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Deadlifts for a Bigger Butt

author image Paula Quinene
Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.
Deadlifts for a Bigger Butt
Women doing deadlifts with a personal trainer. Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Building a bigger butt with deadlifts requires you to lift moderate to heavy weights regardless of the type of deadlift you do. This exercise may be done keeping your knees nearly straight or bending them entirely. The resistance you use should be moderate to heavy, building your gluteal muscles, the muscles that shape your buttocks.


The deadlift is an advanced exercise. Therefore, you should undertake a leg and lower back resistance training program for six to eight weeks prior to performing deadlifts with heavy weights. Your preparatory workouts should include barbell back squats, lunges, leg extensions, leg curls and hyperextensions. Furthermore, once you begin incorporating deadlifts, they should be the second exercise you do for your legs, after only squats. Do lunges or cable hip extensions to enhance your butt development.

Frequency, Intensity and Volume

The weight you lift must be heavy enough that you can complete only six to 12 repetitions for six sets of deadlifts to round and grow your gluteal muscles. Perform your butt-building routine along with your thigh and calf exercises only one day per week to reduce your risk of overuse injuries.

Straight-leg Deadlift

Straight leg barbell dead-lifts engage your gluteal muscles more than bent-knee deadlifts. Deadlifts should be performed inside a squatting rack or on a deadlift-specific rack, when possible. Basically, the barbell should be positioned about three inches above your knees. You do not need the safety bars of the squat rack when you execute deadlifts. However, you should use safety collars to secure the weight plates on the barbell so they do not slide off to the side.

To perform this exercise, stand at the center of the bar, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing in opposite directions; your thighs should be touching the barbell. Stand up straight, using your legs to lift the barbell off the support pegs and step backward about two feet. Suck your navel toward your spine to maintain a flat back, then stick your buttocks out behind you as you lower the barbell toward your ankles; keep a slight bend in your knees and look at the wall in front of you at a point slightly above the level of your eyes throughout the movement. Contract your gluteal muscles to raise the barbell, returning to an upright position and pushing your hips slightly forward at the very end of the movement. The barbell should remain as close to your body as possible with every repetition.

Bent-knee Deadlift

The bent-knee deadlift looks like you are squatting a barbell in front of you as you hold the barbell against your thighs. If you are short on time and want to focus on your buttocks without ignoring your quadriceps, do bent-knee deadlifts. This deadlift should be done from a rack as well, though it can be done with the barbell on the floor.

Stand with your legs close to the barbell, holding the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing in opposite directions. Lift the barbell off of the support pegs and step back about two feet. Keep the bar close to your legs as you stick your buttocks out behind you while simultaneously bending your knees until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor or the weight plates touch the ground. Push through your heels and contract your glutes to stand back up; pushing through your heels engages your gluteal muscles more than your quadriceps.

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