Blood Flow Restriction Training for Glutes (Complete Guide)

blood flow restriction training for glutes

Strong glutes are necessary for anyone who wants to squat or deadlift heavy or simply improve their performance in the gym. One way to strengthen the glutes is to train them using blood flow restriction (BFR).

So, does blood flow restriction training for glutes work? Yes, blood flow restriction training for glutes works. BFR doesn’t occlude the glutes directly, but by performing glute isolation exercises while wearing BFR bands, you can increase both strength and muscle size in the glutes.

In this article, I’ll talk about what blood flow restriction is and the benefits of using BFR for the glutes, discuss who should and shouldn’t use BFR, and provide examples of glute exercises you can do with BFR.

At the end, I’ve also included some BFR band recommendations.

Check out my other blood flow restriction guides:

How Does Blood Flow Restriction Work?

Blood flow restriction works by occluding blood flow to a limb while exercising at a low intensity. When done properly, it allows blood to flow to the muscle while partially restricting it from leaving the working muscle.

BFR is typically done with low-weight, high-rep exercises, but it produces results similar to lifting weights at around 80% of your 1RM. It also activates fast twitch type-2 muscle fibers in the body, which are normally activated when lifting heavy weight.

BFR creates a low-oxygen environment in your arms or legs that causes an increase in heart rate as the heart tries to pump more blood and oxygen into the working muscle.

This causes the “pump” sensation that you’d typically experience when training for hypertrophy, but it can be achieved by lifting weights at only 20-30% of your 1RM.

In need of some BFR Bands? We tested the 6 most popular brands on the market. Check out our article on the Best Flood Flow Restriction Bands to find out the winner.

Does Blood Flow Restriction Work for Glutes? (3 Benefits)

There isn’t a lot of research on how BFR training affects the glutes specifically. However, many research studies show the benefits of BFR training on the lower body, which can also be applied to BFR training for glutes.

The top 3 benefits of using BFR for the glutes are:

  1. Addressing muscle weaknesses
  2. Increased strength
  3. Increased muscle mass

1. Addressing muscle weaknesses

The Journal of Special Operations Medicine published a study that analyzed whether BFR training is effective in patients with muscle weaknesses due to trauma, injury, or chronic conditions.

The study’s participants attended six BFR training sessions over the course of two weeks. During each session, they performed leg extensions, leg presses, and reverse leg presses while wearing a pneumatic tourniquet.

At the end of the two-week period, the participants showed improvements in peak torque, average power, and total work.

Takeaway: This suggests that low-intensity BFR training can be beneficial for anyone who is unable to do resistance training with heavy loads.

2. Increased strength

A study published in 2019 examined the effects of blood flow restriction on muscle groups in the lower body proximally (closest to the BFR bands) and distally (farther away from the BFR bands).

The subjects were divided into two groups. One group trained with a BFR tourniquet on one leg and a second control group trained without a BFR tourniquet.

Results showed a greater increase in strength both proximally and distally in the BFR leg than in the non-BFR leg. Results also showed an increase in strength in the non-BFR leg when compared with the control group.

Takeaway: These outcomes suggest that you can still increase your glute strength with BFR even though blood flow to the glutes isn’t occluded.

Strong glutes can carry over into many different aspects of powerlifting, including locking out your deadlift. Check out our article on 10 tips to improve your deadlift lockout.

3. Increased muscle mass

Another study published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise set out to determine whether BFR training had any effect on hypertrophy in national-level powerlifters.

One group of volunteers incorporated five BFR front squat sessions within a 6.5-week training period. During each session, they performed four sets of front squats at 30% of their 1RMs. The second group added front squats to a conventional training period.

At the end of the trial, the BFR group’s quadriceps size increased by 3-8%. Their type 1 muscle fibers also increased in size by 12%. The non-BFR group showed minimal increases in both.

Takeaway:  Based on these results, one can assume that combining glute isolation exercises with BFR can result in increased hypertrophy in the glutes.

Looking for other ways to train the legs and glutes? Check out our article on how powerlifters train legs.

What Are the Risks of Using BFR for Glutes?

what are the risks of using blood flow restriction for glutes

Multiple studies such as this one show that BFR training is generally safe for most individuals. Complications from using BFR training for the glutes do exist, but they are rare.

Some of the biggest risks of BFR training include:

  • Rhabdomyolysis, which occurs when skeletal muscle breaks down and enters the bloodstream
  • Nerve or artery damage
  • Numbness in the wrapped limb
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

These can all be avoided by using bands that are specifically designed for BFR training and not wrapping them too tightly.

Additionally, if you’re not confident in your ability to wrap BFR bands correctly, a trainer or physical therapist with BFR experience can teach you how to use them.

Who Should Do Blood Flow Restriction for Glutes?

Any competitive or recreational athlete who is looking to strengthen the glutes can use BFR. 

People who can benefit from BFR training for glutes include:

  • Powerlifters, weightlifters, or CrossFitters with weak glutes
  • Lifters who want to add more volume to their training without impeding recovery
  • Bodybuilders who are training the glutes for aesthetics
  • Endurance athletes who want to strengthen the glutes without sacrificing performance or recovery in their main sport
  • Individuals recovering from a gluteal strain or injury

If you can’t feel your glutes while lunging, then check out my article on Can’t Feel Your Glutes In The Lunge? Try These 6 Tips.

Who Shouldn’t Do Blood Flow Restriction for Glutes?

I don’t recommend BFR training for new lifters. Instead, you should focus on building consistency and getting your body accustomed to lifting 3-4 days per week before incorporating advanced methods such as BFR.

BFR training has also been contraindicated for people with certain medical conditions, including:

  • A history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Vascular grafts
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy

If you have any of the above conditions or other medical concerns, consult with a physician before doing BFR training.

