How to Get Bigger Hips Naturally to Improve Your Waist-To-Hip Ratio

If you’re a naturally skinny woman with naturally narrower hips, you might be wondering: is it even possible to get bigger hips? What’s all this talk about the waist-to-hip ratio? What’s the most attractive ratio? How can I improve my ratio naturally?

These are questions we get a lot. So inside this article, we’ll be talking about why so many women want to have wide hips with a small waist, what we can’t change, what we can change, and some action steps you can take today to quickly start adding inches to your hip measurement to immediately start improving your waist-to-hip ratio.


Bigger hips—compared to what?

First, we need to get on the same page. When we say “big hips,” what do we mean? Big compared to what?

We’re not talking about how big your hips are in objective measurement. And we aren’t even talking about how big or wide your hips are compared to other women.

When people talk about “big hips,” they’re usually intuitively talking about having wide hips compared to their waist.


Along with having strong shoulders, this contrast between waist and hip size creates the coveted “hourglass” body shape that women like Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett Johansson, Brigitte Bardot, and Beyoncé are famous for. But as you can see, Brigitte Bardot actually has fairly slender structure overall, including fairly small hips, it’s just that they’re large compared to her even smaller waist.

By this standard, a woman with a waist-to-hip ratio less or equal to 0.7 has wide hips.

To figure out your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), start by measuring your waist circumference at its narrowest point and your hip circumference at its widest point, like so:

Then divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference, giving you your waist-to-hip ratio.

For example, let’s say we have a woman with a 26-inch waist and 31-inch hips. She would divide her waist measurement by her hip measurement (26/31) to get a ratio of 0.838, which is in the healthy range but won’t give her the appearance of having remarkably wide hips. However, she can further improve her health and appearance further by building up wider hips or by losing fat around her waist—or by doing both.

Why do so many women want wider hips?

So many women are looking to build bigger hips. So much so that it’s one of the most common questions we get, and it’s almost always listed as a main goal by members of our program. But why do so many women want big hips?

One hypothesis was that it was a cultural trend to want wider hips. There is some evidence that culture can shift our body-shape preferences, but these shifts are actually quite small. In fact, our natural instincts might be towards even more extreme proportions (study). This means that our current culture, with more people overweight, is subtly making us to prefer hips that are less wide because it looks more normal. So if anything, wide hips being desirable is biological, and our culture tends to downplay it.

A hypothesis with more research behind it is that wide hips are so attractive because they’re so healthy. Having big hips with a small waist is a great sign of health. The better the ratio, the healthier the person looks. This isn’t unique to women. In fact, it’s directly comparable to how women prefer more muscular men (up to a point) and how various male proportions indicate different health markers, such as a man appearing more healthy when he builds broader shoulders.

Long story short, a woman’s waist-to-hip ratio gives a snapshot of a woman’s overall health.

You probably know this intuitively, giving you an instinctive desire to develop a better waist-to-hip ratio, either to improve your health, to become more attractive, or some combination of the two.

Wide Hips & Lean Waist = Verified Health

A woman’s waist-to-hip ratio is signalling how much muscle she has; it’s signalling her genetics; it’s hinting at whether she spends her days exercising or sitting; and it’s even signalling fertility (study) and youthfulness (study).

After all, as women get older, they tend to become less physically active, and so their hips tend to become less muscular while their waistlines expand. This is preventable (and reversible), but the correlation is still strong.

Because of these massive health implications, even the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report on waist-to-hip ratio. Their researchers think that a waist-to-hip ratio above 1.0 can accurately indicate predict a woman’s cardiovascular health, whether they have diabetes, and even if they’re at risk of getting certain cancers (report).

Side note: Interestingly, the WHO report also touches on ethnic differences in the waist-to-hip ratio. They reference three different studies finding that women of Asian descent naturally store more fat around the vital organs in their waist (visceral fat), and so they benefit from having even smaller waists (in terms of health) when compared against women of European, African, and Middle-Eastern descent. This ensures that any unhealthy visceral fat is minimized. So if you’re of Asian descent, you should definitely aim to have lean waist, and thus a lower ratio than most averages.

This is why so many people find big hips and small waists in women so desirable, both in themselves and in others. They’re naturally drawn to these signals of health, youth, and athleticism.

Of course, this also has a huge impact on attractiveness. Research has been pounding a loud drum saying that sexiness is simply conspicuous health. The more obvious it is that you’re healthy, the sexier you’ll look. (We’ve written about this extensively in our article about the most attractive female body.) Of course, this all happens on a subconscious, intuitive level, and most people don’t realize they’re instinctively being attracted to health markers.

This intuition is staggeringly universal. Devendra Singh, a researcher and former professor of psychology from the University of Texas, said that these judgments of health and attractiveness are found in both men and women, from a diverse age range of 18–85, and span across the many different ethnic backgrounds studied (Afro-American, Mexican American, Euroamerican) (study). It spans across different periods of history as well. Researchers have studied sculptures made in ancient India, Africa, Egypt, and Greece that reflect the understanding that women had a much lower waist-to-hip ratio than men .

Some research has even found similar findings by looking back and studying the Miss Pageant competition from 1921 and onwards, as well as the issues of Playboy. Putting my own opinions about the Pageantry and Playboy aside, there’s some lessons we can learn from this research. For example, the lowest waist-hip-ratio found in Playboy was 0.529, the highest was 0.844 and the mean is 0.677 (study). This lines up perfectly with what the WHO considers healthy.

