Sprinting Is Actually One of The Best Butt Exercises

February 8, 2008

When most people think of butt exercises they think along the lines of lunges, squats, and stiff legged deadlifts. I don’t believe those exercises are as effective as sprinting is for your back side. Also, the problem with all of these lifts is that they can quickly build size in your hips, butt, and legs instead of building muscle density. If you enjoy those exercises and they work for you continue to do them, but add sprinting into the mix. I’ll explain the mechanics of how sprinting creates an amazing looking butt in a second. Let’s look at a picture of a nice butt first!
woman lying on a bed face down with a thong on
[I want to rest my head on her butt and take a nap.]

Do You Know What the Gluteal Fold Is?

Quit staring at that soft and shapely butt and begin reading again. Okay, just 5 more seconds. Times up! The gluteal fold is the area where the butt meets the hamstring. A person with a well developed glute-hamstring area would have a smooth transition between these two muscle groups. A person with less development here would almost be able to hold a pencil at the junction between the hamstrings and butt muscles.

Sprinting Will Develop this Area Without Bulking Up

Sprinting is an amazing way to develop definition and firm up the glute and hamstring area. The nice thing about sprinting is that it seems to build proportionate muscles in the legs, hips and butt over time. I always recommend sprinting over traditional leg exercises, because I believe sprinting builds great definition and tone in the lower body that can’t be duplicated with resistance training.

Running is is Mainly Powered by Your Gluteus Maximus

Jogging doesn’t really work this muscle to any great extent. Sprinting does a better job at working this muscle hard. The glutes are the largest muscle in the body. It takes more of an explosive movement to really contract this muscle hard. Alternatively, you could do heavy squats and dead lifts to engage this muscle. The problem hare is that the “time under tension” will build a large degree of mass in this muscle as well. Sprinting just involves many quick hard contractions that really firm up this muscle with less mass gain.

Some Tips On Sprinting Form

When you sprint, you need to relax your shoulders. There is a tendency to shrug the shoulders up as you sprint. The problem lies in the fact that if your shoulders start to rise, your hips lock up a bit…this decreases your ability to sprint quickly. Also, over time you will notice that your feet are barely contacting the ground for more than a split second. This is what you are aiming for. As you get better at sprinting, you will fly over the pavement in a way that is much different than jogging.

Other Major Benefits of Sprinting

Sprinting creates major metabolic changes in your body. Research has shown that high intensity exercise will burn calories long after your workout is complete. Sprinting also increases your body’s ability to increase HGH. Human Growth Hormone is your body’s natural fat burning hormone. If you only do low intensity exercise, you probably won’t cause your body to increase HGH release. Consequently, you burn less body fat if you only include low intensity exercises in your workout routine.

Sprinting Can be Done Outside or on a Treadmill

If you chose to do this exercise outside then go to a track or any place that has around 150 meters of pavement. Warm up by jogging for 100 meters and then walking back to the starting area. Do this 3 more times, but increase the intensity. The 5th set on is where you will want to go as fast as possible. This time, I want you to go about 25-50 yards before the starting area and jog the first 25 yards. Once you reach the 25 meter mark, sprint for 100 more meters. This is called a “running start” and it minimizes any chances of muscle pulls. Walk back to the starting area at a brisk pace and do this running start sprint 4 more times. This will kick your butt…literally!

Click Here—> Treadmill Sprinting Workout

Note: Don’t get worried that sprinting is going to build huge muscular legs and butt. It will create good tone and definition in a natural way. Celebrities like Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel include sprinting in their workouts on a regular basis.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Carl February 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I’d like to take a nap on her butt too!

Seriously though, sprinting and HIIT are awesome ways to build cardiovascular endurance and shape your legs.

Cool article,


Tee February 8, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Just another reason why I trying to build up to sprinting, I just started the couch to 5K and after about a month at a comfortable 30 mins non stop, intervals here I come!!

Helder February 8, 2008 at 2:57 pm

That´s the way to go Rusty, i’ve been doing sprints for a while and the results are magnificent, it really gives that butt/ham good look that only sprinters have, and it´s also my cardio training, i alternate sprinting and rope jumping in HIIT style. I’ve found out about those sprinting benefits in an article written by (if i remember correctly) Charles Francis, Charles Poliquin and Charles Staley. For those who don’t know Charles Francis is a former sprinter and now a trainer, he trained Ben Jonhson, the other two are strength coaches, Poliquin coaches many olympic athletes. Since i’ve read that i’ve started to do sprints once or twice a week. The program they´re recommending was something like: in the first week 10 sprints of 25 yards with one minute rest between sprints, every week you should add 5 yards. It’s a very good workout and i’m glad you’ve written about the benefits of sprinting, very good post Rusty.

Whitney February 8, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Hi Rusty,

I wanted to tell you that I have been doing your Treadmill Sprinting Workout about 3 times a week in addition to my circuit training routine and have noticed a WONDERFUL difference in my glutes! My legs and butt are muscular by nature so I’ve always stayed away from traditional leg weight exercises. Interval sprinting is the best alternative and I am reaping the benefits. I’m also drenched when I get off the treadmill!

Thanks for all the motivation and tips; I am a big fan of your site.

trif_m February 8, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Nice work Rusty.

I agree with you completely.

It is a physiological fact that there’s a direct correlation between the amount of lactate produced and the output of growth hormone.

Sprinting is anaerobic alactic energy systems work.

Alactic means “without an accumulation of lactate”.
Lactate is maximized by intense efforts lasting 50-70 seconds. However, there’s still a good amount of lactate being produced in those lasting 30-40 seconds.

I personally like 30 and 60m sprints for that purpose.

Growth hormone is a highly lypolitic (stimulates the release of fatty acids) and anti-catabolic (muscle defender) hormone.

This is the reasons why 200 and 400m runners are so lean: these distances lead to a giant lactate production spanning over the whole body.

Also, anaerobic lactic works include basketball and hockey or any “Run – stop – Run” sport for that matter.

