Kim Kardshian’s broke the internet; Beyoncé’s known for hers; and J.Lo owns the original: We’re talking about butts that are—in Sir Mix-a-lot’s words—round and big. Curvy, perky backsides have hit an all-time high in the pop culture realm—and while trends that idealize one body shape over another should be pursued warily, if you are looking for a bigger, rounder butt fast, we’ve got just the ticket. Ahead, 11 glute-sculpting workout moves, solid nutrition advice, and pro-tips on from industry-leading experts about healthy ways to build lean muscle and lift your derrière.
Add weight to your workout.
If you want to build muscle, you need to load up on the weights at the gym, says celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser. “Glute isolations are fantastic, but they’re not going to give you a bigger butt—you definitely need to grab some weights,” she said. So, forget those bodyweight-only workouts.
Specifically she suggests a weighted curtsy lunge as a great way to target all glute muscles. “Grab 8 to 15-lb dumbbells in each hand and really increase range of motion so that you’re bending your knees as far down as possible and straightening your legs as much as you can,” Kaiser recommends.
Embrace fatty foods.
By now we all know that fat doesn’t make you fat. Instead, the right kinds of fat actually deliver a host of health benefits and can help you sculpt a lean and lifted derrière. Nutritionist Lee Holmes explains: “Healthy sources of fat are essential for us to improve our weight, lower our disease risk and most importantly, get that butt nice and perky.” She suggests olive oil, nuts, nut butters, and eggs. Eat up!
Balance your macronutrients.
Macronutrients are the label experts give food groups like fat, protein, and carbohydrates. And, according to Kimberly Snyder, a nutritionist and New York Times best-selling author of the Beauty Detox series and Radical Beauty), striking a strategic balance between each is the key to a bigger butt.
Specifically, you should eat more omega-3-rich foods and cut back on anything brimming with omega-6. Look for hemp and other seeds, coconut oil, and avocado—and avoid vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, and soybean oil.
“Most of us get way too many omega-6, which upsets our essential fatty acid ratio and can lead to inflammation and poor circulation, which overall can reduce oxygen and nutrients getting to the areas you want, including your glutes,” Snyder explains, adding that oxygen and nutrients can help you build a healthy and bigger butt.
Adjust your posture.
Kardashian trainer Gunnar Peterson, who’s also worked with Jennifer Lopez, Ciara and Dakota Johnson, btw) is the authority on butt-enhancing exercises, and he says that simply shifting your posture while squatting can make the movement way more effective. “Posture is important! If you pitch too far forward you will feel your erector spinae (muscles of the lower back) more than your glutes. Foot position is something to pay attention to as well: Foot width as well as minor adjustments in the direction your toes are pointing will all contribute to getting the most glute bang for your buck,” he told us.
Focus on muscle engagement during your workout.
Guilty of speeding through your squats to get it over with? Same. But, according to personal trainer and Instagram sensation Anna Victoria, while that can help you burn more calories, it’s not going to get you a curvier booty.
“My biggest tip to women wanting to build a bigger, perkier butt is slow it down and focus on muscle engagement rather than speed. Doing as many squats as possible isn’t going to build your booty if you aren’t taking the time to pause, squeeze, and engage your glutes,” she says.
Without focusing on engagement, you’re likely relying on leg muscles to do the work, while your glutes are inactive. Instead, Victoria suggests “slowing it down and really focus on relying on your glute muscles to bring you through the movement, pushing up through your heels and then squeezing for a full second at the peak of the movement.”
Get comfortable with eating a ton of nutritional yeast.
Women generally try to keep yeast out of our bodies, but this deactivated strain, typically grown on cane or beet molasses under carefully controlled conditions, is great for post-workout snacking if you’re looking to build muscle.
“Nutritional yeast carries an impressive amount of protein—a whopping eight grams of protein in just 1.5 tablespoons to be exact! It is one of the richest plant sources of protein available,” Snyder says. And unlike nuts and seeds, which are mostly fat in their composition, nutritional yeast is low fat and easily absorbed by the body after a workout. Try this Dharma’s Kale Salad after your next set of squats.
Do deadlifts every day.
Why just deadlift when you can blend your deadlifts with a curtsy lunge, and really target the muscles you need to build for a rounder booty?
“Try using 10 lbs in each hand and do a set of 20 on each side, a set of 10 on each side, and then a set of five on each side,” Kaiser suggests, adding: “You’re going to cross the right leg behind the left, and then bend both knees, hips should be facing front.”
Through this movement you should have your knees bent as low as possible, keeping the weights next to your side, one in each hand, hinge at the waist until your back is flat. As you send your tailbone to the back of the room and keep your back flat, come back to standing. “You should keep the weight in your front heel, so that you really target that supporting leg and glute,” Kaiser recommends.
Take anabolic herbs.
Anabolic herbs are natural supplements known to increase free testosterone and, according to medicinal herbalist Daniela Turley, will in theory have an anabolic effect, helping to build up muscle. “Herbs used for this include Avena Sativa (wild oat straw), which has been shown to bind to the globulin hormone, allowing more free testosterone.” It can also boost your sex drive, so look out for that pleasant side-effect.
Try weighted glute bridges.
Victoria’s favorite move for a bigger butt is weighted glute bridges. Why? Your lower body can handle way more weight than your upper body, so you can use a heavy barbell—she suggests at least 50 lbs–to work out your butt.
Victoria explains: “Start by placing your back on a bench with your feet supporting your body, and the barbell across your hips. It’s best to use a barbell pad or even a yoga mat rolled up under the barbell during this exercise. Lower your hips and keep your head looking straight, fixated on a point on the wall in front of you. Once your hips are lowered close to the ground, push up through your heels, tilt your hips towards your belly button, and squeeze your glutes for one full second, then release and repeat the exercise.”
Don’t forget to exhale and contract your core as you push up through your heels. Do 15 reps with 50 lbs and repeat three times.
Do more hip thrusts.
Hip thrusts, a movement that isolates, tones, and builds your glutes, are Kardashian-trainer Gunnar Peterson’s favorite butt exercise. He suggests starting with three sets of 10 and working your way up to four or give sets of 12-15 repetitions. Make sure you push your heels and try to get your hips as high as possible while flexing the glutes.
Eat protein straight after you sweat.
Experts agree that eating a good source of protein within 45 minutes following your strength workout will help your muscles repair and grow (the key to a bigger backside). Try eggs, nuts, lean meat, or a protein shake. “My favorite source right now is new Pure Protein Super Food plant-based powder, because it’s delicious, non-GMO, no soy, no dairy and no artificial sweeteners. You get 20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of sugar, and it’s as easy as mixing it with water or coconut water because it tastes amazing,” Kaiser suggests.
Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder adds that this only applies to more rigorous workouts: “We’re talking about workouts that are of medium-to-high intensity and last 30-45 minutes. Shorter or less vigorous workouts don’t require special post workout nutrition emphasis,” she explains.