By David Thurin

Understanding the Difference: Visible vs. Usable Glutes



In today's fitness world, everyone seems to be chasing the perfect booty, but there's more to it than meets the eye.

While a rounded and prominent backside is visually appealing, it's essential to understand the difference between a booty that's just "visible" and one that's truly "usable."

Let's dive into the distinctions and how to train for both aesthetics and function.

The Distinction between Visible and Usable Glutes

Visible Glutes

These are the glutes you can see - the result of increased muscle mass in the area. While adding some extra body fat might accentuate this appearance, remember it's majorly governed by your genetics.

There's a common belief out there: if it's big, it must be strong. But a pronounced booty doesn't always translate to functionality.

Usable Glutes

What are Usable Glutes? Usable glutes aren't just about appearance; they're built to perform. These muscles are developed by training them through their full length, ensuring they're equipped for various movements and demands.

While many exercises target the glutes in a shortened position, it's pivotal to also train them in their extended state. This ensures a more comprehensive workout, catering to the muscle's full range.

One primary function of the glutes that cannot be stressed enough is hip extension. It's a movement fundamental to various exercises and daily activities.


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The Pitfall of Only Training Short Position

When we limit our glute training to short positions, we're missing out on a significant aspect of its potential. By not addressing the lengthened position, we overlook the muscle's full capacity and risk limiting our strength, especially in exercises like squats. 

Think about it: squats require your glutes to work through a broad range of motion, particularly in the deep, lengthened position. By ignoring this range, we're setting ourselves up for imbalances, reduced power, and even potential injuries.

So, as you focus on building that picture-perfect booty, remember to balance your training. It's not just about the 'show', but also the 'go'.

Effective Exercises for Building Usable Glutes

Pursuing a robust and functional derrière is not just about looking good; it's about ensuring that the muscles are versatile and up for any challenge. Here are two top-tier exercises that focus on making your glutes not only visible but also genuinely usable:

1. Pigeon Good Morning

The Pigeon Good Morning is an exceptional exercise to introduce the glutes to a lengthened position, ensuring they're stretched and engaged comprehensively.

  • Starting Position: Begin with your legs in a lengthened position. This means one leg extended behind you and the other bent in front, resembling the pigeon pose in yoga.
  • Modifications: If you're just starting out or find the exercise a tad challenging, there's a simpler way: bend the back leg. This tweak provides better stability and less strain while still effectively working the glutes.
  • Rep Recommendations: Like any new exercise, it's best to start slow and steady. Aim for 10 reps on each side, ensuring you maintain proper form throughout.

2. Hip Thrusts

When it comes to glute activation, few exercises compare to the efficiency of the Hip Thrust. This move targets the glutes in their shortened position, making them contract and work hard.

  • Position: For this exercise, start seated on the ground with your shoulders against a bench, feet planted firmly in front, and a weight (like a barbell) resting on your lap. As you push through your heels, lift your hips off the ground until they align with your body, squeezing the glutes at the top.
  • Variations: Depending on your fitness level, you can choose between:
  • Single Leg: An advanced version where you perform the hip thrust with one foot on the ground and the other extended out. This demands more strength and balance.
  • Both Legs: Ideal for beginners, this variation uses both legs for support, ensuring better stability while still providing a good burn.

Training Tip

To achieve the best of both worlds – lengthening and contraction – alternate between Pigeon Good Morning and Hip Thrusts. Perform a set of the former followed by the latter, bouncing back and forth for a few sets. This combo ensures your glutes are getting a comprehensive workout, enhancing both visibility and usability.

Disclaimer: This is fitness advice. Please consult with your doctor before starting any new training routines.


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Why You Should Train Both Your "Show" and "Go" Glutes?

Let's chat about why making your glutes both good-looking and fully functional is the real deal. Trust me, your future self (and jeans) will thank you.

1. Look Good, Feel Even Better

Who doesn't want a peachy derrière that steals the spotlight? By working on those visible glutes, you’re not only turning heads but also walking with that extra pep in your step. Think about it: when was the last time a compliment didn’t make your day?

2. Up Your Game in Sports

Ever noticed how top athletes often have toned booties? That's the power of usable glutes. Imagine sprinting faster, jumping higher, or even dancing with more flair. Usable glutes are like that secret sauce in your athletic burger. 🍔 Ready to get saucy?

3. Stay Safe, Avoid Ouchies

Imagine doing a deep squat and... ouch! We've all been there. Strong and functional glutes mean less strain on your knees and back. Why risk a cringe-y injury when prevention is just a squat away?

4. Stand Tall and Proud

Slouching - it's a bad habit most of us have. Did you know functional glutes help you maintain a boss-like posture? Yup, working on those glutes is like giving yourself an invisible spine-supporting cape.

5. Be Ready for Anything

Ever had to lift a heavy suitcase? Or suddenly chase after a bus? Functional glutes ensure you're not just standing there looking pretty but can spring into action. And who doesn’t love being the unexpected hero now and then?

6. Let’s Talk Flexy

"Stay Flexy" isn't just a cool phrase; it's some real advice. Think about it: if muscles were like elastic bands, wouldn't you want yours to stretch without snapping? Flexibility in your glutes ensures you move like a well-oiled machine. Ready to glide through life?

So, buddy, while that Instagram-perfect booty is a definite win, how about leveling up with glutes that do as good as they look? After all, isn’t it cool to have a backside that not only rocks those jeans but also rocks your fitness world? 


Alright, my fitness-curious friend, here's the deal: while chasing those aesthetically pleasing glute goals, let's not forget the powerhouse of potential they hold for our overall health and performance. It's a two-for-one deal – a booty that's both show-stopping and action-packed. 

So, the next time you’re working up a sweat, remember to give some love to both the "show" and the "go" of those glutes. After all, why settle for one when you can have the best of both worlds? Let's make every squat count! Stay Flexy.