Another thing I would like to add is that this type of training is also pretty metabolically and neurally draining, so it’s not recommended that you do sprints:

a) The day before a heavy lifting strength workout (as it will drain your CNS too much to maximize strength)

b) The day after a heavy lifting strength workout (for the same reason)

c) The day after a lactate-inducing workout – circuit training (because of residual fatigue)

There reason why I am mentioning this is because I bet that a lot of your readers have started doing heavy lifting strength training sessions after reading your
“High Reps for “Muscle Tone”…BAD Advice!” article

and circuit training after reading
“A Circuit Training Routine That Actually Makes Sense!”

Now, if i stated a possible problem, it is only fair to propose a solution :P.

Perform the alactic session on the same day as another workout.

Your workout Could look like this:

Day 1: Heavy lifting + alactic work

Day 2: Circuit training 1 + 20-30 minutes of steady-state aerobic work

Day 3: OFF

Day 4: Heavy lifting

Day 5: OFF

Day 6: Circuit training 2 + 20-30 minutes of steady-state aerobic work

Day 7: OFF

Notice that I also included steady state cardio. I know, steady-state aerobic work is overrated, but it can still contribute to the fat loss process and in my opinion losing some fat also helps to “shape up” your butt.

Now to give credit where it is due; I picked up some of the opinions/ideas presented here by reading the work of T-nations
Christian Thibaudeau http://www.t-nation.com/ALSAuthor…Thibaudeau


Steve P February 8, 2008 at 9:17 pm

I knew a post with the word ‘butt’ in it would have an educational picture…

I run 4 to 5 times a week, and have started taking advice froma friend to do one mile sprints. This is a killer, as you do 3 one mile sprints and try to make each one slighty faster. The next day you feel the stiffness in your glutes, hamstrings, and even quads an calfs. This must be a good way to train if you only do this once a week. What do you think Rusty? I havn’t tried your short sprints but I know it would be seriously hard work and obviously produce results.

Steve P February 8, 2008 at 9:20 pm

When I say ‘sprints’ I dont mean running flat out, that would cause a heart attack, just as fasta sustainable pace as possible, which is significantly quicker than normal pace on a 3 or 4 mile run.

admin February 9, 2008 at 1:41 am


Yeah…sprinting is an extremely underrated way to build a great body. In all of the gyms I’ve belonged to over the past 20 years, I think I’ve seen 3 other people ever sprint on a treadmill.


You are doing the exact thing I would recommend. Get used to jogging for 4-6 weeks before jumping into a sprinting routine. Great job by the way…30 minutes of jogging is hard for just about everyone.


Great testimonial to how well sprints work. I forgot to mention that the explosive movements also tighten up muscles across the entire body. The lower abs which are normally stubborn, gain a new degree of definition after 6-12 months of sprinting.


If you are drenched with sweat after this workout, it is just a matter of time before you will get as lean as you desire. I need to take 3 months and just do the circuit training routine, followed by HIIT on the treadmill. Right now I’m doing strength training with HIIT 4 times per week and that circuit training routine once a week. Thanks for the great comment…I like the whole “mastermind” thing we have going here. The comments are equally as valuable as the posts.


Good work buddy. Your comments are always appreciated. I think a competitive power lifter would really need to follow the type of advice you outlined. I strength train as a means to build muscle density without excessive size, but burning body fat is just as important. I have had outstanding results by doing a brief strength training routine followed by sprint intervals on a treadmill. I will definitely keep your advice in mind if I hit a plateau in most of my lifts. Alternatively, I may follow a similar routine outlined above just to mix things up and give my body a rest. Your comments are always appreciated.

Steve P,

I HAVE to try this workout! My guess is that this will be slightly better at burning fat, but not quite as effective at defining the legs, hips, and glutes (you thought I was going to say butt). This workout has to be brutal. I’m so used to these 30-60 second sprints that I really should change things up for a while. Plus I’m not quite as sharp as normal (probably need to drop 3 pounds or so)…this mix up in training could do the trick. When I’m done, I’m going to scream…”Damn you Steve!”…because this has to be extremely tough!


Tee February 9, 2008 at 3:46 am

If you were to sprint 200m or 400m how many times would you do this? My guess is about 4x with 1 min breaks in between?? Or is it more or less the time spent sprinting like trif said? (50-70 seconds =?? times) and how many times a week? I know HIIT is no more than 3 but this seems a bit more intense.

Julian February 9, 2008 at 7:59 am

Hi Rusty

I’ve searched some blogs to compare them with The fitness black book, I must say to everyone reading your blog, if you guy’s want to get ripped with lean muscle and single digit bf% then this is the only and by far the best info you will ever get, because there is no comparrison out there, u hearing this from a man that had spent $550 a month searching and searching non stop… Month after month, for this kind of info and could not find it anywhere, i mean Rusty is the name that pop into my head when i feel tired and want to quit, so that is without doubt that i can call u my pesonal trainer.

By the way Rusty, now that i’ve got all that of my chest, I also found in my time that sprinting is one of the best exercises for building solid and ripped abbs, never the less a great overall body, if your calorie and protien intake is right ofcause.

Thanx again for some good and useful advice.

David February 9, 2008 at 8:59 am

Great post.

Rusty I swear you read my mind before you do a new post! It happens too often to be coincedence, lol.

I was trying to figure out a way to really target the glutes without bulking up the legs. This is great. Looking forward to doing this.

Oh yeah, I tried the Tabata Protocal. Man does it wreck you! I can do it but it’s alot of work, nice to do when your short on time.

