[Episode 68] Will Training Make My Hips Bigger?

by | Aug 25, 2021

In this episode I’m gonna be answering a really common question that I get asked from folks wanting to get into some training. And this is, will training make my hips bigger? Some of us will train for different reasons, all of which are perfectly fine! And so is training for smaller hips.

And I get it. When we already have challenging feelings about certain parts of our bodies, the last thing we want to do is make it more prominent.

Especially when we’re trying a new thing like getting active and doing the things that can be so beneficial to both our physical and mental health.

Now I have some good news friends. Because…

Training isn’t gonna make your hips bigger.

But depending on how your body has developed, it also may not really decrease your hip size either.



The thing about hips is…

Gif of Leny from Shark Tale saying "Here's the thing..."


Folks that have experienced an estrogen puberty will have had their hips widen to some extent. And this is going to be to different for each of us depending on things like our genetics, stored body fat and density of fat receptors around our hips.

While it’s impossible to reduce their size based on your bone structure. It’s important to remember that training can help reduce the size of your hips by reducing the amount of fat stored around them.

Which is commonly what makes them appear wider than they may actually be.

Now I get that there is a common misconception that training is going to make a person bulky and this can contribute to the concern that training may make your hips bigger.

The truth is, it takes a specific type of training to build muscle mass. Which means, if you’re not training that way, then you’re not gonna bulk up around your hips. Or anywhere else really.

Though it is very likely that you’ll build lean muscle mass from training. That is nothing to fear.



So you want smaller hips?

If you’re someone that has wider hips, getting active can work to help you reduce their size. It can also help to change your overall body shape which in turn will change your overall appearance.

Height plays a part!

A tall Dalmatian looking down at a small retriever puppy


As I mentioned a moment ago, training isn’t going to inherently make you bulky. But your height does influence muscle bulk to a certain extent.

This is because the distance our muscles span across our skeletons differ based on our height. In other words our muscle mass distribution over a certain surface area is going to be greater or lesser.

To use myself as an example, I’m 6 foot tall and kind of noodly and long. When I started training I really wanted bulkier muscles. But I have always found it a challenge. Not to grow muscles but to build a lot of mass. This is because of said noodly-ness.

When our muscles have a shorter distance to span, there is a great volume of muscle within a certain surface area. This is not to say a person with shorter limbs has more muscle, just that it can appear bulkier because there is more over a smaller distance.

This is something to keep in mind if you wanna begin to train, or have been training but still find it to be a concern.



Movements that influence hip size

What I can recommend is to avoid training in ways that may increase the size of your legs too much as this can create the appearance of bigger hips. This is in the realms of training for a specific goal which is something we went through in our mini-series on different outcomes from different training styles. Check out Episode 22 to catch the start of that miniseries, Episode 24 where we spoke about endurance training and Episode 26 where we touched on mass gain.


Leg Training

So keep your leg training to higher reps and lighter weights or lower reps and moderate weights. This will help build strength and muscle endurance without adding a lot of bulk.

Focus also on developing butt strength too. A lot of folks when they think about training legs just think SQUAAAAATS!!!

There is plenty of butt stuff you can do that doesn’t involve your quads (your front leg muscles) which can contribute to making your legs and hips look bigger.

Upper Body Training

If you are someone that may already have hips that you think look too wide, you can also work to develop your shoulders, back and arms more.

This can also be done without getting overly bulky (unless that’s what you’re wanting) by keeping either high reps with lower weights or lower reps with moderate weight.

This will help you build lean mass, strength and endurance.


Going back to some of the things we spoke about in Episode 54, adding some moderate paced, steady state cardio a couple times a week will be helpful as well.



Are none of these your jam?

Gif of Maya Rudolph saying "Ehhh... Nah".


Now if you find it difficult to get active or perhaps you have a body that moves in unique ways for you, that is totally ok.

There are definitely ways that you can move if you’re wanting to.

The rad thing is that there is no right or wrong way to move.

Training does not have to involve what are perceived as the typical ways of moving for it to be of benefit.

If this sounds like you then I would be so happy to help you out and give you some tips or support to help you get moving in the ways that you can.



Closing Recap

So let’s recap on what we’ve gone over today!

  1. We’ve learned that training isn’t gonna make your hips bigger, unless you’re training to make that happen.
  2. We also had a look at some things that you could do to get active without adding mass by keeping your reps high and weights light, or reps low and weights moderate.
  3. Lastly, we looked at how you can begin to work on developing your upper body some more, if you are someone that wants to make their hips look small and gain a more even symmetry.

If you’re enjoying the show and know other folks that may find some benefit in having a listen, I’d be so grateful if you shared it with them or anywhere else where you think that it could help someone.

Until next week friends remember, your body is amazing just as it is. Even if it’s not quite where you want it to be. Your body has done everything it can to get you this far. So celebrate it as you work with it to feel more at home within yourself.


Bowie Stover Thinking Pose

Bowie Stover

Pronouns: they/them

My passion to help others through developing an active and healthy lifestyle, along with my desire to contribute as much as I can back to our queer community, has led me to co-found Non Gendered Fitness. To be a small part of your day that makes a HUGE impact on your life would be one of the most gratifying and rewarding experiences that I could hope to have.

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Non Binary Fitness Coach Bowie Stover kneeling with two kettlebells

Bowie Stover
Kettlebell and Movement Coach

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