This shows us that men are finding the women with the healthiest waist-to-hip ratio to be the sexiest. So if you build a healthier ratio, you’ll also be building a sexier ratio, and vice versa.

In another study, researchers discovered that women “sucked in” their stomachs when trying to appear more attractive (study). This hints that women instinctively understand that their waist-hip-ratio affects how attractive they look.

Don’t Game The System

Having wide hips alongside a small waist is so desirable because it’s so healthy. Yes, you can try to game the system by focusing on surface-level solutions, such as getting butt implants. And according to one online poll, over half of the women surveyed edited their photos before posting to social media like Instagram (link & link).

But don’t do it! Something will often look “off” if you try to fix it at a surface level instead of on a deeper level. Both men and women have great intuition when it comes to these indicators of health. There’s also something called the uncanny valley, where if something looks almost but not quite natural, then it gives us a strange feeling.

There’s much more to a woman’s body shape than just her waist-to-hip ratio (study). If you build up your hips naturally by squatting, for example, then you’ll also be building up bigger adductors and quads, as well as strengthening your transverse abdominis muscles. If you build bigger hips with deadlifts and hip thrusts, then your hamstrings will grow along with your hips. Again, there are many factors that go along with building bigger hips.

The same is true with a narrow waist. There’s a difference between being underweight versus being lean but athletic.

We’ve been looking at bodies our entire lives. We intuitively understand what looks healthy, athletic, and attractive. As a result, the best way to improve our appearance is to improve ourselves from the inside out.

It’s best to build bigger hips and a smaller waist the genuine way—by focusing on becoming stronger, becoming fitter, eating a good muscle-building diet, improving our lifestyles, and improving our sleep habits.

The Best Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The short answer is that a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 is ideal. First, there’s evidence that a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 is what looks the most healthy and attractive to both men and women (study). Second, that’s also the ratio that’s generally considered to indicate the best overall health (study). Finally, a study published in 2010 shows that a ratio of 0.7 is what best activates the neural reward centres in men’s brains (study).

The long answer is that it isn’t quite that simple. A 0.7 ratio isn’t the final be-all answer. As we mentioned above, there are several different factors that contribute to how healthy and attractive a woman appears.

But first, two things are more or less agreed upon:

  1. The healthiest body composition is the sexiest body composition
  2. A remarkably low waist-to-hip ratio is considered the most attractive. (study)

Here’s where things get complicated: not all women have the same bone structure. Some women have a broader bone structure, others have a thinner bone structure. Some women develop an hourglass figure during puberty due to their bone structure or body fat storage patterns… but many don’t. Hourglass figures look stereotypically feminine, but they’re actually one of the rarer body types. Most women with hourglass figures had to deliberately develop those curves with exercise and diet.

This means that it’s possible to be totally healthy, with a good balance of muscle mass and body fat, but to haver a bone structure that makes it way harder to get the ideal WHR. For example, here’s a woman who’s lean, strong and healthy yet has a structurally wider waist:

It’s also possible to have the ideal ratio while being medically underweight or overweight. For example, here’s a woman who’s underweight, with a very small amount of muscle mass and strength, but she still has the ideal waist-to-hip ratio:

So if this is really all about health, are the genuinely healthy people the most attractive? Or is it the people who just have genetically curvier body proportions?

Some studies show that proportions matter most, whether or not that person is healthy (study). Other studies show that it’s more attractive to have a healthy weight and a relatively lean waist regardless of what waist-to-hip ratio that happens to result in. (study).

Based on the evidence, we would argue that you should aim to get the best of both worlds. If you have naturally smaller hips, build extra muscle to round them out and get curvier proportions. You’ll get the added benefit of that muscle too, and muscle is one of the most underrated health markers right now (study). Having a butt that’s “too” strong or “too” athletic or “too” round isn’t a real thing. A strong butt is great for your health, it reduces lower back pain, reduces your risk of injury, increases your athleticism, and it will be great for your appearance.

Yes, building wider hips is going to be harder for naturally skinny women, or women who have naturally thinner hips. However, even women who struggle to gain muscle have a fairly high genetic muscular potential. Furthermore, most of their muscle gains will come within their first couple years of lifting weights (due to a phenomenon called newbie gains).

But how do you do build bigger hips and a narrower waist?

Bad News First: We can’t change the bone structure of our hips

If you haven’t guessed yet, we can’t change our bone structure. Bone structure is almost entirely determined by your genetics. Once your hips are finished growing, that’s it. Because your potential is in your genetics, the female pelvic shapes are already starting to widen compared to males as early as 26 weeks in gestation (study)!

Interestingly, it does seem like the shape of your hips can modestly adapt to the activity and stress you put on them as a kid. According to this study, women who are more active growing up are more likely to develop the heart-shaped hip structure that’s more common men. 24% of the women had that heart-shaped hip, while the majority of women had a more rounded hip shape (study).

Some rare women are blessed with remarkable genetics, with naturally broad hip bones and a tinier waist. Women with genetics like these won’t need to build up as much muscle in their hips in order to boost their attractiveness.


