While it isn’t possible to change the hip bones you were born with, you can use glute and thigh exercises to build muscle that will give the appearance of bigger, wider hips. Getting that hourglass figure takes exercise that targets all three muscles that make up your glutes as well as your oblique muscles.
The most common mistake people make when they want to get wider hips is to concentrate too much on just their gluteus medius. While that is an essential part of building big hips, it’s not the end-all-be-all to achieve that goal.
Not everyone will be able to get super wide hips, but people of all body shapes can use certain workouts to build muscle and get a nice pear shape even if the hourglass is out of reach. Read on to learn how you can get bigger hips and build a more toned, curvy body.
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Muscles That Make Big Hips
For people with naturally skinnier waistlines, building up certain muscles is key to having bigger hips. Those whose bodies store fat and build muscle in such a way that they automatically have wider hips from puberty, toning that muscle will make for much shapelier curves and prevent love handles that will sabotage even the best natural curves.
Your glutes are made up of the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius. You have to work all three of these muscles if you want a bigger booty and wider hips. It’s also vital to work your quads to give the impression of bigger hips.
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Benefits of Bigger Hips
Aesthetics shouldn’t be the sole motivator for increasing your hip width. Since getting bigger hips requires working out your glutes and quads, you’ll benefit from increased stability, better posture, and more comfort when you’re sitting down.
Important activities like walking and running are impacted by the amount of muscle you have on your hips and thighs. Although studies have found that the width of the hip bone cannot be used to determine how fast a person can walk or run, having additional muscle does help speed up locomotion.
Dieting for Wider Hips
If you want to build more muscle anywhere on your body, you’ll need to be at a slight caloric surplus. As a very general rule of thumb, about 250 extra calories above your base metabolic rate should do the trick. If you see too much weight gain or weight loss, you can adjust this number until you find your sweet spot.
One problem many people have when they start to exercise to build bigger hips is that they already have a substantial amount of body fat. If you think about the ideal hourglass figure, it’s easy to see how having a gut or love handles will ruin your chances. A paunch or love handles will sag down, creating what’s called a hip dip.
It might be necessary to go through a cutting phase before you start to build muscle. You don’t have to be at 0% body fat to build muscle, but large deposits of fat that tend to build up in our mid-section will have to go. For people starting out in this situation, the good news is that you’ll likely be getting newbie gains quickly once you achieve your weight loss goals at the end of a cutting phase.
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Remember to count your macros regardless of what phase you’re in. Too many people cut out carbs entirely during a cutting phase, depriving their bodies of their most preferred energy source and making workouts less effective as a result. As always, you’ll need to consume lots of complete proteins so your body has everything it needs to repair and build muscle.
Cardio for Larger, Rounder Hips
What about cardio exercises to build muscle on your hips? While it does stand to reason that using your glutes and quadriceps to run would give them a great workout, it might not be the most optimal way to go about things because long-distance cardio can burn the calories your body needs to build muscle.
That doesn’t mean that cardio ruins your gains, but it does mean that you have to be a bit more strategic about fitting cardio into your workout routine if you want to build muscle. Plyometrics are a fantastic way to fit small bursts of explosive cardio into a routine that will build up your glutes and quadriceps.
Many of the bodyweight exercises we’ve included in this list have plyometric variations that will help add some cardio to your workout routine and help strengthen important lower body muscles like your hamstrings.
Accessories for Growing Bigger Hips
Muscle growth relies on a process called hypertrophy, which is increased by certain resistance and strength training exercises. More weight and resistance causes more muscle damage, which is then repaired. Your body makes your muscles stronger to avoid similar destruction in the future, leading to more muscle gains.
If you want to take these exercises to the next level, you should invest in a resistance band that you can put around your legs to give them more resistance as you go through the motions. If you want to add some upper body action, you can hold dumbbells as you practice these exercises.
10 Best Exercises for Big Hips
You don’t have to do all ten of these exercises every time you go to the gym. Instead, you can choose 2 – 5 of them to do during each session and continue swapping out between the remaining ten to make sure your body doesn’t get used to the motions.
1. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is a simple exercise that you can use as part of a warm-up or to fill up intervals during the main routine. This single-leg variation has less hamstring activation, which means it gives your glutes a greater workout.
How It’s Done:
Lie down on your back with the soles of your feet flat on the ground. Lift your left leg up so that your left knee is close to your chest and hold it there with both hands. Go back on the heel of your right foot and lift your hips so that there is a straight line going from your neck to the right knee.
Hold the position for 1 – 2 seconds and then sink back down to the starting position. For the best glute workout, your active leg should be bent at about a 135° angle. Make sure you switch to the left side after finishing all the reps on your right.
2. Curtsy Lunge
The curtsy lunge is a variation of the traditional lunge that will work your gluteus medius, which is on the side of your leg and will give a greater impression of bigger hips. It can be done with dumbbells in each hand, with a barbell on your shoulders, or with bodyweight alone.
How It’s Done:
Start by standing with your feet about hip-width apart. Move your right leg back so that it goes behind your left leg. Place the tip of your right foot on the ground and make sure your left knee is always in alignment with the direction of the left toes.
