So yeah, sorry for the obscene post title.
And by “sorry” I mean not really.
It occurred to me on Saturday, after seeing myself in the gym mirror in yoga pants for what seemed like the first time, that I might finally have a decent size butt going on.
I have no qualms about saying that I have been trying to get a bigger butt for a long time now.
Evidence: this post. Celebrating my then 37.25″ glutes.
Today, those glutes are 39.5″ — measured ‘em myself!
(That size, by the way, isn’t exactly a huge butt. But it is a good size change over time, so while I’d personally like to grow more, I’m happy so far.)
So it then also occurred to me that someone, somewhere, who reads this blog might be interested in getting larger glutes, and my experience in this area might be useful.
Now, of course, what I did to get here will not necessarily work for everyone. At some point, your genetic predisposition to larger butt-hood has to play a role, and if you come from a long line of pancake-asses, there is going to be a limit to what weight lifting & nutrition can do.
And, of course, I am not a glute specialist, nor am I an elitely certified coach of any kind, so I am not going to talk about maximal glute activation studies or anything technical like that.
I intend to approach this from two perspectives — what I know worked in my own quest for a bigger butt, and what I think will help the average gym going woman.
Coming from these perspectives, really, there are only a few simple things to think about when trying to get a bigger, better butt:
- Lift heavy weights
- Use your glutes often
- Eat the right foods
Let’s do this in order.
LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS
Obviously the word “heavy” is relative, but your butt will not be stimulated (insert Beavis & Butthead laugh here) to grow if you don’t lift with enough effort for the prescribed rep range.
Translation: if a workout/trainer/protocol says 3 sets at 10-12 reps, you should be lifting something that you couldn’t move for much more than 10-12 reps.
Same goes for lower AND higher rep ranges — if the goal is 4-6 reps, or 15-20 reps, go heavy enough that rep #6 and rep #20 respectively are REALLY difficult (note I didn’t say impossible).
This goes for training any muscle group, not just glutes, but if you are especially focused on muscle growth in a particular area, pay closer attention to how hard you are working and add more weight if you can do so safely.
Lifting heavy weights to stimulate glute growth need not be about a specific set of exercises, either. Sure, you can train the glutes directly using barbell glute bridges, single leg bridges, hip thrusts, and kneeling squats, but a smart leg workout will also more than cover your heavy glute needs.
Other exercises that are useful:
- back squats (the lower the better)
- higher step ups (knee higher than hip if possible)
- walking lunges
- curtsy squats
- reverse lunges
- split squats
- deadlifts of every kind
- single-leg seated leg press
- KB swings
Please note: I have never spent a lot of time on glute-specific training such as glute bridges, kickbacks, hip thrusts, etc. I did spend about 8 weeks, a year ago, alternating my posterior chain work every week with workouts that did include barbell glute bridges and sumo deadlifts. That, however, is the extent of my glute-specific history. These days, I don’t do those exercises very often, so while those glute-specific moves are great additions to a workout, you can grow an ass without focusing on them exclusively.
Besides, you don’t want to JUST GROW A BUTT. You need to build those quads and hamstrings, too, for a well-rounded leg.
Or else you’ll just have a little bubble butt on top of stick legs.
Not a good look.
USE YOUR GLUTES OFTEN
Let’s say you’re a typical weight lifter and you do legs once a week — or maybe you even hit quads once a week and hams/glutes once a week for 2 leg days.
In either case, even if you are already following tip #1 and lifting heavy weights, there is another dimension to add to your quest for a better butt:
Think about how often you train now, and think about whatever muscle group you wish to make larger. Are you hitting it once a week? Twice a week?
Now think about an Olympic sprinter. Check out his quads.
His quads aren’t huge because he trained legs once (or even twice) a week for a year.
His quads are huge because they are used frequently — perhaps daily — in his quest for a faster sprint. He might only train legs with heavy weights once a week, but you can bet your butt that he’s training his sprints — and therefore his quads — several more times a week.
High frequency works.
The same idea about frequency goes for glutes.
