Two other major muscles round out your backside: your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, which help stabilize your hips and support lower-body movement. Unfortunately, most of us aren't using this powerful muscle group to its full potential.
"While getting started, know that you're most likely weaker than you think. The glutes are a 'sleepy' group, so it helps to mentally 'wake them up' by exaggerating each contraction." One way to do that: Visualize your muscles working as you're moving them.
To strengthen your glutes so you feel and move better, the LIVESTRONG.com team partnered with Perkins for this four-week glutes challenge.
How the Glutes Challenge Works
We completed our most recent round of this challenge in July 2023, but you can start anytime on your own. You'll do the same type of work on the same day for each of the four weeks. Here's what that looks like:
Curious what all those sessions entail? Keep reading for more in-depth info on each activity.
Get a printer-friendly version of the challenge calendar here.
How to Join the Challenge
1. Print and/or Save Your Calendar
Print out the calendar above (or save it to your phone) and use it each day to help you stay on track. Do the activity listed, then check off each day as you complete it. Before you know it, it'll become a habit!
2. Join Our Challenge Facebook Group
For support, motivation and camaraderie, join the LIVESTRONG.com Challenge Facebook Group. With more than 58,000 members, it's an active community where we share tips, motivation, pictures and more.
As you make your way through this challenge, share how it's going for you in the group. That can be a photo, video, funny meme or simple status update. You got this!
3. Learn the 4 Best Glute Exercises
The best way to strengthen your backside is with tried-and-true moves. You can start this challenge anytime, and when you do, you'll do 2 sets of 10 reps of these four exercises (keep scrolling for exercise instructions and demos):
- Goblet squat
- Glute bridge
- Glute kickback
- Alternating reverse lunge
Three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday), you'll do a few sets of these four booty-building moves. You can start with just your body weight (or some lighter weights), then — if you're ready for more — increase the resistance throughout the rest of challenge. Here's the outline:
Want to make sure you're properly warmed up? This 5-Minute Glute Activation Routine is a great way to wake up your glutes.
- Stand with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward or slightly outward.
- If you're using a weight, hold it with both hands at the center of your chest. If not, clasp your hands in front of you or extend them out straight for extra balance.
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back straight, brace your core and push your hips back and down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
- Pause here for a brief moment, then drive through your heels to stand back up.
- Lie on your back with your arms resting by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the ground hip-width apart.
- Squeeze your glutes and core, and press your heels into the ground to drive your hips up toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to chest.
- Hold this position for a few seconds with your glutes engaged.
- Lower your hips back down to the ground before lifting back up into the next rep.
Resist the urge to arch your lower back as you raise your hips. Focus on keeping your spine in a neutral position throughout.
Banded Glute Kickback
- Loop a mini resistance band just above your knees (or around your ankles) and stand with your feet together.
- Soften your knees and bend forward slightly at your hips.
- While keeping your core tight, use your glutes to kick your left leg back. If you feel your lower back arching, reduce your range of motion until you only feel it in your glutes.
- Bring your foot back to the starting position.
- Once you complete all the reps on one leg, repeat on the other.
No need to use a resistance band if you don't have one or if the exercise feels challenging enough without it! Just make sure you're squeezing your glutes to move your leg, rather than simply kicking your leg back.
And if balance is an issue, hold onto the back of a chair.
Alternating Reverse Lunge
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward.
- Step your right leg back behind your body as you bend both knees and sink toward the floor, torso upright.
- Stop when your knees are at 90-degree angles.
- Pause slightly, then press into your left heel, squeezing your glutes to stand up, while bringing your right leg back to the starting position.
- Next, step your left leg back and repeat. That's 1 rep.
If it's more comfortable, you can complete all your reps on one side before switching legs.
4. Enjoy Your Rest Days
Every Tuesday and Thursday, you'll have a rest day. If you could use a break, take the entire day off. If you're in the mood for a little something active, make sure it's low-intensity, like stretching or tai chi.
"I've always said, 'Work hard, but recover harder,' because many people think they become fit during a workout," Perkins says. "In truth, you become faster and stronger after the workout, during the recovery phase."
5. Add In This Weekly Butt Workout
On Fridays, you'll switch things up with a 10-minute glute workout with five new moves.
- Prone leg lift
- Single-leg deadlift
- Bulgarian split squat
- Sumo squat
You'll do 60 seconds of each move, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Gradually, you'll increase the number of sets you do.
Get all the details for your weekly 10-minute glute workout here.
6. Don't Skip Active Recovery
All work and no play makes your glutes very tired. Not to mention, you'll hinder your booty-building efforts and put yourself at risk for overuse injuries. That's why there's one active recovery and two full rest days each week of this plan.
On your active recovery day, you can go for a walk (maybe up an easy hill to engage those glutes even more), stretch and foam roll (or give yourself a massage if you don't have a roller).
"Short bouts of low-intensity cardio (like walking or stationary cycling), stretching and foam rolling are all great ways to speed recovery," Perkins says. "I generally program 10 to 20 minutes of gentle cardio-based activity, followed by 20 to 30 minutes of gentle foam rolling and/or stretching."
7. Celebrate Your Success
You made it to the end of the 4-Week Glutes Challenge — congrats! Take some time to appreciate that accomplishment, then let us know how it went in our Challenge Facebook Group.
Want Even Stronger Glutes?
When you're ready, keep your momentum going with one of our other challenges:
You can do any of our challenges on your own whenever you want, or you can visit our Challenges page to see what we have planned for the full year.