wider hips

The Ultimate Woman's Guide To Building Wider Hips & Improving Waist-To-Hip Ratio

May 05, 2021

It’s safe to say that pretty much every woman who exercises wants to build a bigger butt and wider hips. A big butt with wide hips is attractive on the most primal level. It suggests good health (it’s the equivalent of a man with a broad chest and shoulders). But how wide hips need to be differs between women as it really depends on how wide your hips are in proportion to your waist. Therefore, it is really all about waist-to-hip ratio, not just having wide hips, as a good waist-to-hip ratio is what gives us women the sexy, wide hip, hourglass figure we desire, regardless of if are hips are really all that wide. 

Now, there's some bad news and some good news. Let me start with the bad news...

The bad news is, you can’t change your bone structure or the way your body distributes fat.

In fact, natural hourglass figures are pretty rare. So if you don’t have one, don’t feel bad. Most women don't. 

The good news is, you can build muscle and create a wide hip, slim waist look with hard work. Thus, if you have narrow (or narrowish) hips and you want to make them wider, all you have to do is build muscle around your hips (which means...your glutes!).

Of course, building muscle around the hips is easier said than done. This is why we have written this guide. We are here to teach you exactly how to get wider hips and a smaller waist through exercise and dieting.

Table of contents:
- Why are wide hips so attractive?
- What causes hips to widen naturally?
- Is it possible to widen hips?
- Understanding waist-to-hip-ratio
- How to measure waist-to-hip ratio
- How wide should my hips be (ideal waist-to-hip ratio)
- How to improve waist-to-hip-ratio 
- How to get a smaller waist
- How to get wider hips
- Best exercises for wider hips
- Workouts for wider hips (and programs)
- Diet for building bigger hips and keeping waist slim
- Summary

how to get wider hips

WHY ARE WIDE HIPS SO ATTRACTIVE?

Wide hips are attractive because it is an indication of health, as well as youthfulness and fertility. It is a phenomenon that is hardwired into our genes, as scientists will all agree.

The attraction to wide hips is not just a preference of certain cultures and today’s modern society. It is natural. It is biological.

We know this because it is pan-cultural (meaning relevant to all human cultures) and it spans across history (you can see this in ancient sculptures from Egypt, Africa, India, and Greece).

The attraction to wider hips is an age-old, species-wide, evolutionary preference.

As a matter of fact, studies suggest our natural instincts may actually lean towards even more extreme proportions, but our modern, overweight culture subtly downplays it because having hips that are not extremely wide appears more normal.

Let's dig a little deeper into why people instinctually find wide hips attractive...

For hundreds of thousands of years before modern medicine, maternal mortality was very high, so having wide hips ensured easier birth and that genes would be passed on. Moreover, the fat that stored around the hips, butt and thighs was important during breastfeeding, so children could be fed even when food might not be available.

Studies even suggest the fat in women’s thighs and buttocks is particularly beneficial to a baby’s brain health - it's good fat.

Note: Fat around the waist has the opposite effect. It signifies unhealthiness. intra-abdominal fat is highly linked to higher rates of chronic diseases.

Hypotheses are pretty consistent that wide hips are so attractive because they advertise great health and prime fertility. This all seems to be on both a subconscious and conscious level. The curvy shape looks feminine, which is attractive, and on the deepest, instinctual level, it suggests a women is in her child bearing years (as women get older, fat starts to store around the stomach and hips tend to narrow).

While we all want to do many great things in life, evolution suggests that our main purpose is to pass on our genes. A lot of what attracts us is deeply ingrained into our DNA for the purpose of passing on our genes. 

When you think about it, this is why you are here reading this guide, to learn how to develop wider hips because you intuitively know it’s attractive and you instinctually desire it.

At this point, you may be wondering - is having wide hips purely genetic or can you actually build wide hips?

The truth is, a lot of it is genetic. Some women are naturally blessed with curves because they have the right bone structure and they distribute fat to the thighs and buttocks rather than the stomach. That said, there are ways to increase the width of your hips by adding muscle as well as improving the appearance of your hip width by decreasing belly fat.

Before we get into that, let’s have look at what causes wide hips and then discuss the importance of waist to hip ratio (this is very important), because as we've established, it's not just about having wide hips.

how to make hips bigger

WHAT CAUSES HIPS TO WIDEN?

Women’s hips start to widen naturally when hitting puberty. The hormone estrogen is responsible for this. It prompts the pelvis to widen so that it is the widest at peak fertility years, which is between 20 and 30. Obviously, wider hips makes giving birth easier (and safer).

Women also have more estrogen receptors in their thighs, hips and boobs, which causes an increase in fat cells in these areas. Large amounts of estrogen receptors in these areas naturally advertises the women is healthy and youthful. As mentioned earlier, this fat is also helpful during pregnancy and when raising an infant.

