Running is an effective way to kick your butt into shape. It's one of the most efficient fat-blasting forms of cardio you can do that will also strengthen and tone your legs and core. But what about your butt? Well, that depends on a few things. Running can help you build a curvier backside and shed any unwanted fat that's covering it, but if your goal is to build a bubble butt, running alone might not be enough.
Components of a "Bubble Butt"
Your butt is composed of three gluteal muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the large, thick muscle that lies just under the surface of the skin and gives the butt a round, shapely appearance. When you run, this muscle performs extension of the thigh and is an important source of power. This means that running will certainly work the gluteus maximus, but the degree to which it builds the muscle will be affected by the speed, distance and intensity you run at.
Running and the Booty
You can build your glutes when running by performing explosive sprint work. Sprints require more maximal power than distance running, so your body adapts by increasing the size and strength of the muscles used during the exercise. Adding hill work or running with an incline on the treadmill will shift more work to the glutes, which will also build the muscles. If you really want to blast your backside, do sprint work on hills.
Factoring in Your Genetics
Some runners are blessed with genetics that give them a round booty without really trying. Brazilian women, for example, are known for their shapely derrieres. This isn't to say that your genetics will prevent you from building a bubble butt -- it just means you may have to work harder or differently to achieve your goal. For some women, running alone may help build and tone their glutes, but for others, running may make their butts very small. If you have a naturally thin frame, you will probably need to do more sprint and hill work or add resistance-training exercises like squats, lunges and leg presses.
Dieting and Weight Loss
In order to maintain enough muscle or fat for a bubble butt, you'll need to consume adequate calories. Distance runners often have very lean frames from the number of calories they burn training. This helps them run longer and faster, but isn't conducive to building a bubble butt. If you cut down your calorie intake to lose weight from other areas of your body, you might notice a drop in booty volume as well. It just depends on where your body likes to store and shed weight.
The Bottom Line
If you aren't blessed with the genetics for a bubble butt, running alone probably won't give you one. Adding resistance-training exercises that target your glutes will help. Remember to consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise or diet regimen.
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.