Steve P February 9, 2008 at 11:49 am


I was taught this ‘interval mile’ training by a competitive runner who is extremely fit and wins a lot of serious races. If you can comfortably run 4 miles in 30 minutes, then you are doing 7.5 minute miles. Your first one mile ‘sprint’ should come in at about 7 minutes, then try to cut this time by 15 seconds or so. It is very brutal by the final sprint, especially if you ‘overcook it’ on the second mile, in which case you will be almost certainly be in an anaerobic respiratory state halfway into your 3rd mile…

In mu opinion, its not only great for burning fat, it will get you the HGH flush for sure! Plus if you are a keen runner, it will train your stride to lengthen as well as improving your aerobic capacity. Once a week is enough. Hill training is another great one, not for the faint-hearted! As you’ve probably quessed i’m loving my running again, which I amost stopped for years while pursueing the ‘must get bigger muscles, beefcake!’ dream… Your website actually made me see how a slim, lean physique built from aerobics, low reps, and especially bodyweight exercises is far more impressive and healthier than being excessively muscular. Ive recommended your site to loads of friends, and i’m noticing the weight come off at about a pound per week. I totally gave up squats since reading your site, (who wants to make their ass and waist thicker, its insane?) but serious and reguar running will give you buns of steel…

Let me know how the 3 mile intervals go, make sure it’s on the flat, and you’ll definately need a beer that night!

Steve P February 9, 2008 at 11:59 am

Forgot to say, have a 2 minute break between each mile. Sounds like a lot now, it won’t be long enough after mile 2! Actually I think I was running sprints at about 6.5 minutes a mile for mile one when I started, so you should get below seven minutes easy enough but keep the first one at a steady pace. I’m doing them tomorrow night, going to be silly and aim to break below 6 minutes for mile 3…my girlfriend thinks i’m crazy.

Jennifer February 9, 2008 at 1:43 pm

This may seem like a silly question, but does jumping rope work your butt too? I have been doing lots of jumping as part of my HIIT workout and my butt has never been firmer (or more shapely).

Who wouldn’t want to take a “nap” on that model’s butt?

I used to run/sprint around the track when I was in school and I noticed my butt was always sore the next day. I don’t really like sprinting on a treadmill though because I always feel like I am going to fly off the back of the machine!

Tee February 9, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Steve P,
Whats the benefit of doing the sprints longer (miles) as opposed to a certain number of meters? Is it, the shorter sprints sculpt hips and legs more and longer ones burn more fat?


Jordan February 9, 2008 at 6:27 pm

I’m also curious about whether jumping rope hits the glutes or not.

katie February 10, 2008 at 11:20 am

what about spinning? i’ve always felt it is a really great workout for your hamstrings/glutes, although i’m afraid it may contribute to “bulky” muscles. .

Johhny February 10, 2008 at 11:24 am

johnny knoxville has a great slim body in jackass:the movie

admin February 10, 2008 at 12:49 pm


I have gone to a track and sprint 1/2 a lap (200 m) and then walked 1/2 of a lap. I did it 8 total times, so that is 2 miles. I did this 3 times a week and got outstanding results. Give it a try.


Thanks for the compliments! I am going to release a few products soon, and I am hoping to make one of them free and a couple paid (but affordable). I am still going to offer the best content I can on this blog. I really appreciate the positive feedback!


I did a post on the Tabata Protocol. I tried it for a while and like you said it is good if you are short on time. The downside is that it doesn’t seem to work as good as HIIT mixed with steady state cardio for 30 minutes. I’m going to do a follow up post on this.

Steve P,

I bet it would be tough to get too much below 7 minutes. I’ll aim for that, when I give this a shot…but I’m more of a 200m and 400m guy. I always thought guys that ran the mile or 800m were nuts. Those are tough races. Good decision to get to a “normal” size again. You will look and feel better and you will be able to fit into nice clothes again.


Any jumping movement is going to work your butt and calves really well. Jumping rope will definitely firm up your butt.


I believe the longer sprints are designed a bit better for burning more calories and less likely to work the muscles as hard. If someone was a bit bulky but with tone, I would opt for the longer sprints. If someone was “skinny fat” then they need to do the shorter sprints. The longer intervals look more difficult for sure, so that is why I’m going to give them a shot…I need a challenge.


Spinning is good if you do it under a carb depleted state. You just don’t want it to “pump” up your legs. As long as you are doing it under a calorie deficit and your muscles aren’t carbed up, you should be fine. Make sure and drink a cup of black coffee or a few cups of Green Tea 20 minutes before you start. You will need the energy!


Johnny Knoxville is a great example of a guy who looks fit, but doesn’t look like a “gym rat”. Girls enjoy this look because he looks like he is just out enjoying life. When you take your shirt off, you want women to think “nice body”…NOT…”gym body”. Johhny Knoxville is a great example of this.

Great Comments!


Steve P February 10, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Rusty (and Tee),
I spent years gaining muscle mass through heavy weights, mostly compound exercises like squats, benches, clean & press etc but had to almost totally neglect cardio to achieve this mass as I was naturally lean. I gained muscle but also gained body fat over time (i’m 35 now) and decided to lean myself down through cardio and more emphasis on bodyweight exercises and circuit weight training. Your site has helped a lot with doing this Rusty! I was always a good runner though, so now I am reaping the benefits of getting back into serious running.

I think the main problem with the typical ‘runners physique’ is that they concentrate on distance running and totally neglect any upper body strength training, which does not develop a good overall physique. I look at running as my main cardio, with some cycling and swimming, and I do the mile interval training to burn bodyfat more than improve tone and definition in the leg/glute muscles. Mile sprints are really a competitive runners tool to improve aerobic capacity on the threshhold of an anearobic state and increase stride length, to provide endurance and speed for final sprints in middle distance racing like 10k and half-marathons. As a side benefit this burns bodyfat like nothing else I know. It defines the legs too, but not as much as explosive 100m sprints will I expect.. I will try doing these short sprints while Rusty tries my miles..!

What Julian said about sprinting creating defined abdominal muscles, I have noticed that now I regularly run 30k (19miles approx) a week or more my abdominals have become much firmer, especially the lower abdominals, which seem to have constricted and support my whole body in a more upright and stable posture, despite having done sit ups etc for years in the gym without this good development.