As women get older, they tend to store fat differently (more in the waist and belly) because estrogen levels decrease.

So, the hourglass curve is naturally caused by estrogen, which alters bone structure and influences where fat is distributed. 

High estrogen levels = tiny waist and big hips.

What's more, some women are naturally blessed with how their body responds to estrogen during puberty.

Now, let's not forget, there are other factors that come into play too, like how active a woman is and how she diets. No matter how naturally blessed you are, if you eat terribly and live a very sedentary lifestyle, you won't have an hourglass figure. 

Why are my hips not wide?

Not all women are naturally curvy, so don't worry. This is because not all women have the same levels of estrogen during puberty and early adulthood, which is when your hips widen. If a woman has lower estrogen levels or higher levels of androgen hormones (male hormones - which is perfectly natural), they will not have such pronounced hips.

Women with higher levels of male (androgenic) hormones such as testosterone will have a more straight up and down figure. If this is you, don’t despair.  First of all, this androgenic effect means more stamina, initiative, assertiveness and dominance. Plus, you can still build muscle around your hips and keep your waist tight to create some curviness. 

how to widen hips

IS IT POSSIBLE TO WIDEN HIPS?

There is no changing bone structure, that is natural. However, even though hip width is greatly determined by the size of your pelvic bone, you can broaden your hips with fitness and nutrition.

If your waist to hips are straight up and down, you will never be super duper curvy, but you can create some sexy curves. The goal is to add muscle around your hips and keep your waist tight, as you also can’t control where you store fat.

Now, if you are thinking, “can I do hormone treatment to increase estrogen, and thus, make my hips wider or redistribute fat?” Potentially, depending on your age, but it would likely be ineffective and dangerous to your health. Women only do estrogen therapy treatment if they actually have an estrogen deficiency. Just because you have not-so-wide hips doesn’t mean you are deficient in estrogen.

(Non transgender - aka cisgender) women mainly do hormone therapy treatment to help with menopausal symptoms or vaginal discomfort during sexual intercourse, not for cosmetic reasons. No doctor will recommend this because you want wide hips if your levels are normal. 

All in all, if your hips aren’t wide, there is really nothing you can do about it on a bone structural level. Again, what you can do is build muscle around your hips and keep your waist tight, which will create that hourglass look. And guess what, muscles are sexy and the also suggest good health! It's not all about curves when it comes to attractiveness. There are many indicators of good health, and being fit is one of them, regardless of if your hips are very wide in proportion to your waist. 

Ok, now, assuming you want to go about widening your hips the right way (no surgery or treatments), you need to focus on building muscle around your hips (and shoulders) and keep your waist tight, as this will make your hips wider (and look wider), giving you that hourglass appearance.

Before we get into fitness and nutrition, we want to dig into waist to hip ratio, because this is very important...

how to improve waist to hip ratio

UNDERSTANDING WAIST TO HIP RATIO

It’s not all about genetics (i.e. estrogen, bone structure, fat distribution) when it comes to waist-to-hip ratio. Being active and having muscle mass in the right areas will also make a big difference.

What’s more, you don’t even necessarily need big, thick hips to have a good waist-to-hip ratio. Even petite women can have a good waist-to-hip ratio. Moreover, some women with big hips can have a poor waist-to-hip ratio. So, it’s not all about getting wider hips. You need a thin waist as well. With a good waist-to-hip ratio, you will have the curves we all desire and the appearance of good health.

The same concept applies to the attraction of men with broader shoulders. Broad shoulders are attractive, but if you have broad shoulders with a big waist, it takes away from that attraction. 

Let’s get a better understanding of how waist-to-hip ratio is determined before talking about ideal proportions.

How to measure waist to hip ratio:

First, measure you waist circumference at its narrowest point (which should be an inch or two above your belly button).

Next, measure your hip circumference at its widest point.

Then, divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference and you will have your waist-to-hip ratio.

For example, let’s say a women has a 25 inch waist and 31 inch hips.

25 / 31 = .806.

So, her waist to hip ratio is about 0.80

Is that good?

Well, it’s in the healthy range, but it won’t give her that remarkably curvy look. Good thing is, she can improve it by putting on some lean muscle around her hips.

More on this later, let’s now go over what waist-to-hip ratios are ideal.

HOW WIDE SHOULD MY HIPS BE?

Most studies suggest that 0.70 or lower is the most attractive waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). 0.70 and lower is also associated with a higher fertility rate and lower rates of chronic diseases (more fat around the waist - intra-abdominal fat - is obviously not good for your health).

Other studies suggest it is 0.75 and lower, with the normal curvy WHR being 0.65-0.75.

It seems like 0.70 and lower is when the hourglass shape really shows.

That said, most doctors would suggest the ideal ratio in healthy women is anywhere from 0.65 to 0.80.

Note: this is for premenopausal women, as WHR naturally increases after menopause.

