The Scoop on Making Your Butt Bigger With Exercise

Young woman running up stairway
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Many people want to change the shape of their rear, but is it really possible to get a bigger butt? It's not easy building muscle and it's even harder to build it where you want. The bottom line is that you can't always control the shape of your body.

It's All About the Genes

There are some important truths you need to know to avoid feeling like a failure if your body doesn't respond the way you want:

  • You can't choose where you gain weight. If you're lifting weights to put on muscle in your butt, there's no guarantee it'll show up there. Yes, butt exercises can help you firm things up, but you can't really change the shape of your butt, at least not without plastic surgery.
  • The shape of your butt is primarily based on genetics. Take a look at your parents or other relatives and you'll probably notice that you have inherited some of their genes. If your mom has a flat butt or a big butt, you may have one as well.
  • Doing lower body exercises (along with upper body training and cardio, of course) can help you build muscle, but your genetics will decide how much your butt can really change.
  • There isn't a magic exercise that will make your butt change. But there are some great moves that target the glutes.

Exercises to Build a Better Butt

Just doing exercises may not completely change the shape of your butt, but there are exercises can help you build muscle and, of course, make you strong, which is always a good thing. Your glutes include three muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Use exercises that work all three muscles.

Try putting these moves together into a workout, doing each one for about 10 to 16 reps, one to three sets, depending on your fitness level. Use enough weight that you can only finish the desired number of reps.

  1. Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Step ups
  4. Deadlifts
  5. One-legged deadlifts
  6. Sidestep squats
  7. Donkey kicks
  8. Bridge with leg drops

Don't Forget the Cardio

Yes, strength training exercises are great for building a better butt, but certain cardio exercises can also target the rear.

In a study done by Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, researchers tested all the major cardio machines to see which ones targeted the glutes the most:

  • Treadmill jogging: Jogging on the treadmill involved the glutes the most compared to the other machines, especially the recumbent bike, which was the least effective at targeting the glutes. Try a great treadmill workout to get your glutes moving.
  • Elliptical trainer: The elliptical trainer was also good at targeting the glutes, coming in second place to treadmill running. An elliptical interval workout will definitely kick your butt.
  • Sprints and hills: Another study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology tested a variety of activities to see which targeted the glutes. They found that sprinting is one of the best things you can do for your butt. Try a sprints and hills workout to burn calories while working your buns.
View Article Sources
  • Bartlett JL, Sumner B, Ellis RG, Kram R. Activity and functions of the human gluteal muscles in walking, running, sprinting and climbing. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2013;153(1):124-131. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22419.
  • Takahashi S, Burnfield JM, Buster TW, Provorse AR. Comparison of Gluteal Muscle Electromyographic Activity across Five Cardiovascular Exercises in Healthy Young Adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2007 Volume 39(5), pg. S255.