How Do You Use BFR for Glutes?

how do you use blood flow restriction for glutes

When using BFR for the glutes, bands are wrapped around the top of the thighs between the glutes and hamstrings in a layered manner. You don’t want to cover a larger surface area than is necessary, as this can completely occlude the arteries.

The bands should be tight, but not so tight that you’re completely cutting off your circulation. For the lower body, they should fit at around a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

You’ll know if the bands are too tight if your skin becomes pale, your veins disappear, you don’t feel a pulse at your ankle, or your legs feel numb. 

Before you begin BFR training, you should warm up first, unless you are adding it to the end of your regular workout. Start with five minutes of walking or light cycling, followed by 1-2 unwrapped sets of 15 reps with the weight you plan on using.

Check out our guide on how to warm up for powerlifting

Once you’re warmed up, you can wrap your thighs and begin training.

Nearly any exercise that targets the glutes can be done with BFR training. 

Some of my favorites are:

How Do You Program BFR Training for Glutes?

blood flow restriction training for the glutes is most effective with high reps at low weights

BFR training for the glutes is most effective with high reps at low weights. For the lower body, It is recommended to not go heavier than 40% of your 1RM.

The standard protocol for BFR training is 75 total reps spread across 4 sets. You can divide it however you want, but the most common rep scheme is 1×30 followed by 3×15.

When using BFR training for glutes, you’ll want to keep the rest periods short. A good rule of thumb is to rest for 30 seconds in between sets and 1-2 minutes in between exercises.

BFR training is also most effective when performing 2 to 4 different exercises at a time. Many people like to add it as a finisher at the end of their regular workout. This is a great way to add more training volume without sacrificing your main lifts.

Because BFR training is a good way to continue training without taxing the body too much, you can also use it on a rest day or during a deload week at the end of a training cycle.

3 BFR for Glutes Workout Examples

Below are three quick, simple, and effective BFR workouts for glutes that you can add to your regular training routine. I recommend doing these at the end of your workout or on a rest day.

Quick note: I just launched a glute development program on my training app. It’s a 12-week program geared toward increasing the size and strength of your glutes. Get the program, join our community, and see results.

Questions about anything? Feel free to contact me.

1. BFR for Glutes: Barbell Workout

  • Warm-up
  • Stiff-legged deadlift, 1×30
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Stiff-legged deadlift, 3×15

Once you’ve completed the final set, rest for 1-2 minutes, then perform:

  • Barbell hip thrust, 1×30
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Barbell hip thrust, 3×15
  • Rest for 30 seconds in between each set

2. BFR for Glutes: Dumbbell Workout

  • Warm-up
  • Single-leg Romanian deadlift, 1×30
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Single-leg Romanian deadlift, 3×15
  • Rest for 30 seconds in between each set

Once you’ve completed the final set, rest for 1-2 minutes, then perform:

  • Bulgarian split squat, 1×30
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Bulgarian split squat, 3×15
  • Rest for 30 seconds in between each set

3. BFR for Glutes: Bodyweight Workout

  • Warm-up
  • Reverse lunges, 1×30
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Reverse lunges, 3×15
  • Rest for 30 seconds in between each set

Once you’ve completed the final set, rest for 1-2 minutes, then perform:

  • Single-leg hip thrusts, 1×30 (each side)
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Single-leg hip thrusts, 3×15 (each side)
  • Rest for 30 seconds in between each set

Frequently Asked Questions: BFR Training for Glutes

Below are some common questions regarding BFR training for glutes.

1. How Often Can I Use BFR for Training the Glutes?

BFR training for the glutes can be done 2-4 days per week on non-consecutive days. It is recommended to start with 2 days and gradually increase the training frequency as you get used to it.

2. Is BFR for Glutes Dangerous?

No. BFR training for glutes is safe, as long as you wrap the bands around the thighs correctly, use the right type of bands, and you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions.

3. Does BFR Training for Glutes Increase Glute Size?

Yes, BFR training can increase glute size. Since BFR doesn’t occlude the glutes directly, it is best to perform movements that isolate the glutes when wearing BFR bands to induce hypertrophy.

Product Recommendations: BFR Bands

BFR bands come in different materials and sizes and are available at different price points.

Below are three BFR bands that can be used to train the glutes.

1. Gymreapers Occlusion Straps

The Gymreapers Occlusion Straps are a cost-effective option for anyone new to BFR or anyone who just wants to save some money. They come in a package of four: two for the arms and two for the legs.

The bands are made out of a smooth nylon and elastic fabric that won’t irritate the skin. They also come with an extra loop to keep excess material out of the way.

The bands are numbered so you can achieve the same amount of pressure every time you use them. They also have a buckle that allows you to adjust the straps without assistance.


2. BFR Bands: Occlusion Training Bands, Rigid Edition

Another affordable option, these bands are made out of durable nylon and elastic that won’t fray even after months of regular use.

Like the Gymreapers BFR bands, these bands are numbered and come with a wrapped metal buckle that allows you to tighten them by yourself.

These bands also come with a free ebook with instructions on how to use them.


3. BFR Therapy: Blood Flow Restriction Cuffs with mmHg Monitor and Pump

These are much more expensive than the others, but cuffs such as these are considered safer than bands because you can use your blood pressure to determine how tight they should be.

These cuffs are also wide enough that they won’t place unnecessary pressure on your nerves, which helps to reduce the risk of nerve damage.


Other Glute Resources

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a competitive or recreational athlete, blood flow restriction training for glutes has many benefits including improved strength and increased hypertrophy. It is also an effective training method for individuals who are unable to train with heavy weights.

BFR training does have some risks, but they are low. When done correctly, BFR training is an excellent way to strengthen the glutes, and you can easily incorporate it into your other training routines.


About The Author

Amanda Dvorak

Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.