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Does Running Tone Your Butt?

author image Jody Braverman
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks.
Does Running Tone Your Butt?
Running one of the best ways to tone and tighten the muscles of your lower body, including your glutes. Photo Credit: mel-nik/iStock/Getty Images

As most runners know, running is one of the best ways to get in top cardiovascular shape. It’s also one of the best ways to tone and tighten the muscles of your lower body, including your glutes, which are the main muscles of your butt. Your body shape and your goals also play roles in determining exactly how running will aid your better-butt dreams. Diet and resistance exercise are additional considerations in how much butt-toning success you will experience.

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Running Tones Different Butts at Different Rates

f you’re currently overweight and looking to slim down your rear end, running is going to be very effective. It’s a big calorie burner and often leads to fast and noticeable fat loss, especially when exercising at higher intensities.

If you’re a skinny Minnie, on the other hand, and you want to give your behind a boost, running isn’t your best bet for building a rounder, firmer booty unless you adjust a few other variables, including resistance training and diet.

Read more: 11 Myths About Running, Debunked

Running Workouts for Trimming Down

It almost doesn’t matter how you do it: If you’re running, you’re going to be burning a fair number of calories. A 150-pound person running at a pace of 5 miles per hour can burn almost 600 calories in an hour. Increase your speed and you’ll burn even more calories. Adding a few hills will up your calorie burn even more.

Sprint workouts – in which you run as hard as you can for a brief period of time and then recover by walking or jogging before performing another sprint – are also hugely effective for burning calories and toning your butt. Not only do you burn a significant number of calories, but research also shows that the calorie burn continues even after you’ve stopped exercising.

Running stairs will tone your glutes more than running on flat ground.
Running stairs will tone your glutes more than running on flat ground. Photo Credit: lzf/iStock/Getty Images

Running Workouts for Building Up

Running hills or stairs is harder and requires greater muscle-mass activation in your legs and butt. You’re also going to burn a lot of calories doing this type of workout – because it’s hard! – but you’ll see greater gains in muscle mass than you would by running long distances or sprinting on a flat surface.

Read more: 17 Reasons to Start Running

The Importance of Resistance Training and a Healthy Diet

Even if you’re running to trim and tone your butt, and especially if you want to build your butt, resistance training in addition to running workouts is key. Squats, dead lifts, glute bridges, lunges and step-ups are some of the best butt exercises around. Add them to a full-body routine that you perform two or three times per week.

Good nutrition is also key. To slim down, lower your calorie intake so you’re taking in less than you’re burning each day. Focus your diet on whole foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Cut out – or limit as much as you can – sweets and sugary beverages, starchy foods and processed foods.

Read more: 12 Running Mistakes You Could Be Making

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