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Does Running Make Your Butt Bigger 2023? Tips to Build Up Your Butt

Katie Swanson

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

does running make your butt bigger

Running is a great exercise for anyone looking to lose weight. And when combined with weight loss supplements, you can reach your weight loss goals even faster. But running has a lot of great benefits[1], from improving cardiovascular health and increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain to strengthening the immune system and reducing stress. Running is also good for another asset.

Running can make your butt bigger, but it could also make it smaller, depending on your body type. It also depends on the type and duration of running you’re doing. Here is how exactly running can help you get a bigger butt.

Does Running Make Your Butt Bigger?

Running can make your butt bigger, but only if you run in a specific way. So before you sign up for marathon training to help put some junk in your trunk, you need to understand the kind of running that can help build a bigger booty.

What Kind of Running Makes Your Butt Bigger?

If you have ever seen professional runners and marathon runners, you know they aren’t exactly known for their bubble butts. The sprinters and shorter distance runners, on the other hand, are known for their perky posteriors. 

This is because endurance running and sprinting work different muscles[2] and burn fuel differently. So if you want to build a bigger bum, you need to be sprinting. 

Here is how running builds muscle in your booty.

Long-Distance Running vs. Sprinting 

Long-distance running involves type I muscle fibers, also known as slow-twitch fibers. These muscles[3] are used for lower intensity, long-term, aerobic endurance activities, such as swimming, cycling, and running long distances. 

Aerobic exercises[4] rely on oxygen getting to the muscles to help burn fuel and sustain longer periods of exercise. Other benefits of aerobic exercise include lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, and better control of blood sugar. 

Aerobic exercise (or cardiovascular) burns stored fat and is a good activity for those who are focused on losing fat without gaining muscle.  

Sprinting or running in short intervals involves type II fibers, also known as fast-twitch muscle fibers. These muscles[3] are used for higher intensity, short-term, anaerobic endurance activities. This includes short bursts of running and sprinting as well as muscle-building activities like lifting weights or resistance training.

Anaerobic exercises[5] rely on muscles burning glycogen, which is sugar stored in muscles for energy. Type II muscle fibers have a larger diameter than type I fibers, which plays a role in hypertrophy, or increased muscle size. Other benefits[6] of anaerobic exercise include weight loss, muscle building or improved muscle tone, and increased bone density.

Anaerobic exercise is a good activity for those who are focused on increasing their power or building muscle.

Running Tips for a Bigger Butt

The gluteus maximus (glute) is the largest, heaviest muscle in the body[7]. It can draw a lot of attention, especially if it is toned and strong. So if you want to focus on building your glute, or butt, muscles through running, here[8] is what you need to know. 

Always begin with a warm-up, even if you are not new to running. Warm-up for at least 10 minutes. This can include marching in place, walking, or climbing a steep hill or stairs.

Next, alternate one minute of sprinting with two minutes of walking. When you’re sprinting, you should be at a moderate intensity. When your minute of sprinting is up, you should be breathing hard but not completely out of breath. Keep this up for 20-30 minutes and repeat three to four days per week. 

Cool down and stretch for at least 10 minutes at the end of each workout. 

As you grow stronger, challenge yourself by sprinting on an unstable surface, such as sand. Another way to target the glutes is to run uphill. When the thigh rises higher than the hips, as in climbing stairs or running uphill, the glute muscles are engaged.

Don’t forget to hydrate and rest as needed. Overexertion and fatigue can lead to injury or burnout. 

Other Exercises to Get a Bigger Butt

There are various ways to build your glute muscles besides running. Doing a variety of exercises such as resistance training or bodyweight exercises can help give you a well-rounded, toned physique. 

If you go to the gym, look for the leg press machine or head to the squat rack. 

If you’re a minimalist and don’t have a gym membership or equipment, opt for these[9] bodyweight exercises: squats, lunges, kickbacks.

As you build muscle in your glutes, you can further shape your physique by burning fat. Try these supplements to boost fat metabolism.

Which Muscles Does Running Work On?

Running is a great workout for the whole body, not just the glutes. When you start running, you feel the burn almost immediately in your legs and your lungs. It may take a while to notice all the health benefits. But when you are running regularly, you start to train your legs and lungs and nearly every other part of your body, and they get stronger. You build your calf muscles, abdominal muscles, back muscles, and another very important muscle, your heart. 

