There’s nothing more satisfying after a long workout than to wake up the next day with sore muscles - especially if you’re trying to grow your glutes. But if your glutes are sore, are they growing?
by CHLOE ALEXANDER on
June 19, 2022
Having sore glutes doesn’t mean that you’re growing your bum – in fact, it can actually mean the opposite. In this article, I’m going to explain what it means to have sore glutes, how to grow your glutes without compromising your progress, and how to treat sore glutes to maximise your results.
What does it mean when your glutes are sore?
There’s something inherently satisfying about having a sore booty after a killer gym sesh – who doesn’t love working their bum off in exchange for that sore glute feeling the morning after? But what does it actually mean when your glutes are sore, and does it mean that your glutes are growing?
Put simply, having sore glutes doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that your glute muscles were worked out. Soreness after working out comes from the muscle fibers breaking down during use: when the muscle fibers break down, they re-make themselves stronger than before, which is when you experience muscle gains and a fuller booty.
Sore glutes basically indicate that you’re strengthening your muscles, which is a good sign if you’re trying to grow your bum. However, building your glutes isn’t going to be achieved by soreness alone – you need to combine your hard workouts with a protein-rich diet, enough rest days and an adequate understanding of your physical limits. Overworking muscles to the point of exhaustion – aka lifting too heavy or for too long – is counterproductive and will set back your gains.
Does soreness mean muscle growth?
Yes and no. As I explained above, soreness does indicate that you successfully broke down the muscle fibers in your glutes, and when they repair themselves, will be stronger than before.
However, you can actually shrink your bum if you’re combining hard workouts (hard enough to create a sore bum the morning after) and little-to-no nutrition and rest. Put simply, if you’re working out your muscles to the point of “damage”, you need to actively contribute to their rebuilding.
This means taking adequate rest days (where your muscles have a chance to repair and re-strengthen) as well as nourishing your muscles with protein-rich food such as lean meats, eggs, nuts, fish and lentils.
If you workout your glutes to the point of muscle exhaustion and don’t eat enough, you’re actually going to risk having smaller glutes than when you first started training. A diet rich in healthy proteins, a good night’s sleep and rest days are all super important if you want a fuller, fabber booty.
Should I workout glutes if they are sore?
In general, the recommended guidance for strength training is 2-3 times a week. For example, if you’re working out your lower body on Monday, you should wait until Wednesday until you strength train again, before taking up your third session on Saturday. Typically, any muscle soreness should dissipate after 24 hours, meaning that you don’t need to be working the same muscles while they’re still sore. (This same rule applies to HIIT cardio and other types of intense exercise; it’s important to let the body rest and recover.)
However, after a particularly killer workout, you might experience sore muscles that can last longer than a day, up to 2-3 days. If your muscles are still super sore, we’d recommend taking a rest day and doing some low-impact exercises, or working the upper body with strength training. You could also focus on body toning, rather than lifting weights or doing intense cardio.
How long does it take for glutes to grow?
With the right diet and the right workout routine, you can expect your glutes to grow in around 18 months – 2 years. While this might seem an astronomical time to wait to see gains, I’m talking about the final result – aka, once you get the booty you’re after.
However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t see results before then. With a dynamic training programme, you’ll notice that your bum becomes rounder, less square, and more lifted the more that you exercise with weights. You’ll also notice that you develop more toned, shapely thighs and a more toned lower back.
When it comes to strength training, it’s not a quick race or overnight solution. You should measure your strength training success not just by the appearance of your glutes or body, but by your strength. There’s a real satisfaction in increasing your weights and stamina during a sweaty lower body workout – so celebrate the small gains!
How do I know if I am gaining muscle or fat?
The easiest way to tell if you’re gaining muscle is to see how your clothes fit. It’s common for many of us – especially women – to work out for a few weeks, hop on the scale enthusiastically only to find out that we’ve gained a few lbs.
This is actually 100% normal – muscle weighs more than fat, so while you might be shedding belly fat and bum fat, your body is probably building muscle at the same time. This is especially true if you do strength training workouts several times a week.
The best way to check if you’re gaining muscle will be to measure how your clothes fit. You can also use a measuring tape, although I wouldn’t advise you to get hung up on numbers, especially if you’re female and your body fluctuates during your monthly cycle.
Plus, there’s no way to “gain” fat when you’re working out – the only way to put on weight is by eating an excess number of calories. The only weight you can put on via exercise is muscle.
The bottom line? (Pardon the pun!)
So, sore glutes = growing bum? Yes, but it’s not the full picture! To ensure maximum booty gains, make sure to supplement your workouts with a protein-rich diet and 1-2 rest days every week.
I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.