The 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge: Your 4-Move Workout for a Built Butt

Our 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge butt workout will help you build your glutes with weighted hip thrusts and deadlifts.
Image Credit: Creative

Body-weight squats get a lot of attention in the booty-building workout world. But what if you could shape, tone and lift your glutes without a single body-weight squat? All you need is two dumbbells and four exercises.

Your gluteus maximus, medius and minimus make up the biggest muscle group in your body. And in order to have a well-rounded backside, you need to hit all three.

"It's important to target all three parts of your glutes because we don't want imbalances," says Mathew Forzaglia, certified personal trainer and founder of Forzag Fitness on the NEOU App. "I'm not talking about one side being bigger than the other, but when walking or doing single-leg movements, our hips may hike or drop because certain muscles aren't firing or stabilizing, failing to do their jobs."

And by adding dumbbells, you'll keep making progress — so check out the exercises below from Forzaglia, our 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge host. You'll do this workout every time our 30-day calendar says "Butt." Remember, every six days, the rep scheme changes so that you're doing the following:

  • Round 1: 2 sets of 10 as a circuit, doing one exercise after another
  • Round 2: 2 sets of 12 as a circuit
  • Round 3: 2 sets of 15 as a circuit
  • Round 4: 3 sets of 10, doing all sets of an exercise back-to-back with 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Round 5: 3 sets of 12 back-to-back

Move 1: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Butt
  1. Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders. Point your toes out slightly.
  2. Hinge your hips back and bend forward to grab a dumbbell with each hand using an overhand grip.
  3. Sink your hips down, flatten your back and pull the weights off the ground until you're standing straight up.
  4. Slowly lower the weights down to shin height with your back flat. Think about pushing your butt back behind you as if you were using it to close a door.

Move 2: Dumbbell Hip Thrust

Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Butt
  1. Lie on the ground with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and pointed up to the ceiling. Hold a dumbbell on your lap over your hips.
  2. Keeping your chin tucked and neck straight, push your hips up until your body forms a line from knees to hips to shoulders.
  3. Hold at the top of the motion for one second, squeezing your glutes.
  4. Reverse the motion slowly, lowering your hips back toward the ground.


You can also begin seated against a box or exercise bench, with the edge of the bench aligning with the bottom of your shoulder blades, and do your hip thrusts from there. This gives you a greater range of motion in the hips, increasing the intensity of the exercise, Forzaglia says.

Move 3: Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat

Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Butt
  1. Stand a few feet away from a bench or chair holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Place one foot on the bench behind you. Your center of mass should be over your front foot, and you should be leaning forward slightly.
  3. Bend your knees to lower down and back until your back knee hovers just above the floor. At the bottom of the movement, your back knee will be roughly in line with the front of the foot.
  4. Press through your front foot to return to standing.
  5. Do all your reps on one side before repeating on the other.

Move 4: Dumbbell Step-Up

Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Butt
  1. Stand in front of a sturdy chair, plyo box, exercise bench or staircase holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Starting with your right foot, step up onto the chair one foot at a time.
  3. Once both feet are on the box, step back down, leading with your left foot and following with your right.
  4. Complete all reps starting with your right foot before switching to leading with the left.

Bonus: Russian Twist

Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Abs
  1. Start seated, holding a single dumbbell with one side in each hand in front of your abdomen.
  2. Lean back slightly to engage your core.
  3. Twist your torso to the right, tapping the weight to the ground on that side.
  4. Use your abs to rotate back through center, then twist to the left side. That's one rep.