Serious question: Does doing bigger-butt exercises actually work, or must those with diminutive derrieres simply accept their flat fates? Can anyone achieve the much sought-after “bubble butt?”
Andrea Rogers, creator of Xtend Barre, assures those who are wondering how to get a bigger butt that, as long as they’re designed by an expert and performed properly, butt workouts do work.
“If you’re looking for #bootygains and want to lift, tone, and define the shape of your tush, then you need to be sure you’re doing the right exercises,” she says. “Just as a bodybuilder can increase the size of their body by increasing their muscle size, you can get a bigger butt by focusing on weight-bearing exercises that increase in intensity and load.”
Rogers’ favorite bigger-butt exercise? Xtend Barre’s signature fold over series. “In this series we perform a unilateral movement, loading one leg with all the weight of the body while resisting gravity on the glutes of the working leg. This results in both sides of the seat getting some serious attention.”
But the benefits of bigger-butt exercises are more than aesthetic, explains Openfit fitness specialist Cody Braun. Focusing on exercises to make your butt bigger can also counteract the hours you spend sitting on it.
“Because we sit down for most of our days, we teach our glutes to relax while our hip flexors stay shortened,” Braun says. “This leads to what some call ‘gluteal amnesia,’which can also lead to compensations in the way we move, often making your low back do the glutes’ job.” As a result, we may experience back pain or run into other types of dysfunction.
Additionally, weak glutes may be what’s preventing you from improving your 5K time or getting through a game of pick-up basketball without rolling an ankle. “The glutes are the powerhouse for most of our lower- and full-body movements, from squats to jumping,” says Braun. “If you want to increase your strength, power, stability, and limit the likelihood for injury, it’s important to incorporate butt workouts into your programming.”
Want to look good in a pair of jeans and stay healthy and pain-free? Bum’s the word.
11 Exercises to Make Your Butt Bigger
You can get stronger, shapelier glutes with a few pieces of basic equipment and a handful of carefully selected butt exercises you can do at home — no gym membership or machines required. We hand-picked some of the best exercises for glutes, including moves to tighten the buttocks and thighs as well as exercises to augment them.
Be sure to incorporate a warm-up routine that includes some dynamic stretching. Braun recommends leg swings, walking high knees, glute bridges, and bodyweight squats. “You want to stretch the glutes while also activating them through contraction to get them ready for exercise,” he explains.
Quadruped hip extension
- Loop a small resistance band above your knees and get on all fours in tabletop position. Adjust one end of the resistance band so that it’s pinched between the floor and your left knee.
- Keeping your right knee bent 90 degrees, flex your right foot, squeeze your glutes, and extend your right hip. Your neck should be neutral and the sole of your right foot should face the ceiling.
- Pause before lowering your right knee. Perform equal reps on each side.
- Stand in front of a bench or box around knee height. You have the option of holding dumbbells at your sides. Lift your left knee and place your left foot in the middle of the bench. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, drive through your left foot, squeeze your glutes, straighten your left knee, and come to a standing position with both feet atop the bench.
- Pause, and then slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Perform equal reps on each side.
- Loop a resistance band around your legs just above your knees, and lie on your left side with your hips, knees, and feet stacked. Rest your head on your left arm, and place your right palm on the floor in front of your chest.
- Bend at the hips, swinging your legs out to a 45 degree angle, then bend your knees to 90 degrees. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your core engaged and your heels together, raise your right knee as far as you can without rotating your hip or lifting your left knee off the floor.
- Hold for 1 second before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat the move, completing all reps on one side, then switch sides, performing equal reps on both.
Calf raise bridge
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells on your hips. This is the starting position.
- Lift your hips as high as possible, squeezing your glutes as you rise up on the balls of your feet.
- Reverse the movement to return to the starting position, and repeat for reps.
Bulgarian split squat
- Stand with your back to a box or bench, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
- Extend your right leg behind you, and place your toes on top of the box.
