Shrugged Collective

How to Add Mass to Dat Ass – Barbell Shrugged #179

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This week on Barbell Shrugged, we finally do the episode we know you’ve all been waiting for – How to add mass to that ass! The title say’s it all – We had a blast filming this show. But this is actually a very important topic in health and fitness.

Aesthetics aside, if you have a flat or dysfunctional butt you probably don’t run very fast or jump that high, and you’re definitely not as strong as you could be. The same is often true for upright, quadriceps dominant athletes. Not making the very most of your rear-end might be significantly limiting your performance. The good news is that you can fix this.

First, measure and assess the situation.

Try the #BarbellButtTest. Load a barbell with just one plate per side. Lay belly-down on the ground, then have a friend roll the barbell forward, over your legs. If the bar hits your butt and stops, you probably have nothing to worry about.

The opposite might also be true. If you have to flex hard and reach up for that barbell, then friend, you’ve got some serious work to do. Luckily we’ve got you covered.


Load that ass more often!

A great starting point for building a better booty is to spend more time working the muscles you can’t see in the mirror.

Any exercise requiring a relatively wide stance will increase glute loading and activation. A great example is the sumo style deadlift, which is a tremendously under-utilized exercise in most Crossfit gyms. Likewise, wide squats can be very effective, as long as you start very light at first. It will take some time for your hips to come up to speed, but you’ll get comfortable quickly.

Rear foot elevated split squats are an amazing assistance movement for the glutes. You can’t help but feel it working. Train this movement hard after your squats to pound your ass into submission. You can also do them lighter and for speed before your heavy strength work as a way to warm-up and potentiate performance.

One more thing you should try is heavy quarter-squats. Now, usually you wouldn’t want to intentionally cut your squat depth. But in this case, we’re looking to overload just one portion of the movement, right where the your ass is more active.

Try this. After your last work set of full, deep squats work up to your personal best, but only go down about 1/4 of the way on these reps. Push your butt back to initiate the lift, keeping your shin vertical, but as soon as the glutes are loaded, extend back through to terminal hip extension. Perform 12-15 reps with your full-squat 1RM. That will give you an insane ass pump, and once these loads become more routine, you will also boost your confidence and strength.

Note: Adding chains and elastic bands to a barbell achieves a similar effect. These are methods of augmenting the load so that it gets heavier as you stand up. This is particularly beneficial in movements like the good morning, which are typically very difficult at the bottom of the lift, but easy at the top. When you add this type of load to the barbell, you argument the strength curve so that the weight is balanced throughout the range of motion.

Activate those glutes.


Programming and nutrition tips for passing the butt test!

Here’s a basic approach that will work very well for you:

  1. Activate: Activate your glutes during your warm-up. Movements like banded pull-throughs, quick single-leg squats, and abduction drills against resistance will allow you to use your ass more effectively during your strength work.
  2. Strengthen: The foundation of your strength training should always be squats and pulls. That said, begin to introduce some of the previously mentioned hip-dominant varieties. You can still do something like 5 sets of 5, just start with a load that’s maybe 10-20% lighter than usual. Add that weight back on the barbell 5-10 pounds a week, until your hips are up to par.
  3. Do the reps: A big mistake many athletes make is skipping the assistance work, especially in the early stages of training. Like many muscles, the glutes respond very well to higher volume sets. So, pick a secondary movement – something like single-leg squats, lunges or reverse hyper-extensions – and perform 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps. You ass will look all the better for it, but you’ll also get much stronger, quicker.
  4. Eat more often, especially right after you train: If you want to build the butt of your dreams, you have to eat for hypertrophy. That means plenty of carbs and protein, particularly during your post-WOD #WindowofGainz. Check out Episode 178 of Barbell Shrugged to learn exactly what you should be eating.


Got any booty training questions for us? Go ahead and leave them in the comments below. We’d love to help out.

Believe in your butt 🙂


Doug Larson


  • Love it. Playing soccer/hockey/volleyball all my life helped me with gettin dat @$$.
    Sorry… ass. I just like the $ signs.

  • Awesome show and Technique WOD this week! One exercise that always makes my ass sore is medium weight sled sprints. A good 100 to 200 meters a couple of times will definitely do the trick.

  • Another most excellent episode I really needed. Thx again.