An example of this is the vegan model Renee Somerfield, who was part of a recent ad campaign that was criticized for body shaming because those critics considered her natural body shape too “unrealistic.” Despite the irony of body-shaming someone they claim is body-shaming others, she has a healthy body weight in terms of BMI and she said she exercises 4–5 times a week.

Now The Good News: How You Can Improve Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The good news is that every woman can improve their proportions by building up the muscles around their hips while keeping a lean waist.

Check out Aomi, who’s graciously allowed us to share her before and after photos of getting bigger hips. She gained 3″ on her hips while doing our Bony to Bombshell program, which put her ratio even better than the 0.7 target.

0.7 Hip Ratio—The muscle-building and weight gain program for skinny women

How to Get A Better Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Get A Bigger Butt & Keep Your Waist Lean

Many women with great genetics and who eat well store their fat in their hips. They might also be more naturally muscular. But on our site, we’re committed to helping naturally skinny “ectomorph/banana” women build muscle. So if that’s you, the chances are that you’ll need to focus on building more muscle, not just trimming off extra belly fat.

How To Get A Bigger Butt

The 4 Muscle-Growth Principles

Scientific research has revealed a lot about building muscle. We know that to build muscle you need to encourage your muscles to grow stronger by stressing them (lifting weights is the most effective approach), you need to eat enough protein (about 1 gram per pound bodyweight per day is ideal), and in order to gain weight, and you need to eat enough calories above and beyond what you normally eat (about 250 extra calories per day will yield about 0.5 pounds of weight gain each week). You also need enough quality sleep to allow your body to recover and grow.

Building bigger hips is all about balancing those four muscle-building principles. You could be doing the world’s best butt workout, but if you aren’t eating enough protein and calories, your body won’t have the extra building blocks it needs to grow.

And vice versa. If you eat the best muscle-building diet, but you’re not sufficiently stressing your muscles, you’ll just gain fat. Or if you’re stressing your muscles enough but not in the right places, you’ll wind up only growing those specific areas.

Want to grow your butt? Then Train Like It

No amount of cardio will help you build bigger hips. This is because cardio is designed to help you develop better cardiovascular fitness, not to build muscle in your hips.

The best way to get better at a specific thing is to train at that specific thing. This is called training specificity, and it’s something beginners don’t often consider. If you want to run faster, all the bench pressing in the world won’t help, you’ll make better progress if you practice running. Similarly, if you want to build a killer butt, all the yoga in the world won’t help with that—yoga’s best adaptation is better diaphragmatic control.

Anyways, when it comes to building bigger hips, we’re talking about building bigger muscles. You should be doing a bodybuilding program, i.e., a program specifically designed to help you build up a bigger, stronger body. And that bodybuilding program should be one that puts extra emphasis on your hips, since that’s where you most want to grow.

Most exercise programs don’t have that goal in mind. Even though building big hips is so universally appealing, many women in today’s society are coming at this from the other angle: they have naturally big hips and they already have enough muscle… but need to work hard at shrinking their waists.

Even most weight training programs focus on either strength training (such as StrongLifts, Starting Strength, and Girls Gone Strong). However, these programs are designed to make you stronger for your size. Strength training programs aren’t designed to make your muscles bigger. The main adaptation from strength training is something called “neural gains,” which is when learn to contract more of your muscle fibres simultaneously. You’ll certainly build bigger hips, but it’s not the most efficient way to do it.

The other common approach is to focus on general fitness (such as CrossFit, P90X, Insanity, Sweat, Spin, and Body Pump) rather than on becoming stronger. Again, these programs aren’t designed to help you build bigger hips. While you might get some glute gains, especially if you’re a total beginner, you’ll be leaving so much opportunity on the table.

If you’ve been struggling to build bigger hips, we recommend going straight to a bonafide hip bulking program—a program that’s specifically designed to increase the size of the muscles in your hips (such as your glutes).

So what workout programs are good for building bigger hips?

For the best overall muscle size development, you’ll want a program that focuses more on muscle hypertrophy. You could also call these “bodybuilding” programs, depending on how you define bodybuilding. The more accurate term for exercise that’s designed to stimulate muscle growth is hypertrophy training, though.

You also want a program that is designed specifically for women. That will ensure that it has the right exercises, has higher rep ranges, more overall volume, shorter rest times, and relies less on upper-body strength. For example, a classic barbell deadlift will generally help a man build up much bigger glutes, whereas with women their grip strength and spinal erector strength will often be their limiting factor, which means their upper body will get most of the growth stimulus.

Finally, you may want a women’s program that puts special emphasis on your hips, which is in all likelihood—since you’re reading this article—the area that you’re most keen on developing. Our Bony to Bombshell Bulking Program is an example of a hypertrophy training program designed for women who are trying to build bigger muscles.

For example, here’s what Ioulia was able to accomplish with a few months of training. Your results may vary, of course, and this is just one example, but you can see other women’s weight gain transformations here.

Best weight gain program for naturally skinny women / ectomorphs / bananas

Your Glutes Must Become Strong & Athletic For Them To Be Bigger & Rounder

To get the roundest, fullest, and most aesthetic butt, there are no shortcuts. You will need to build genuinely strong and athletic hips.

Strong hips aren’t just for show, and your training needs to reflect that. Aside from being more attractive, strong and athletic hips are also versatile. For optimal shape, size and roundness, you need to work your hip muscles through a large range of motion and using a wide variety of exercises that hit all the various muscles, and all the various fibres in those muscles.