Sorry for the long post, but I love this site and there are so many good opinions here I can’t help it!

admin February 11, 2008 at 3:20 am


Distance runners do naturally get pretty slim, but like you said they wouldn’t if they spent more time lifting and gaining functional strength as well. Two examples of distance runners who have a good amount of muscle. Laird Hamilton and Matthew McConaughey have been known to run long distances to get lean. They have a lot of muscle. Professional boxers also run long distances to get in shape for upcoming matches and they are normally very impressive physically.

Steve P…I bet you already feel healthier slimming down a bit and gaining your cardio capacity back. You know what is funny…you will become athletic again. When I was able to squat big weights, was when I lost almost all vertical leap. It was sad, I used to be a great volleyball player, then I muscled up and was pathetic! I was even lean, but had a ton of excess muscle. I sucked at every major sport. Try to play tennis when you are bulked up…you can’t switch directions quick enough and you end up getting schooled!


Steve P February 11, 2008 at 5:28 am

Am I right in thinking professional boxers generally get up around 5am and run 6 to 9 miles every morning before breakfast, then hit the weights, then do a couple of hours sparring? Or have I watched Rocky too many times? That would be a killer workout every day, they must be amazingly fit. Goes to show you can run long distances and still have quality muscle. Same goes for Laird Hamilton and most other big wave surfers, they all look ripped and muscular (in an athletic way) and spent a lot of time on cardio when not surfing. Have you tried the 3 mile intervals yet..?

Oz February 11, 2008 at 9:22 am

Hey Rusty,

This is actually my first time posting, but I am a long time reader. I have been following your website for a while now and enjoy it very much (especially the pictures). In any case, my question is more on what you do post workout after an intense cardio session. Do you take hot, cold, or warm shower? Does it matter in your opinion? I am just curios to see what you have to say compared to what I have read on my google searches.


admin February 11, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Steve P,

I will try them soon. I haven’t done them yet…I know it is going to be rough!


I haven’t really thought too much about the subject. I always prefer a warm to hot shower no matter when I shower. What have you found out about showering? I like the pictures here too…thanks for the compliment.


Caroline February 11, 2008 at 11:53 pm

Hi Rusty. Do you have any suggestions for healing and preventing a groin/adductor/hip flexor strain? An accident at work has left me with a slight hobble and unable to do my beloved HIIT training for over a week now. I am so so sad about it, especially since I was experiencing such encouraging results. Running has been the only form of exercise that has truly helped to slenderize my body. I’d like to return to running as soon as possible, but in the mean time, is there any cardio I can do that won’t make me bulky? I only ask because everything you share on your site is so unconventional and cutting edge, (ie.: eating one meal per day at night, exercising in a semi-fasted state, etc…all things I used to do secretly and against vehement protests and harsh criticism of health professionals, family, and friends. What a relief it’s been to finally find a little bit of encouragement and affirmation through your site! Thank you!) Anyway, I thought you might have a different take besides what I’ve heard and read: “Take Motrin or other anti-inflammatory daily, refrain from exercise until pain is gone, apply ice to injury, etc.” If this is all you know of that helps, I’ll just keep waiting and trying to heal. However, if your vast experience in fitness has revealed better methods of rehabilitating and preventing a reaccuring injury, would you please share your wisdom? 😉 Thank you!

Kristen February 12, 2008 at 3:40 am

Would it be a good idea to combine both mile sprints and shorter ones (100m to 200m) for weight loss AND toning? Since I have a signifigant amount of weight to lose should I focus more on mile sprints now then shorter ones as I get closer to my goal??

Thank you, you guys are great!

Kristen February 12, 2008 at 3:44 am

btw I have some muscle (I can feel it if I flex) it’s just a pretty big layer of fat over it so I’m not sure if that’d be considered bulky or something.

(I read a response above.)

Julian February 12, 2008 at 4:32 am

Hey Rusty

U mentioned black coffee and green tea earlier, is this with or without sugar, and how much sugar per cup on 5 cups max a day per person, seen that the foods we eat also have it’s own sugars, how bad is sugar really for us fit and active people?

Oz February 12, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Well the reason I had asked was because I was wondering which method of showering would be most beneficial on the muscles. There is opposing sides (I can’t find a scientific study at the moment) on what shower to take, but more people lean towards hot. Which I think makes sense, because cold would tighten veins not allowing for proper blood circulation; whereas, hot would loosen. I didn’t think that it would have any affect your muscles though.

This article is what interested me on this topic.

For the record I was taking cold for the most part. I guess I should try switching it up to see if I feel a difference.

Oz February 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I use a little bit of honey in my green tea to give a sweeter taste. I prefer to use that over sugar. Just thought I throw that out there.

admin February 12, 2008 at 11:16 pm


You know what is funny…I just strained a calf muscle. I should know better than working out in the morning (it is actually fine, just need a better warmup). I have been doing 10-15 minutes on the exercise bike followed by 15-20 on the stair stepper. I don’t like to overdue the exercise bike, because it can bulk the legs a bit…just keep it to 10 minutes or so because it is a wonderful no impact way to warmup your leg muscles.

Also…I like talking about “real world” ways to get is shape. A lot of things sound great in theory but are hard to implement. Also…it is possible to enjoy life and get fit. I don’t know a ton about groin pulls…the advice you have given sounds good.


You answered your own question perfectly. Do those longer sprints now and then do the shorter ones once you get closer to your ideal weight. An alternative to this would be to do 3 times a week with the longer sprints and once or twice a week with the short intervals. To be honest all different types of intervals are really effective provided you do them long enough to jack up your metabolism.

You sound like you just have a layer of fat under your skin, not the typical bulky muscle that I talk about. It should be a piece of cake to reveal your slimmer toned legs and butt under that layer of fat. Hit the intervals on an empty stomach. You will do fine!


I really suggest to not add sugar to coffee or tea. Do our best to drink them plain, because it will make a big difference in the results you get.


