The glutes are a surprisingly fickle muscle group. Often, you feel like you're working them, but you're only working part of them—and not even that hard!
Think about those classic butt-builders like squats, deadlifts, step-ups, and lunges. Sure, they all hit the gluteus maximus, but the truth is that the quads and hamstrings usually "butt in" on these movements and hog most of the muscle activation. Even the increasingly popular hip thrust can use as much quad as butt!
“In short, it’s the intensity and volume of your workouts, how often you’re training, how many sets you’re doing, in total, per body part, and whether you’re getting sufficient protein quality and quantity,” says Arent. We’ll go into the nutrition specifics in a bit; but if you’re aiming for at least a gram of protein per pound of body weight, that’s a good place to start. Though, Arent notes, recent research says a little more protein might even be better. Rest and recovery is also a huge component. Give your muscles time to repair and give them the nutrients necessary to do that. Protein gives your body amino acids that repair, build, and maintain muscle; and carbs replenish your energy stores and get you ready for the next intense workout.