This means squatting, deadlifting, and doing accessory exercises for your hips (such as hip thrusts or glute bridges). You might not need all three of those movement patterns to build bigger hips, but that’s what will give you the quickest and most reliable glute growth. You’ll also develop a versatile strength that way.

Understanding Your Glutes: The Maximus, Medius & Minimus

Growing the Glute Maximus:

The glute maximus is the largest and strongest of the glute muscles and it has the most potential to grow. Its main job is to thrust the hips forward. These are the glute muscles that would get most worked when doing squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts, all of which require you to thrust your hips forward. The glute maximus can also help to rotate the thigh and move the leg away from the body.

Because the maximus is to large, for the best shape it’s best to try and use a variety of exercises to hit both the upper and lower fibres of it. As you can probably guess, that means doing a variety of squat, deadlift, and hip isolation exercises. And because this is by far the largest glute muscle, this is the best way to increase the size of your hips.

However, we can take this further.

Growing the Glute Medius and Minimus:

These two glute muscles mainly help to move your legs away from your body, but they can also help rotate your legs. Fortunately, these will get stimulated during your compound lifts, so as long as they’re activating properly, you likely won’t need to target them directly (although you certainly can!).

All three glute muscles together contribute to these four fundamental motions:

Motion #1: Hip Extension

It looks like: Swinging your leg back behind you
Exercise Example: Bird Dog


Motion #2: Hip External Rotation

It looks like: Rotating your hips outwards
Exercise Example: Clamshell


Motion #3: Hip Transverse Abduction

It looks like: Lifting your leg away from your body
Exercise Example: Side Leg Raise


Motion #4: Posterior Pelvic Tilt

It looks like: Your tailbone comes down as your hips move forward like a thrust motion
Example Exercise: Hip Thrust

Now you can see the problem with only doing squats or deadlifts for a big butt. Those exercises don’t incorporate and build strength in every motion the butt is capable of.

Why range of motion (ROM) & form matters when it comes to growth

Let’s say you’re a beginner and want to try doing the hip thrust. You watch a Youtube video and their hips dip pretty low at the bottom of the movement. So you try and do that too. But to get that extra range of motion, you let your pelvis disconnect from your ribs to get it lower.

On the surface it looks like a big range of motion, but the movement didn’t come only from your hips, but also from your back. That means that your hips weren’t stimulated as much as they could have been, so the butt you’re building won’t look as full or gain as much strength.

A good solution for this would be to keep solid form throughout, even if it means you don’t go as low at first. Then add in some warm-up and mobility drills that help you gradually improve the range of motion in your hips. Week after week, as your butt grows, you’ll gain more range of motion in your hips, which will not only improve the size of your butt, but also the shape of your butt.

This is because the larger the range of motion you use, the greater the variety of muscle fibres that will be recruited, and so more overall muscle fibres will grow. That’s going to help you build a fuller and rounder butt. This is also going to help you fill in the sides of your butt, giving you wider and rounder hips overall.

Why pelvis position matters when it comes to building up your glutes

If your pelvis is rotated forward and externally, this is called anterior pelvic tilt. This forward, externally rotated pelvis leads to the bigger, upper glutes being turned “off” since they can’t be used in that position. Not only that but this forward position of the pelvis also changes how your body moves side to side. So you’ll be using muscles like your TFL and quads (front of thighs) to move side to side instead of the glutes. This compensation pattern could lead to hip dip (covered later.) The forward pelvis also compromises the way you rotate your legs, leading to less glute activation with rotation on exercises like the clamshell.

How do you fix this?

Well, you’ll need to get your pelvis back to the position it should ideally be in. This is called neutral pelvis. If you’re interested in these kinds of advanced topics, Marco walks you through a key exercise, the 90/90 Hip Lift with Knee Squeeze and how it works here:

The Best Exercises For Getting a Bigger Butt

Okay, so what exercises should we do to hit all three glute muscles properly?

You’ll want to include a variety of movements. Vertical movements like the deadlift/squats, horizontal movements like the glute bridge and hip thrust, and rotational movements like the clamshells and external rotations.

Dr. Contreras, the foremost researcher in this field, considers these the top muscle-building lifts for the glutes. He admits that much more research is still needed to determine which exercises are truly the best, but searching for the best exercise isn’t really the best approach anyway. It’s better to focus on a variety of lifts that are proven to be effective than it is to focus on finding the single “best” exercise.

Glute Bridge

Hip Thrust

Single Leg Hip Thrust

Romanian Deadlift

Cable Pull Through

High Step-Up

Back Extension

Make sure you don’t go too high, and be sure to really feel it in your glutes—not your back.

Bird Dog


There are plenty of other exercises that are great for building bigger hip and glute muscles. Here are a few great exercises for building bigger hips:

  • Lunges
  • Reverse Hypers
  • Donkey Kick
  • Band Standing External Rotation
  • Mini-band Walk
  • Frog Pump

Glute Training Details You Need to Know

How heavy should I lift?

Your hips will grow well with anywhere between 4–40 reps, but they’ll grow best with 6–12 reps per set. Our muscles respond well to both heavy (five or fewer reps before your muscles give out) and lighter weights (twenty or more reps before your muscles give out). Your glutes are no exception. You should use a blend of heavy compound lifts, lighter compound lifts, and extra isolation work to help grow your butt optimally.