That link is from my local paper in Seattle. That is pretty funny…what a small world. Anyway, I do like the way a warm shower makes my muscles feel. This article seems to back up the idea of a warm shower.

Great Stuff Guys!


Ryan February 22, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Great post rusty.. I really never thought about running as being great for the butt until I read your entry. But now that I think about it, I know a few girls who ran college track that had amazinggg bottom halves. And to you girls out there, please know that your booty is the most important body part.

admin February 23, 2008 at 2:11 am


Thanks for the mention over at Fitconnect. I love it that you use the word “booty” 🙂 We both use such scientific terms!


HERMITA February 24, 2008 at 2:44 pm

My sister got me into reading your website and i must say im’ addicted. i just started doing HIIT but I feel i’m not burning enough calories (I usually burn 500 calories a day (HRM)). With HIIT i only burn about 250 for 30 minutes. Can I go longer or will that start breaking down my muscle? I have 27% bf even though i weigh 122 pounds @ 5’4″. so i need all the muscle i can get! i’d like to lose about 7 pounds but all of it to b fat!! thanks!!

admin February 25, 2008 at 1:51 am


Don’t pay attention to the “calories burned” reading on the cardio equipment when you do HIIT. Most of the benefits happen after the workout is done. HIIT jacks up your metabolism and burns calories long after the workout is done. This is where the biggest advantage occurs. Consequently, it is a great way to burn fat while holding onto muscle. Just look at sprinters vs marathon runners.


HERMITA February 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

So, u don’t think my body is breaking down muscle instead of going into the fat stores? I’ve been doing HIIT (warmup 3mins, run 6 or 6.5 alternating with 5.0 for 60 minutes) should i try and go for 7.0/5.0 combos for less time?
i also circuit train m, w, f (with abs, i follow the abs diet) and do steady cardio for 30 minutes. i could do more cardio if u recommend it. i just want to get really lean…27% bf for someone that works out like me is really bad. thnks for the advice! love your website

admin February 25, 2008 at 11:31 pm


You are losing fat…your mind is playing tricks on you a bit, since your muscles are carb depleted they just don’t look as big right now. I would recommend a faster running pace and a slower walking pace. Try to do something along the lines of 8-11 when running (take a few weeks to work up to this) and 3.5-4.0 when walking.

My number one tip for you is to make sure you have absolutely zero carbs in your system when you workout. Don’t even go near any type of calorie 4 hours before training. I guarantee that if you do this and workout like you described you will get lean at a rapid pace. Steady cardio for 30 minutes is fine…no need to do more on those days.


HERMITA February 26, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Thank u so much! Will doing extra cardio benefit me? i have a block of time that i could do more. and i’d like to do more tae bo, but not if it is overkill.

rashika March 19, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Hi just a question. I have been doing reverse lunges and sqats for my butt for years. While I have a great round, firm butt, I have noticed my hips and thighs are also bigger. I used to be much more narrower in the hips. Will sprinting reduce their size now after doing this for years?

admin March 21, 2008 at 12:25 am


Sprinting will help big time. Stop doing those reverse lunges for a while and jut sprint. My hips and thighs narrowed down substantially after 6 months of sprinting…my legs looked toned and better than ever and I didn’t do a single leg lift the entire time. This will work well for someone in your position.


Bob March 27, 2008 at 1:53 am

Hey I saw you guys talking about distance runners neglecting their upper bodies. This is VERY true for the most part. The new American record holder in the mile (with a time of 3 minutes 46.91 seconds) is an exception. When Webb graduated from High School in 2001 he was already muscular for a distance runner, and has continued to gain lean strength since then. Webb can run a 400 meter sprint (one lap) in under 47 seconds and has finished some races with 50 second 400s. Hist is top level sprinting speed is partially due to his upper and lower body muscle strength that most distance runners do not have.

Here is a picture of Webb after he annihilated the US olympic trials in 2004

This is Webb after he broke the American mile record last year…maybe not quite as muscular as in ’04 but still much more built than most distance runners.

Looking jacked while winning the 2007 American championship for 1500m.

I don’t know what Webb’s upperbody lifting routine is but I have read that he can bench 3 sets of 15 reps on 145 pounds…pretty good for a guy listed as weighing 145.

If you do any searches on Webb you might see lots of critics talkign about how he hasn’t had much success at the world championships and olympics, but that should change at the Olympics this year. Last year he ran the fastest mile and 1500 times in the world, and second fastest half mile (1:43.84!!!) in the world, but peaked too early. With his training adjusted to peak about a month later this year he should have a realistic shot at bring Gold back to America in the mile.

Haha sorry to ramble on about a distance runner but thought some people might find this interesting.

admin March 27, 2008 at 3:28 pm


I’m getting pumped up big time for the Olympics. I LOVE track and field, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, etc…I’m going to be posting big time about the Olympics as we get closer. The athletes in the Summer Olympics are the best of the best.

I can’t wait to see Webb! Running 400m in 47 seconds is out of this world fast!


Sandy March 28, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I dont know how I missed this one! Ive read almost all of your discussions. I know in the past Ive really focused on squats and lunges but I always ended up making my body bigger rather than toning it up. You’d think I would have seen the correlation but….I was doing a workout setup by one of those so called “trainers” and I trusted what they said. Well…it didnt work! Ive never had big hips but after doing all of those leg/butt/hip exercises I ended up adding inches to my lower body. I eventually focused more on cardio and then was able to lose those inches I added. I see people all of the time doing all of those squats with heavy weights and 8-12 reps) with the thought that they are going to “tone” their lower body when it really is making it bigger! I’m thankful for your site! I actually have worked out for years but have been doing it all wrong. I am making so much progress since following your advice. I measured again tonight and Im done 8 inches! WOW!!!!!!!!!!! Im also down 6 pounds. Thanks, Rusty. You’ve inspired me to be the best I can be. I want to be 40 and FABULOUS!