- Keeping your chest up and core engaged, slowly lower your body until your left thigh is parallel with the floor.
- Pause, then push through your left foot to return to the starting position. Perform equal reps on both legs.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing you. Bend your knees slightly.
- Keeping your back flat, shoulders back, and core engaged, push your hips back and hinge forward, lowering the dumbbells to mid-shin height. The weights should remain within an inch or two of your legs throughout the movement.
- Squeeze your glutes, bring your hips forward, and return to the starting position.
- With your feet hip-width apart, stand 1-2 feet in front of a sturdy wall. With both hands, hold a medicine ball at chest height.
- Keeping your abs engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
- Drive through your heels, extend your hips, and, as you straighten your legs, toss the ball up at the wall. Pick a target height that feels challenging but sustainable for multiple reps.
- As you catch the ball, lower into your next squat.
Lateral banded shuffle
- Loop a small resistance band around your legs, just above your knees, and stand with your feet hip-width apart, creating slight tension on the band.
- Keeping your back flat and abs engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat, shifting your weight toward your heels.
- Step right with your right foot, and immediately follow with the left, maintaining tension on the band so that your knees don’t cave inward.
- Continue sidestepping in a slow, shuffling motion. Take an equal number of steps in the opposite direction.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing each other.
- Keeping your abs engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
- Drive through your heels, extend your hips, and, as you straighten your legs, lift the dumbbells directly above your shoulders.
- Lower the dumbbells to shoulder height as you return to a squat.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward, holding a dumbbell or sandbag in both hands in front of your chest.
- Keeping your back flat and chest up, bend your knees and push your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Explode upward, jumping as high as you can
- Land softly, immediately dropping back down into a squat to begin your next rep.
- With your feet hip-width apart, stand a few feet from a barre. Your knees should be slightly bent.
- Keeping your back flat and core engaged, hinge forward at your hips and grab hold of the barre. Your torso should be parallel to the floor.
- Keeping a slight bend in your left leg, lift your right leg behind you until you feel your glutes contract, while keeping both hip bones pointed toward the ground.
- Maintaining the contraction, pulse your right leg upward.
- Lower your right leg and repeat on the opposite side, performing equal reps on each.
Anatomy of the Butt
Your body’s gluteal region is comprised of three major muscles that work together to move the legs and hips, provide balance, and offer stability during single-leg movements like walking, running, and climbing stairs.
Among the trinity of butt muscles, the gluteus maximus gets all the glory. As its name indicates, the G-max is not only the biggest gluteal muscle, it’s also the largest muscle in the human body. And, due to its superficial (closest to the surface) placement, it’s responsible for providing the booty’s famously rounded shape.
The gluteus maximus originates from the hip bone, sacrum, and tailbone. It runs across the rear at a 45-degree angle and inserts into the I.T. band and femur (thigh bone). The muscle’s primary function is hip extension, meaning that your gluteus maximus is (literally) behind everyday movements like standing up from a seated position, as well as athletic feats like the 40-yard dash.
Originating from the ilium and inserting atop the front of the femur, the gluteus medius is the fan-shaped muscle responsible for abducting (lifting out to the side) the leg. The gluteus medius is also charged with medial and lateral rotation, turning the leg so the knee faces inward and outward. Without a sufficiently strong gluteus medius, you can develop an altered walking/running gait, which can lead to a number of movement related issues.
Despite its rank as the tiniest of all the butt muscles, the gluteus minimus plays a vital role in stabilizing the pelvis during walking and running. Originating from the ilium, the gluteus minimus attaches atop the femur. Like the gluteus medius, its main functions include lower limb abduction and medial rotation.
Eating for a Bigger Booty
If your goal is to get a bigger bum, doing the best butt workouts is just part of the equation. You also need to be strategic with your nutritional intake and supplementation. Healthy, fast-burning carbohydrates consumed before your butt workout will keep your energy consistent, from the first lunge down to the last jump squat. Just as important is your post-workout protein intake, which the body needs for muscle growth and repair.