A saggy butt is a problem for both men and women.
But it is more commonly a concern for women as they have a higher body fat percentage.
Your buttocks are made up mainly of your gluteal muscles.
Your glutes are the one of the largest and strongest muscles in your body, and play an important role to propel your forward when you walk and run.
Well-defined glutes give your butt a firm and toned appearance.
When you have weak glutes or less defined glutes, this can lead to your butt looking saggy.
So if one of your concerns is a saggy butt and it’s starting to affect your self-confidence, we’ll share some preventative tips in this guide.
We’ll look at:
- What is a saggy butt?
- What causes a saggy butt?
- What are the muscles in the butt?
- How to get rid of a saggy butt
- How long does it take to lift a saggy butt?
- How to fix a saggy butt: Exercises to lift your buttocks
What is a saggy butt?
A saggy butt is when your buttocks lack definition and muscle tone in the large glute muscles.
This then leads to a flat or ‘saggy’ appearance in your behind.
Your glutes are the main muscles in your butt.
When strengthened properly, they give your butt that firm and taut appearance.
Saggy butt is also known as Disappearing Butt Syndrome (DBS for short).
As you get older, DBS is inevitable. An unfortunate side affect of ageing is muscle loss (muscle atrophy) – also known as sarcopenia.
It is thought the rate of sarcopenia is 1-2% per year after the age of 50.
One study concluded that up to 50% of muscle mass is lost when you reach your 80s.
Although you will lose muscle throughout your whole body, it is more noticeable in your hips, buttocks and shoulders.
These are the areas that add padding to your skeleton, and therefore add definition and shape and accentuate your frame.
Related: Does running make your butt bigger? 20 butt building exercises
What causes a saggy butt?
A saggy butt is caused by a variety of factors:
The number one cause of a saggy butt is ageing.
As you get older, gravity takes its toll and the muscles in your butt (the glutes) naturally lose their strength, fitness and elasticity.
Much like the muscles in your face and other parts of your body, they gradually lose their toned appearance.
#2 Poor diet
Poor diet choices can cause a saggy butt.
Junk food, processed foods and refined carbohydrates – this list goes on.
These can all impact the amount of fat you store around your body, including in your butt.
#3 A sedentary lifestyle
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, or you’re stuck behind a desk all day, then this can make a saggy butt worse.
When you spend long hours on the couch or sat at your desk, this can cause excess fat to build up in and around your buttocks.
This excess fat then causes your buttocks to sag.
#4 Lack of exercise
Similarly, if you don’t exercise regularly, or don’t exercise at all, this can cause lack of definition in your muscles, including those in your butt.
Exercise helps to shape and define your butt.
#5 Sudden weight loss
A saggy butt after weight loss happens when you lose weight dramatically.
Excess fat cells in the butt cause the skin to stretch.
When you lose weight, this can cause the appearance of excess skin around your butt.
This can be more of a concern when you age as your skin loses its fitness and elasticity.
As with most things, your genetics determine your body shape, bone structure and how easily it is for you to build and hold onto muscle.
Some people are blessed with a well-defined, firm derrière.
Whereas others, due to their genetics and bone structure, are more likely to have a flat butt.
Related: 7 of the best glute strength exercises for runners
What are the muscles in the butt?
Your buttocks are made up of three gluteal muscles:
The gluteus maximus is the largest of the butt muscles.
It makes up a large part of the shape and appearance of the butt and hips.
Its two main functions are to:
- Extend and abduct the thigh at the hip joint.
- Assist with external rotation and adduction of the thigh.
Found deep in the buttocks, the gluteus medius helps to abduct and internally rotate the thigh at the hip joint.
It also helps to stabilise the pelvis and trunk during walking and running.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the glute muscles.
It acts in synergy with the gluteus medius muscle to abduct and internally rotate the thigh.
It also contributes to pelvis stabilisation.
Related: 5 dynamic hip flexor stretches for runners + how to do them
How to get rid of a saggy butt
The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent a saggy butt.
Whilst there’s no quick fix, there are ways to prevent a saggy butt.
You’ve got to lose fat and gain muscle in order to add definition to your derriere.
#1 Lose weight
Firm muscle = a firm butt.
A firm butt doesn’t sag.
If you’ve got a lot of excess fat in your butt, it will hang off the muscle causing it to sag.
So you will need to lose weight and get rid of any excess fat
A good weight loss program will combine low and high intensity exercise with a good diet.
Aerobic exercise like running and cycling will help you lose weight and burn calories.
Whilst following a healthy, balanced diet will help you see long term results.
This means avoiding highly processed and sugary foods, and instead focusing on getting your daily dose of fruit, veggies, protein and healthy fats.
#2 Strength train
As we mentioned earlier, a saggy butt is caused by loss of definition and tone in the buttocks.
So regular exercise in the form of strength training can help prevent a saggy butt.
Strength training is crucial to keep your butt firm and toned.
Butt building exercises like squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts and lunges will help to build muscle in your butt (your glutes) and keep it firm and toned.
In the next section of this guide you will find 5 top butt lifting exercises.
Related: The ultimate 30 day strength training plan for runners
How long does it take to lift a saggy butt?
It is recommended you work out between 3 to 4 times a week to see real changes.
In these workouts you will need to focus on your legs and lower body.
If you stick to a consistent routine, and combine this with a good diet, you can expect to see results within 5 to 6 weeks.
Related: Hip pain after running: 8 causes + how to fix it
How to fix a saggy butt: 5 exercises to lift your butt
Now you know more about what causes a saggy butt, here are 5 exercises to lift your butt.
- Stand up and put your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed ahead. Your knees should not go past your toes.
- Squat down – your hips should move down and back. Maintain a curve in your back and keep your heels flat on the floor the entire time.
- Keep going down until your hips descend lower than your knees.
- Hold for a few seconds then push back up through your heels.
#2 Bulgarian split squat
- Stand roughly two feet in front of a bench or chair with your feet hip-width distance apart.
- Lift your right foot and put it on the bench/chair behind you.
- Squat down by bending your left knee, allowing your right knee and ankle to naturally bend as you do so.
- Lower down until your quads are parallel with the ground.
- Push back up through your left knee, using your quad and glute to power you back up.
#3 Weighted hip thrust
- Place your back on an exercise ball or bench and your glutes on the floor.
- Place one weight horizontally across the hips. You can also place one weight on each hip.
- Perform a hip thrust by squeezing the glutes and pressing the dumbbell straight up until the hips align with the shoulders and knees.
- Squeeze at the top before lowering down to repeat.
#4 Donkey kickback
- Get on all fours with your knees hip-width apart, with your hands under your shoulders. Keep your neck and spine neutral.
- Engage your core and lift your right leg, knee staying bent, foot staying flat and hinging at the hip.
- Use your glute to press your foot directly towards the ceiling and squeeze at the top. Ensure your pelvis and working hip stay pointed towards the ground.
- Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart then step forward with your right leg, placing your weight into your heel.
- Bend your right knee, lowering down so that it’s parallel to the floor in a lunge position.
- Without moving your right leg, move your left foot forward, repeating the same movement on your left leg. Pause as your left leg is parallel to the floor in a lunge position.
- Repeat this movement, “walking” forward as you lunge, alternating legs, if you wish.