Will Squats Make My Butt Too Big?

Squats are a very effective exercise for your posterior chain. The movement is basically hip extension and requires large involvement of the hip musculature. You cannot squat heavy weights with weak hamstrings and glutes.

Deeps full squats - note that Pisarenko is using weightlifting shoes to go deeper

Deeps full squats – note that Pisarenko is using weightlifting shoes to go deeper

If you squat deep…

When you perform deep squats the glutes and the hamstrings are involved the most. However, this does not mean that you should do quarter reps in order to avoid posterior chain involvement. Quarter reps are too stressful on the knees and represent an inferior exercise for beginners. Professionals may use them but people who don’t know what they are doing have no business messing with heavy quarter reps. Ego lifting should be avoided since most of the time it does not produce results.


Avoid low bar squats…

There are two types of barbell back squats – low bar and high bar. The difference between the exercises is in the way you place the barbell on your back. If you want to minimize the stress on the glutes, it would be wise to avoid doing low bar squats altogether. The low bar or the power squat is more posterior chain dependent than the high bar. That’s why you’re able to lift about 20% more weight – there’s more glute and hamstring involvement.

Time for some front squats…

Out of all barbell squats the front squat is the version that respects rear aesthetics the most. While the front squat also requires glute involvement it is not nearly as much as during the low bar or high bar squat. This is one of the reasons why the old school bodybuilding coach Vince Gironda used to recommend front squats. He was obsessed with bodybuilding and believed that bodybuilders should have small hips to be aesthetic and create the so-called X-frame and bodybuilding illusion.

Maybe it’s just fat…

Many people think they have big butts because of hypertrophy but the extra size is often just body fat. The body feels the most comfortable storing fat in your mid-section and hip area. That’s why if you want to reduce your hip measurement, you should focus on losing weight through diet and exercises before attempting exercise fixes.

Lower the weight and improve your form…

The more you bend over during a squat, the more glute involvement there is. In the quest for putting more weight on the bar people forget form and bend over a lot when they squat.

While some forward lean is unavoidable, people often exaggerate it even more when the weights get heavy. Of course, it happens unintentionally but your body is telling you a lesson which is: ‘This weight is too heavy. I feel weak and will switch over to the most powerful muscle I have- the glutes.’ As a result the lifter bends over more and takes the quadriceps out of the exercise. You may be lifting more weight but you won’t have balanced leg development. If your form suffers so much, lower the weight and squat with more upright posture.

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