You want bigger glutes, you’ve got to do more than a few sets of something once or twice a week.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to do heavy squats every other day.
I don’t. In fact, I have never done more than 2 leg days a week.
Instead, I use body weight circuits in place of at least 2 cardio sessions per week, making sure I hit a high volume of leg work during those circuits and that this volume is enough to work my legs to something close to failure.
I typically include a lot of body weight squats (again, the lower the better), jump squats, walking lunges, reverse lunges, and pop squats in my circuits. Other exercises to consider are lightweight KB swings for high reps (if you can maintain form), forward lunges, frog jumps, box jumps, and sprints.
15 walking lunges per leg, 15 push ups, 15 walking lunges per leg. Rest, then repeat as many times as possible for 15 minutes.
10 walking lunges per leg, 10 body weight squats. Repeat 3 times, then rest, then repeat in rounds for a set total time.
15 pop squats, 15 reverse lunges per leg, 10 squat thrusts, 10 jump squats. Repeat five times, resting between rounds.
And ANY of the above ideas can be extended (or shortened) as your ability level increases.
A warning, however, about body weight circuits like this:
You will get sore as heck the first time you do them. Just ask my cardio circuit class students who did over 100 pop squats throughout last week’s class.
But just like weight lifting, once your conditioning improves a bit, your recovery ability will improve as well. Adding these kinds of circuits once or twice a week should ultimately not interfere with your scheduled leg workouts.
So get off the elliptical or the treadmill for a couple workouts a week, and do some body weight work instead.
Plus there is something else that you can easily do for your butt.
Stand up more often.
Nothing flattens an ass like sitting on it.
EAT THE RIGHT FOODS
In the end, no matter how heavy you lift or how many body weight walking lunges you do, if you aren’t eating enough of the right things, you’re just not going to see the butt growth you want.
In fact, if there’s one thing the average woman looking for a better butt is doing wrong when it comes to food, it’s probably this:
NOT ENOUGH PROTEIN
You need enough protein in the body to support muscle repair and growth after you’ve done all that damage to it. And that’s really what weight lifting and body weight work is — it’s muscle damage. You break those muscle fibers down so the body is forced to repair them, adding tissue (and therefore size) when it does so.
And by “enough protein,” I’m not talking about some greek yogurt at breakfast, some hummus at lunch, and some chicken at dinner.
I’m talking a minimum of 80-100g of lean, complete protein per day.
Most “dieting” American women get half of that, relying instead on typical “diet” foods like fruit, veggies, and whole grains for the bulk of their calories.
There’s nothing wrong with fruit, veggies and whole grains if you like them. You need carbs, and those are perfectly good sources.
But if you aren’t replacing the protein your body needs, guess where it gets its amino acids? Not from fruit. Not from veggies. Not from whole grains.
From your own muscles.
So neglecting to eat the protein your body needs will actually EAT AWAY at that butt you’re trying to build.
Shoot for 80-100g of protein a day, more if you eat lower carb than most people. (I eat anywhere from 100-150g of protein a day because I eat less than 100g of carbs most of the time.)
Spread that protein out over EVERY meal, including snacks, regardless of what time of day it is or how many meals you eat in a day.
3 meals and 2 snacks a day? Spread your 100g of protein over those 5 meals at 20g a pop.
4 larger meals a day? Try to get 25g of protein at each meal.
Even if you’re an intermittent faster, get your protein in.
Your bigger butt will thank you for it.
ONE LAST THOUGHT
If you are already fairly lean, are struggling to build a better butt, and have been “dieting” while doing so, you may need to EAT MORE for your butt’s sake.
Think about it:
If you’re eating to LOSE weight, how can you be getting enough calories to GAIN something in any part of your body?
I have done TWO weight gains — one purposeful one two years ago to gain some mass (and some ass), and one this past year as the result of some issues with food, overeating, etc.
My training has been a big part of growing some muscle mass, but my eating has fueled it.
You may need to suck it up and be willing to eat more food, and maybe gain a little on the scale, in order to gain the butt you want.
But just think of it this way:
You get to say that you actually WANT your excess calories to go straight to your hips.