It’s 2023 and having a big butt is still at the top of many people’s New Year's resolutions! Whether you’re a beginner looking to start a new routine, or an avid gymgoer currently in their glute building journey wondering about the limitations of muscle growth – you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll go through the basics of muscle growth, find out how big your glutes can get, as well as learn a few tips and tricks for building a nice booty.
|Table of Contents|
|How do we build muscle in the glutes|
|How many inches can the glutes grow|
|Tips for growing the glutes|
Before we begin answering the question: “How many inches can the glutes grow?” We must remember a few things. First, whenever we are venturing into a new fitness challenge, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Namely, visible progress takes a lot of time, consistency, and devotion.
Furthermore, having a big butt has been trendy for the past few years. As a result, many fitness enthusiasts are looking to grow their glutes. However, keep in mind that a strong, realistic butt looks a lot different than the ones you may see on Instagram (which are often the result of photoshop, butt lifters, and even surgery).
Lastly, your results will vary depending on numerous factors: your age, weight, current gym routine, and even genetics. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results after a few weeks. Instead, focus on being the healthiest version of yourself, stay consistent, work hard and you’ll be sure to notice progress in no time!
Let’s go back to school and recall a quick anatomy lesson! What we commonly call “the glutes” is actually a group of 3 muscles. These muscles include the gluteus minimus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus maximus - which is the largest muscle in the body and is mostly responsible for the way your butt looks.
Muscle hypertrophy occurs in a metabolic process called muscle protein synthesis (MPS) (1). In simple terms, MPS involves incorporating amino acids (the building blocks of protein) into skeletal muscle protein. The two bind together to repair the tiny damages that occur with strength training, resulting in muscle growth.
You see, the body is constantly in a constant state of protein turnover. Old proteins are sent packing (Muscle protein breakdown) and new proteins are introduced (Muscle protein synthesis). If we can keep the synthesis higher than the breakdown, then our muscles are going to get bigger.
The way in which we can keep muscle protein synthesis higher than muscle protein breakdown is by combining progressive resistance training with a high protein muscle building diet.
However, there is a limit to that growth. Performance-enhancing drugs are rampant in the bodybuilding community, which may skew an average gymgoer’s view of what a healthy, natural body looks like, and what is achievable solely through hard work. As a result, it makes the next question very difficult to answer.
As mentioned, there is a limit to muscle growth. Enter the FFMI - the fat-free mass index that shows your muscle mass relative to your height, proving a more accurate report of progress than the more well-known BMI (body mass index) (2). According to the FFMI, it’s theoretically impossible for a natural human to have an FFMI of over 25 (with very, very few exceptions).
In other words, an FFMI of over 25 is only achieved through steroid use. This brings us to the elephant in the room - it’s very difficult to accurately assess just how big a muscle can get, especially the gluteus maximus as some people are using performance enhancing drugs – which will obviously yield better results over the natural athlete.
What makes it even more difficult is that the glutes are a great area to store body fat. Depending on your genetics, some bodies prefer to store fat in the glutes rather than in areas such as the waist – making measuring muscle growth even more difficult.
It’s also important to note that elites, athletes, and devoted gymgoers grow muscles at a much slower pace than beginners (3). As a result, a beginner can experience between 10%-30% of muscle growth in just a few months, while an experienced gym rat can expect 6%-20%. However, keep in mind that the longer you train, the slower the muscle hypertrophy.
All in all, most people will never reach the point where it’s physically impossible to grow any more muscle - as it requires an unbearable amount of sacrifice. Even the limit of a single person is difficult to determine due to differences in genetic makeup. Naturally, further research is needed on this subject.
Taking everything into account, it’s possible to grow your butt a couple of inches (or more, if you bulk and add fat to the overall equation). In the first few months, you can expect to see 1-2 inches of glute growth and a few more in the following years. Here are some tips you can incorporate today to grow your glutes!
We all know that protein is an essential macronutrient for muscle growth. Make sure you’re eating around 0.8- 1 gram of protein per lb (1.6-2.2g per kg) of body weight every day to ensure maximum hypertrophy, as well as ensuring that you’re in a caloric surplus.
Studies show that training a body part twice a week is generally superior to once a week, and the glutes are no acceptation. Yes, the gluteus maximas is the largest of the 3 muscles and deserves most of your attention, but be sure not to neglect the upper glutes (glutes medius).
Our bodies are great at adapting. Over time, the weights we once used will feel lighter and become easier to lift. This is because our body has adapted to the stresses it was placed under and our muscles have become bigger and stronger. If we don’t continually increase the stresses placed on our muscles, then there will be no reason for them to adapt further and our progress will plateau. To continually progress need to apply progressive overload to our training. This can be done by increasing the resistance, increasing the number of sets/reps, reducing rest times, or increasing workout frequency.
Finally, rest days are a crucial part of building muscle. By taking a day or two off your schedule to relax, you allow your muscles to repair and adapt to the stress of training. They will thank you by growing bigger and stronger! Remember, muscles aren’t built in the gym. They’re actually broken down in the gym and rebuilt during times of rest and recovery.
On top of that, rest days are important for maintaining your mental health and avoiding burnout.
Bonus Tip - Stricly speaking this is not a tip that helps to build bigger glutes, but it's a tip that makes it look like you've built bigger glutes (super handy when you're starting out!). Choose clothing that enhances your curves. Clothing like fitted jeans and scrunch bum gym leggings are the perfect choices for adding that extra oomph to the derrière.
Overall, it’s impossible to determine how many inches the glutes can possibly grow, either naturally or with enhancers, and further research is needed on the subject.
Every one of us has different genetic predispositions to potential muscle growth. On top of that, reaching our genetic potential is unlikely as it requires years of intensive training.
That being said, it’s possible to grow your glutes a couple of inches with the proper diet, training regimen, and our helpful tips!