Here is a picture from a study on waist-to-hip ratio attractiveness that shows different waist-to-hip ratios to give you a better idea.

ideal waist to hip ratio

Anything in this range is perfectly fine, but if you can aim for something, you should aim for 0.70 or 0.75 and lower.

Now, the question is, how do you improve (lower) your WHR?

Let’s discuss ways to achieve a better waist-to-hip ratio, as this is what attractiveness really comes down to, not just big wide hips. Having hips that are wider than the waist (ideally wide hips and a small waist) is so desirable because it look so healthy and feminine!

Note: For men, the average ideal WHR is under 1.00.

HOW TO IMPROVE WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO

Getting wider hips is difficult because really the only thing you can do is gain muscle. You can’t change the way your fat is distributed and you can’t widen your pelvic bone.

Nevertheless, putting on muscle can most certainly be done. It just takes time and dedication. The thing is, you need to put that muscle on in a sensible way. You can’t overeat or you will gain fat, and if you are predisposed to gaining belly fat, then you will likely gain belly fat along with your muscle. Now, if you take that route, you can gain the muscle then cut that fat later. But ideally, you want to put on lean muscle mass while minimizing any fat or keeping fat off if possible at the same time (it is possible with the right workout and diet, which we will tell you about).

Improving your waist-to-hip ratio is going to look different for different women.

For example...

If you are a skinny woman, maybe gaining a little fat will be good for your curves. If you’ve been skinny your whole life, for all you know, the fat will go to your thighs and hips.

Or...

Maybe you are overweight and if you shed off that stomach fat and tighten up your waist, you can create that curvy shape without even needing to put on much muscle around your hips.

Or...

Maybe you are somewhere in the middle, not too muscular and not too fat. In this case, you can start training hard, building muscle around your hips while losing fat. Then, you will be off the curvy races.

All in all, to improve waist to hip ratio, you need to do two things: keep your waist lean and build muscle around your hips (butt and thighs).

Another nice trick for creating that hourglass shape is to build some shoulder muscle. With some more shoulder muscle, you can create the appearance of a skinnier waist.

Moving on...now, we are going to mainly focus on how to make your waist slimmer and how to put on muscle mass around your hips.

how to get a smaller waist

HOW TO GET A SMALLER WAIST

Wide hips don’t mean anything without a slim waist. Having a slim waist will make your hips appear larger. This is why even petite women can look very curvy. It’s all about the proportions (WHR).

The best and healthiest way to get a smaller waist is by dieting and exercising.

Here are some important tips for slimming up that waistline:

  1. You need to drink a lot of water. Drinking a lot of water will help you get rid of bloating and it speeds up your metabolism. It also helps with hunger pangs when you are trying to cut calories.
  2. Cut out sugary foods and beverages, alcohol (one glass of wine a day is fine), trans fats, and processed foods. Eat a high protein, low carb diet. Unprocessed meats, fruits, veggies and whole grains are what you need to be eating.
  3. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet and it primes your body for burning calories during the day. Aim for at least 8 hours a night.
  4. Move around more during the day. If you sit down at a desk for work, get up every hour or so a walk around for 10 minutes.
  5. Be patient. If you want to get a slim waist, you need to stay consistent with the above.

Then, of course, you need to keep active and exercise.

The best exercises for shedding fat off your belly and waistline are weight training and HIIT.

Lifting weights (or at least doing bodyweight workouts) will help you build muscle, and the more muscle you have, the more of a calorie burning machine your body will be.

The reason we choose HIIT over steady-state cardio is simple. HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, will help you burn the same (if not more) calories as steady state cardio like running but without sacrificing muscle. Yes, steady-state cardio will help you lose fat, but it will also cause you to lose muscle. HIIT training will not only help you maintain the muscle mass, it can actually help you build muscle. This is because HIIT recruits a lot of muscle fibers. To top it off, with HIIT, you will be burning calories long after your workout is over thanks to the after-burn effect (EPOC). Steady-state cardio will not.

Do core exercises help you lose belly fat?

You can’t spot reduce fat and most core exercises actually burn less fat than big compound exercises like squats. Nevertheless, you should be doing core exercises because a strong core is super important for injury resilience, balance, stability, and it makes you stronger in all of your movements as force is transferred from your limbs via your core.

Just don’t waste tons of time on core exercises. If you are doing HIIT training and big compound movements like squats and deadlifts, your core will already be getting worked pretty well (plus you will be burning tons of calories, which will help give your core a more defined look). Just do a couple quick core workouts per week in-between your main sessions.

SHOULDERS, CHEST AND LATS

A lot of women don’t take their shoulders seriously enough. For most women, it's all about the legs and booty.

Building up your shoulder muscles not only makes you look more impressive, but it also creates a greater illusion of a slimmer waist.

The same goes for your chest and lats. So, don’t skip back, chest and shoulders.