Amanda April 7, 2008 at 7:47 pm


I don’t normally leave comments on blogs, but I found yours by googling, of all things, what to do about getting “too bulky”. By now I’ve read all your posts and am convinced you know what you’re talking about. I’m 25 and by most accounts, am in pretty good shape. I lose and gain weight/muscle pretty easily, but I tend to get too muscle-y for my liking. I really don’t like being called “buff” but would rather be slim and would settle for just jiggle-free. In the past I used to run but got tired pretty quickly after a couple months, so I jumped on the you-only-need-weights bandwagon. I have been working out with heavy weights and kettlebells and packed on ten pounds of muscle and now none of my jeans fit. It is very frustrating. I always felt like I have to choose between cellulite butt or big huge muscle butt. For the past three weeks I have been doing Turbulence Training circuit workouts and HIIT sprints 5-6 days a week and carb/calorie cycling between 1300-1600 calories a day. The only problem is I haven’t lost a single pound. Not. One. Pound. And my jeans aren’t getting looser. I’m 5’7 and weigh 136 (after all that muscle). I would like to lose about ten pounds. Some questions:

You’ve mentioned Turbulence training here and I was wondering what parts you agree/disagree with specifically as it is low rep/high intensity?

Will the kettlebells have a bulking effect (specifically lower body)? I use 25 lbs for swings.

(As an aside, the models that they use in women’s fitness magazines like Shape cannot possibly look that way by doing the exercises they model…so what are they doing that keeps them from looking like the Viking women with pigtails in the bodybuilding mags? 😉 Is it HIIT, superior genes, what??

admin April 8, 2008 at 2:21 am


Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I appreciate them all, because if you have a question it is very likely that someone else reading this will have the same question. You are actually helping a ton by commenting!

I am going to suggest a simple solution, that should help a bit.

1) It is fine to cycle carbs and it does work well, but no matter what…eat the majority of your carbs after working out (you have a 2-3 hour window). So on a low carb day…eat just a few carbs after working out…on a high carb day, eat more carbs after your workout.

2) Don’t eat any calories at all 3-4 hours before your workout…and even that meal 3-4 hours before should just be a quick digesting protein source or a bit of protein with fruit.

3) Keep doing Kettlebells and Turbulence, but finish off your workout with 20 minutes of jogging on the treadmill (I know Pavel and Craig Ballantyne hate cardio, but it helps slim down the lower body on women very well). I want you to begin jogging, because this is going to slim down your lower body quickly.

Don’t change any other variables for the next 60 days and I’m betting you will quickly slim down to a lean look. All my female friends that have incredible bodies end their workouts with running. I’m almost 40 and most of these women are in their mid 30’s.

Get back to me in a month or two if you still look bulky. I’ll help you make a few more adjustments.

Hope that helps!


Amanda April 8, 2008 at 2:17 pm

wow…what quick response. thanks! Just to clarify–should I stop sprinting, which is what I’ve been doing after the TT workouts and just jog or should I add in 20 minutes of jogging on top of lifting and sprints? Thanks for clearing up what constitutes a “high carb” day as well, as I was eating them throughout the day.

admin April 9, 2008 at 12:38 am


Both jogging and sprinting have different benefits. Since your legs ar a bit bulky and muscular, I’m going to recommend jogging for all but one workout per week. Once a week do HIIT sprints instead of jogging…but jog the rest of the time. This will give you all the great fat burning benefits without the bulk.

One other benefit of jogging…it is healthy for your heart. Yeah…I guess I don’t talk enough about health, but steady state cardio is great for cardiovascular health. It is a win-win for sure.

Have a great one,


Sai April 22, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Yo Rusty
I searched on your site for ‘swimming’ but no article on it. I heard swimming is a great activity for fat loss and muscle tone. and I’m dieing on hear on what you have to say about it

Once again kudos 4 creating this GREAT site

admin April 23, 2008 at 1:05 pm


I’m always cautious when talking about swimming. On one hand, I think it is an incredible workout for your overall health…but studies have shown that it is really tough to reach low body fat levels from swimming.

The truth about swimming and weight loss…

Read this article, It will shed more light on the subject. Thanks for the compliment about my site. I appreciate it.

Have a great one,


NancyJ May 4, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Hi, Rusty,

I am sooooooo glad that I stumbled onto your site/blog about 2 weeka ago… you have now become my favorite “fitness guru” and here’s why:

The fact that you promote the (sexier) Lean and Tone look, instead of the ÃœberMuscular-Hunky look that most trainers try to get us to work toward is exactly in keeping with my own personal desire and philosophy — but I have had trouble trying to find any fitness experts who felt that same way and could give good advice toward that end.

I am a medium to slightly built female, 5’4 115 lbs, and have been fairly athletic all of my life, so I am not a wimp. However, I am capable of getting over-developed hip and thigh muscles when I over-exercise them. Fortunately I have really, really great posture (years of great ballet training), sleek, slim but toned arms, and even somewhat wide shoulders for a female (which can make the waist, hips and legs look leaner). But overtraining the legs and glutes, etc, can really wreck your figure, I am now sadly discovering — the hard way!

For the past couple of years, I decided I needed professional help to get my figure in shape, so I hired a pretty good professional trainer. In general, he has really helped me quite a bit, teaching me how to use freeweights using good form, etc — BUT — he has been having me do high-rep lunges and squats and the muscle has been building up faster than the fat has been coming off! I think that HE thinks that my problem is just a little subcutaneous fat, but I think it is MORE than that — too much muscle!

Last year, for personal reasons, I had to drastically cut down the amount of exercise I was doing, in order to sell my house, buy a new house, move, etc., and as a result, I was (1) not doing any weight-training at all for 2 months, and (2) eating fairly little food per day, (no special diet, though, mainly small sandwiches for dinner and lunch) due to nervousness and stress from moving, and (3) continually moving and lifting boxes, unpacking stuff, continually moving and lifting, but no really “heavy” weight lifting.

