It’s Not Just About Shredded Glutes

TAGS: contest ready, shredded glutes, cutting phase, lean, Skip Hill, bodybuilding

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We hear it, and a lot of us say it all of the time, "You need shredded glutes" or "I'm not stopping until my glutes are shredded." I have always taken issue with these statements and this mindset. If this is your approach to a cutting phase for a show, you are likely slitting your wrists.

There is no question that the focus of a cut phase is to get body fat levels as low as possible. I think we can all agree. However, having shredded glutes is a genetic predisposition that not everyone who is shredded and show ready can attain. It isn't because they aren't willing to work hard enough, and it isn't because they didn't want it bad enough. It just isn't possible or even necessary for most people who are in incredible contest condition.


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To prove my point about genetic predisposition, I have seen (and you may have, as well) competitors with shredded glutes, but their back is considerably softer, or their abs are softer, etc. This is the genetic component that I'm referencing. Some people carry significantly lower levels of body fat in their lower body, hips, and glutes, while other people tend to carry most of their body fat in those areas. This is not to say that you shouldn't strive for shredded glutes, but my point is that many people end up over-dieted and look horrible due to chasing this shredded glute finish line and STILL don't end up with the look they desire.

With all of this talk about shredded glutes, there is another component of a cutting phase that is sorely lacking and is nowhere near the priority as getting shredded: the fullness factor. Getting shredded is a big part of the game, but if you aren't full or able to fill out correctly, you miss out on a major component of presenting your physique the best you can. Tell me, how many people are shredded to the bone, look full, and have round muscle bellies? That's right, not many. Why? Because there was too much emphasis on getting shredded and not enough emphasis on making sure that they were full, come stage time.

For every one of us as competitors, there is a balance–an individual balance of leanness to fullness to dryness. It is different for every competitor because everyone looks their best with a different ratio of these three components. You can't just "get dry" and be at 100 percent. You can't just get absurdly lean and be at 100 percent. You need to combine all three of these components in the correct ratio or balance for YOU, and THEN you are at 100 percent. Not one of those three components is more important than the others.

If you are an older competitor, you need to pay that much more attention to fullness because old-guy skin is not as elastic as young-guy skin. If a masters competitor is not full, the skin can look loose or "sag," and nothing reeks of old-guy status as much as saggy or loose skin. I always tell my masters clients that we need to error on the side of fullness even more than on the side of dryness, for this reason.

To be your best on stage, each competitor needs to find that balance that works best for them. Being the shredded guy is great as long as you are full and dry, as well. Shredded glutes don't win shows, contrary to machismo posts on social media. A complete and total package wins shows. Sometimes that involves shredded glutes, and other times, competitors will win shows without ever having shredded glutes. Think balance. Think total package. Don't approach a cut phase with only a one-dimensional approach that's not even possible. Just Sayin'.

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