Answer: The best exercise for glutes when you’re short on time is the exact same exercise you’d be using if time wasn’t an issue. To elaborate, whatever your key indicator lifts are right now (the priority exercises you strive to improve most), should remain the exercises you spend the most time and energy on improving regardless of how long you have to train.
Building an impressive physique requires a progression over time that forces adaptation. We know that repeating the exact same exercises for a number weeks will result in greater muscle hypertrophy (growth) than changing exercises every single workout. In part due to the repeated stimulation of certain muscle fibers specifically activated during that lift. Even, for example, a back squat using a barbell versus using a Smith machine would not result in the exact same fibers being repeatedly stimulated – Switching from doing barbell squats to Smith machine squats to hack squats over a 3-week period, as similar as they might seem, would not work to repeatedly stimulate the exact same muscle fibers in your quads. This would result in less quadriceps growth over those three weeks compared to sticking with just one squat variation.
For the novice lifter this isn’t as important, but for the experienced lifter looking to get the most out of their training then repeated efforts of the same lifts for weeks on end will be almost essential if any progress is to be seen. Of course, there becomes a point where that exercise stops working and need’s to be changed (e.g., after repeating it for 4-8 workouts or even more). But that doesn’t happen after doing it just once or twice.
Now, let’s just say that to grow your glutes a barbell hip thrust is your key indicator lift. Now, if you’re short on time then based on what we’ve already mentioned then it would make most sense to stay consistent and repeat that lift – Even if it were the only exercise you had time to do that day. Due to repeated “exposure” of the barbell hip thrust (your normal training plan includes it) theoretically your glutes would have benefitted and grown the most from that workout. As short as it might have been.
I’d much rather you stick to your structured training plan and chop some exercises off the end of your workouts to fit the time, as opposed to making up a random off-piste routine just to get a sweat on. The best exercise for glutes growth when you’re short on time is the one you’re already doing.
Time-saving superset for glutes
As a bonus, if you’re short on time then here’s a time-saving superset you could try for your glutes. Supersets can be a good way to condense your workouts into a smaller amount of time. Combining barbell hip thrusts (with or without the band) with seated band abductions train multiple functions of your glutes without needing to use different areas of the gym.
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