Trying to build a bigger bum? Here's everything you need to know on how to grow your booty

·9-min read
Photo credit: svetikd - Getty Images
Photo credit: svetikd - Getty Images

Chances are, if you're reading this then you're probably wondering how to get a bigger bum. You’ve likely done a few squats in your bedroom with the hopes of increasing your booty, or gone to a gym class that promises to build the pert, round derrière of your dreams.

However, there’s more to getting a bigger bum than a few workout sessions, and you’ve probably made some of these common mistakes in your quest for a rear that rivals the Kardashians.

From the absolute must-know bum exercises to the booty building tips tried-and-tested by the experts, we've rounding up everything you need to know on how to get a bigger bum...

Bum exercises

Building a firm, toned bum is all about strength, explains Lucie Cowan, a personal trainer at Third Space in London. Squats and lunges might be some of the best moves out there to build muscle in your glutes, but if you want to really shape and change your butt, you need to be adding weight to these moves as well as trying out a variety of different exercises.

The deadbug

Get yourself into a tabletop position with your arms raised straight above your head. Pull your ribs down, tensing your core and holding it down into the matt. Then lower and stretch one leg straight down as you lower the opposite/diagonal arm. Bring back up and repeat. Try for 10-15 per side as a warm up.

Hip raises

From table top, lower your legs down. Then pull one knee into your chest and thrust up with the other leg, putting the pressure in the ball of your foot rather than the heel and tensing your glute on that leg as hard as you can at the top. Try for 10 on each side to warm up.

Kettlebell swings

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width apart. Lift the kettlebell, keep your ribs down and core tensed, with your chest 'proud' and facing the mirror (but resist the urge to look up - keep your chin down).

Swinging the kettlebell back between your legs, you then want to imagine someone is electric shocking your butt basically, tensing your glutes as hard as possible and thrusting forwards, using the momentum to swing the kettlebell forward and up, ideally to chin level. Repeat this, but try to hinge from your hip rather than bending your knees and remembering that it's that big glute tense creating the momentum to push the kettlebell forward.

Banded walk

Using a resistance band, step both of your feet onto the band with about 1ft between them. Pull the band tight so it's hard to move your feet in either direction. then twist the band around so that each hand is holding the end part of the band that's under the opposite foot. Then lead with your knees and walk sideways like a crab, in a squat position, keeping your core tensed, your back straight, shoulder up/back/down and your butt down. Walk 10 steps one way and back 10 steps the other, repeating for three sets.

Bulgarian split squats

These are somewhere between a squat and a lunge - with one leg balanced behind you on a bench/box and all of your weight in your front leg, which you bend down from the knee. Aim for three sets of 15.

Deadlift

This is the most challenging move of the lot, but a great all-body workout, especially for the glutes! We'd really advise learning this with a PT, even if you've done a barbell deadlift before.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Standing in the middle of the bar, get a good grip on each handle. Your feet should be a little wider than hip-width apart. Squat down so your bum is as bar back and down as you can get - it should feel like you're just about to fall backwards if you go any further. All your weight should be in your heels and your toes should be almost lifting off the ground. Lift the bar just up until the point where it feels like it's about to leave the ground (this will activate your shoulder and back muscles and stop you from snatching it up too quickly), take a deep breath in and lift straight up. Big glute tense at the top, and lower the bar back down to the ground.

Weighted reverse lunge

With a dumbbell in each hand, standing upright with your core tensed and your shoulders up back and down, step backwards with one leg, lowering your knee to the ground. Then return to upright. Start with bodyweight if you've never done lunges before and gradually build yourself up to 12kgs or 14kgs.

Bum exercise tips to remember

PT Lucie says the last 1-2 reps of every exercise should feel pretty much impossible. As soon as you aren't feeling that way, up your weights. Even if you have to lower your reps a little from say 10-12 to 8, do it and build up your ability.

