It’s cool to be thick again – and that means weight gain in the butt and thighs is a top priority.
It’s not quite that simple, though, as high-quality weight gain can be a real challenge. There are risks on either side – not being able to gain weight in the thighs and butt or gaining fat instead of muscle.
Today we’re covering how you avoid both and helping you make serious lower body gains that are healthy, great for your joints, and turning your hard work into big results. We’re outlining how healthy weight gain works, how to structure your workouts, and what exercises to focus on for that kick- ass weight gain (literally).
Lower Body Thickness (Gaining Weight in Thighs and Buttocks)
The lower body contains most of the muscle in your body, by volume. The buttocks and thighs (both the quads at the front and hamstrings at the back) are among the biggest muscles in the body and can see serious changes to size and mass.
When you want to gain weight in the thighs and butt, you’re looking at adding serious weigh to your body and building real strength. These are also the areas where the most strength and power are produced in the body – just look at the butt and thighs of sprinters, weightlifters, or throwers.
When training to build a bigger butt and legs, training has to account for all of these factors.
They represent a combined area that works together for movement, and you want to train in a way that supports your body, health, and movement while also building muscle.
A Brief Tour of the Lower Body
The lower body we’re talking about today breaks down into two major areas – the thighs and the butt. We’re also going to talk about these in relation to the knee and hip – the two most important joints – as well as a little bit of spine.
Thighs: Building Stronger Legs
The thighs are a powerhouse in the body that help us do everything from walk to squat to jump. They’re tied into the hips on both sides where they function as a major driving force for hip extension.
The quadriceps – or quads – are on the front of the thigh and are related to pushing. The hamstrings (biceps femoris) are on the back of the thigh and are all about hinging, the motion of bringing the chest up and hips forward – and they work closely with the glutes.
An honorable mention goes to the adductors, the muscles on the inside of the thigh that squeeze the legs together. These are mostly used to stabilize the knees and hips – which is going to be crucial for adding inner thigh meat and keeping these important joints healthy.
Buttocks: Glutes and Hip Muscles
The butt is mostly made up of the gluteus maximus – the muscles that extend the hip but also stabilize the lower spine. These are also the largest muscles on the body by volume due to their sheer area and ability to build thickness being greater than most other muscles.
There are many other, smaller muscles in the hip like the gluteus medius and the piriformis. These are important but will be trained secondarily through the exercises we’re outlining today. You don’t need to worry about them most of the time if you’re focusing on the right movements and getting plenty of movement-variety.
How to Gain More Weight in your Butt and Thighs
Weight gain requires 2 things and – if either of them is missing – it’s going to be limited:
- Steadily increasing the amount of work your muscles are doing (week by week and month by month)
- Eating enough food – especially protein and carbs – to drive muscle growth.
These are the factors that help maintain an aesthetic physique while gaining weight. They promote muscle-gain over fat-gain, help build strength, and keep your body healthy while you build mass. The result is thicker thighs and buttocks that are ready for anything and promote a healthy knee, hip, and spine.
We are going to do this with proper lower body workouts that use good exercises to build thigh and glute muscle while improving performance, strength, and appearance.
Properly Structuring a Lower Body Workout
A good lower body workout does a few simple things:
1. From high to low Intensity
Leg and butt workouts are better with intensity – starting with some really challenging weights or pace. The idea is to start with the heavy stuff and ease off over the workout as fatigue sets in – because you can’t do it the other way around!
Start with heavy sets in “big” exercises like squats and deadlifts, before easing through lunges, step ups, and machine work.
2. From low to high reps
Generally, you’ll want to use bigger exercises like the squat and deadlift at lower rep ranges to the lighter, smaller exercises.
You can use any range, but the conventional approach is somewhere around 3-10 reps for heavier work before 6-20 in the lighter follow-up exercises. As long as you’re using weights that challenge you and improving over time, you’ll be making gains.
3. A great finisher (or two)
At the end of a workout, you should be getting a pump – ideally using higher-rep exercise to improve nutrient delivery to muscles and joints.
Finish your main muscle groups – like the quads and glutes – with high-rep exercise. This usually means lower weights, machines, and bodyweight exercises. If you’re really invested in gaining weight in the thighs and butt, those muscle groups should have a pump every time you finish!
4. Unilateral and bilateral balance
You should be using a mixture of single- and two-leg exercises in your leg and butt workouts. This helps keep you healthy and builds stability in the lower body joints while adding some real muscle to the glutes and inner thighs that have to perform that stability.
