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Booty enhancing exercises

Dear Alice,

My name is Emily. I was wondering if you know of any exercises or something that could help me have a thicker and bigger butt, that doesn't involve surgery. If you could help me out, that would be great! Thank You.

— Emily

Dear Emily,

The thicker, stronger, well-defined booty has been growing in popularity, and there's been interest among some people who want to boost what they already have. While genetics definitely play a role in the shape of a person's body, there are a number of exercises and workout regimes that you can employ to help enhance your booty. Read on to learn more!

First, a little anatomy! Your butt has three different muscles, or "glutes," which are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Of the three glutes, the gluteus maximus is the biggest and most noticeable. If place a hand on each butt cheek, that's where the maximus is. The medius and minimus aren't as noticeable — both are located around your ilium, the large bony part of your pelvis. Together these three muscles help you move your thigh out to the side of your body, and rotate and extend your leg behind you. Because the butt is more than one muscle, a variety of exercises help to strengthen and shape your glutes. Exercises that use compound movements — movements that involve more than just one muscle group — are good to increase the size, shape, and leverage of your butt. For example, squats and lunges incorporate many muscles, such as the hamstrings and quadriceps, along with the glutes.

Before starting your exercises, it may be beneficial to think about why you want to enhance your booty in the first place. Where did these desires come from? Is it because you want to feel stronger? Are you wanting to adjust your appearance? Is there a romantic interest motivating your desire to have a bigger booty? Thinking about your reasons for wanting to make this change to your body can help you decide if these changes are in line with your values and help you determine what kind of workout regime to follow. Similarly, before starting a strength-training regimen, some of these guidelines may be useful to help you get the most out of your workouts:

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Make sure your body is fueled with food. If you've eaten a meal, wait about two to three hours before you exercise. If you've had a light snack, allow at least one hour.
  • Warm up for at least five to ten minutes by walking/jogging briskly outside or on a treadmill, riding a bike, or little by little when using any other piece of cardiovascular equipment.
  • Slowly stretch to increase blood flow to your muscles, enhance flexibility and range of motion, and decrease risk of injury — especially the part of your body you're working on.
  • Do each exercise two to three times a week, starting off with no or little resistance, and remember to breathe.
  • Incorporate plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, lean sources of protein (e.g., tuna or chicken), nuts, healthy fats (e.g., fish, avocado, and peanut butter), and complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, potatoes, and oatmeal, into your diet.
  • If it's available to you, consulting with a personal trainer or exercise physiologist can be useful to ensure that you're learning about proper form, alignment, and are lifting the amount of weight that is suited for your body. 

When it comes to your routine, a few exercises such as squats and lunges may be your friend, and they can be done anywhere! To learn more about how to perform some booty-popping exercises, you may want to check out these guidelines: 

  • Squats: Stick your butt out, bending slightly first at the hips (3 to 4 count), then at the knees, going down until your upper leg becomes parallel to the floor. (The idea is to simulate sitting back in a chair.) Your knees are not to extend past your toes. Aim for a 90-degree angle between your thigh and your shin. Do 8 to 12 repetitions per set, depending on your fitness and experience level.
  • Static lunges: Stagger your legs, one in front of the other, far enough apart so that your front knee does not go past your toe, forming a 90-degree angle (upper leg parallel to the floor) as you lunge forward. Allow your back knee to bend down to assist in lowering the body; it should approach, but not touch, the floor. The idea is to drop the back knee while the front leg stabilizes the back leg and the body. Switch legs and repeat. Start off doing 8 to 12 lunges per leg. As you advance, you can work up to 20 lunges per leg.
  • Hamstring curl: This exercise can be performed using either a machine at the gym or resistance bands at home. When using a machine, lie face down, positioning your body on the machine with your knees just below the edge of the pad and your ankles under the rollers. With your knees slightly bent, press down with your hips as you slowly curl your heels towards your butt. When using resistance bands, loop one end of the band around your ankle and step on the open end of the band with your other foot. With your feet shoulder-width apart, raise your banded foot up to your butt, or as far as you can go, and then slowly return it back to the ground. Do 8 to 12 repetitions of either per set.
  • Leg extensions: Using the machine that resembles a chair, place your legs under a pad and lift your legs until they extend to form a straight line. Start with minimal weight, and be careful not to hyperextend your legs out to a straight line, as you don't want your knees to lock. Do 8 to 12 repetitions per set.
  • Walking up the stairs, on a treadmill, on an incline, or up a hill: Walking uphill uses all leg muscles, including the glutes. When walking on a treadmill, pick a speed that you're able to walk on a grade/incline of at least two percent; gradually work your way up in grade as your fitness level increases. For walking up stairs, similar to stairs at a stadium, use long strides, allowing your lower body to do the work while your upper body acts as a stabilizer; keep your abs tight and pump your arms. When walking down stairs, be careful not to allow all of your body weight to come down at once; this incorporates your lower body as well and protects your knees.

These exercises are just a few of the many that may help you strengthen your glutes. This isn't an exhaustive list and you may find others that you like even more — this is to help you get started. What's key when doing these exercises is maintaining proper form so as to not cause injury. Adding some variety into your routine can also help ensure that your body doesn't get too comfortable with the same movements over and over again. 

Best of luck!

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Last updated Aug 05, 2022
Originally published Dec 12, 2003

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