Do you worry about doing exercises for a smaller butt, only to wake up one day and realize you have extra junk in the trunk? Or perhaps the opposite: You want to grow a bigger, shapely butt instead of shrinking it? Following a few simple rules can help you get the best results based on your goal.
Exercises for a Bigger Butt
If you want a bigger butt, you need to achieve muscular hypertrophy. Or to put it another way, you need to make your butt muscles grow with the appropriate exercise stimulus and nutrition.
As explained by the American Council on Exercise, that exercise stimulus can come from the stress of a challenging lifting session, from increasing the time your muscles spend under tension, or by reaching metabolic fatigue: Working your muscles to the point of failure.
Examples of exercises that you can do to build your butt muscles — AKA your glutes — include squats, deadlifts, leg press, hip extensions, lunges, weighted step-ups and weighted hip thrusts, as documented by ExRx.net.
Your body also needs adequate rest between training sessions. It's natural to imagine that your muscles get stronger as you lift, but in fact they get stronger during the rest period between workouts. That's why experts recommend taking at least one full rest day between strength-training workouts for a given muscle group.
Last but not least, as noted in a 2017 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, hypertrophy is best achieved with a modest calorie surplus, although they shy away from providing an exact recommendation. To avoid gaining fat instead of muscle, start with a small surplus and then tweak as needed to get the results you want.
You also need enough protein. In the June 2017 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the society recommends getting 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to build muscle.
Exercises for a Smaller Butt
If you're ready to start exercises for a smaller butt, you must focus on creating a calorie deficit. That means burning more calories than you take in, and it's the key to losing fat anywhere on your body.
Unfortunately, you can't determine where you'll lose the fat from first; that's up to your body. But if you focus on maintaining that calorie deficit, your butt will shrink along with the rest of you.
That doesn't mean you should starve yourself, however. Crash diets might provide impressive weight loss in the short term, but the weight comes back on as soon as you return to your previous habits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends losing 1 to 2 pounds per week as a healthy, sustainable rate of weight loss. That works out to a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
You can calculate your target calorie intake by starting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) chart of estimated calorie needs according to your age, sex and physical activity level. Then increase your physical activity or trim calories out of your diet to achieve the desired deficit.
You can still work out if you're trying to lose weight, and in fact you should. Just don't go overboard with the weight training: The DHHS's minimum recommendation for strength-training each major muscle group twice a week is a good place to start.
Doing regular cardio workouts will also help you meet your butt-shrinking weight loss goals: The DHHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, but you may need to do more to lose weight.
Heed this warning from Harvard Health Publishing: Don't take your calorie intake below 1,200 calories/day for women, or 1,500 calories/day for men. Calorie intakes below this level require supervision from a medical professional.
- American Council on Exercise: "The Do's and Don'ts of Building Muscle"
- ExRx.net: "Hip Exercises"
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: "International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Diets and Body Composition"
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: "International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Protein and Exercise"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 2. Estimated Calorie Needs Per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Losing Weight"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calorie Counting Made Easy"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"