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March 09, 2023 10 min read

When it comes to exercise, squats may be among the most effective for cardio and muscle hypertrophy. They work the major muscles in your lower body, plus they can help enhance balance and coordination. But, will squats really give you the butt you've always wanted?

Factors that Play a Role in Building a Head-Turning Booty

Squats can contribute to a bigger butt, though other factors such as diet and genetics may play a role. However, the primary factor is what you start with. Everyone is unique, and each person's body reacts differently to workout routines.

Squats are an ideal exercise for toning and strengthening the lower body muscles, especially the glutes.

Performing squats correctly can help to improve strength, power, and athletic performance, as well as give you a more rounded, firmer derrière.

Incorporating squats into your regular workout routine will not only benefit the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips but also all the other muscles in the lower body.

Doing squats can help with weight loss, changing body shape, bettering posture and health, and making you stronger and more balanced.

Additionally, squats can give you a slimmer body with more defined glutes and hips that create the appearance of size.

Having 36-inch hips and a 32-inch waist will make your booty look a lot more prominent than if your hips and waist were both 36 inches.

Some people, particularly women, tend to store fat in their hips and buttocks. In addition to eating healthily, participating in regular physical activity can help break down these fat cells; thus, squats can be an effective way to reduce fat in the lower body.

Let's look at the two scenarios

Scenario 1. You have extra body fat.

If you need to shed a few pounds or have excess body fat, strength exercises such as squats can aid in decreasing your weight and body fat, resulting in a smaller, tighter, more toned, and compact butt and thighs. Squats are an effective exercise for constructing muscle tissue, which can help decrease body fat.

Overweight man - Image from Shutterstock

Here's how it works:

  • Over time, the body composition shifts to comprise more muscle and less fat, resulting in a leaner look.

  • Metabolism speeds up

  • Thighs become toned, glutes become firmer, lifted, and shapely.

  • Muscle takes up less space than fat, so although you may be building muscle, the area technically gets smaller.

  • The resulting picture will show toned upper legs, thighs, and glutes, and a slimmed-down waist, creating a booty with more definition, appearing bigger.

Scenario 2. You have a lean body

If you don't have much body fat or are very slim, it is possible to achieve a round and attractive butt through lower-body strength training. So, to answer whether it is possible to build a booty if you weren't born with one, the answer is definitely yes. It will depend on the types of exercises you do, how consistent you are, how hard you push yourself, your diet, and, of course, your genes.

Lean Body – Image from Shutterstock

Muscles Worked When You do Squats

If you do squats correctly and focus on the right muscle groups, you should be able to make your bum look firmer and lifted. To achieve a rounder and bigger booty, it is essential to train the other muscles as well.

Doing squats is a great way to build your glutes, but they also engage other lower-body muscles.

There are many different kinds of squats you can do as well, which will target additional muscles compared to a regular squat.

Squats are considered a compound movement because they target multiple muscle groups, such as the quadriceps and other muscles, in the lower body. Therefore, if you're aiming to build a bigger butt, do not limit yourself to just squats; incorporate other exercises that target the glutes.

Lower-body muscles - Image From Shutterstock

The major muscle groups used for a basic squat are:

  1. Gluteus maximus

  2. The trio of hamstrings on the back of the thigh

  3. The quadriceps, a group of four muscles on the front of the thigh

Muscles that help with the squat:

  1. Gluteus Medius and Minimus (the smaller glute muscles)
  2. Erector Spinae (lower back muscles that support the spine)
  3. Adductors (inner thigh or groin muscles)

The Functions of the Gluteal Muscles When Squatting

The gluteus maximus is the hip muscle that is well-known among those who lift weights and stay in shape. It's the large muscle in the buttocks and its main purpose is to extend the hip, as seen when someone is coming up from the bottom of a squat.

The gluteus maximus is an abductor, which is a powerful muscle that helps to move the leg away from the middle of the body. During a squat, it works isometrically to keep the knees from collapsing inward.

The two lesser-known gluteal muscles of the hip, the gluteus medius, and minimus, primarily work to move the leg outward from the body and provide stability when doing lower-body exercises like the squat.

