The 3 Most Common Glute Building Mistakes - Coach Mark Carroll


May 5, 2022
Mark Carroll

These days, it seems like everyone wants to build big glutes… amazing – that is what I specialise in for clients! But being a coach who has done this for 15 years now, I notice the same kind of client comes to me with similar issues:

This person desperately has been trying their hardest to build glutes for a long time but has reached a sense of feeling at a total loss. It’s not a lack of effort always. People are working hard but their glute gains continue to struggle. 

“Mark, please help me fix this!” 

Done! I can do that! 

Now, before going into my own methods that help clients FINALLY build the glutes they have dreamed of, I want to share the common Glute training mistakes that I see over and over. I know this because it’s the same issue/s all the time. 

Here are the common mistakes and mistakes I want you to AVOID:

Mistake 1 – Putting a booty band around your knees on EVERY exercise

Nothing makes me want to pull my hair out more (if I had any hair) than seeing a coach have a client wear a booty band around their knees on every. single. exercise. 

It is moronic! 

A band forces you to drive out into the band itself. The issues on exercises like hip thrusts, leg press, RDLs, etc. using this is that it’s not what we want to be focusing on during the movement. 

In hip extension exercises such as bridges and hinges, the resistance is vertical (straight up and down) which is how we train our big GLUTE MAX muscle. But, if we add a band, the resistance becomes lateral (side to side) which we do not want. 

By forcing your body into not only having to work against the vertical resistance AND a lateral resistance from a band, we are NOT making the exercise superior or more efficient. It’s not 1 + 1 = 2. It’s not adding anything. It is actually taking away as it makes it more inefficient!

The muscles being forced to drive laterally into the band are muscles we need to be stabilising the main movement of hip extension. The little support muscles are now less focused on doing their job of stabilisation and instead focused on the band which gives us a co-contraction. 

It ‘feels’ like you are doing more and it ‘feels’ like more of a burn but in actual fact, you are forced to use far less weight and challenge the glute max far less because you are forced to focus on the knees going into the band.

If your goal is to build big glutes… DITCH THE BAND around the knees in your big compound lifts. Allow yourself to optimise the movement by focusing on the one key variable we want to train. If the resistance from hip extension is straight up and down, focus on that! Adding a lateral resistance negatively impacts what you can achieve. 

The moment my future clients ditch the band and finally move to just mastering the basics is the moment their glutes begin to finally grow. 

Mistake 2 – Doing too many ‘Instagram exercises’ over doing the basics well

We, as humans, tend to want to gravitate (naturally) to the new and shiny object. This often is not the answer we actually should be going for. 

When it comes to Glutes and the use of social media, we have the rise of influencers and an abundance of content on training. Our feeds are smashed with tips, some good and some not so good. The problem is that a lot of new trainers and even advanced trainers fall victim to the shiny new exercise you see influencers post for engagement, which often makes no sense at all. 

My go to Glute exercises for clients are:

  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Thrusts
  • Bridges 
  • Split squats 
  • Kickbacks 
  • Glute medius kickback
  • Leg press 
  • Step ups 

That’s about it. 

Now, they can do variations of these especially with tempo and various rep ranges, but the above is how I consistently build PRO level Glutes. Nothing on that list is a secret or necessarily revolutionary because Glute training isn’t either. The basic principles of muscle building still win out… always! 

Social media will make you think that all these exercises don’t work anymore and that you need a crazy technique of a variation of a variation done in this super unique fashion no one has ever done before and that coach has all the secrets despite having zero qualifications. 

Fact of the matter is that the best Glute exercises are most likely ones you are doing or have been doing but got away from using consistently. 

The exercises that I’ve listed above, my clients do over and over because they are the best exercises. We don’t need to shy away from them. We practice them. We master them. We consistently get stronger and stronger at them. PLUS, we don’t deviate from the plan every 2 weeks because we become slightly bored.

The best exercises you can do are the ones you probably already know. The key is sticking at them and consistently getting stronger at them. Not running to a fancy influencer exercise every second session. 

Mistake 3 – Not eating enough calories for your goal to grow 

No mistake I see is going to impact muscle building potential more than this! 

As a coach who primarily trains women, thousands and thousands of women over the last decade, I can tell you with experience and confidence that the enemy of results for many is not a lack of effort. 

Women train seriously hard! 

It’s not even a lack of doing the best exercises the majority of time…

  • It’s the lack of using calories wisely to support their goals.
  • It’s the lack of getting out of a calorie deficit and eating more to fuel that growth!
  • It’s the fear of short term body fat gain

The issue is…. Calories are what is going to take you where you need to be, as scary as it is! 

Want to optimise your results? Lets keep it simple:

  • Calorie deficit = fat loss 
  • Calorie surplus = muscle building 

Yes, you can build some muscle in a calorie deficit but there are people who will adapt to this better like beginners, people coming back from injury and people with higher body fat levels.

But, anyone who’s been training for years knows first hand, results become slower and harder to come by the longer you train. 

This is why we need to prioritise your goals! 

Fat loss and muscle building calories, if we were to optimise, are on opposing ends of the spectrum.

The biggest challenge I face as a coach is that women (and men, sometimes) are not supporting their growth goals consistently enough with optimal calories.

Do you really want to build your glutes to the best of their ability?

Then do this…

Get out of a calorie deficit!

At least, as bare minimum, take your calories to your maintenance (TDEE)! You can even use my TDEE calculator on my site to help you find this.

From there, when you’re ready, you can work your calories up into a surplus and give yourself some time to grow. Muscle building is a slow process. 

When I work with a new client, ideally I want them to give me a minimum of 16 weeks (and ideally 24 weeks+) of calories up and out of a deficit to be focusing on muscle building.

Yes, you will gain some body fat. 

Yes, you will feel a touch uncomfortable at times.

But most importantly, YES, you will be optimising your goals!


So, in summary, you need to train hard, train using the correct exercises but you also need to balance that out with your calories being higher to best support your big glute growth goals!

There you go – 3 of the most common mistakes I see getting in the way of women building their Glute gain goals! 

Don’t let them be your fault anymore.

You got this, 

Coach Mark Carroll