The result was that within about a month, I had not only lost about 5 or 6 pounds without trying (down from 116 bs to 110 lbs), but my legs and hips becames much, much smaller and slimmer with the slim toned muscle showing through… just what we “girls” like! All of this without really trying! I wasn’t even really eating ‘clean’, but my caloric intake was “fairly low” during this time, maybe 1200-1300 calories per day. By the way, I had had my Body Fat Percentage measured hydrostatically before and after this weight drop and at a LBM of 94 lbs, I went from 20% all the way down to 16% body fat! And my hip and thigh and waist measurements went way down, also. Upper body seemed to look the same… somewhat toned, but very slim. Lots of friends and coworkers (men and women) would stop me to ask “what I did” to get to look so good — and the fact is that I (a) quit weight training the lower body and (b) kept calories low while I burned off fat doing some packing/unpacking tasks.

Of course, as soon as I went back to my regular life style, including regular training again, with the weighted squats and lunges etc, and eating a little more food per day, I gained back the “chunkier” lower body look that I had been so glad to lose earlier! My hips and thighs no longer looked slim and went back up to 115/116 lbs!

But after reading all the GREAT STUFF at your blog, I am now back on the path to reducing/eliminating the lower body weight work and increasing the amount of running that I am doing, including interval work. Even on Weight Training Days, I do some running immediately afterwards. (Years ago, I did nothing but cardio; I even ran a half-marathon, but my body didn’t lreally look as good, because the upper body was too “thin” due to no weight training.)

That just confirms for me what you are advocating… eliminating heavy weight training for lower body, especially for girls, but doing a little upper body work to keep toned. In my case, there is no danger of overtraining the upper body, because I just don’t have the genetics to bulk there, but lower body is another story. Even a little bit of bulk there is not the look I want.

Now, I do have a couple of questions for you:

(1) Since I don’t want to develop big thigh and butt muscles, which cross-training methods for cardio do you recommend, in addition to running? Is Stair-master/ Stair-climber ok? Row machine? Eliptical trainers? I understand why swimming and biking may not be the best answers. I just don’t want to overdo the running, in case I develop injuries.

(2) Prior to working out, are the 6 grams of carbs in Propel enough to ruin a fasted cardio? How about the 2 g of carbs in coffemate? I hate black coffee and am not crazy about green tea, either. So should I just stick with plain water before and during the workout?

Please advise.

Thanks so much!


admin May 5, 2008 at 10:24 am


Thanks for the compliment and I’m glad you found my site. I like it when new people start reading and commenting. There is a growing number of people who are regular readers and it makes it fun to connect with many people.

I am one of the rare trainers that advises against squats and direct leg work for most people. This is a HUGE deal for a lot of trainers…I get criticized for it on a regular basis, but I don’t care…tough cardio works your legs in a way that increases definition without increasing size. I know that is what women want!

Do you have a Stepmill in your gym? This is the type of stair stepper that has “Real” stairs kind of like an escalator. This is a great substitute for the treadmill.

Also…if you begin your workout with a hard HIIT workout on the treadmill for 10-15 minutes, then ellipticals keep the heart pumping really well. You hop on for 20 minutes after your HIIT. Same with the stairmaster. I don’t like these exercises on their own, but they are a great thing to add after you have jacked up your heart rate on the treadmill.

You are doing the right think to get the look you are shooting for! Don’t stress about missing the direct leg work…you will get outstanding results from intense cardio. Slim and sexy 🙂

Have a great one!


NancyJ May 5, 2008 at 9:26 pm


Yes, the health club where I work out does have some “step-mills” as well as lots of other cardio machines, such as all the different ellipticals, etc. So, that sounds like a good plan… I will do 10-15 minutes worth of very intense HIIT on the Treadmill, and then I will follow up with some steady state cardio (20-30 minutes more), sometimes on the Treadmill, but maybe occasionally alternating with some steady state on the stepmill and ellipticals, and stairmasters to stave off injuries.

I am pretty excited and motivated with all of this new info and I expect some great results in short order. I will check back in a month of two and let you know how it is going.

Thanks again….!



Nan May 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Is sprinting really capable of building a bigger butt though, not just shaping up the gluteal fold? I need help building a bigger butt. I don’t have access to a gym right now but do have an elliptical and free weights at home. If I do HIIT my waist shrinks (‘yeah’) however, my butt shrinks even more, its ridiculous.

admin May 28, 2008 at 2:57 am


Do some squats if you want a bigger butt. I RARELY recommend squats, but in your case it will help you reach your goal. As far as getting a bigger butt, don’t dwell on this. I would venture to say that about 1/2 the male population likes the smaller Victoria Secret Model style butt. I am a big fan of both looks 🙂


farah May 30, 2008 at 9:10 pm

hi can u tell me what is the squats and how can i make my butt bigger i have nothing i feel very bad i will every thing please help me thanks you freind bye

admin June 1, 2008 at 2:52 am


Go over to youtube and look up squats. There are great instructional videos there.


Liz July 29, 2008 at 10:38 am

Hi Rusty,
I just started reading your blog and love the advice! I just have one question: from reading your comments, it seems as though you recommend doing weight training at the start of your workout, followed by HIIT/cardio. Is this the best way to work upper body muscles?

Anna January 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm


First, thanks for this website. I discovered it ab a month ago and have been doing HIIT 5x per week since then. This + diet allowed me to loose 12lb. I love it and feel absolutely amazing!

Is it too much if I do trademill HIIT every day? I just love the energy boost it gives me – it literally changes my outlook!
How ab twice per day (AM + PM). Is it even healthy for your heart to do it so frequently?

And finally, what is the benefit of a 20-40 min jog (which I have been skipping) immediately after 20 min (excl warmup and cooldown) HIIT?


shirley February 15, 2009 at 8:45 am

I have a few questions.

Does sprinting build a bigger butt or makes it smaller? I store fat easily at the abs and lower body region. And, i tend to develop muscles easily around my thighs, so will sprinting develop big ugly muscles around my thighs and butt ??

