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Do Squats Make Your Thighs & Butt Bigger?

author image Kevin Rail
I am very genuine and magnetic on camera, and have made numerous videos on my own for clients and other organizations that I'm affiliated with. I also have a degree in Sport Management, and multiple certifications to back up my validity. I've also been featured in three different exercise infomercials and had a speaking role in a National Lampoons movie.
Do Squats Make Your Thighs & Butt Bigger?
Proper form leads to maximal gains with a squat. Photo Credit Mike Powell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Achieving bigger thighs and a bigger butt is a goal that many athletes and everyday gym goers have. This not only gives you a boost of self-confidence, but it also gives you more power and allows you to remain more stable when you perform particular sports — especially those that involve contact. A squat is a popular exercise used in training protocols to achieve these benefits. As long as you take certain variables into consideration, this exercise will make your thighs and butt and bigger.

Compound Exercise

The squat is a compound exercise. This means it involves more than one joint action and recruits more than one muscle. Compound exercises, in turn, cause maximal gains in size. The main muscles targeted are the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. The quads run down the front of the thighs. The hamstrings sit on the back of the thighs, and the glutes make up the butt.

Proper Form

The most important thing to consider with squats is your form. If you do not pay attention to your body alignment and fail to move through a full range of motion, your gains will be compromised. Hold a barbell across your upper back with a wide grip and stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight, back straight and gaze fixed forward, slowly lower yourself down by bending your knees. While lowering yourself down, push your butt back as if you were sitting in a chair. Stop when your thighs parallel the floor, rise back up in a steady motion and repeat.

Choosing Your Resistance

To make adequate gains in size, you need to use a heavy weight. A standard Olympic barbell weighs 45 pounds and it has room on the ends to add weight plates. These range from 2 1/2 to 45 pounds. You also have the option of holding dumbbells at your sides to do squats. These range from one to more than 100 pounds. Regardless of the resistance you choose, aim for a weight that is so heavy you can only perform eight to 12 repetitions.

Stabilizing Muscles Recruited

The quads, hamstrings and glutes are the primary muscles targeted by squats. However, you contract numerous other muscles to keep your body in good alignment and to assist with the lift. The erector spinae, rectus abdominis, gastrocnemius, soleus and obliques get recruited as well. The erector spinae is in the back. The rectus abdominis and obliques are the abdominal muscles, and the gastroc and soleus make up the calf complex.


A standard squat targets the thighs and glutes, but by altering your leg position, you will shift the emphasis on your muscles. You perform a sumo squat with your feet in a wide stance and toes turned out at an angle. This places more emphasis on the inner thighs and butt than the conventional squat.

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