    As a long-limbed skinny guy I have been doing kneeling squats since I first came across them a couple of weeks ago, and can handle much more weight with them than with regular back squats. I really feel like they’ve been working. Any thoughts about kneeling squats?

    • A little odd, but if they are working for you, keep it. I would’t, however, replace squats with this. Keep it as assistance work. Regular squats, pulls, etc are still better primary moves.

  • Gotta massify that ass. If ass-massification is not a common conversation at your gym, please make sure it gets added to the list health topics of high importance.

  • Great show! In the last month I recently added glute work before every training session. Like a lot of women I have had trouble activating them and use my quads too much. My issues steamed from hip/si joint issues. I sent this podcast to a friend who wants a bigger butt!!!

    One question for the group recently you have been mentioning that he benefits of a sumo DL. I have never done them and have considered switching. I have had difficulties finding my hamstrings in a conventional DL and I am training for an Olympic Lifting Meet ( my first one). Would you suggest the switch to the sumo DL or incorporate both ??

    Thanks !!

    • You will need to pull mostly with your olympic style, if competing is the goal. You don’t want to reduce the specificity of your training. That said, sumo deadlifts could be an awesome assistance exercise for you. Do them light at first, after your main strength work. Work up load week to week.

  • Mike is rocking the booty shorts. As a former college football player turned body builder, turned endurance athlete, turned over worked metabolically, physically, mentally, broken…finally crawling back out of the hole toward the light of Barbell Shrugged. Other than just breaking my left elbow and tearing lateral ligament riding BMX with my kids I had been killing it in the gym focusing on Olympic lifts and training much smarter using a ton of your advice…OK basically thanks and I have always had a big ass and it has saved my life.

  • Towards the end of the episode Doug mentions that almost all muscles respond to increased volume. As subject matter experts with big fancy degrees 🙂 How do you stand on rep ranges affecting Sarcoplasmic vs Myofibrillar Hypertrophy?

  • Any advise on macro ratios and amounts for a 2.5 hour weightlifting only workout? 5 foot 9 inch 189# male looking to inprove performance.

    • Switch to vegan diet, heavy on the soy. Listen to pop radio. Work a 9 to 5 gig where you sit in a cubicle chair all day…they are great ways to eliminate dat ass.

  • Great episode guys. Do you believe that knees in on the way up from a heavy squat is a problem with glute strength? If so, which ASSistance exercises are particularly good for this problem?

  • Hello my question is:
    I lost weight I went from 147 to 131 and I
    Am lifting heavier and
    I’m eating more like you guys said
    To add mass to my ass but I see that
    My stomach is not flat as it was b4 am I doing
    Something wrong !? I’m drinking the shake that Doug said !! After my workout and I was
    131 n now I’m 133 but I don’t see it in my ass I see it more in my belly
    Is it too soon to see results . What can I do
    To not have a pancake ass lol….

    Thank u for ur show
    I’m a beginner and
    Helped a lot I learn so
    Much from you guys ❤️

    • You’re doing fine. It could take time for the soft-tissues to tighten and catch up to the weight loss. Just keep with your plan and new habits. All will come with just a bit more time.

  • I had to say thank you! When you mentioned front squats, and trying to keep your torso posture perfectly upright, instead of using your glutes to stay upright, it clicked for me! We did front squats at Crossfit yesterday, usually I drop the bar a few times, I didn’t drop it at all! I’m so excited about this that I’m going to use only exclamation points! I’m like a lot of women, I don’t engage my core enough, so when I used my glutes I was able to pop back up from the bottom of the squat and my knees automatically stayed out! I’ve had a lot of muscle compensations beaten out of me by my chiropractor, so I’m blown away by the simplicity of this! The best thing is, no back ache today! Love you guys, thank you! More exclamation points!!!

  • Just wanted to say that the lifting session to the King was a virtual adrenaline rush. Do more of those.

  • In about a month I will be going through a military training school where I won’t get to touch a weight for a few months. Is there a way to keep getting stronger, or at least not lose my strength with out touching a weight. I’ve worked hard to add mass to my ass, I even passed the ass test. I don’t want to fail after a few months of not being able to touch a barbell.

    • Yeah, I would work plyometrics. Explosive pushups, jumps, hops, quick lunges…all will keep you strong.

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