Total Body Benefits of Running

Lose Weight

Running regularly is one of the most effective ways to improve your health, burn extra calories, and lose weight. Whether you’re running long distances or in short bursts of power, you will see weight loss results as long as you burn more calories than you consume.

Strengthen Immune System

Running and other moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercises have been shown[10] to positively affect the immune system by fighting inflammation. Of course, if you are sick, you should rest and recover before beginning any fitness regimen.

Strengthen Cardiovascular System

The American Heart Association recommends[11] adults get their hearts pumping for at least 150 minutes per week through moderate-intensity aerobic activity. They also recommend moderate-to high-intensity strength training at least two days per week. A fitness routine that incorporates sprints and bodyweight exercises is one of the most effective ways to support a healthy body and a healthy heart.

Reduce Stress and Improve Mood 

Developing a regular running routine could positively impact your mental health. Studies[12] have shown that running is an effective way to relieve tension and improve self-image and mood. There is even evidence[13] to show that running affects other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, thanks to the release of endorphins that make us feel good.

The Bottom Line

If you enjoy running long distances, by all means, keep racking up the miles. However, if you’re just looking for a way to build strong buttocks and get some more movement in your life, short sprints are the way to go. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does running help with weight loss?

Running can be a great way to boost weight loss, as it burns more calories than any other form of exercise. However, you must still follow a healthy diet and make sure you are eating within the ideal calorie range for your age and activity level.

Does running make your butt bigger or smaller?

This depends on the type of running you do as well as your diet and other activities. If you are a long-distance runner who only runs and eats a diet low in protein, you will probably lose some muscle mass. If you sprint and eat a diet higher in protein, you will maintain and probably gain muscle mass.

Can I get a bigger butt without running?

You don’t have to be a sprinter to have a bubble butt. Lower body resistance training like squats, lunges, leg presses and deadlifts can all help build gluteal muscles and give you a stronger backside.

Why did I gain weight when I started running?

There are two possible reasons for this. One is that running builds muscle, especially if you are doing short-distance running and strength training. The other reason could be that you’re eating more calories, possibly from the energy expenditure that comes with distance running.

+ 13 sources

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  1. Health Start Foundation. (2021). 6 Benefits of Running. [online] Available at: https://www.healthstartfoundation.org/hsblog/6-benefits-of-running-plus-tips-to-get-you-started-on-your-running-journey
  2. Wilson, J.M., Loenneke, J.P., Jo, E., Wilson, G.J., Zourdos, M.C. and Kim, J.-S. (2012). The Effects of Endurance, Strength, and Power Training on Muscle Fiber Type Shifting. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, [online] 26(6), pp.1724–1729. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21912291/
  3. ‌ACE Fitness (2015). 10 Things to Know About Muscle Fibers. [online] Acefitness.org. Available at: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5411/10-things-to-know-about-muscle-fibers/
  4. ‌Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Aerobic Exercise Health: What Is It, Benefits & Examples. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7050-aerobic-exercise
  5. ‌Piedmont.org. (2022). The Health Benefits Of Anaerobic Exercise | Piedmont Healthcare. [online] Available at: https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/the-benefits-of-anaerobic-exercise
  6. ‌Eufic.org. (2019). The difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. [online] Available at: https://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/the-difference-between-aerobic-and-anaerobic-exercise
  7. ‌Physiopedia. (2013). Gluteus Maximus. [online] Available at: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Gluteus_Maximus
  8. ‌Cleveland Clinic. (2020). How To Start A Running Program For Beginners. [online] Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/when-and-how-to-start-a-running-program/
  9. ‌ACE Fitness (2015). 10-Minute Glute-Building Workout. [online] Acefitness.org. Available at: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5572/10-minute-glute-building-workout/
  10. ‌ACSM_CMS. (2020). ACSM Blog. [online] Available at: https://www.acsm.org/blog-detail/acsm-blog/2020/03/30/exercise-immunity-covid-19-pandemic
  11. ‌www.heart.org. (2018). American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. [online] Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
  12. ‌Markotić V;Pokrajčić V;Babić M;Radančević D;Grle M;Miljko M;Kosović V;Jurić I;Karlović Vidaković M (2020). The Positive Effects of Running on Mental Health. Psychiatria Danubina, [online] 32(Suppl 2). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32970641/
  13. ‌Guszkowska M (2022). [Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood]. Psychiatria polska, [online] 38(4). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15518309/
Katie Swanson

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Katie Swanson is a health and wellness writer with a decade of educational and work experience in public health and wellness. She loves writing to help others live healthier, happier lives.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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