week, one being quad dominant, the other hamstring dominant. After reading the article I’m open to changing this up to have a more of a glute focus. What do you recommend my split be in regards to the different stretcher/activator/pump exercises? I’m also a bit confused after reading the first article, should I only be doing 6 sets of 8-12 total for stretcher exercise per workout? Would more sets hinder growth? What if I added more sets but less reps?

    • Stijn van Willigen at - Reply

      Hi Erika, thanks so much. My philosophy has changed quite a lot since my first article; I actually think activators and stretchers should be a part of every workout if possible.
      If you’re indeed elite and low stress high sleep you can experiment with that. You should look at sets per week. For you, 25-35 glute sets per week is probably appropriate. If you spread that out over 7 workouts, then this means 3-5 glute sets per workout.

      This seems little, I know, but it’s very important that you keep to it because all that counts here is total weekly volume. You probably won’t be able to recover from anything more with 7x per week training.
      Example would be: training day 2 sets of romanian deadlifts and 2 sets of split quats, with 3 sets of monster walks (accessory). Band exercises dont count too heavily towards total sets per week, so this is a total of 4 sets for this workout. Rotate exercises over multiple days: day A RDL and BSS, day B Squats and Hip thrust, Day C Glute back extensions and kickbacks, etc.

      Hope it helps!

  5. Nikita Coenen at - Reply

    Maybe I read your articles too fast of I don’t fully understand all the English (I’m from Belgium), but when the calculator suggests doing 3,5 glute workouts a week, does it mean workouts build around stretchers? AKA doing squats this many times a week? Or would it be allright if I have 2 days with excercises like squats, hip thrusts and lunges, and then a third (and a half?) workout with mostly pumpers? Am not really sure how to set up my program now. Thanks in advance!

    • Stijn van Willigen at - Reply

      Hi Nikita, I advise to do the Activator/Stretchers every workout in this case. You should view Pumpers mostly as an add-on. My views on these type of exercises has changed some. So again, the bread and butter of your program should be Activators/stretchers.

      For example, for 3.5 workouts per week:
      Workout A – 4 sets of Romanian deadlifts + 1 accessory glute exercise for 2 sets
      Workout B – 4 sets of Squats + 1 accessory glute exercise for 2 sets
      Workout C – 4 sets of Hip thrusts + 1 accessory glute exercise for 2 sets

      That’s about 16-24 sets of Glutes per week which should be plenty for a beginner/intermediate level woman.

  6. Karina at - Reply

    Hi Stijn, thanks for the great article! After using the calculator it says that I’m advanced. Also it said to train 5.3 times a week. Currently, I train legs 2 times a week, one being quad/glute dominant, the other hamstring/glute dominant. After reading the article I’m a little confused on how to approach my workouts. I am open to changing to have more of a glute focus routine, and see growth.
    What do you recommend my split be in regards to the different stretcher/activator/pump exercises?

    Should I have something like :
    day 1 = 4 sets of sumo deadlift + 4 sets of hip trusts + 4 sets of lunges 3 sets Frog pumps + 3 Barbell Band
    Glute Bridge total of 18 sets

    and have a second day of another 16-18 sets? for a total of 30-35 sets per week?

    • Stijn van Willigen at - Reply

      Sure thing, Karina!
      For 5.3 times per week training, try to distribute the 25-35 sets per week over those days. So about 7 sets per day in total.
      Day 1 could be 4 sets of sumo deadlift
      Day 2 could be 4 sets of hip thrust,

      Focus on the activators/stretchers, not so much the pumpers.
      Hope it helps!


  7. Leena at - Reply

    I don’t really know how to organize my workouts with the different exercises.Your calculator says 2,3 per week.I usually do 2 heavy leg/glute days a week and I feel sore for 2-3 days after.
    Would you recommend me doing a third day in between? Like pumpers…
    Thank you so much!
    This article was really interesting

    • Stijn van Willigen at - Reply

      Hey Leena,
      I would rather count the total sets you’re doing for glutes per week (including those from squats) and then ‘smear them’ over 3 days.
      For example it sounds like you are quite a beginner, so I advise 15 total sets of glutes per week. Divided over 3 days this means 5 sets of glutes per day
      Day A: 3 sets of bulgarian split squats, 2 sets of glute kickbacks
      Day B: 3 sets of romanian deadlifts, 2 sets of glute abduction machine
      Day C: 3 sets of squats, 2 sets of one-leg hip thrusts

      Does that make sense? It’s probably much less than you’re doing right now and that’s exactly the point: most women do *way too much volume* for their glutes.

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