However, the most efficient way to build bigger muscles is to focus most of your effort on moderate rep ranges. Anywhere from 6–12 reps tends to be pretty ideal for building bigger muscles, avoiding injury, keeping your joints strong, and avoiding fatigue. That doesn’t mean that you should only lift in that rep range, just to put more emphasis on it.

How often should you train your glutes?

We recommend training your glutes three times per week, ideally with a day of rest between workouts. You can also train all of your other muscles during those same workouts. No need to only do glute exercises.

Are squats good for building bigger hips?

Squats can be a good exercise for your hips, but they aren’t always reliable. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be squatting. You absolutely should be. Squats are great for developing your overall strength and athleticism, and they will help you build wider hips, especially as you get stronger at them. However, you shouldn’t rely on them as your only—or even main—glute exercise.

However, one tip you can use to make your squats hit your butt a bit more is to stand a bit wider with your toes pointing outward, always making sure your knees don’t collapse inwards and that they stay over your second toe as you drop into the squat.

Speaking of “dropping into” the squat, you might want to think about “sitting back into” the squat instead. That’s going to subtly change your squatting technique, causing you to bend more at the hips, less at the knees. That’s going to put more emphasis on your hips, less emphasis on your quads. More on that in our squat article.

However, there’s another great exercise that’s naturally going to do a better job of helping you build bigger hips.

Are deadlifts good for building bigger hips?

Deadlifts are generally considered the best exercise for building up bigger glutes. Deadlifts are centred around bending at the hips, whereas squats are centred around bending at the knees. This means that with a deadlift, you’ll be doing a deeper and fuller hip movement. And along with stimulating your hips, the deadlift will also work the rest of your posterior chain: spinal erectors, upper back, hamstrings, and grip.

However, this doesn’t mean that you’re forced to do a conventional barbell deadlift from the floor. There are plenty of different deadlift variations that will better match your experience level, preferences, and goals. For example, one good deadlift variation for building up your hips is the Romanian deadlift. This allows you to work your hips through their full range of motion while keeping constant tension on them, and it takes some of the strain off your quads, spinal erectors, and upper back. 

(I would also technically include glute bridges and hip thrusts as variations of the deadlift, since they’re hip extension lifts. So after doing your deadlifts, these would make great follow-up lifts.)

The takeaway message here is that your program should include both squats and deadlifts. That will ensure that your hips are worked in a variety of ways, and that all of the various muscles in your hips will grow.

We can take this one step further, too, including isolation lifts that focus on building up a bigger butt and wider hips.

Are glute bridges or hip thrusts better for building bigger hips?


When it comes to isolation lifts for building wider hips, the glute bridge and hip thrust will be your go-to exercises. According to most research (mainly coming from Bret Contreras, PhD), hip thrusts activate your glutes better than glute bridges do. So, someone might ask, “why would you ever do a glute bridge if it’s inferior at stimulating the glutes?” They might also add, “Plus, you just talked about using a large range of motion, and the glute bridge has less range of motion than the hip thrust.”

Still, we include the glute bridge in our own program for a few reasons. Why?

Progression: Glute Bridges Are Easier to Learn

The first reason is progression. Many women don’t have the core control to do the hip thrust without disconnecting their ribs from their pelvis. That means they’ll probably feel a lot of pain in their back instead of a burn in their glutes. This increases the risk of pain and won’t stimulate the glutes properly.

So we teach a simpler progression first: the glute bridge. This allows someone to roll the weight over their hips, get into position, and just push. Simple. And over time their form will get more locked in, allowing them to progress to the hip thrust.

Heavier Loading: Glute Bridges Have More Mechanical Tension

The second reason that glute bridges can be helpful is that because the exercise uses a smaller range of motion, you can load them up with a much heavier weight. This means that you can glute bridge far more weight than you can hip thrust. This can be an excellent way to add some safe ultra-heavy lifting to your training. Powerlifters use this trick all the time by doing partial squats, rack pulls, etc.

More Isolation: Glute Bridges Isolate the Glutes

The third reason is that even compared to hip thrusts, glute bridges are far better at taking the thighs (quads and hamstrings) out of the picture. So even though it might activate less of the glutes objectively per rep compared to hip thrusts, it also isolates the glutes better. Since building wider hips is all about proportions, it helps to have an exercise that grows the hips and only the hips, allowing you to boost that aspect of your proportions.

More Exercise Variety for Your Hips

Finally, as we’ve mentioned above, the best way to build rounder and fuller hips is to get strong at a variety of different glute exercises. This is going to ensure that you’re growing all of the muscle fibres that run through your hips, including all of the fibres in your glutes, but also in the myriad of other muscles in your hips.

The takeaway here is that there’s a place for both glute bridges and hip thrusts in your training program. This remains true whether you’re a beginner or an advanced lifter (or somewhere in between).


Whew! We know for sure that you’ve got more than enough information on what it takes to build bigger hips. If you ever want a proven system to start putting this into action, check out our Bony to Bombshell Bulking Program for Women.

Here’s the recap of the main points of the article.

