The gluteus maximus -- the main muscle in your butt -- is the biggest muscle in your body. If yours isn't as big as you'd like it to be, strength training will help it grow.
"Skinny" is subjective. If your idea of skinny is waif-like, you're going to have to give that up if you want a bigger butt. But contrary to popular belief, strength training won't make you bulky. You can still stay slim while building a more bodacious backside.
Resistance training causes tiny tears in the the muscle fibers. After exercise, the body repairs the damaged muscle fibers, and the muscles grow bigger and stronger in the process. How big they grow is a matter of genetics, your diet, your workout regimen and other factors. If you're skinny now, adding a little muscle won't change that.
Keys to Staying Skinny
Exercise and a healthy diet are the keys to staying skinny. Doing regular cardiovascular exercises helps burn calories and fat, and eating a nutritious calorie-controlled diet helps prevent weight gain.
Do some type of cardio exercise that gets your heart rate up for 30 minutes at a time, several times a week. Mix up your routine -- run one day, bike another, take an aerobics class or hike with your dog. If you're short on time, you can do a quick interval workout on the treadmill. For 15 to 20 minutes, alternate periods of sprinting with equal periods of jogging. Be sure to warm up beforehand and cool down after.
Building lean muscle mass also helps prevent weight gain. Your body burns calories to build and maintain muscle, which revs your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more efficient your metabolism.
Total-Body Strength Training
Although your goal is a bigger butt, you shouldn't only do butt exercises. If you want a healthy, well-proportioned body with a high-functioning metabolism, you need to do total-body strength training. Include exercises that target your arms, shoulders, chest, abs, obliques, back, thighs and calves, as well as your butt. Along with a bigger behind, you'll also have toned legs, abs and arms. You'll be pleased with the results.
Best Butt Exercises
When it comes to building your behind, some exercises are better than others. These four exercises have been scientifically studied and proven to be the best of the bunch.
Squats: Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Slowly bend at the knees and hips, sending your hips back and down as if sitting down into a chair. Keep your shoulders back and your torso erect. Come down until your thighs are at least parallel with the ground, then rise up to standing. Contract your glutes at the top -- that's crucial.
You can do squats without weight to start, and then gradually add weight via dumbbells or barbells. Do three sets of eight to 12 reps. Use a heavy enough weight that your glutes feel fatigued by the last rep of each set.
Step-Ups: Position a box or weight bench in front of you. Place your right foot on the bench. Transfer your weight into that leg and press yourself up to standing using only the right leg. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Step down and repeat for eight to 12 reps. Switch sides.
Add weight to step-ups by holding a dumbbell in each hand, or holding them overhead for even more of a challenge.
Quadruped hip extensions: From hands and knees, contract your core muscles and keep your spine neutral. Lift your right leg up, and keep the knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Flex your foot and lift your leg until your right thigh is about parallel with the floor. Lower the leg without touching down the knee, then repeat. Do eight to 12 reps, then switch sides.
Add weight by tucking a dumbbell behind the knee of the working leg.
Lunges: Take a big step forward with your right foot. Bend both knees to 90 degrees, making sure your front knee doesn't extend past your front ankle. Lower down until your back knee is a few inches above the ground, then rise back up. Repeat for eight to 12 reps on each side.
Add weight by holding dumbbells in each hand.