Tip: Train Your Glutes for a Bigger Squat

Here's what to do before, during, and after squats to activate, strengthen, and grow your glutes.

While everyone knows you need strong glutes for a strong squat, many lifters don't know how to get there. Try out these tips before, during, and after your next squat session and watch your squat numbers skyrocket.

Activate your glutes with simple isolation exercises such as seated abductions and stability ball hamstring curls. These won't hinder your performance in the big movement, but will wake up the important players.

Seated Abductions

These will fire up your external hip rotators, preventing the knees from caving in as you squat.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

These wake up your posterior chain, allowing the big players back there to take some heat off the quads and knees.

Programming: Hit each of these in between warm-up sets on your heavy squat day. One set of each will do. Do 20-30 reps of the abductions (until you feel some burn) and 10-15 reps of the hamstring curls.

Three cues will play a major role in the stability and overall strength of your squat. All of them activate your hip's external rotators – the muscles responsible for ensuring your knees don't buckle in.

  1. Pull the floor apart with your feet
  2. Drive your knees apart while descending and ascending
  3. Turn your toes out

Start doing this on lighter days and with lighter sets so that once you get to the heavy sets it'll be natural and unconscious.

Hammer the glutes with lots of volume once you're done with your major compound exercises. Some options:


Do 10-15 reps per leg.

Glute Ham Raise

Do a minimum of 25 reps per set.

Reverse Hyper

Ideally you can use a reverse hyper machine, or you can improvise like I do.

Perform a minimum of 25 reps per set.

Programming: Remember, we're talking about volume here. This means you have to hit your glutes with a lot of reps. These powerful workhorses can handle a lot more than you think.

Gavin McHale is a former hockey player and skinny kid turned online strength coach and lifter. Galvin helps clients rebuild the athletic body they used to have using no-nonsense strength-training methods. Follow Gavin McHale on Facebook