  • Big hips and a lean waist = healthy
    • Take your waist and hip measurement and divide them to get your waist-to-hip ratio
    • Aim for 0.7 for a healthy and attractive benchmark.
  • Become shaped by your muscles, not your bones. You can’t change your bone structure, but you can change your ratio by building up a bigger butt or shrinking your waist—or both
  • To get a bigger butt, you must build new muscle
    • Eat enough protein and calories to support muscle-building
    • Do glute specific training for optimal results
  • Train every hip movement
    • Hip Extension
    • Hip External Rotation
    • Hip Transverse Abduction
    • Posterior Pelvic Tilt
  • Work on expanding your range of motion for the best butt shape
  • Using good technique will allow you to hit the right muscles, the right way
  • Get your pelvis into a neutral position
  • Use a variety of exercises and strategies to train your hips
    • Do compound and isolation exercises
    • Lift heavy for 3–5 reps
    • Lift moderate for 6–12 reps
    • Lift lighter for 15–30 reps
    • Use both hip thrusts and glute bridges
  • Train your glutes 3x a week so they’re always growing

Troubleshooting Bonus

Want even more help building up your hips? Sign up below and immediately get our glute and hip-building troubleshooting mini-guide. The guide also includes a a cheatsheet of this article so you can reference the main points quickly.

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  1. Sky on April 23, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Great info! I wish everything was packaged into different steps for the guide so it could be more affordable.

    • Jared Polowick on April 23, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Glad you liked it Sky!

      Through a lot of testing and also from muscle-building and behavioural research, we know the program needs to touch on training, diet, lifestyle, and some other factors to help people actually follow through with action, which is why the program is packaged the way it is. We’ve recently introduced broken down payment plans and more inexpensive offerings. But we’re hearing you and we’ll keep working on it.

  2. Meg F on April 23, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    The Bony to Bombshell program really opened my eyes as to how to not just build a strong body, but how to build an ultra feminine shape at the same time! I had been lifting weights 5-6 times a week for over a year and still wasn’t getting the results I was hoping for. It wasn’t until I took the plunge and bought the BtoB program that I started really seeing the transformation I had been wanting all along! I have the .7 hip ratio discussed in this article without even realizing it! My workout routine used to consist of working a different muscle group every day of the week, but it only makes sense that if you want a certain area of your body to grow you have to focus on that area several times a week! lived this article! Thanks guys!!

    • Jared Polowick on April 24, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Hey Meg,

      Thanks so much for posting this comment! So great to hear about your experience, and also that you had already hit the 0.7 ratio without even trying to. Pretty awesome! Keep it up Meg.

  3. Adina on April 23, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    This has to be the most extensive article I’ve read, that focuses on just hip building( most focus on glutes and not the hip specifically).

    However, I have noticed that I see a lot glute transformation Vs hips, i.e. before and afters of a bigger bum, but no bigger hips, with a frontal view Vs back view, which tends to focus the eye on the bottom.

    Wouldn’t growing the glutes naturally make the hip measurements bigger? Funny thing is I’d rather have a moderately bigger bottom, but way wider hips, does this mean I should pay more attention to the medium and minimum? (by the by I’m so getting BTOB once I’m settled health wise ).

    Thanks for the article too!

    • Jared Polowick on April 24, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Hey Adina,

      Thanks for your comment! It’s true that you can’t change your actual hip bone size. So you can focus on:
      a) relativity. Make your waist thinner/leaner
      b) make your glutes/hip muscles larger
      c) eat a diet that’s helpful for muscle-building and maybe even for the best fat placement in your lower body by eating more omega 3’s.

      I would make the guess, based on research, that the 3D shape of your hips matter. No one will just see you in 2D, and the 3D shape with a bigger butt will still send all the healthy cues you want to send.

      But if you want to work the minimus and medius a bit more, you could definitely do some extra isolation work and see how it works out for you. Anything that moves your legs away from your hips like side lying leg lifts, any side to side movement (mini-band walks) and things like clamshells should help. This study here shows that lateral step-ups helps with the medius and Nick Tumminello has a good video here. And this video has a good recap from the 2012 review from Reiman on the maximus and medius (in the context of rehab.)

      Hope that helps a bit!

      • Adina on May 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        Thanks a lot for your extensive answer Jared! I read all posts on this blog, and I’m waiting to settle a few other thing before getting The BTB course.

        This is the first guide that I’ve come across; while searching for ways to add weight, that has a total focus on gaining healthy weight! Just hoping I can find good alternatives for some of the food aspects, because I do not live in the US, and some things are just not that easy to find or within a reasonable price bracket here :p.

        • Jared Polowick on July 3, 2018 at 7:59 am

          This is so true. It’s why we teach the fundamentals of building muscle instead of “eat this, not that” kind of thinking. What’s cheap for us here in Canada might be insanely expensive in Europe. What’s cheap in Australia might be 10x the price over where we are, and so on.

  4. Laurel on April 24, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks for this article! I’ve been on and off B2B, and needed a little kick in the pants to get back to it. I’ve struggled with glute building and recently learned from my physical therapist that my femur positioning was limiting my hip extension. Lots of manual therapy later and I gained 10 degrees of mobility. Now to see what I can really do! 0.7 here I come!

    • Jared Polowick on April 25, 2018 at 9:45 am

      Hey Laurel,

      That’s great to hear that you’re seeing such positive results working with your PT! It makes all the difference when you feel and move well. Absolutely, time to get down to work!