Equally if by your last set you're so fatigued you can feel your form is going, lower the reps – 8 great reps alone is better than 8 great reps followed by four where your back is arching, your core isn't switched on and your heart isn't in it.

Bigger bum dos and don'ts

Focus on your form

Well, this one sounds kind of obvious – but you can’t just go all-in and assume you’ve got your technique just right. Do you know how hard it is to get a perfect squat?

"Squatting isn’t just for Instagram, it’s for life," explains Level 3 personal trainer Yanar Alkayat. "Get the form right in the gym and you’ll not only build a stronger booty but support your body for everyday. Squatting will strengthen your bum muscles (glutes), your thigh (quads) and your core."

So how do you nail the move? "Place your feet just wider than hip distance apart and point your toes so they’re facing slightly outwards (imagine the left foot is pointing to 11am and the right to 1pm). With your hands lightly together in front of you or out in front for extra balance, send your bum back and drop your hips down towards the ground like you’re going to sit on a chair."

Don’t stress about dropping into a deep squat right away – as Yanar explains, how deep you go will depend on your strength and mobility. “Aim for your bum and hips to be parallel to the ground or lower than your knees if you can. Keep your heels flat on the ground, your weight in the heels and your chest out – sending those knees out will stop you from collapsing forward."

Keep your exercises varied

"Squats, lunges and deadlifts are by far the most-used exercises for training the glutes, but to see results you need to exercise a larger part of the glute area," says David Wiener, Training Specialist at fitness app Freeletics.

So that squat challenge won’t give you buns of steel, you say?

"You can build more muscle by adding variations to simple squats and lunges can help you to make sure you’re targeting the full muscle group. Switching up your workouts regularly will mean your body won’t know what to expect, helping to accelerate results," says David.

As Yanar adds, "mixing up your squat styles will not only build up your strength and power, but a fuller, bigger bum shape overall, too."

Photo credit: Andrea Gjestvang - Getty Images
Photo credit: Andrea Gjestvang - Getty Images

Add in resistance

If it’s starting to feel easy for you, chances are you’re not putting in the work you need.

"The glutes are a big muscle group and as such they can take a lot; likely more than you think you can handle," explains Wiener. If you really want to build your bum, then you need to make sure you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and add some heavy resistance.

Build your booty diet, too

You know they say 'abs are built in the kitchen'? Yeah, turns out that kind of applies for the rest of your bod, too.

"If you think because you’re training hard that you can eat whatever you like, then I’m afraid you’re mistaken," says Wiener. "To build muscle and burn fat you need to stick to a healthy diet which is packed full of vegetables, lean protein and good fats. Lean protein will help your body to repair and build the muscles fibres which are torn during training, helping them to grow bigger and stronger."

While there are no specific foods to increase your bum size, a healthy overall diet could work wonders.

Set realistic goals

We’re all guilty of going too hard too quickly from time to time, but sometimes slowing down a little is really the best thing you can do.

"In this day and age, we’re surrounded by images of the perfect body which results in unrealistic body goals and ideals which simply are not achievable," says Wiener. "You can only work with what mother nature has given you, and if you’re failing to hit your goals, maybe it’s time to stop and think that they might not be realistic for you and your body type.

"That being said, the glutes react well to consistent and varied training so most people will be able to add size and definition to this area, but only in proportion to their body as a whole."

Prioritise rest days

No matter how soon you want to feel transformed, it’s super important not to go too hard. "If your heart is set on meeting a certain goal then you may think you’re wasting time by resting and taking days off from visiting the gym," Wiener says. "The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body, and all of that heavy lifting means the body needs time to repair in order to build and grow.

"Not taking regular rest days could also result in injury which definitely won’t help you on the way to a bigger backside. You should be aiming to take at least two rests each week to give your body the chance to recover from intense training."

So, there you have it! Everything you need to know on how to get a bigger bum. Now all that's left to do is build that booty...

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