Are waist trainers effective for making my waist smaller?

Some women swear by waist trainers, but for them to actually have a noticeable or dramatic effect, you need to wear them for a long time. Moreover, you need to be ready to sacrifice your health. If you get to the point where the waist trainer has actually reshaped your waist, then your internal organs will be squished and your breathing and digestion likely compromised. Waist trainers won’t help you lose fat, they can reshape your natural bone structure if you wear them tight enough and long enough, which is obviously not smart.

All that said, waist trainers or corsets are fine to wear under garments if you want to create the appearance of a smaller waist. Just be careful that it doesn’t compromise your breathing. If it's hard to breathe, loosen it up.

High Waist Pants

Another little trick for making your waist look smaller are high waisted pants. But, we are sure you already know this. This is why they are so popular. They really emphasize the appearance of a big butt and an hourglass body shape.

Now, let’s get into the real juicy stuff. Exercises for growing muscle around your hips, as this is what wide hips and hourglass figure are made of...

how to get big hips if your skinny

HOW TO GET WIDER HIPS

While you can’t spot reduce or spot gain fat, you can create an exercise routine and diet that supports muscle growth in your butt and thighs. i.e. you can spot gain muscle! Ultimately, this will make your hips wider and it will give you an hour glass appearance, so long as you don’t overeat and gain too much belly fat.

To start, let’s go over the muscles you need to focus on to make your hips wider.

What muscles make hips bigger?

If you want to make your hips wider, you need to focus on your gluteal muscles as well as your quads (and hamstrings). These are the muscles that surround your hips and will make your hips wider hips.

Gluteal Muscles:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus

Gluteus Maximus

Your gluteus maximus is the strongest glute muscle. In fact, it is considered one of the strongest muscles in the entire human body.

The gluteus maximus is also the largest glute muscle and the largest muscle at the hip. Thus, it is obviously the most significant muscle to focus on when building bigger hips.

On that note, you’ll be pleased to know that it has the most potential to grow! So, if your gluteus maximus is small now, no worries, it can and will grow.

To know how to grow the gluteus maximus (which, in turn, will make your hips wider), you need to understand how it functions...

The main job of the gluteus maximus is hip extension (i.e. thrusting hips forward and moving the legs backwards). Therefore, the gluteus maximus is activated during exercises like squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts, as well as running, jumping, swimming and so on. The gluteus maximus also helps to externally rotate the hips and is a vital component of spinal stability.

The gluteus maximus responds best to big compound exercises (e.g. squats). This will allow you to stretch and contract the muscle through a large range of motion, and you can go heavy to really stress the muscle. This is what it takes to build muscle.

Now, being that the gluteus maximus is large, you need to do a variety of exercises to hit it in its entirety (essentially its upper and lower fibers). So, it’s not just about back squats, you need to do deadlifts, lunges, hip thrusts and so on.

Further below, we will show you many of the best exercises for hypertrophy of the gluteus maximus.

Gluteus Medius & Minimus

The gluteus medius and minimus are located on the sides of your hips and butt. They are your side glutes. 

Both are dwarfed by the gluteus maximus, but they still play an important role in movement and developing wider hips.

The gluteus medius and minimus have the same role. They function during lateral leg movements (moving your leg away from your body). They also help with leg rotation. So, exercises like side lunges and curtsy lunges as well as any hip abduction movement will target your gluteus medius and minimus. Moreover, they are activated during big compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts and any unilateral exercises as they help maintain hip stability.

While big compound lifts are the best way to build your gluteal muscles, and these lifts mainly focus on the gluteus maximus, we will also give you some accessory (or glute activation) exercises (like cable hip abductions and fire hydrants) as they will help in building and sculpting your side booty, and they are great for building a mind-muscle connection, which will help you during heavily loaded compound lifts.

what muscles make hips bigger

Quadriceps

Building your quads will also be important in your journey to getting big hips. The bigger your quads are, the more wide your hips will appear.

Fortunately, there is a huge crossover between building your gluteus maximus and building your quads (the same with the hamstrings), as the big compound exercises that focus on your glutes will also target your quads and hamstrings.

For example, squats will build your gluteus and your quads; deadlifts will build your gluteus and your hamstrings.

The best part about building a bigger butt is that you are not just making your hips wider and sexier, but you are also becoming more athletic, powerful, and injury resilient!

To sum it up, the muscles we will be focusing on for bigger hips are the gluteal muscles, but in that, we will also be growing the muscles in our upper and lower, posterior and anterior thighs.

Before we get into the workout programs and exercises, let’s go over the “formula” for building muscle, as building muscle goes beyond just doing the right exercises.

