Growing your cheeks is a long and hard process; definitely don’t expect it to occur in a month, but you’ll get there.
I will share my tips for how I went from an inverted slope on my derrière to draggin’ that wagon! Just kidding, it’s currently more like a pancake, but compared to what it was before, that is still pretty good progress. And, please don’t expect to look like the thumbnail on this article. That is all Facetune— the only way you can get that way is via a BBL, and, well, that’s a whole other realm.
Let’s start off with some basics of nutrition. If you want to build muscle, you need to eat more and work out that muscle. It’s going to be hard to create any mass without adding additional calories, but just because you need to be in a calorie surplus, that doesn’t mean eat everything in sight. You’ll want to fuel your body with the right foods, especially if you are going to be active, and you need to make sure to consume enough protein. A good rule of thumb is typically 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, but you can do more research on this and other muscle building topics online.
Now, as a warning, this will cause you to gain some body fat. There is no way to prevent this even if you do a clean bulk. It’s the natural process of what our bodies go through when we put in more calories than we spend. Also, when doing the following exercises, your legs will naturally grow as well— even if you focus on glute isolating exercises. All your leg muscles are connected and will have to exert some force regardless, so ultimately your glutes will match the size of your quads.
Work, work, work
Now comes the hard part: putting in the work to build mass.
You need to lift heavy / heavier to build muscle. It’s tempting to do just body weight squats and lunges. This may help if you have just started to do any sort of glute exercise, but it will be more of a “booty lift” rather than an increase in size. You can definitely do the following exercises with your own body weight, incorporate resistance bands, and eventually work your way up to weights. All of this is based on your level of experience and physical ability. If you don’t have access to weights or have physical limitations when it comes to using weights, then try doing more repetitions of the movements or incorporating resistance bands.
Below are seven exercises I use in my weekly routine that help me target my glutes rather than my hamstrings or quads.
- Hip Thrust
This is probably one of the best exercises to do for your glutes if you don’t want to grow your quads as much. The key is to drive the weight up through your heels and squeeze your glutes at the top. Make sure to get your form right before lifting heavier weights!
2. Reverse Lunges
Personally, when I do regular lunges, I feel the strain coming mainly from my quads. With reverse lunges, I am able to drive the weight through my heel, the back of my leg, and my glutes.
3. Cable Kick Backs
These work best when done on the machine at the gym, but if you are exercising at home, I recommend getting on all fours and doing donkey kicks with each leg, with or without a resistance band.
4. Bulgarian Split Squats
These are a bit similar to reverse lunges, but you need to keep your leg propped up on a bench or chair. I do tend to feel this more on my quads since that tends to be the dominant muscle on my leg, but many people feel it more in their glutes. Definitely play around with your form with these.
I like these because they target all of the back of your legs —glutes and hamstrings—and also give you a bit of a back and arm workout that helps tone them up. It can be tricky to get the form right, and there are many variations. I would make sure to watch different tutorials for this exercise.
6. Leg Press
This is an exercise where going to the gym is required, but it does an effective job of targeting your legs and glutes! Depending on your form and foot placement on the machine, it can target your glutes more than your quads. Definitely play around, and please for the love of God, do not lock your knees as you can injure yourself.
7. Hip Abductors
These can be done at the gym or at home (the clam shell version). These help work out your side glutes, and, no, it won’t get rid of hip dips— those are there due to your genetics! If you are at the gym, make sure that you are choosing the abductor and not the hip abduction machine, as the latter will work your inner thighs instead.
Lastly, depending on your ability, start out with weights and reps that feel comfortable to you with a bit of strain toward the end of each exercise. Gradually build up the weights as your muscle starts to get stronger, and make sure to be consistent.
It’s taken me around 1.5 years of consistently working out this muscle group to see some results, so patience is key. Enjoy the process.