Wondering how to get a bigger butt? You’re not alone. In fact, more than 20,673 butt augmentation procedures were performed in 2018 alone.

A growing number of men and women are going under the knife to give their buttocks a boost. Unfortunately, these procedures aren’t just expensive but painful too. Complications range from bleeding and infection to scarring, asymmetries, fat necrosis, and fluid accumulation.

As a woman, you want to a round, firm butt that turns heads and looks amazing in skinny jeans. If you’re a guy, you know that having big strong glutes will balance your physique and increase your sex appeal. Luckily, surgery isn’t your only option.

Simple tricks, such as experimenting with different squat variations and adding a “butt-day” to your workout routine, can naturally lift and strengthen your glutes. The key is to work your buttocks from every angle and eat for your goals. Sweat on and put those muscles to work!

Get to Know Your Glute Muscles

First of all, make sure you understand how your glutes work and what their role is. Your buttocks consist of three muscles that work synergistically. These include:

Gluteus maximus — the largest muscle in your body and the main extensor of the hipGluteus medius — which wraps around to the front of your hipsGluteus minimus — a small muscle placed beneath the gluteus medius

Gluteus Maximum

Each of these muscles has a different role. The gluteus maximus contributes to the appearance and shape of your hips and acts as an extensor of the hip joint. You’re using it when you climb stairs, run, squat, kick your leg backward, and so on. Training this muscle will make your butt appear firmer and rounder while preventing sagging.

Gluteus Medius

The gluteus medius allows you to flex, rotate, and extend your hip. It’s the only gluteal muscle that can be visible from the front — but only when it’s well-developed. If you want to make your hips appear wider, work this muscle more often.

A weak gluteus medius can increase injury risk and contribute to back pain, iliotibial band friction syndrome, patellofemoral stress syndrome, and other conditions that can affect your health and workout performance. This muscle is an important hip stabilizer and the strongest hip abductor in your body.

Simple exercises, such as seated hip abductions, lateral band walks, and side lunges, can help strengthen the gluteus medius, which in turn, will make your butt look bigger.

Gluteus Minimus

The gluteus minimus is a fan-shaped muscle that contributes to hip flexion, abduction, and extension. Despite its small size, it works similarly to the gluteus medius. It allows you to lift and rotate your thigh, stabilizes the pelvis and hip, and acts as a flexor.

There are several other smaller muscles in the posterior region, including the piriformis, obturator externus, gemelli, and quadratus femoris. Most glute exercises will indirectly work these muscles as well.

To get a bigger butt, focus mostly on the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, but don’t ignore the gluteus minimus.

The Skinny on Body Fat

Like most parts of your body, your butt has a layer of fat. This adipose tissue covers your gluteal muscles. Women typically carry more fat in the posterior region than men due to their high estrogen levels.

Fat distribution varies from one individual another and depends on genetics, hormones, lifestyle habits, and other factors. Some ethnicities, such as Latinos, tend to store more fat on the buttocks.

This kind of fat can actually enhance your booty and make it look more appealing. Too much of it, on the other hand, will have the opposite effect. After all, you want to get a round, shapely butt, not one that defies gravity and looks too big compared to the rest of your body.

The truth is that you cannot spot-reduce fat. Spending hours on the treadmill won’t give you the booty you’re after. Cardio and strength training can help you lose fat overall, which in turn, will lead to a more balanced physique.

Need inspiration? Check out these crazy workouts of the 70s! They’ll get your heart pounding and help you build lean mass.

Wonder How to Get a Bigger Butt? Tweak Your Exercise Routine!

Now that you know how your glutes work, it’s time to tweak your diet and workout routine. Getting firm, round buttocks is a matter of building muscle in the posterior region. If you’re slightly overweight, lose the extra fat.

Your training routine should include compound and isolation exercises that engage all three gluteal muscles. Add sprints, stair climbing, and other high-intensity moves to your workout to shed stubborn fat.

For a bigger and firmer butt without surgery, you need to target all gluteal muscles.

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Beware that squats alone are not enough to shape your butt, so forget about the 30-day squat challenge and other fitness fads.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the key to building a bigger butt is to hit your glutes from every angle. Compound exercises help build mass and strength, while isolation movements lift and shape your buttocks.

Let’s break down the most important exercises for each gluteal muscle:

Gluteus Maximus Exercises

A 2016 study featured in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy assessed the effects of several therapeutic exercises on maximum activation for the gluteus. The superior portion of this muscle has been shown to respond best to movements that incorporated hip abductions and/or external rotations.

Another study has found that modified single-leg squats were the most effective for hamstring and gluteus maximus training. The barbell hip thrust, on the other hand, activates these muscles to a greater degree compared to the back squat, according to the Journal of Applied Biomechanics.

Try these exercises for a bigger butt:

Barbell back squatsFront squatsSumo squatsGoblet squatsBulgarian split squatsSingle-leg squatsSquat jumpsFarmer squatsDeadlift and variationsKettlebell swingsGlute bridges / Single-leg bridgesBarbell hip thrusts / Single-leg hip thrustsReverse hyperextensionsWeighted walking lungesStationary lunges Side lungesAlternating lunges

Gluteus Medius Exercises

A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine has identified the most effective exercises for the gluteus medius. The side-lying hip abduction, single-leg and double-leg bridges, stool hip rotations, and resistance knee flexions seem to work best.

Here are other butt-building movements that work this muscle:

Side lying hip abductionClamshellsSide-lying clamsLateral band walksMonster walksLateral leg raisesCable standing lateral raisesMini-band hip external rotationMini-band squatsQuadruped fire hydrantsDonkey kicks

Gluteus Minimus Exercises

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, the hip hitch and its variations elicit the greatest muscle activity in both the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The clam exercise seems to be the least effective.