THE FORMULA FOR MUSCLE GROWTH

There are four things you need to do to build muscle:

  1. Place adequate stress on your muscles to maximize muscle fiber recruitment. Note: You must continually increase the stress you place on your muscles over time by making your workouts harder or else your results will plateau - this is called Progressive Overload.
  2. Eat adequate amounts of protein (around 1 gram per bodyweight per day).
  3. Eat in a slight surplus (around 250 calories over maintenance, as this is perfect for putting on lean muscle).
  4. Get enough sleep (around 8 hours of quality sleep).

If you do the above, you will grow a bigger booty and in turn bigger hips. But if you don’t have all 4 pieces of the puzzle, you won’t see the results you want.

For the newbies out there, you are going to get some serious booty gains the first year or so. However, after that, it’s going to require more work to keep growing. So, be sure to study progressive overload techniques so you can continue to put on muscle after the newbie gain phenomenon ends.

WORKOUT PROGRAM TO BUILD BIGGER HIPS

If you want to build bigger hips, you need a workout program that focus on hypertrophy specifically, not so much strength...i.e. bodybuilding programs. Moreover, you want that program to place emphasis on the glutes and lower body.

Ideally, you will want to work your glutes and legs two to three times per week.

A hypertrophy program is going to include the right exercises for building muscle (which we have the best ones below) and the right rep ranges, overall volume and rest time.

  • Best Rep Range for Hypertrophy: 8-20 reps
  • Best Workout Volume for Hypertrophy: 6-8 exercises done for 3-4 sets each.
  • Best Rest Time Between Exercises for Hypertrophy: 30-90 seconds, with 45-60 seconds being ideal.

To further touch on rep ranges, aim to switch things up to keep your muscles guessing and shocked:

  • Heavy load for 6–8 reps per set (with longer rest times).
  • Moderate load for 8–15 reps per set.
  • Lighter load for 15–40 reps per set (with shorter rest times).

You don’t have to perfectly stay in the 8-20 rep range (or the 10-15 rep range as most programs will suggest).

You’ll also be working out 5-6 days per week.

If your goal is to build bigger hips, a good workout program will include the above and have a split as follows:

Day 1: Lower Body
Day 2: Upper Body
Day 3: HIIT
Day 4: Lower Body
Day 5 Upper Body
Day 6: HIIT
Day 7: Rest

This will give you two full workouts to focus on your glutes, quads and hamstrings, as well as HIIT days for keeping fat off and your waist lean.

All in all, you can’t just follow any bodybuilding program because it may not be right for you. Although many women want to develop an hourglass figure, some women may already have big hips and they just need to lose fat, so their workouts will look different than a skinnier woman or simply a woman with poor glute development.

Since you are here reading this, we assume you are either skinny with not much muscle around your hips and/or you have been working out but not seeing the right results in your glute and hip development, whether other areas look good or not. So, we are primarily focused on building muscle. 

how to get hips and curves naturally

BEST EXERCISES FOR BUILDING BIGGER HIPS AND A BIG ROUND STRONG BUTT

The goal is to build bigger hips, so we must do exercises that build our gluteal muscles, as those are the muscles that surround the outer hips.

You’ll want to hit your glutes from all angles, so you need to do a variety of movements. This will ensure you are developing your glutes in their entirety.

Here are the basics:

  1. Vertical Movements: Vertical movements involve moving a weight up vertically, in relation to your torso. These movements are mainly squats (with different variations) and deadlifts (with different variations). These are your main glute builders. They will be moving you through the greatest range of motion, stressing your muscles in a stretched position (which is best for hypertrophy). With these exercises, you want to challenge yourself by using a heavy load, relative to your strength and fitness level. You also need to focus on range of motion. If your range of motion is lacking, then slowly work on improving it over time (i.e. for squats, you want to be able to squat a little past parallel as that range of motion is optimal for muscle growth - as that lowest position is when the muscles are stretched and the movement is the most difficult).
  2. Horizontal Movements: Horizontal movements involve moving a weight up horizontally, in relation to your torso. These movements are mainly glute bridges and hip thrusts. You should also do single leg variations of the two. These horizontal movements will be your secondary glute builders. They are fantastic because they activate a very high percentage of muscle fibers in the glutes. In fact, they activate more muscle fibers in the glutes than squats or deadlifts. However, they do so through contracted loading (contracted position - i.e. squeezing your glutes), whereas squats and deadlifts stress muscle fibers in a stretched position, which is three times better for muscle growth, and thus are superior for building bigger, stronger glutes. All in all, vertical and horizontal movements are good for muscle growth in their own way, so your workouts should include both.
  3. Lateral Movements: Lateral movements involve moving your body laterally, such as side lunges and hip abduction exercises. You will not be using heavy loads for these like you would squats, deadlifts and hip thrusts. These are good accessory exercises that you do after your main glute lifts.
  4. Rotational Movements: Rotational movements involve hip external rotation, such as clamshells, fire hydrants, and external rotations. Like lateral movements, these are tertiary glute/hip builders. Do these as warm ups for glute activation or after you finish your main lifts. They can be very effective for honing in on the glutes and fully exhausting them as they are really the closest form of glute isolation.

