As a former personal trainer, Sarah is passionate about all things health, beauty, and self care.
Curvy, shapely, and toned booties are more in style than ever and if you’re like me, you want in. I’ve been fairly petite all my life and never really put much focus onto the size of my butt. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like very long ago that having a big butt was a big no-no and having problems fitting into your jeans was just a sign of gaining unwanted weight.
Fast forward to 2021, and everyone wants to show off their thick thighs and bodacious backsides. While I can’t say that I want thick thighs, I definitely want to improve the shape of my butt. With this in mind, I found myself diving into research on various techniques on how to form the buttocks (preferably without having to go under the knife). Here’s what I learned.
Butt lift doesn’t always mean surgery
One of my primary concerns was that in order to get the butt that I want, I’d have to undergo a surgical procedure. Fortunately that turned out to be absolutely not the case. There are quite a few methods that can be used towards building your bootie the way you want it (none of which require surgery). From glute specific exercises to minimally invasive injectable butt enhancements, here are all of your non surgical options:
Glute Specific Exercises
Most people think that the absolute best way to size up your butt at the gym is to do squats. While squats do help grow your glutes (if performed properly), some of the major exercises that a lot of people are skipping include deadlifts, lunges, and bulgarian split squats. These exercises are more glute specific in that they all support and lift the butt by targeting the following muscles:
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus maximus
- The adductor muscles
- Semitendinosus & biceps femoris (make up the hamstrings)
Deadlifts involve a hinging motion and require engagement of all core muscles as well as the muscles listed above, making it a compound exercise that will benefit you in more ways than just one by increasing the size of your butt and giving it a lift, strengthening your back and abdominal muscles, and shaping your legs.
Lunges are one of the easier movements and require you to get in a kneeling position with one knee on the ground and both knees in a right angle. While doing this exercise, your main focus should be to put all of your weight into your front heel as you push yourself off of the floor into a standing position.
Be sure that your knee does not pass the tips of your toes, and never to put the weight into the ball of your foot (this will put pressure on your knees and train your quadriceps (or quads) rather than the muscles in your posterior chain, which is the set of muscles along the back side of your body.
Bulgarian split squats are comparable to lunges in that they require you to get into a type of kneeling position. The difference is that you start in a standing position with one foot standing on the ground, and the other resting on an elevated surface behind you (which can be a workout bench, box, chair, or swiss ball).
Shifting the weight into the heel on the ground, you will then carefully lower yourself into a kneeling position and push yourself back into the original stance through your heel. The back leg remains in its elevated position.
Just like lunges and deadlifts, bulgarian split squats primarily hit all the muscles that support your butt, making them a go-to for gym goers.
- 2. Electromagnetic Muscle Stimulation
It turns out that if working out isn’t your thing, there is an easy alternative to get you the same results without the weights. The alternative is called electromagnetic muscle stimulation (also called EMS or E-stim) and is a non-invasive cosmetic treatment that involves nothing more than 30 minutes of laying on your front side while allowing a machine to do the real work for you in the back. Here’s how it works:
Muscles grow and become stronger when they are trained, and more specifically, when they contract. This can be accomplished through resistance training or by using EMS devices.
During an EMS treatment to strengthen your glutes and lift your butt, 2 - 4 applicators that act as electrodes are placed on your butt cheeks as you lie in a downward facing position. When the machine is turned on, you will experience a sensation that feels a bit like an eclectic shock to your butt. This is the EMS machine sending steady streams of electrical pulses to your body, signaling your muscles to contract in the treated area.
While this may sound painful, most people describe the treatment as a strong tingly feeling or strong muscle contractions. After the treatment you may feel a little sore, just like you would with a regular workout. For the best results it was found that 4 - 6 sessions spaced over the course of one to two weeks is ideal.
- 3. Injectable butt filler
There are a few types of injectables that can be used to increase the size of your butt. One of the best known injectable butt fillers is a BBL, in which your own fat is taken from one part of your body and injected into your butt. This however, is a surgical procedure since it requires liposuction to harvest the fat.
In terms of non surgical butt fillers there are two that are commonly used: Radiesse and Sculptra.
Radiesse is a ChHA (Calcium Hydroxylapatite) gel matrix that is used as an injectable cosmetic dermal filler in several regions of the body, commonly including the face and buttocks. Do keep in mind that you cannot dissolve Radiesse, which is why it is mostly used as a butt enhancement.
Radiesse produces volume by stimulating collagen production in the treated area. Once injected, immediate increase in volume can be observed as the ChHA particles integrate into your skin. Collagen and elastin replaces the gel as it breaks down, producing additional volume over time.
Because this filler is biocompatible, the risks of infection are low making it a popular treatment used for volume enhancement. You can expect the results to last up to two years.
Sculptra is an injectable dermal filler made up of Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). PLLA is a biodegradable aliphatic polyester meaning that there is a low risk of infection upon injection. It works by stimulating the body’s natural collagen production, which can take 1 - 2 month’s time. Based on reported studies from Skinly, one of the providers, Sculptra often requires more than one session, because everyone responds differently to the treatment in a sense that one person may only need 10 vials, while another needs 50 vials for their desired result. Each session (16 vials max.) is spaced out by one month and gradual improvement is seen over time.
Sculptra can also be used in other areas of the body, but since it isn’t dissolvable like hyaluronic acid based fillers, it is most commonly used in the buttocks.
What they have in common:
- Both are biocompatible
- Both work by producing collagen
- Both are injectable
- Risks and side effects: redness, swelling, bruising, and in rare cases, formation of lumps and granulomas and sometimes infection
- Radiesse results can be seen immediately, while Sculptra takes 1 - 2 months to show
- Sculptra produces more volume over time
What to expect during the treatment:
Before the injection process, you will be sanitized and in some cases (typically with Sculptra) a local numbing agent is injected. During the treatment you will lie face down and the compound will be injected using a needle or more commonly, a cannula (a hollow tube used to inject or remove fluid from the body) to avoid excess bruising. Depending on how much of the filler you are getting, the procedure may take anywhere from 15 - 25 minutes total.
Once complete, you will be sent home with a massaging routine that must be carried out for five days following.
After exploring my options, I was happy to discover that a butt lift doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to get a surgical procedure to reach my goals. Do keep in mind that all of the above mentioned treatments work differently on everyone, meaning that one may be more ideal for one person, while the other is better suited for the other. This primarily depends on your original body type as well as the results you are looking for. Overall it is also important to remember that no matter what you decide to do to your body, to do it safely and in an educated manner, meaning that you should get professional help if needed.