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17 Things You Should Know Before Trying To Get A Bigger Butt

Everything you need to know about enlarging that wagon you're draggin'.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Not everyone wants to change the appearance of their butt. And that's OK! But for those who do it can be tough to know exactly how to go about it and how your diet, training, and lifestyle can support or inhibit your goals. To provide helpful tips on how to achieve your body composition goals safely, we reached out to two strength and conditioning experts — Bret Contreras, CSCS, personal trainer, speaker, and author, and strength and conditioning expert Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, co-founder Cressey Sports Performance — to tell us their thoughts on how to get a bigger butt.

1. The first thing to know is that when we talk about butts, we're talking about three muscles in your backside.

Victoria's Secret/Clever Moda/BuzzFeed / Via,

The deal with your butt is that it's made up of your gluteal muscles — the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and gluteus maximus — which are then covered with a layer of fat. Your glutes are what help you stand up from a sitting position or a squat, climb stairs, stay standing upright, and stabilize the pelvis.

2. So if you want a bigger butt, you need to work on making those three muscles grow.

3. The other thing about the appearance of your butt has to do with how much fat is covering your glutes.

4. This means that one of the first things you will want to do is determine whether you'd like to lose body fat.

5. If you do want to lose fat, you'll need to eat fewer calories than you need to maintain your current weight.

It's important to strike a balance between losing weight consistently but not losing too rapidly or eating so little that you're always hungry, tired, or lacking energy to get through workouts. Use an online calculator to start ballparking your caloric intake and from there do some trial and error to see what the right amount of calories and rate of weight loss would be for you.

In the example above a 25-year old-man who's 5'10" and weighs 200 pounds and exercises or plays sports three to five times per week needs to eat about 2,943 calories to maintain his weight (give or take). The calculator provides estimates for how much he'd need to eat to lose or gain one or two pounds each week.

Again, online calculators are a good place to start guesstimating but you'll really figure it out once you try it out.

6. You'll probably need to eat fewer carbs and more protein. And btw skip the low-fat diet thing.

7. Don't rely on a regular scale, because you want to be sure that the weight you're losing is fat.

8. Exercise and cardio are crucial, but when it comes to your glutes, not just anything will do.

There are all different ways to exercise, and they might be challenging for your lungs, your metabolism, your flexibility, or even your legs, but this doesn't necessarily mean they'll be good for developing your glutes. In fact, Contreras says that "running, yoga, Pilates, and spin classes are all overrated for glute development."

9. The best cardio will be high-intensity moves that target your glutes — like stair sprints and hill repeats.

10. Don't believe the hype; you have to do more than just squat.

It's true that squats should be part of any butt embiggening effort. But are squats alone enough for glute growth? Nope. If you can perform squats comfortably you should definitely do them and you should try to make them progressively more challenging to really work your glutes (more on that below). But just know that "just squats" is not the way. As Contreras says here, a single exercise is never enough for maximizing muscle growth.

11. Start your glute strength training with bodyweight exercises like glute bridges and hip thrusts.

If you're new to training your glutes or if you spend a lot of time sitting, chances are simple bodyweight exercises will be a good place to start; they will be challenging enough to start getting your glutes stronger but not so hard that they're impossible to perform.

Gentilcore recommends starting with glute bridges (above left) and hip thrusts (above right), first mastering the movements themselves and then performing them in higher reps and sets before moving on to more challenging bodyweight movements (like single-leg glute bridges and single-leg hip thrusts). Check out three variations of hip thrusts demo'd here.

And don't just limit your glute training to one kind of exercise, warns Contreras. You should have tons of variety between the bodyweight moves you can do at home, adding resistance bands, and using dumbbells, barbells, or machines at the gym. "People should perform a wide variety of glute exercises throughout the week, ranging from variations of hip thrusts, to squats, to deadlifts, to lunges, to back extensions, to cable kickbacks, and to lateral band walks," Contreras says.

12. Once your glutes are a little stronger, add weights and learn more challenging movements.

13. But going too heavy before you're ready will really mess up your #gains.

If you add a barbell to your hip thrust or a dumbbell to your glute bridge before you're strong enough to perform the movements with just your bodyweight, you'll end up using your lower back to move the weight, and that won't help you get a bigger butt at all. In fact, it might put you at risk for injury. Add weight slowly and remember that movement quality is infinitely more important than the number on the weights.

14. Make sure you're strength training three to five days per week and practicing progressive overload.

15. Start and end each workout with your glute-training exercises.

"Each session should start with an exercise that targets that area. The more exposure you give that body part to grow, the more it will grow," says Gentilcore. He recommends warming up with bodyweight glute-activating exercises (like glute bridges or hip thrusts), then doing the main part of your workout (making sure to include a multi-joint glute-targeting movement like deadlifts or squats), and then finishing with single-leg movements like glute bridge or hip-thrust variations, lunges, or split squats.

16. Be sure to take plenty of time to rest and recover.

17. Make sure your expectations for results are realistic.

Remember to love your butt for what it can do and to have fun no matter what your #buttgoals are!