We will now go over various exercises that fit into the above categories, starting with vertical movements then horizontal movements, as these are your main glute builders for achieving wider hips.

It’s also good to consider training variables, like load position and body position. So, we will tell you the main lifts and then variations of these lifts you can employ in your program as well.

MAIN BOOTY BUILDING LIFTS

1. SQUATS

exercises for wider hips

Squats are best done with a dumbbell or a barbell. Aim to go as deep into the squat as you can without rounding your lower back. This will ensure the greatest stretch of your muscles, allowing you to build more muscle. If your range of motion is lacking when first starting out, just go as deep as you comfortably can and over time work on mobility. Eventually, you will be able to go deeper and deeper.

Squats are going to be your main booty building exercise for wider hips. It’s the king of booty exercises. Just be sure to maintain good form.

How to do a Squat:

  1. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, pointing slightly outwards. Carefully pull the bar from the rack and rest it on your deltoids and shoulders, using your hands to hold it in place.
  2. Pull your shoulder blades together and engage your core.
  3. With your shoulders over your hips, lower your body, hinging at the knees and hips, downwards and backward, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  4. Drive back to standing, using your hips to drive the weight upwards, exhaling as you rise.
  5. Engage your quads at the end of the movement as you return to a full standing position.

Tips:

  • Keep your back straight and core engaged.
  • Keep your head straight and looking ahead to protect your neck.
  • Keep your weight on your heels and knees in line with your toes.

Rep ranges:

  • Power- 1-3 reps 90%+ 1RM
  • Strength 4-6 reps 85%-90% 1RM
  • Hypertrophy 6-12 reps 70%-80% 1RM

Push yourself in terms of the weight load. This is how you build muscle. Just be careful to maintain good form. If your form is questionable, lighten the load. Form is of utmost importance as the squat, in particular the barbell squat, is high risk high reward.

Other squat variations you can throw into the mix:

  • Sumo Squats
  • Front Squats
  • Zercher Squats

These squats bring training variable like load placement and body position into the mix, allowing you to stress your muscles different.

Squats and the many variations will also build up your quads big time, which is another aspect of making your hips look wider.

Related:

2. DEADLIFTS & RDLS

wider hip workouts

The deadlift is your other main glute builder. Deadlifts and squats are the bread and butter of your glute workouts.

Unlike the squat, which has more knee movement (thus working the quads), the deadlift has more hip movement (thus working the hamstrings).

The standard barbell deadlift will allow you to put on some serious muscle mass. All you have to do is lift heavy and use good form.

How to do a Deadlift:

  1. Place a loaded barbell on the ground in front of you.
  2. Squat downwards and back reaching your arms straight forward even with your shoulders.
  3. Firmly grab the barbell with an overhand grip and inhale.
  4. Move smoothly upward at an even and controlled pace while exhaling. Try to keep the barbell as close to your body as possible. Stand straight up with your core and glutes fully engaged.
  5. Then, from a neutral hip position, slowly shoot your hips back as you lower the bar down. Use the power of your legs to slowly return the barbell to its original position in front of you. Try to hinge at the hips to lower the barbell as much as possible before bending your knees. This allows you to target your back and hamstrings more at the top of the movement.

Tips:

  • Start with less weight as you get used to the motion, then increase the load when you have the form down well.
  • Make sure to keep a neutral spine and avoid arching your back.
  • Keep your core engaged to protect and stabilize your lower back.
  • Consider switching between overhand and underhand grips on each hand if a lower forearm strength makes gripping the bar difficult.

Rep ranges:

  • Power- 1-3 reps 90%+ 1RM
  • Strength 4-6 reps 85%-90% 1RM
  • Hypertrophy 6-12 reps 70%-80% 1RM

The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is a fantastic variation of the deadlift that places more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings. So, be sure to make this one a primary movement too.

Other deadlift variations: Sumo deadlifts, stiff-legged deadlifts (similar to the RDL but you bring the bar down further), single leg deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts.

All of the above options are great for building up your glutes.

Related: Benefits of Deadlifts

3. HIP THRUSTS

Exercises for hips and buttocks

The barbell hip thrust is one of the best exercises (top 3) for building gluteal muscle strength and size. The movement really hones in on the gluteus maximus. However, the gluteus medius and minimus still get significant activation, especially with single leg variations.

By adding a fabric resistance band around the knees, we can further increase the activation of the gluteus medius by forcing them to perform hip horizontal abduction to keep the legs out. The same is true for squats.

How to do the Barbell Hip Thrust

  1. Place a bench on the ground. Make sure it’s padded!
  2. Sit with your back against the pad and your knees bent
  3. Place band around your knees and spread your legs
  4. Place a loaded barbell in the crease of your hips
  5. Drive your feet into the ground and thrust your hips up until full extension
  6. Focus on driving your knees out

You can also use a dumbbell or a resistance band for hip thrusts, but if you are a strong individual, a barbell will be the best as you can increase the load the most.

