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What you do during your workouts will determine whether you increase or decrease the size of your butt area. If you want to increase butt size, you'll be hitting the gym and participating in weight training. For shrinking the butt, your focus will be on calorie-burning cardiovascular exercise. How much you're able to increase or decrease your butt size will be partly determined by your genetics.
Muscle Versus Fat
When you're looking to increase the size of your butt area, your focus will be on developing the size of your gluteus maximus muscle. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle at your butt and it's responsible for extending your hips. If you're looking to effectively decrease the size of your butt area, then your focus will be on lowering your body fat percentage. There is a layer of fat over the top of your gluteus maximus muscle, so if you decrease your body fat, you will decrease the size of your butt.
Building the Gluteus Maximus
To noticeably build up your gluteus maximus, participate in a strength-training program that targets your butt twice a week. Schedule the workouts so they don't land back to back; ideally, you should have two days in between them. In each workout, choose three to five exercises that target your butt, which can include squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts and split squats. Start out with three sets of each exercise, with each set consisting of about eight to 20 repetitions. If you reach 20 reps and aren't tired, add a weighted barbell or a pair of dumbbells into the mix. How quickly and drastically you put on muscle will depend on your genetics and hormone levels, though you should see improvements by week number eight.
To decrease the size of your butt, your efforts will be put toward burning a greater number of calories than you consume. Instead of strength training, you want to focus on consistent bouts of cardiovascular exercise. Cardio burns a significant number of calories relatively quickly. If you run, bike, ride the elliptical or swim most days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes and follow a healthy eating plan, you will burn more calories than you take in from food and force your body to break down the fat you have stored on your body. You should also incorporate full-body weight training into your regimen, but limit the number of sets of any glute exercises to one to two each to avoid putting on muscle.
Targeting Loss at Your Butt
As you decrease your overall body fat, you will notice differences in your butt. However, it's impossible to dictate to your body where it will break down your body fat from. It has a tendency to hold onto fat in trouble areas longer, so if your butt is where you first put on fat, it's likely to take a little longer to see a drastic change there. Still, you will notice improvements all over your body, including your butt, as your body fat percentage decreases.