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The Dragon Slayer Speaks

Rich Gaspari - the dragon slayer
How to develop striated Glutes

One of the reasons I became so well known early on in my bodybuilding career was due to my extreme conditioning on stage, which was very rare in the early 1980's. I actually set a new standard that not only would I become famous for, but from then on would become the benchmark by which other bodybuilders' condition would be judged by. I was the first man to display striated glutes in bodybuilding.

It was funny to be ahead of my time in training a muscle the majority of bodybuilders don't even think of working due to the fact that train glutes when training legs. What I realized was that the Gluteus Maximus muscle is a muscle that can be directly trained, and gains can be made in training that muscle. Until then, I honestly don't believe this had occurred to anyone!

What I also realized was that when I dieted down to extremely low body fat levels, I could flex my Glutes and show muscle striations that other bodybuilders didn't even know existed.

But the idea of glute training didn't come intentionally.Like many other valuable methods i discovered over the years, it was the result of trial and error in the gym while training my legs to give them better shape and separations for my competitions.

Earlier in my career as an amateur, I developed my legs by doing heavy squats and leg presses; both inverted and the standard 45-degree angle versions. I did them heavy to really build big legs, since not many bodybuilders had great legs yet and I knew that would give me an advantage.

I really enjoyed training legs, and they thrived on the heavy weights and high intensity i poured into their workouts. What eventually happened was that my legs became overdeveloped compared to my upper body. At that point I saw that I needed to cut back on my heavy leg training and resort more to shaping exercises to get my legs slightly down and bring up my upper body to match them. Bodybuilding is all about balance and proportion, not just mass.

So how did I do this? I did more exercises like sissy squats, leg extensions, high-rep hack squats, adductor, walking lunges, and reverse lunges. These were all exercises I felt would bring more shape and separations instead of just overall growth. that way I could get my upper body to catch up, which I was in fact able to accomplish as I soon went on to win both the Nationals and Mr. Universe and turn pro.

These exercises stayed in my routine after turning pro and also when I was competing in my first pro show. While practicing my posing, I noticed that when posing my back I also had striations in my Glutes. That led to me modifying my posing trunks to show them off and show something the world of bodybuilding had never seen before. Of course, the rest is history.

Fast forward to today, and it's surprising that my current athlete and 212 Olympia Showdown winner Flex Lewis also has striated Glutes when he poses from the back, and has also been known for his great conditioning.

We both met up in Florida recently to compare notes on what we did to bring out our striated Glutes. What we discovered was that some of the exercises we did were similar. Of course we trained Glutes on leg day. We did at least 1 to 2 exercises that trained Glutes, and did them to really burn the muscle.

Here are the exercises we came up with:

Flex's favorite: Adductor machine, lifting butt off the pad and concentrating on squeezing the Glutes for reps of 15-20

3 sets of 15-20

My exercise: Reverse lunges on a Smith machine

3 sets of 15-20

Flex's exercise: 45-degree angle leg press with feet on the top of platform, pushing from the heels to emphasize the Glutes and lifting hips off the pad to really force the glutes to do the majority of the work.

3 sets of 15-20

My exercise: Ballet Squats on a Smith machine with both toes and knees pointing out, going down past parallel. On the way up, pushing with the Glutes and squeezing at the top of the movement.

3 sets of 15-20

Both Flex's and my favorite: Walking lunges with either a barbell or two dumbbells

3 sets of 15-20 reps each leg.

These were all the exercises that both Flex and I used to really develop the Glutes and bring out the striations. You should give them a try and show off those Glutes the next show you compete in. If your body fat is low enough, showing striated glutes can really set you apart from the other competitors and could even be the deciding factor that gives you the win!

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