Variation to try: Single leg hip thrusts.

4. GLUTE BRIDGE

how to get curvier hips

The glute bridge is similar to the hip thrust. It doesn’t work the glutes from a stretched position but it does do a great job of activating the muscle fibers through contraction and the ability to use heavy loads. This is an isometric exercise, so you will be holding the contracted position rather than performing reps like a hip thrust. For example, you load up a barbell and thrust your hips into the contracted position and hold for 30 seconds.

How to do the Glute Bridge:

  1. Lie down on your back with your arms to the side. Bend your legs so your heels are at knee level, with your feet fully planted to the ground.
  2. Drive your hips up so that your body makes a straight line from your knees to your upper chest.
  3. Hold the position for 30 seconds, really focusing on maximum contraction of your glutes, hamstrings and core.

Never lose the contraction. When you do, the exercise is done and you can come down, rest and repeat for desired number of sets.

There are a few variations and progression to make this exercise harder or to target your glutes differently.

Variations: Single leg glute bridge, elevated glute bridge, banded glute bridge.

5. SPLIT SQUAT & BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT

hip widening exercises

The split squat and Bulgarian squat are great for targeting the glutes, quads and hamstrings. Because they are single leg exercises, you will also be doubling down on your gluteus medius and minimus activation as your work your gluteus maximus.

You can use a barbell or dumbbells for split squats and Bulgarian squats. However, if you can, use a barbell via a squat rack for split squats so you can up the load.

ACCESSORY BOOTY BUILDING LIFTS

6. Glute Kickbacks With Bands

big hips exercise

Glute kickbacks are a good way to activate the glutes and get them pumped up. Do these as a warm up or after you do your main lifts to really hone in on and exhaust the glutes.

Note: Some gyms have machines for this, so you can use that as well if your gym has it available. If not, 41 inch loop resistance bands work great.

7. Clamshells with Bands

how to get bigger hips naturally and fast

They are called clamshells because they resemble the opening of a clamshell.

With this glute exercise, you lay on your side with your knees bent out in front of you at 90-degrees and ankles together. You then externally rotate your hips to open your legs while being sure to keep the ankles together. When performed correctly, you can activate the glutes very well.

To get maximum activation of muscle fibers, use a fabric resistance band (aka booty band). Aim to open your legs to at least 60˚.

8. Hip Abduction with Cable Pulley or Bands

how to get round hips

You can use either a cable pulley or a 41” loop resistance band for this exercise. They work in the same way. Just loop a band around your ankle or strap the pulleys to your ankle, stand tall and bring your leg to the side, really focusing on your side glutes. This exercise is fantastic for emphasizing muscle growth in the hip abductors (gluteus medius & minimus and TFL).

Perform high repetitions and really squeeze and hold the contraction with each rep.

9. Side Lunge

getting wider hips

You can do side lunges with dumbbells or just your bodyweight alone. This exercise requires good hip mobility to be performed correctly. If you have trouble performing side lunges correctly, work on hip mobility to improve your range of motion. Ideally, you want to lower down to parallel on one side while keeping your other leg straight. Your knee should not be forward past your toes.

This exercise is fantastic for building the side glutes, hamstrings and quads. Even with bodyweight alone it will be somewhat challenging.

10. Curtsy Lunge

Exercises for hip enlargement

The curtsy lunge is a great exercise to hit your glutes in a unique way. It involves rotation of the hip joint, firing off all your gluteal muscles as well as your quads in a significant way. Use dumbbells and you will really feel the booty burn.

11. Lateral Band Walks

Hip growth exercises

Lateral walks can be done with just your bodyweight alone, but they are way more effective with a resistance band. You can use either a booty band around your ankle or you can do a set up with a 41” loop resistance band. These are difficult exercises that will take your breath away like squats, but they are effective for targeting the glutes (especially the sides). You are going to serious feel the burn. Move slowly and really focus on maximum tension in your glutes and we promise this exercise will help you build the wide hips you desire.

Other good exercises for building bigger hips

In summary, to grow your butt, you need to put in the time and work. There are no shortcuts. But in the long run, you will be very thankful you stuck with it, because not only will you look better, but you will move better and more powerfully. A muscular butt means strong, athletic hips.

Make sure you focus most of your time on the main lifts and play around with training variables (do variations of squats, deadlifts, etc.). However, standard back squats, deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Hip Thrusts, and Glute Bridges should be the bread and butter of your training. After you finish your main lifts, throw in a couple or a few accessory movements and you’ll be good to go.