You can balance these up – like a 2-leg squatting exercise then a 1-leg deadlifting exercise – and alternate from one workout to the next.
5. Balanced front/back
Remember that you need to train the front and back of the body together and in balance. They work on the same joints so having one side big and strong, but the other weak, will affect your control over the joints and your joint space.
Build your workouts around a balance of front and rear – of pushing and pulling – and try to progress them evenly. It’s not always going to be perfect but keeping this balance in mind will help you develop and gain weight in a healthier, safer way.
An Example Workout to Gain Weight in the Thighs and Butt
What does a workout look like when you follow all of these important lessons? What kind of workout drives butt and thigh gains?
We’re going to outline a basic session that you can use to get a feel for some of the best exercises and structure that will build up your lower body:
Paused Back Squat: 4 sets of 6
Romanian Deadlift: 5 sets of 8
Dumbbell Step-Up: 4 sets of 10 (each leg)
Good Morning (Light): 4 sets of 10
Superset – 3 sets of 12:
Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Frog Pump: 2 sets of 20
This is only one example but it’s a tried-and-tested way to gain healthy weight. Try it yourself and focus on slow, controlled movement to develop better movement quality and drive muscle growth with that extra time under tension.
Exercises that Build Butt and Thighs (Together)
Squatting movements are great for tying together the functions of the hip and thigh. This means training the muscles of the thighs and butt together, in long ranges of motion, and building up strength in the lower back and core, too.
Back squats are a classic movement, but any variation of the squat will build up better glutes and legs. Box squats, pin squats, front squats, and either barbells or dumbbells will all contribute to these gains.
Make sure you’re using at least 1 full-range squatting movement per week, and not just relying on partial movements (like the box squat, for example). Longer ranges switch on the stabilizing muscles of the hips and inner thigh, while building better joint health in the knees and hips.
Go as low as possible without rounding your lower back.
2. Lunging / step-ups / etc.
Lunging movements – including things like step-ups and other forms of single-leg dominant exercise – are amazing for the legs and thighs.
They directly train the front leg with a ton of focus on deep positions to provide a better muscle-growth stimulus. These are also great for building up control and strength in the ‘front’ hip, which is one of the major factors in stronger, healthier quads.
Not only are they great for the legs but the postural demands – stabilizing the knee and keeping the hips extended – use the buttocks. These are some of the key roles of the glutes and they are trained intensely by regular single-leg exercise.
This makes lunging and step-up type movements a great way to multitask and gain weight in the hip and thigh region together.
3. Deadlifting variations
Deadlifting exercises are going to be great for the hips, specifically. Anything that involves a hip hinge will directly target the glutes and hamstrings together, building serious thickness in the lower body.
Stiff-legged and Romanian deadlifts are great for putting all the stress on your hamstrings and buttocks, directly training them and building these muscles. These are also classic ways of improving your hip-hinging movement, a key to a healthier spine and improving the effect of your training – making sure it targets the right muscles.
Variations that start with the knees slightly bent, however, like a conventional or deficit deadlift, are great for building thigh and butt thickness. These – once again – heavily load the knees and hips, often through very long ranges, and force them to grow.
Progressing your volume in these movements is a great way to improve the strength and thickness of the thighs and glutes. It also relies heavily on the lower back and knee-hip stabilizers (like the inner thigh muscles we mentioned before), building a well-rounded body.
4. Machines for overload/finishers
Exercise machines shouldn’t usually be your priority – they reduce the amount of stability training you’re getting while often being too difficult to progress effectively. There are some exceptions, of course, but the point is simple: use weight machines for ‘finishers’ at the end of workouts.
Getting a “pump” is a great way to support the muscle growth signaling of a workout, which drives recovery and growth. Pumps support this by improving cell volume, which makes them a great way to improve workouts and make sure you’re not leaving any progress “on the table”.
Machines for the thigh are easy to come by and there are a few you should focus on: the leg press, the leg extension, and the leg curl. These are great for loading your legs up and really “emptying the tank” with higher-rep sets, since they don’t require stability or technique like free weights.
For the glutes, machines are a little harder to come by. You can use an abductor machine for higher reps, but the best choice is usually a glute-extension machine or simply performing back extensions (with a pause) if your gym has the right setup for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you gain weight in your butt?
Gaining weight in the butt requires only 2 simple things:
- Eat more calories per day than you use (a calorie surplus) and ideally lots of protein
- Train the muscles of the butt with hip hinging, squatting, and lunging exercises
These are obvious but slow and require long-term commitment. You can gain high-quality butt weight by building up the glutes and related muscles, which just takes time and consistency – there’s no rushing the weight gain.