How to do a Basic Squat

The squat motion can be likened to sitting down in a chair and then rising back up.

Starting position:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.

  • Point your toes slightly outward.

  • Brace your core and keep your chest up, your back straight, and gaze forward.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the floor, pushing your butt back as if you were about to sit down on a chair.

  2. Keep your weight in your heels and drive your knees outward as you descend.

  3. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly lower.

  4. Pause, then drive through your heels back to the starting position.


    Some Common Errors Made When Squatting

    As with any exercise, form and technique are crucial to ensure you work the targeted muscles, and also to reduce injury risks.

    Excessive Stress on the Knees

    • Avoid starting from your knees; this can put a lot of strain on them. Sit back rather than bending at the knees to begin your squat.

    • Keep your knees in alignment with your feet or slightly outwards, not caving inward. If you find your knees turning inward, do a shallow squat with proper form instead of a deep one with bad form.

    • Ensure your knees are completely stable as you move up and down, with no wobbling. If they are, reduce the resistance weight you are carrying.

    Hunched Shoulders

    • Forgetting about your upper body when you are doing a squat is a common error.

    • Squats are typically thought of as a lower body exercise, so it is important to remember not to neglect your upper body and back.

    • Make sure that your chest is open, and your shoulders are not tense.

    • Keeping your eyes focused on a spot on the ground in front of you can help you maintain a good posture in your back and neck.

    Pushing Through the Toes

    Ensure that your heels are firmly on the ground and not hovering. You should be rising from your heels as you perform a squat and be able to move your toes. This will enable your glutes to do the work instead of your knees, resulting in a more toned bum.

    Other Common Errors to Avoid

    Do not:

    1. Go deeper than you can without your knees passing your toes

    2. Lean forward without bending your knees

    3. Stick your butt out

    4. Arch your back

    5. Keep your head down

    How to make squats more challenging

    As you continue to do squats, utilizing weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, and ankle bands will increase the intensity of the exercises. To keep growing muscle and strength, you must increase the resistance—known as progressive overload. Therefore, make sure to pick the best equipment for you.

    Weights

    Kettlebells and barbells are an entertaining way to add resistance to your workout routine since you can use them to do a variety of exercises. Incorporate them into sumo squats, Bulgarian split squats, or goblet squats to work your core. Additionally, you can do certain squat variations with a barbell.

    Resistance Bands

    Resistance bands provide extra difficulty to your squat routine, with three different levels of resistance available. This allows you to continually challenge yourself as you increase in strength.

    For Optimal Results

    If you want to tone your butt more effectively, strength training is essential. Exercises such as hip thrusts, hip extensions, hip abductions, squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and Olympic lifts and their variations are ideal, as they target the glutes, and will help you see results faster. Even lunges can have a positive effect.

    If you prefer to use gym machines, the leg press and the mule kick machine, also known as the butt blaster, are good choices.

    Performing squats at a slower speed, rather than quickly dropping down and then quickly rising up, can dramatically increase the amount of time your glute muscles are under mechanical tension, leading to increased muscle growth.

    The 'time under tension' phenomenon has been demonstrated to be effective in stimulating muscle hypertrophy.

    If you are used to squatting with heavy weights, it is important to keep your pride in check when performing slower squats. This is because you will need to use a lighter weight than usual to complete the set of ten repetitions, but since it will take longer, the amount of muscle fatigue will be greater.

    How Many Squats Should you do?

    No single answer exists to this query. It is never a bad idea for beginners to seek the guidance of a personal trainer to not only check their form but also design a workout plan that indicates the appropriate sets and reps.

    The number of squats you should execute is contingent on your physical fitness level and objectives. If you are just starting out with squats, begin with 23 sets of 10–15 repetitions.

    As your strength increases, you can up the number of sets and reps. To build bigger muscles, you'll need to do squats with heavier weights; try for 46 sets of 612 reps. To enhance your overall fitness and get a bigger booty, shoot for 34 sets of 15–20 reps.

    It is essential to push yourself if you want to make progress; if you do not challenge yourself, there will be no improvement.