Lower into a squat position. Rise to the top again for one rep. From here, you can either continue to lower and rise or you can return to the normal standing position with your feet hip-width apart and then reverse your right and left legs before lowering again.
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3. Fire Hydrants
Not only will this exercise help you get a bigger butt, but it will also help your hip rotators gain strength which can prevent injury to a critical and frequently injured joint in your body. You can work your gluteus minimus and medius with this exercise.
How It’s Done:
Get down on the ground as if you were going to do a push-up, but support your lower body with your knees. Choose which leg you want to start with and lift that knee up off the ground. Make sure your back remains straight throughout this exercise and both legs are bent at a 90-degree angle.
Lift the starting leg out to the side so that your shin is pointing in that direction, taking care not to lose the 90-degree angle in the active leg. Return it to the starting position and continue to do reps on that side until you’re ready to switch to the other side.
4. Squat Side Kicks
Add a small bit of cardio to your butt workout with this simple bodyweight move. You don’t need any extra equipment although you could easily add a barbell, dumbbells, or a resistance band if you prefer.
How It’s Done:
This squat variation adds a degree of side movement that most other leg and butt workouts don’t offer. First, stand with your legs a little more than hip-width apart. Lower your butt into a squat position until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
As you rise back toward the starting position, kick your right leg out to the side as high as you can. Make sure you don’t overextend the leg. Go back into the squat position as soon as your right leg is down and then kick out with the left leg on the next rise.
5. Bulgarian Split Squats
Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves all get a workout with this great leg workout. Not only can you get a bigger butt with Bulgarian split squats, but you can get a strong and athletic lower body, too.
How It’s Done:
You’ll need a small platform for this exercise but a chair or couch works just as well if you’re working out from home. Stand a slight distance in front of your chosen platform and then place your left leg behind you so that your toes are on the platform.
Lean forward slightly to accommodate this stance and keep your lower back from extending too much. Drop down in a squat and then rise back to the starting position. Switch your rear leg after the reps are finished on your right leg.
Helpful Hint: The yoga poses in our Joga Fitplan build strength in various muscle groups!
6. Sumo Walk
It might not seem like this simple exercise can build muscle mass on your hips, but it does a great job targeting your lower body. The position is similar to the lower part of a squat, but you’ll remain in that position throughout the move.
How It’s Done:
Stand with your feet more than hip-width apart and then drop down into a squat position. Rather than lifting back up to the starting position like you would in a traditional squat, you’re going to take a step out to the right with your right leg and then follow that movement with your left, taking care to keep your knees far apart.
You can go two steps to the right and then two to the left until you’re fatigued. Use leg resistance bands or hold a kettlebell in your hands to increase the burn.
Also called simply clams, this quick exercise targets the gluteus medius and will give you a bigger butt with minimal effort. This muscle also gives you more pelvic stability.
How It’s Done:
Lie down on your right side with your right leg on top of the left one. Your heels should be bent to 45 degrees so that they’re right under your butt. Lift your right knee as high as you can get it and then slowly lower it back down.
Make sure your hips are not moving during this exercise. Switch to lie on your other side to give your left side the same workout.
8. Romanian Deadlift
If you want to work your hamstrings in addition to your glutes, RDL’s are a great way to do it. You’ll need a barbell or some kind of stand-in for this variation on the traditional deadlift.
How It’s Done:
Grip the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart and hold the bar at thigh level. Roll back your shoulder blades and make sure your feet are together and your legs are straight.
Hing at the waist to bend over and let the bar move toward the ground. Don’t go further than your body can stretch – if you can only get your torso parallel with the ground, that’s fine. Rise to the starting position and repeat.
9. Donkey Kicks
Donkey kicks are one of the best moves for warm-ups or cool-downs. You don’t need any additional equipment, although you could add a resistance band if you wanted to.
How It’s Done:
Get down into a push-up position but support your bodyweight with your knees instead of your toes. Your arms should be under your shoulders and your legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Lift one leg at a time so that your thigh is in a straight line with your torso, taking care not to let it get out of the 90-degree angle.
Return that leg to the starting position and then either complete all the reps on that side or switch to the other side.
Helpful Hint: Check out our Sculpted Curves Fitplan for a better booty workout and wider hips!
10. Squat Hip Abduction
Once you’ve mastered similar squat moves like the sumo walk, you can move on to the squat hip abduction to move in a new direction. If you want an extra challenge, you can add a resistance band around your legs.
How It’s Done:
Stand with your feet a little more than hip-width apart and then sink down into a squat position. Next, move your right leg out and behind you. Let your hips change direction to accommodate this movement. Next, return to the starting position and repeat the same movement with the left leg.
Make sure you’re only taking four steps throughout this movement: right leg out, right leg back, left leg out, and left leg back. Maintain the same depth in your squat position for the best results.
Even though changing our bone structure or the way our body stores fat isn’t possible, there are plenty of exercises you can use to build muscle on your hips and booty to give yourself the appearance of bigger hips. It’s hard work, but using these 10 exercises for wider hips will be worth it when you’re rocking that pear or hourglass figure.
(Note: Want our elite trainers to help you build your workout routine? Start your Fitplan free trial today!)