  5. Olivia Y on April 25, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Great article! You guys are always so informative and even extensive sometimes, yet I still am unable to stop reading until the end haha! Something small I noticed is that you do the bird dogs differently than what is taught in the B2B warmup video. Personally, your technique from this article feels better because I feel I’m actually working muscles vs just stretching them. Is there a reason for this difference?

    • Jared Polowick on April 25, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Thanks Olivia, we appreciate the kind words!

      In our initial warm-up video, it’s sort of a “level 1” bird dog with the toe on the ground. It’s to prevent going too high until graduated to a more advanced version. Even this version above is a bit regressed, it’s a 3-point bird dog meaning that Marco isn’t moving his arm up yet. But if this is feeling better for you, definitely swap it in, and I’ll pass this feedback onto Marco who does the programming.

  6. Rachel on May 20, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    I’m so thankful for your easy to understand way of providing the information. It feels less intimidating when I can understand the “why” of it all. I am still very new to weight lifting and work outs. I feel like I might be doing the excercises incorrectly but I do feel the burn where the videos have stated that I should. I have now acquired a mat and a set of non-adjusting 5 lb. weights. I like the simple steps and I feel more confident.
    My only concern is my posture. When I’m flat on my back my tailbone and upper back are touching the floor. My lower back never touches the floor and it’s painful to stay on my back for long periods. The glute bridge is the one this effects the most but I’ve just not lowered my body all the way down when coming back to the mat. Is there a cause for this? Should I be doing anything different or anything to correct this? Been this way my entire life. Sit ups are excruciating due to this and my tailbone was always bruised in grade school P.E.
    Thank you for all your support.

    • Jared Polowick on July 3, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Hey Rachel,

      Glad you liked the articles! And it’s great that you’ve been successfully easing into working out 🙂

      Honestly, it’s impossible and unwise for us to guess over the Internet. If you running into a lot of pain issues, we always recommend to get checked out with an in-person assessment by a sports physiotherapist. I know that’s not very helpful, but with anything that involves pain, it’s better to get checked out. You might have anterior pelvic tilt, and that might be contributing to the problem. You may want to Google that.

  7. Gretchen Williams on August 6, 2018 at 9:18 am

    This focuses on gam aiming weight, but what if losing is what is needed. My hips are already to my hips my waist is small. Before I gained this weight small wais and big hips and butt wasn’t a problem. I never even knew about the 0.7 ratio. So what do I do to get at it being over weight is the problem? I refuse to get Lipo..don’t need any fake butt. My arms, back and stomach is fat as well. Would it be a matter of dieting and doing excercises to shrink my waist and thighs more.

    • Jared Polowick on August 21, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Hi Gretchen,

      Yes, this website is for the tiny minority of women who need to gain weight. The mass majority of the fitness industry is centered around losing weight.

      To get a trim waist, you’ll need to exercise more and eat less calories. It sounds simple but it can be incredibly difficult. But there are lots of ways to do this. A 16:8 Intermittent Fasting diet will naturally cut one meal out of your day, while allowing you to eat to fullness to other meals. Don’t drink liquid calories they don’t fill you up, don’t have anything that reduces chewing like blended smoothies or pre-ground meat like burgers, don’t eat dried fruit—eat the real versions that fill you up with water, eat lots of fruits and veggies like oranges, apples, and potatoes that fill you up with fibre and water, eat more protein and fat-carb snacks etc. Lifting weights is even more effective for losing weight than cardio, so look into that type of exercise for moving more. You may want to check out the website for more info on intermittent fasting combined with exercise to lose weight. I hope that helps!

  8. Aelina on September 11, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Thank you for this article. I’ve read your previous replies to the comments on here and it’s nice to see that you took time to provide informative thought-out responses with links. I’m recovering from anorexia and have been working out and eating healthier to overcome the disorder. Chancing upon this website and article have motivated me a great deal.
    Are there types of equipment you recommend that we should get for growing hips/glutes? I’ve recently bought a flat bench and bar/dumb/kettle/bells. Would ankle weights be a good purchase? Once again, thank you for this site:)

    • Shane Duquette on May 6, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Hey Aelina, sorry for taking so long to see your comment.

      I wouldn’t necessarily recommend ankle weights. For the lighter hip/glute stuff bands tend to be better, and your most important training is going to come from the dumbbells and barbells, which are going to let you progressively gain more and more strength, which is what’s going to allow you to progressively gain more and more muscle in your hips and glutes 🙂

  9. Lauriel on December 18, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks for the article. It’s so rare to find information for women who are ectomorphs. I’ve been able to gain 5-6 pounds over the course of a handful of months. Unfortunately, the inches seem to be all in my waist. My waist is 2 inches bigger, and my hips are still the same, very narrow. That means I am getting less curvy. Am I doing something wrong? How do I know if any gains are muscle, not fat?

    • Shane Duquette on May 6, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Congratulations on those 5–6 pounds, Lauriel! Although… yeah… not exactly the ideal place for them to wind up. Mind you, some of that extra weight in your waist might be because your stomach is full of food. But still, yeah, definitely something worth troubleshooting.

      As for figuring out whether you’re gaining muscle or fat, generally we want to see your waist staying roughly the same size. A little growth is fine (because there are muscles there). So is a little narrowing (because you can train those muscles to hold your waist tighter).

      We also want to see your shoulder, hip and leg measurements moving up (assuming you’re training all of those areas).

