So…do squats really make your bum bigger?
Or is it a myth?
I’d kill for a bum like Jen Selter.
Hey Alice. How are you? I hope well.
So you’ve asked a very common question. And the short answer is yes, of course squats make your butt bigger. But it’s not that simple.
Just like other body parts, some people are born with bigger rear ends. It’s no different than if you inherited big arms, pecs and strong looking legs. Much of how your butt (and the rest of your body) looks is genetic.
With that said, just as with others muscles, you can always improve the size and shape of your backside. A complete range of motion is ultra important when it comes to squats building up the glutes.
As you descend down into the bottom position (hip crease below the knees) your glutes are recruited heavily to start the process of standing back up. I mean just take a look at any powerlifter, bodybuilder or athlete who uses full depth squats with regularity in their routine – you’ll be hard pressed to find any without a shapely bum.
Too often people squat with terrible form and not only don’t go low enough but also don’t ‘sit back’ into position with the weight loaded on their heals. This prevents the hips and glutes from being engaged. As a result we see people with muscular imbalances in the thighs and an overdeveloped vastus lateralis – the outside of the thigh.
It’s equally important to use full range of motion when squatting not to just engage the glutes and hips, but also to target the muscles of the thigh, especially the vastus medialis (the teardrop) on the inside of the knee.
So again, yes squats when performed correctly will help build the glutes. More importantly, squats are the most functional and foundational exercise there is. Master your squat form and everything else in your routine will benefit. And don’t think that you’re only limited to back squats. Front squats, overhead squats and integrated exercises like thrusters (squat and overhead press) are also great variations.
Additionally, weighted step-ups and walking – full depth lunges are also great glute building and leg strengthening exercises. I’d suggest 3 – 4 working sets of squats in the 8 – 12 rep range followed by another 3 – 4 sets of step ups or lunges.
Jen Selter, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian etc. are all perfect examples of genetics at work. Sure they work out. I know they all squat. BUT that’s not why they’ve got such big butts!
So Alice, give squats a try. Be sure to use correct form and appropriate weights. Let me know how it works out and if you want more great fitness facts, not fiction, get my new book Shut Up and Work Out! Get it here!!!