Does Running Make Your Butt Bigger?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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Does running make your butt bigger? Running builds muscles in the butt but it depends on the type of running. Sprinting builds muscle in the glutes but long-distance running activates smaller Type 1 fibers which are better for endurance.

 Your glutes are heavily engaged when you are sprinting and that is why it is a great glute/butt workout. Have you ever seen a top sprinter with a flat butt? Very rarely have you seen any top sprinter with a glute/butt that doesn’t stand out.

Does running make your butt bigger? iStock- photo credit: Drazen Zigic

When you are running it activates different muscle type fibers. Long distance running activates type 1 slow twitch fibers and sprinting activates type II fast twitch fibers. Type I fibers are typically smaller and better for long endurance.

Smaller fibers can take endure more endurance and fatigue. And it doesn’t get very big which means the increase in glute size is minimal, but it will get stronger. Sprinting uses Type II fibers which are larger and designed for short bursts of speed.

The difference between sprinting is the following:

Sprinting increases your anaerobic capacity and long-distance running increases your aerobic capacity which would be your VO2max.

Most people don’t realize that the largest and strongest muscle in the body is the gluteus maximus. Your glute consists of three different muscles:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus

When you run, whether it is sprinting or long-distance running, every part of your leg muscle is engaged. And this is your calves, hamstrings, quads, and even your abdominal muscles and arms.

Other exercises that engage the glutes and help them grow is plyometric exercises like box jumps, jump squats, step ups, etc. Plyometric exercises help to build power, burn calories, and grow glutes.

Running is considered one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can do to burn fat. And the best intensity to run to tap into the fat burning zone is more than 50% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart is calculated by subtracting 220-(Your Age).

High intensity and shorter distance running relies more on calories from carbs for energy purposes. But longer duration running that is longer than 30 minutes uses more carbs and fats for energy purposes.

The Bottom Line is running can make your butt bigger if you are incorporating sprinting in your running routine. Distance running doesn’t activate Type II fibers which are used to engage your glutes when you run. So, any increase in glute size while doing distance running is minimal.

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About Author- Obi Obadike

About – Ethical Inc

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  1. Neto WK, Soares EG, Vieira TL, Aguiar R, Chola TA, Sampaio VL, Gama EF. Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review. J Sports Sci Med. 2020 Feb 24;19(1):195-203. PMID: 32132843; PMCID: PMC7039033.
  2. Buckthorpe M, Stride M, Villa FD. ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS – A CLINICAL COMMENTARY. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2019 Jul;14(4):655-669. PMID: 31440415; PMCID: PMC6670060.
  3. Wilson JM, Loenneke JP, Jo E, Wilson GJ, Zourdos MC, Kim JS. The effects of endurance, strength, and power training on muscle fiber type shifting. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):1724-9. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318234eb6f. PMID: 21912291.

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