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do squats make your legs bigger or smaller?

I’m going to get straight to it. Do squats make your legs bigger or smaller?

The fact is – squats work your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Yes, squats will hit multiple muscles at once and give you a fantastic looking butt! But they will also make your legs bigger, especially if you are a mesomorph on endomorph body type.

If you’re not sure what is your body type, you can take my FREE quiz that will help you find out in just 2 minutes :)

Hitting multiple muscles is good for burning lots of calories and obviously training lots of muscles with a single exercise is efficient. But you are building these muscles which means you are increasing the size of them (i.e. you are increasing the size of your legs).

Squats don’t necessarily get rid of the fat on your legs either.

In the long run, squats help you increase your metabolism which means you will burn more calories. And they do actually help you lose weight. They are especially great at helping you get a lean and toned core (I know because I tried it and it worked for me).

But they don’t seem to do much for getting rid of fat on your thighs.

Yes, squats are great for your body, your strength and growing a booty. I’m not saying they’re bad at all! But you CAN get a booty with other exercises that won’t make your legs bigger. Your butt may not get as big as it would with squats, but it’s still possible!

do squats make your legs bigger or smaller
My butt was not built from squats

And if you want lean legs, heavy squats won’t give you that look (unless you are the ectomorph body type and find it difficult to gain muscle/fat). And if you want to reduce muscle bulk on your legs, you need to stop squatting.

You won’t reduce the muscle bulk if you continue to squat and continue to use these muscles.

THE PRESSURE TO SQUAT 

Everywhere you look, people are advocating for squats squats squats.

Trainers will tell you that you can’t get too muscular from squats, and squats are honestly the number 1 exercise that trainers live by (I know this too because I worked as a personal trainer in a gym). Having too much muscle on your legs is really up to the individual.

For example, one person might think that this woman’s legs look amazing, and others might think they look too muscular. So if a trainer wants you to achieve this look, and you don’t like this look, you’re going to have a problem. These legs are achieved by squatting.

do squats make your legs bigger or smaller

IF MY THIGHS ARE TOO BIG, CAN I JUST DECREASE MY WEIGHT AND INCREASE MY REPS?

If you continue to squat, you will continue to grow your leg muscles.

Even if you are doing lower weight and higher rep, you are still using these muscles. You may not to build as much muscle compared to heavy lifting, but you will still continue to work these muscles. That means they will not decrease in size.

To decrease the size of the muscle, you need to stop squatting and also stop other exercises that are targeting these muscles.

IF MY THIGHS ARE TOO BIG, CAN I JUST DIET SO THEY SLIM DOWN?

Diet will help you with reducing the fat on your body which is great! And it will also help you reduce fat on your legs (although not as much as cardio!).

If you diet and eat better, but continue to squat, your legs won’t go down in size. You can still build muscle at a calorie deficit. So this might help you lose weight but won’t change the size of your thighs.

Related post: How To Slim Down Muscular Thighs

TAKE HOME MESSAGE 

  • Squats will make your legs bigger.
  • Squats increase the size of your leg muscles (especially quads, hamstrings and glutes) and don’t do much to decrease the fat so overall your legs will look bigger.
  • If you continue to squat, your legs will continue to grow in size.

Hope you found this blog post helpful!

Love Rachael xx

3 STEPS TO LEAN LEGS PROGRAM

If doing squats has made your legs bulkier and you would like to lean them out, I should also mention my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program which is designed to help you get lean legs without the bulkiness :)

There are 3 different versions fo my program, one for each body type. Each version combines the right type of cardio and resistance training for one particular body type so you can be sure you’re going to get the best possible results. 

And of course, since you cannot train and be on a crappy diet, I included a complete 8-week meal plan in my program.

Also, the resistance training part of my program now has FULL-LENGTH videos that you can follow from warm up to cool down.

To find out more about my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program click the link below:

https://www.rachaelattard.com/skinny-legs-ebook/

To find out more about my FULL-LENGTH VIDEOS, follow this link: 

https://www.rachaelattard.com/lean-legs-video-course/

Love Rachael xx

Picture of Rachael

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

36 comments on “Do Squats Make Your Legs Bigger Or Smaller?”

    Santiya Fernandez says:

    Hi Rachael, m from India. 2 years before i joined gym to reduce my weight, they told me to do squats and heavy squats…and in return my thighs and butt increased a lot. I left the gym bcz of my tight schedule. Now I’m suffering with heavy thighs which I don’t like at all.
    Any exercise to reduce my lower body. M bit confused . Please provide me with the advice

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,
      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!

      The Lean Legs Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your entire legs (hips, thighs and calves), but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.

      You can find out more about the program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

        Tricia says:

        So my question is if you’re doing cardio and do squats as part of your routine because you need to replace some of that fat with lean muscle and not lose any muscle, which should be a goal for a person that truly needs to lose weight, to tone the body up and doesn’t muscle take up less space in the body then fat, so how is it that squats would make your thighs/legs appear bigger unless you don’t have much to your thighs in the first place then I could see squats making you appear bulky and not just a little muscular and toned and less flabby???
        Kind of a run on question sorry, but the article seems a bit off from what I know and have been educated about in the first place.

          Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

          Hi lovely,
          Our experience with training ourselves and other women is that squats tend to build up too much muscle in the quads. It’s really a matter of personal preference and what you consider to be too much muscle. If squats are working for you, then keep it going girl! xx

          Love,
          Diana

    Radhika tripathi says:

    What exercises should I do if I want bigger butt but at the same time leaner legs?

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,
      I recommend doing more cardio like running and power walking and avoiding squats, lunges and heavy weight lifting because that can make your legs bulky. You could add some ankle weights and resistance bands if you’d like to increase the size of your glutes.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program.

      The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      There are also extra booty workouts to help you get a perkier butt.
      It includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      For more helpful info please have a read of these blog posts:

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/236-butt-workout-that-wont-bulk-up-your-quads/

      https://www.rachaelattard.com/booty-workout-for-women/

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

    Rahat sharma says:

    Hii Rachael !! I m big fan of yours… I m from india … I want to join your lean legs program … My body is endomorph type .. Is it possible to join your program and I m totally vegetarian and please tell me how to join your lean leg program ??

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,
      The Lean Legs Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      The meal plan in the program hasn’t been tailored for vegetarians, but we have a list of vegetarian alternatives and recipes that I can send you to help you modify the plan :) xx

      Love,
      Diana

    durdana says:

    hi
    can i reduce some thigh fat with the help of squats for doing squats limited time?(without any weight)

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,
      While squats can help you reduce fat, they may build unwanted muscle.
      I know that reaching your fitness goals is hard and that you probably have lots of questions about how to get that lean and toned body.
      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!

      The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

    Audrey says:

    Hi Racheal! Is it possible to get bigger thighs from just body weight squats? Like 15 reps, 5 sets daily. I have started boxing classes recently as I thought it would involve primarily upper body workouts but was surprised when my trainer got me to squat as well :( Apparently stronger legs will help me with boxing and hip movements.

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      Yes, it’s possible to get bulky legs from body weight squats if you gain muscle in legs easily.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!
      The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.

      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:
      Lean Legs Program

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

    Gemini says:

    Hi…i want my legs a bit heavier they r too thin …wt should I do

      Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      I suggest eating more protein rich foods, being in a caloric surplus, doing squats and weight lifting :)

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

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