      The most important thing of all, though, is to be gaining strength! If you start out being able to do glute bridges with 135 pounds, and then a few months later you can do them with 275 pounds, and then a year after that you’re doing them 365 pounds… that’s a great sign that you’re building TONS of muscle in your hips and glutes.

      Remember that size and strength are basically the same thing. Fight for strength in the gym, eat for size in the kitchen, and you’ll build absolutely killer hips 🙂

    • Jared on May 22, 2019 at 10:02 am

      Hi Lauriel,

      My pleasure! And congrats on the 5–6 pounds, that’s not easy to get into a calorie surplus to grow! Way to go 🙂

      But yes, that can definitely be frustrating to see your “gains” go to the wrong spot.

      There are many reasons why this could be happening. You might be gaining too fast, for example. Let’s say you worked out for 3x a week, and you’re eating well and then you maxed out your muscle gains for that week. Any extra energy above and beyond would get stored as fat.

      Another reason is you might not be eating enough protein. So you’re getting enough energy to build new muscle, but not enough actual muscle building blocks. So even though your body is looking to build more muscle in your hips, it just isn’t getting the protein it needs to do it.

      Another reason, as Shane pointed out, is that you aren’t pushing yourself enough to grow. So maybe the first week or two, you’re really sore (which isn’t necessary, but it’s definitely a sign that you pushed yourself), and you grow for a couple weeks. But then, you keep lifting the same heaviness of weights for the same reps. Meanwhile, you keep eating a lot of food. Well, if you aren’t pushing your muscles to adapt, then they won’t get bigger and stronger. And all that food will just be stored for later (fat). So making sure you’re getting stronger over time is key. Using a program like ours can help to ensure that you continue to adapt because it’s designed to push you to grow (and give you time to rest and recover) so all you have to do is follow the program.

      Anyways, hope that helps a bit, and thanks for the comment!

      • Lauriel on June 3, 2019 at 1:12 pm

        Thank you both for the replies and helpful suggestions. They make a lot of sense. Maybe I need to make sure I’m lifting heavier and steadier. I hope to write back with a more positive followup.

  10. Caley on March 24, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you for the refreshing, knowledgeable information! I haven’t stopped reading for days.

    My question: I am already an hourglass figure with good measurements. Can I still do this program to enhance my figure and get stronger? Or will all of the protein and exercises cause me to go out of balance, gain too much weight, etc ? I know you mentioned this is more for ectomorphs and I am a mesomorph but not afraid of gaining a little weight or enhancing. We can ALL better our figure.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Shane Duquette on May 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      Hey Caley, that’s a good question. Yeah, you absolutely can. If you already have an hourglass figure, we can just keep on making it even stronger and curvier.

      Also keep in mind that the Bony to Bombshell Program comes with coaching, so we can always help you customize the program to help it better suit your experience level, body type, and goals 🙂

      Not afraid of gaining weight? Let’s do this! 😀

  11. Mystery on April 5, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Hi, I’m so skinny with narrow hips and wider shoulders . But I work a lot , is it possible to gain muscle while under stress?

    • Shane Duquette on May 6, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Hey Mystery,

      Maintaining a lower-stress lifestyle is technically ideal… but… I mean… we don’t all have ideal lifestyles.

      Is it possible to gain muscle while under stress? Absolutely. We just need to be mindful that you’re recovering properly, and that might mean adjusting the difficulty of the program for you in the community.

      On the plus side, lifting weights can help reduce your overall stress. So can eating a bigger and better diet. And we also try to help you get better sleep in the program, which can have a big impact as well. I think you’d be able to improve your physique, which is great, but you’d also gain some strength, fitness, and hopefully reduce the stress that you’re feeling.

      I’ve been pretty stressed lately. Not in a horrible way. Just trying to juggle running a business with being a new dad while living in a new country. It’s great, but it’s a lot, and it’s stressful. However, I’ve managed to gain 13 pounds these past four months (with no visible increase in body fat) while gaining a ton of strength on all of my lifts. And if anything, I think it’s really helping ease the stress.

      I hope this helps, and I hope the stress starts to ease soon. Good luck!

  12. Gladys on May 13, 2019 at 2:55 am

    Dermalmd glute booster serum is one of the best way to get bigger hips Combined with squats and following the directions, it’s only been a few weeks and I’m already noticing a more round backside. Now most would say that it’s the squats that are forming my behind, but I’ve done squats for months on end with barely any result. Dermalmd really does work and I’m so glad that I chose this serum.

  13. Emme on July 28, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Hi! This article is amazing; has been following this type of training and has worked for my body. I have a question; how is possible to keep the gainings after the body has reached certain amount of muscle mass? I am asking this because I started this type of training 4 months ago and my body is looking lean right now; visible abs, wider hips, more toned legs and butt, etc. But in the latest weeks my body fat has been decreasing as well as my weight. I have lost 5 pounds and am afraid it keeps burning despite of the protein intake. How can I stop this happening? I am at 94 pounds and don’t want to lose more

  14. Priscy on August 5, 2019 at 11:27 am

    These are great tips for building glutes. I use some of them and have benefited. However I’m stuck in 0.77 ratio. And I think I have a bloated stomach. So are there ways to shrink my waist and stomach while not losing my hip muscles-fat combo.? I don’t want to look extremely athletic, just want a good ratio. Ps. 5’3” weighing 53-54 kg.

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