This is a question that I’ve heard many women ask – let me cut right to the chase. Do squats make your butt bigger? The answer is a resounding YES, but you need to be doing them correctly to make this work!
Just as there are many ways to ‘skin a cat’, there are many, many different variations of the squat out there. This site alone lists forty (40!) different squat variants! How’s that for information overload?
The #1 Reason Why You Aren’t Seeing Results From Squats
If multiple squat variants were not enough, the many different ways to perform the exercise – weighted or unweighted, high reps or low reps, number of sets, not to mention your own personal fitness goals defining what results you need to see in order for you consider the exercise to be ‘working’… all the variables combine to make a multitude of possible ways to perform the squat.
These many variables are the number 1 reason why you might consider squats not to ‘work’ for you. For one, what do you define as ‘working’? If you get a bigger butt? Or, is your end goal to get bigger thighs, have the ability to squat a heavier weight, or do 300 bodyweight squats without stopping?
When you consider the amount of possible variation when it comes to a squat routine, you can begin to see why there is a lot of confusion out there and appreciate why some people report that they get results whereas others don’t.
Squats – the King of Butt Exercises?
Squats target the Glueteus Maximus, the largest muscle in the butt, and if done correctly, the exercise can cause muscle hypertrophy leading to addition of muscle mass. There’s a reason why they have a reputation as one of the best butt exercises (though for glute activation and butt-building, the lesser-known hip thrust exercise can be superior).
Which type of squat has the best glute activation? While all variations will work the glute muscles to some degree, generally adopting a wider stance squat will activate the glute muscles more.
My preference for hitting the glute muscles when it comes to squatting is to opt for either the basic squat with barbell in the low back position, or a simple wide stance sumo squat holding a weight plate, dumbells or a kettlebell.
Don’t Make This Common Squat Mistake
The reason why some people might not see results when squatting (with regards to increasing your butt size and making your butt bigger), is that they are not specifically training with the goal of muscle hypertrophy in mind.
If you want to add muscle bulk to a particular muscle group, you need to start thinking of yourself as a bodybuilder and so you should follow body building advice/fundamentals.
This is a new concept to most women who are trying to use squats to get a bigger butt! Let’s face it, most exercise programs for women are designed with many reps performed with lower weights for ‘toning’, and if you’re new to this I bet you might feel like it’s not a real workout if there’s no cardio.
But I get sore after doing a squat session – doesn’t this mean it’s working?
Maybe. Remember that your goal in performing the squats to get a bigger butt is to put on muscle mass. There can be a difference between putting on muscle mass and simply increasing muscle stamina (how long you can sustain effort), for example.
Not to mention that muscle soreness does not actually correlate to muscle hypertrophy. Sometimes this is more related to lactic acid buildup, or just stressing your body in a new way that it isn’t quite used to yet.
Muscle Soreness ≠ Muscle Hypertrophy
One Thing that Will Absolutely Ramp Up Your Squat Workout Success
Firstly, you will need understand the basics of bodybuilding, or at the very least progressive overload.
Research online, read forums, read books. If this sounds painful, think about how much more painful working out for months without seeing any measurable results can be. I know the thought of putting in all that hard work for no measurable gain sounds pretty painful to me!
To ‘bulk up’, as a general guide, you want to be lifting heavier weights with low reps. This is generally going to mean that you’ll probably need access to some gym equipment – a barbell and squat rack to assist you to load up when doing the exercises.
‘Low reps’ means reps of no more than 5 of 6. If this seems like too little, then be sure to perform the exercises at a slow cadence (e.g. 2 seconds up/ 2 seconds down) to really focus on and work the muscles. You can perform multiple sets – I like to do 3.
Resist the urge to do more and realize that working out doesn’t always have to leave you puffing and panting to be effective!
You need to progress by adding weight. Don’t make the mistake of only doing the same routine over and over again. If you want to add muscle, you need to add weight – I cannot stress this enough! This is the fundamental idea behind progressive overload.
For squats, aim to increase weights by at least 5lb per workout, 10lb if the previous workout was fairly easy.
Know Your Goals
Squats definitely can make your butt bigger, if you know how to correctly activate your glute muscles when squatting. Some squat variations can target the glute muscles more than others – generally, a wider and deeper stance squat will activate the glutes more than a narrow-stance shallow squat.
An equally (or sometimes even more) effective exercise for the butt to increase muscle mass can be the hip thrust.
In any case, if you want to use squats to increase the size of your butt, you’ll need to train using progressive overload techniques and aim to increase the muscle mass in your gluteal muscles. This means thinking like a body builder and keeping your reps low with high weight.
Have squats worked for you to create a bigger butt? What kind of squat routine are you using? I’d love to hear if you’ve made squats work for you – let me know by leaving a comment below!
6 thoughts on “Do Squats Make Your Butt Bigger? How To Maximize Your Gains”
I am a complete squat freak. I’ve doing squats now 3 days a week for 7 months (I’m doing the 5×5 stronglifts program). The results have been great.
Not only have I become leaner, it really helped with my abs as well.
It’s just hard sometimes to go “below the knee” all the time, haha.
They are awesome right?! I’ve been dabbling with 5×5 stronglifts as well (I started with the Starting Strength program, which is similar). Both are big on the weighted squat, which I love purely for the results that you get. Form can be difficult sometimes though! I know I had a few mishaps with an old injury in my knee flaring up when I started lifting heavier and my form got sloppy. Thanks for visiting!
Hey this is really interesting site to check out. Many of my friends will definitely benefit from this. 😀
I really love it when you point out the mistake in not having “the goal of muscle hypertrophy in mind”!
Again, great informative site!
Thanks for the feedback Jasmine, I certainly do appreciate it. I noticed this problem after starting an exercise program a while back, and not seeing any results after a few months. I finally had the sense to step back and think, “hold on, what do I actually want to achieve?” The answer for me was not specifically to be fit (though I know that’s a pleasant side effect), but I wanted my body to look different in certain areas. That led me on to looking at bodybuilding and how it can affect the way your body looks!
The visuals here helped me understand why my butt shows no progress so far! I have made some mistakes with my squats. Thanks for clarifying that muscle soreness does not equal progress. This article is very informative.
This article really cleared up some of my misconceptions! I always assumed that if you were sore after doing your squats, that meant you were accomplishing what you intended. But, there is a big difference in building muscle mass and muscle strength. Thank you for clarifying this for me! 🙂