2. Is weight gain healthy?
Weight gain can be very healthy – especially when that weight is high-quality muscle. This helps improve your overall metabolism and keeps your joints healthy.
When you’re building thigh and butt muscles you’re going to help support your lower back, hips, and knees. These areas are most vulnerable to joint pain, so gaining weight and supporting them with muscle is very healthy.
If you’re a smaller person to start with, weight gain can be very healthy as a way of improving your overall robustness. If you’re exercising and weight gain is in the muscles, it’s a really healthy way of looking and feeling better!
3. How to gain weight in the thighs and hips without getting fat?
The key to healthy weight gain is patience, good exercise habits, and a diet that gets the macronutrients right.
The key to healthy weight gain in the butt and thighs is high protein but only slightly more calories than you use every day. A calorie surplus of even 300 per day, combined with heavy lifting, is going to build strong thighs and buttocks.
If you’re patient with this slower weight gain you’ll build more muscle, less fat, and have a great physique – as well as tons of extra strength.
Driving Growth: Committing to Nutrition and Recovery
No matter how well you train and how hard you bust your butt in the gym, nutrition is the determining factor in whether you gain or lose weight. This is because your diet provides the energy and building-blocks for muscle.
You need to commit to better nutrition and goal-specific eating if you want to gain weight in the thighs and butt. Thickness comes with properly-applied discipline and the process of training hard and tidying up your diet to chase your own goals is going to feel great all by itself, as you take control over your body and how it changes.
Commit to Calories – AppetiteMax
The amount you eat has to come first – and that means committing to eating more calories.
Most people get scared of this bit and that’s why they don’t get the results they want. Remember: eating more won’t make you fat if you’re using that energy for workouts and your body needs it to grow new muscle.
Eat at a slight calorie surplus – a few 100 calories above what you need to maintain your weight. You can try and figure this out with a TDEE calculator or simply tracking what you eat, and if you’re staying the same weight, adding a little more food to your day.
Protein Priorities: Essential Nutrients to Produce Muscle Mass
Protein is the nutrient that your body leans on for muscle-building since muscles themselves are made of proteins. When you eat proteins, your body breaks them down into amino acids, the building blocks, and uses those for muscle protein synthesis – which makes muscle mass.
This means you need to prioritize protein in your diet – whether that’s from meat, seafood, dairy, or plant sources. Recommendations differ but the simple approach is this: eat as much as you can comfortably fit into your diet.
Every meal should have a protein source and “the more the better” usually applies here.
Control your Carbs: Using Diet to Provide Energy for Muscle Gains
Carbs drive the calorie-count and energy availability you need to perform better and grow. These are the main foods that also overlap with your micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, making them twice as important.
Good carbs – things like wholegrains, beans, peas, pulses, potatoes, and other starches – are one of the most important food groups to gain weight. The thighs and butt are huge muscle groups with large energy needs and require plenty of quality carbs to recover, grow, and progress between sessions.
Carbs should take up a lot of space in your diet, providing the carbs that you’re not getting from proteins and fats. The science says around 4-6g of carb per kg of bodyweight, which is a good place to start, and you can adjust from there to meet your personal needs based on your calorie goals and your activity levels (more activity = more carbs).
Micronutrients: Supporting your Metabolism and Wellbeing while you Gain Weight
These aren’t key for gaining weight, but for health.
As you increase your overall food intake, try and prioritize your vitamin and mineral intake – especially in the overlap with carbohydrates. A wide variety of veg and plant-foods are a great place to start, especially when combined with high-quality dairy (like yoghurt and eggs) and great proteins (like salmon).
These are key to keeping your body’s processes running and healthy, so that you’re gaining high quality weight and staying healthy while you do it.
Final Thoughts: Gaining Weight in Thighs and Buttocks
Gaining weight in the butt and thighs isn’t complicated – it’s just about staying consistent with good habits in the gym and the kitchen. AppetiteMax can give you a boost to support these good habits and help you become thicker, stronger, and healthier.
The hard work comes down to your choices, however, and turning up to exercise those key muscle groups a few times a week. It’s only a few hours a week and it adds up rapidly as you see results and take back total control over your own body!
Weight gain can be healthy, rewarding, and fun if you’re on the right plan and have your expectations in the right place. With the key lessons we’ve shared today, you’re on the right path and all you need to do now is take action and put those thighs and glutes to work!