Q: I have a pear shaped body type. Will doing squats and lunges make my butt and thighs bigger?
A: That really depends on the type of workout routines you're doing. Daily squats and lunges accompanied by hours of high-intensity lower-body cardio (like biking hills) will build bigger muscles. To downplay your hips and thighs, take a more well-rounded strategy.
A personal trainer shares fitness workouts to address these concerns with Shape online.
When doing squats and lunges, don't use excessive weight--body weight or light hand weights will do--and keep repetitions high. A good alternative to a traditional squat is a wide-stance or plia squat, which is second position dance. By opening up your legs and bringing the focus to the inner thighs, you're targeting a different muscle group.
"Doing squats and lunges two or three times a week with light weights or your body weight can help firm your butt and legs--but it won't be intense enough to build significant muscle," says Jay Dawes, a personal trainer in Edmond, Oklahoma. "Aerobic exercise will help you get leaner all over, including in your lower body." Do 30 to 60 minutes of cardio most days of the week and choose activities that work your entire body, such as rowing or swimming.