I heard that sprinting can also reduce abs fat efficiently but if sprinting also bulks up my thigh and butt muscles what kind of exercise I can do without developing bulky muscles and reducing abs fat at the same time??

Please help me.


admin February 16, 2009 at 1:42 pm


The benefit of doing the steady state cardio after HIIT is that it uses the fatty acids that are released in the blood stream from HIIT. HIIT burns many calories and jacks up your HGH levels, but the added benefit of steady state cardio is that it is good for using fat for fuel. You are taking advantage of a great situation that your body is in right after doing HIIT. You can do the treadmill every day, but 1-2 days a week should be a little less intense.


Sprinting will not build up your legs and butt, like lifting weights. I recommend to avoid direct leg lifts for this reason. If you really want zero chance to build up your legs, then do “marathon” cardio for a while…lower intensity running for longer periods of time…this is the best way to slim down your legs. Sprinting is better at tightening up you entire lower body, however.


Gina February 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm


My problem is the opposite. I exercise regularly (4-5 times a week) I’m very slim and have good muscle tone but I’m pretty much straight from the waist down. I want to increase my hip size. I have been doing butt exercises for years and my butt is very toned but this does not seem to help with making it bigger or making my hips bigger. Can you help? I am tired of people telling me there’s nothing I can do with my body shape.


steffe April 23, 2009 at 7:38 pm

http://www.crossfit.com is probably the solution to most of your problems. it is circuittraining with elements of gymnastics, olympic weightlifting and sprinting and it fixes your body composition problems really fast (it also maked you strong and fast and tireless and able to do a handstand pushup).

sean August 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Wow nice butt… i think girls with nice firm butt just have good gene and eat better.

pilates classes los angeles November 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Running in general is really good at toning those muscles, but sprinting especially helps to tone and shape your bottom.


brandon November 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Great write up. I am a track coach and I tell people trying to improve legs and glute area they need to sprint and not jog. You are able to take full recovery in between reps.
I think its important to note the biomechanics of sprinting. If you are reaching when you run you wont recieve any of these benefits. sprinting has to be a pushing motion. I usually tell my sprinters to try and get upright and relax, then I cue them to “push the ground” If you are able to do this then you will see tremendous changes in the back side area.
Good Luck to any and everyone trying to improve themselves and I hope this helps a little.

Treadmill January 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Is this for athletic/performance purposes, or just so that your butt looks good?

JJ April 16, 2011 at 9:30 am


Im a size 8 in oz sizes which is pretty small, with a decent amount of fat on my butt for someone my size. It could be a great butt, but its not because of the gluteal fold side view. Im ready to try anything as far as excerices goes as nothing ive tried so far has worked. I was squatting daily with no changes. Im just having a hard time understanding how toning these muscles will help.
Isnt it the overlying fat thats sagging over causing this deep fold? You cant tone fat. Ive also tried losing drastic amounts of weight til i was only 48kg thinking as the fat reduced so would the fold, i guess it did, but not enough. So ive put the weight back on so that i look normal again! Which makes me think its like a defect or something??
Also there is a seam sort of thing between the hamstring and the gluteus maximus where it crosses it diagonally. So im not quite sure how toning these can make the change as they are not joined.
Anyway im not saying you are wrong, i agree the sprinters i see on tv have great glutes. But just trying to understand if this could apply to me before i get my hopes up again. Any feedback appreciated!

anderson May 6, 2011 at 6:18 am

Sprinting is one of the best way to tone the muscles in your butt. Running can help you tone it also but its best to add sprinting in the exercise routine. Although there are a lot of way to tone your muscles, its best to try one and know what really works for you.

melissa June 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Ok I have only been working out for three weeks now with a friend we do speed walking and through a little bit of jogging Or sprinting up hill through out it. I just really want to loose my belly FAT and arms and of corse loose the FAT in my legs but I don’t want to loose my butt but already had started to will sprinting help everything and make my butt really big? When u talk tone butt what does a toned butt look like I heard it makes it flat. I want mine just to be round and big again. It’s just to the point were I wish I never even would of started working out. Also when u talk about the right protein and foods what am I suppose to eat though out the day to make this work? Please oh please help me. Its like my butt list all the roundness on top. Just want to loose the weight and have a big butt like your pic on top. Should I try to loose all the weight first then tone up Or both at the same time Or will sprinting do both for me I’m 22 and weigh 175 pounds and 5″5 thank u so much rusty.

Amy July 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I use to do squats and lunges and noticed my legs getting bigger. I thus turned to the stepmill, using it for about 10-20 minutes at level 7-10. Will this still give me more muscles and make my legs bigger, or does it help decrease leg size? Should I just stick to running/jumprope? Thanks.

Mary April 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Dear Rusty,

Firstly, let me thank you for your great book ‘Visual Impact for Women’. So far I have achieved amazing results, better and faster then when I used to work out 2 hours per day 6 days/week!

My main concern used to be bulky legs, calves and KNEES. Losing body fat with your method and following your cardio plan made them almost perfect (need to lose a bit more body fat), but overall I’ve never been happier with them in life.

However, now I have a different problem – my butt. When I had more body fat it looked fine but now it is really flat. Even though it is toned and I don’t have cellulite anymore, I would like it to have more volume.

But I am scared to do any direct exercises, as I don’t want to increase the size of my legs again (which get bigger very fast). Is there any way I can make my butt bigger without making my legs bigger?

P.S. I am already doing 15 minutes of HIIT followed by 15 minutes of cardio. Many thanks!!

Christine August 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Hi Rusty,

Thank you so much for all your tips!! I am a woman, but I actually do want my butt and legs to get bigger, like a sprinter!! What is best for this? Any tips?? Thanks again!!

Michelle October 10, 2012 at 10:53 am


i’m not able to run the track due to time constraints, what are thoughts on sprinting in place?

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