    Keep the following aspects in mind:

    1. The frequency of your squatting sessions can have an impact on the outcome. Doing squats every day can prevent your muscles from adequately recovering, which can lead to injury and a lack of progress. To get the most out of your squats, try to aim for two to three sessions per week. This will give your body the required time to rest and help you see the desired results.

    2. To avoid getting stuck in a rut, switch up your squat routine. You can do this by varying the type of squat, the number of repetitions, sets, or the amount of weight you're lifting. This way, your body won't become accustomed to the same movements, and you'll be able to see results.

    3. Change the difficulty of your squats to get the desired results. If you do many repetitions with little weight, you won't notice any progress. On the other hand, if you lift too much weight and do too few reps, you might get injured. Strive for an intensity that tests you, but is not hazardous to your overall wellness.

    Benefits of Squats

    Along with creating an awesome booty, squats offer multiple other benefits.

    Building Muscles

    Doing squats is a great way to gain muscle. You are engaging some of the most significant muscles in your body, allowing you to take on heavier weights and really target your muscles. If you want to bulk up, adding squats to your fitness regimen is a must.

    Improve Coordination and Balance

    Doing squats strengthens your body's coordination by engaging multiple muscle groups at once. Squatting strengthens the communication between your muscles and your brain as your glutes, hamstrings, and quads work together.

    Enhance Posture

    Squats can be beneficial to your posture by reinforcing the back and core muscles. When these muscles are robust, they help keep your spine in the correct position, reduce the risk of back pain, and improve posture.

    Improve Joint Health

    Squats can help to enhance the ability of your joints to move freely. This is because they require your hips, knees, and ankles to move through a larger range of motion than if you were just standing. This can help to reduce discomfort and tightness in your joints, as well as protect them from potential injury.

    Improve Bone Health

    Doing squats can put stress on the bones, making them stronger and more resilient to fractures or breaks in the future.

    Burn Calories

    Squats are a great way to help burn fat as physical activity increases your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. This causes you to burn more calories. Additionally, building muscle through squats is beneficial, as muscle tissue naturally burns more calories than fat tissue. Therefore, increasing your muscle mass can help you burn more calories all the time, even when you're not exercising.

    Variations of Squats

    The following list indicates some of the wide range of squats you can do to help sculpt your butt.

    1. Sumo Squat: This squat is done with the feet wider than shoulder-width apart, and this squat variation can be done using your own bodyweight, a dumbbell, or a kettlebell.

    2. Goblet Squat: For the goblet squat, you'll hold a weight, such as a dumbbell or a kettlebell, close to your chest as you perform a squat.

    3. Overhead Squat: Performing an overhead squat with weight will present a major challenge to your glute and core muscles. Perform the exercise slowly and in a controlled manner, and pause at the bottom for added engagement of the glutes.

    4. Jump Squat: Jump Squats are a plyometric exercise that engages the muscles in your glutes, legs, and core. If you're an experienced lifter, you can add weights to your hands, however, it is just as effective without any additional weight.

    5. Wall Squat: The wall squat is a bodyweight squat that takes on the regular squat, but is done while your back is against a wall and your body is in an upright position.

    6. Kang Squat: Done with a barbell positioned on your shoulders.

    7. Pistol Squat: This is a single-leg squat.

    8. Side-Kick Squat: This squat is done by alternating kicking out your left and right leg every time you stand up from the squat.


      One last note about the importance of protein in your diet.

      Getting the butt you have been hoping for could take longer if you don't provide your body with an adequate amount of protein. Many people overlook this fact. It is essential to understand that developing muscle involves a diet that is high in protein.

      It is up to you to decide how you reach the right amount of protein and which types of protein you consume, but the outcome is always the same. Without enough protein in your diet, the likelihood of getting bigger glutes is next to impossible.

      Bottom Line

      In conclusion, squats can help build muscle mass in the glutes, which can give the appearance of a bigger butt. However, diet and genetics also play a role in the size and shape of a person's butt, so squats alone may not be enough to make a noticeable difference.

      Therefore, if you want to increase the size of your butt, combine a healthy diet and regular squat exercises with other glute-targeting exercises for the best results.