In another study, resisted hip abduction-extensions produced the highest muscle activity levels in the gluteus minimus. Single-leg squats, side-lying hip abduction exercises, and single-leg bridges have proven effective too.

Include these exercises in your routine to active the gluteus minimus:

Hip hitchesSingle leg side bridgesSeated/standing/lying hip abduction Seated/lying hip internal location at the cable machineSide-lying hip abduction with dumbbellsMini-band squatsBand clamshellsLateral band walksQuadruped fire hydrantsSide-lying hip internal rotation

Don’t be afraid to use weights. The whole point is to challenge your muscles into growth. Bodyweight exercises might work for a newbie, but not for intermediate or advanced lifters.

Squeeze your glutes as tight as possible during each exercise. If you do it right, you should feel them burning. Use proper lifting form to stay injury-free and get the most out of your workout.

Train One Leg at a Time

As you see, many of the exercises listed above involve just one leg. Unilateral training allows you to isolate specific muscles, correct imbalances, and avoid overusing the dominant side. It also lowers your risk of injury and gives you more control over the movement.

Box-steps, single-leg squats, pistol squats, side lunges, one-legged deadlifts, and forward lunges are just a few examples of unilateral glute exercises.

One leg hip thrust isolates certain gluteal muscles, & fixes imbalances in strength and posture.

You can also apply this strategy when training your chest, arms, or shoulders. Simply add single-arm rows, single-arm chest presses, or single-arm dumbbell shoulder presses to your routine, depending on the muscles that are being trained.

But what does science say?

According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, single-leg squats lead to greater activation of the gluteus medius compared to traditional squats. The latter produces higher muscle activity levels in the quads.

A more recent study compared the effects of unilateral and bilateral plyometric training on strength, jumping performance, and maximal force. Unilateral lower body plyometric training has proven more effective at improving isometric leg press maximal force, jumping performance, explosive strength, and muscle power compared to bilateral exercises.

Unilateral training can take your workouts to a whole new level. You’ll not only build stronger glutes and legs but also improve your lifting form and physical performance.

Bilateral exercises are more efficient for overall strength. Unilateral movements yield better results in terms of athletic performance.

Consider training one leg at a time to maximize your booty gains. Sure, you don’t have to apply this strategy to each and every exercise. For example, instead of performing barbell back squats, do Bulgarian split squats.

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Double Up Your Glute Training

Another strategy you can use is to train your glutes twice a week. Ideally, work these muscles the same day you’re training legs and a second time a few days later.

Most butt-building exercises engage the quads, hamstrings, and other leg muscles. Therefore, it’s difficult to completely isolate your glutes and dedicate them a full day. The key is to be creative with your workout routine.

Work your legs as usual, but start with glute training. Choose three to five exercises from our list and complete up to five sets, 12 to 15 reps per set. Work your glutes again after three days or so. If you are training legs, include exercises such as squats or front squats, hack squats and stiff-leg deadlifts in your workout. These exercises, in addition to training the quadriceps and hamstrings, also indirectly work the glutes. If you are training intensely with heavy weights, the glutes will really grow from a mass-building leg workout.

If you’re short on time, incorporate glute training moves into your HIIT routine. Do it three or four times a week. For example, you could try the following glute HIIT workout — it takes just a few minutes:

Box jumps (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)Walking lunges with dumbbells (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)Squat jumps (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)Kettlebell swings (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)Cable kickbacks (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)Side shuffles (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)One-legged TRX squat (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)Step-ups with kick-back (30 seconds)Rest (30 seconds)

This kind of workout will get your heart rate through the roof. It not only shapes your glutes but also burns fat and kicks your metabolism into overdrive. High-intensity training is a proven way to torch fat without losing lean mass.

Improve Your Squat

The squat will shape your glutes and build overall strength. Tom Platz, for example, had the greatest legs in bodybuilding history thanks to this exercise. He recommended learning proper form, then adding intensity.

According to Platz, Olympic-style squats are the most effective for lower body development. Basically, you must keep the barbell very high on your back and go deep. Make sure your knees don’t extend beyond your toes.

A common mistake among gym buffs is loading up the bar and squatting just an inch or two. If your goal is to get a bigger butt, forget about partial reps. The hamstrings and glutes work together to control the rate of your descent; maximal activation, though, is only achieved when your thighs are below parallel to the floor. During a squat movement, the quadriceps are used primarily from the top position until the thighs are parallel with the floor. However, when the thighs are lower than the parallel position, the glutes and hamstrings come into play even more.

Keep Your Form

Don’t sacrifice form for volume. Sure, you want to look cool and challenge yourself, but your workout routine should align with your goals. Remember, bodybuilding isn’t the same as powerlifting.

Also, don’t limit yourself to back squats. Experiment with different squat variations to keep your muscles guessing. Goblet squats, sumo squats, Bulgarian split squats, and single-leg squats are just a few to mention.

Beware, though, that your glutes are not directly involved in this movement. Their primary roles are hip rotation and extension. That’s why squats aren’t necessarily the best butt-building exercises. The barbell glute bridge and hip thrust yield better results.

As far as squats are concerned, use a wider stance to target your glutes and inner thighs more effectively. Point your toes out a bit. Try different rep ranges to stimulate both the slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Another strategy you can use is to pause for a few seconds in the bottom position of the squat. This way, you’ll generate all your force from a zero point and force your glutes to work harder. Dead stop squats eliminate the stretch reflex, giving your muscles a different stimulus.

Eat Your Way to a Bigger Butt

Clean eating and training are equally important. Diet alone won’t give you a bigger butt, but when combined with exercise, it can maximize your results.

Let’s start with protein. Your muscles, including the glutes, need protein to grow and recover from training. Contrary to popular belief, high-protein diets have no harmful effects on kidney and liver function.