Below is an example of a couple good glute/leg workouts for building wider hips.

wide hips workout

PERFECT GLUTE WORKOUT FOR WIDER HIPS

Lower Body Day 1:

  1. Back Squats x 5 sets (15 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps - increasing weight each set)
  2. RDLs x 3 sets of 12 reps
  3. Hip Thrusts x 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  4. Barbell Split Squats x 3 sets of 10 each side
  5. Glute Kick Backs x 3 sets of 12 reps
  6. Cable or Band Hip Abduction x 3 sets of 10 reps
  7. Dumbbell Walking Lunges x 3 sets of 20 reps (total)

Lower Body Day 2:

  1. Deadlifts x 5 sets (12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4-5 reps - increasing weight each set)
  2. Front Squats x 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Barbell Heavy Glute Bridge x 3 sets of 30 second holds
  4. Bulgarian Split Squats x 3 sets of 12 reps
  5. Clamshells x 3 sets of 15 reps
  6. Reverse Hypers x 3 sets of 10 reps
  7. Kettlebell Swing Burnout - AMRAP in 5 minutes

Start each day with a dynamic warm up and 5-10 minutes of glute activation (this can be done at the end as well).

DIET & FOODS FOR BUILDING MUSCLE

There are no foods that will go straight to your butt. It’s the workouts you do that break down the muscle so that food (protein) can rebuild them back up, bigger and stronger than before.

So, by exercising your glutes and eating properly, you can effectively spot gain muscle. Crush your workouts and crush your diet and you will build the glutes you want in no time.

Best foods for building muscle:

  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Tuna
  • Lean beef
  • Shrimp
  • Lean pork

These foods are protein dense. You need to aim for 1 gram of protein per bodyweight per day. You can split it up evenly between meals.

You will also want to eat nutrient dense foods for vitamins and good metabolism. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Basically, you can eat any healthy food you want. Just avoid unhealthy foods like white bread, junk food, sugary drinks, processed meats, and so on. You know what’s bad for you.

You want your calories to be made up from nutrient dense foods. If you do this, you can gain muscle and keep fat off.

As for how many calories. You need to use a calorie calculator to find out your maintenance level and then eat in a surplus of about 250 calories each day. How you split up your meals is up to you. You could do a few meals a day or many small meals. Just make sure you get enough calories and protein each day and you’ll be off to the wider hip races.

REMEMBER TO DO SHOULDER EXERCISES TOO!

Don’t forget to do shoulder exercises if you want to create a nice hourglass figure. The shoulders are super important for giving off that impression of curviness. And if you are worried about building big strong manly shoulders, don’t, because you won’t unless you are taking steroids.

Do exercises like shoulder presses, lateral raises, and front raises and you will definitely see some nice improvements in your shoulders, which will boost your hourglass figure goals.

big hips workout

SUMMARY

Let’s recap a few things:

  1. It’s not all about big hips, it’s about waist-to-hip ratio. You want big hips in relation to your waist! This is what looks healthy and what people are attracted to at an instinctual level. Aim for a 0.7 WHR.
  2. You can’t reshape your pelvic bone and you can’t control where you distribute fat, so if you want to improve your hip width and waist-to-hip ratio, you need to build your glute muscles and keep your waist as lean as possible.
  3. To build a bigger butt, and thus wider hips, you must eat and sleep right, not just exercise.
  4. Train your glutes through every hip movement - extension (both vertical and horizontal movements), abduction (lateral movements), and external rotation (rotational movements). This means squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, glute bridges, lateral lunges, hip abduction exercises, external rotations, clamshells, and so on. Compound and isolation exercises are both good for hypertrophy.
  5. Focus on optimal range of motion for your big compound lifts (squats and deadlifts). This will allow you to maximize muscle growth.
  6. Keep your muscles guessing by doing exercises in different orders and changing up rep schemes.
  7. Aim to hit your glutes two to three times per week. Just make sure they are recovered fully from the previous session. Sleep and diet will ensure quick recovery.
  8. Eat a healthy, low carb, high protein diet to build muscle and keep fat off your waist.

Now get off your phone and go build those hips! With all this information, you should have the wide hips and skinny waist you desire in no time.

And remember, don’t worry about what other women have. No two bodies are the same. If a 0.80 waist-to-hip ratio is the best you can achieve, that’s great! The most important thing is to be healthy. And if you follow the advice in this guide to bigger hips, you will surely be making yourself healthier, stronger, and more athletic, which is the ultimate goal. It’s not all about curvy aesthetics. Healthy is the most attractive feature and people recognize healthy regardless of how tight your waist is and how wide your hips are.

We highly recommend getting yourself a booty band and set of 41 inch loop resistance bands. They will come in handy during your training in many ways. 

For more glute exercises, check out our articles on the 10 best gluteus medius exercises and the 13 best gluteus minimus exercises. There is obviously some overlap with the exercises in this guide, but you will be able to learn more about these two overlooked glute muscles and a few more exercises. 

Related: 19 Best Exercises For Flabby Arms



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