30-Day Glute Challenge

Lately, I’ve been seeing all types of 30-day Squat Challenge links (using solely high-rep bodyweight squats for workouts), and I’m highly skeptical as to whether they’re delivering good results. I realize that many people just need a simple system to kick-start progress, and that a bodyweight program is ideal for folks who wish to embark on a training regimen but don’t yet have access to a gym.

Using heavier weights increases muscle activation – meaning you get greater tension on the muscles and better results. This is why I wrote Strong Curves and helped start Get Glutes – to get women using heavier weights for optimal glute shaping.

However, bodyweight training can still be highly effective as long as you do it correctly. Below is a 30-Day Glute Challenge that I feel is much more effective than the 30-Day Squat Challenge as it involves two separate movements per day. These movements are synergistic with one another so they’ll lead to greater results.

In each workout, I paired up a squatting movement with a bridging movement. Both work the glutes, but one targets the quads more and the other targets the hamstrings more. I also introduced single leg exercises into the mix, to be done once or twice per week. This should expedite results as well.

It is difficult to write a blanket-program to cover all populations. This challenge would be too easy for certain lifters and too hard for other lifters. For example, obese individuals can’t automatically bust out Bulgarian split squats and one-leg foot-elevated bridges. However, I feel that this program would work well for the majority of individuals who are of normal weight and who stay generally active (hiking, jogging, yoga, etc.).

30DayChallenge

Use as many sets as needed to complete the repetitions.

Here are pictures of the four exercises incorporated in the challenge:

Squats

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 Hip Thrusts

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 20130531_123315

 Bulgarian Split Squats

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 20130531_123339

 One-Leg Foot-Elevated Bridges

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If you’re already performing a sound glute training program, such as Strong Curves or Get Glutes, do not switch to this challenge – stay on your current routine. Keep in mind – 30 days is plenty enough time to show progress, especially if training is combined with a sound nutrition program. However, the glute transformations shown in the testimonials page of my site took 6-24 months to take place. Getting nice glutes requires patience. Nice thighs happen quicker though, and each month you’ll look a little bit better than the month before. Hopefully this program can help kickstart progress, improve habits, and be a stepping stone to even better programming.

Here is a pdf of the challenge: 30-Day Glute Challenge

Best of luck!

72 thoughts on “30-Day Glute Challenge

  1. Indre

    Thank you! I will incorporate it before sleep.
    I’m just obssesed with glute thing when I had discovered this page many months ago.

    Reply
  2. Steph

    Bret I love all of your glute info but I’m pregnant and told to lift nothing heavier than 20 pounds. Is there any way with that little weight to still activate those glutes and build my back side?

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Steph – this advice annoys me because I’m a biomechanics geek. 20 pounds held close to your body – very low torque/spinal loading. 20 pounds held far away from your body – way higher torque/spinal loading. A 20 lb goblet squat or walking lunge is much different than a 20 lb plate front squat (held away from the body) or a dumbbell back extension (with weight under the neck). But whatever!

      What’s your alternative? Just don’t train? You can definitely maintain (and possibly build) glutes with just bodyweight training, especially if the volume is high and frequency are high.

      Reply
      1. Marie

        Hello Bret I am 20 years old and I’m Puerto Rican. I have a curvy body but I want to enhance my curves especially my booty. I want it to grow out cuz it’s fat.. It just doesn’t stand out . I saw a lot of results from different people on your website but there butts just look like they lost the fat in them and got a smaller butt that’s just toned. I don’t want to lose my thickness just enhance my lower half. Do u have any advice for me? Or Amy other routine I could use to enhance my bottom. ? Please reply . – Marie

        Reply
    2. Michael

      Did the doctor have a special reason for the 20lb limit? If not, then what would they have you do if you are on baby #2? Never pick up child #1? That is almost impossible.

      Anecdotally, my wife is currently 5 months pregnant, runs 3 miles twice a week, and has 2-3 training sessions a week. She’s deadlifting 90lbs, sometimes doing prowler pushes, and other exercises that she feels comfortable with. She’s not bumping the weight up much since the pregnancy is progressing, but she hasn’t had to cut back much either (yet). She was going to cardio kickboxing for a while too, but had to cut back (due to money, not the pregnancy).

      Her strength trainer tried to ‘kid-glove’ her for a bit, due to the pregnancy, but she kindly let him know that she could judge when it was too much. She has had to cut certain exercises because her body did not like it (leg raises while in a supine position are now a no-no), but she says the feedback is pretty immediate.

      This is pregnancy #2 for her, so she has a bit of experience on how things feel. Our son is over 32 lbs, squirmy, and guaranteed to need picking up from every standing position imaginable.

      If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you feel off that day, you don’t have to push it. It’s your body, so you can probably judge better than anyone else.

      Reply
  3. Ruthie

    Hi Bret!

    I’d like to take the challenge, but have a question. Are the daily workouts meant to be done all at one time, or can it be split up throughout the day?

    Thanks!
    Ruthie

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      All at one time to induce metabolic stress – that’s the pump/burn and it’s great for muscle building. Great question!

      Reply
  4. Connie Ross

    Bret… I am doing your Advanced Strong Curves program… now… you know I am going to use these on my ‘light active days’ don’t you? Try and stop me ;)

    Reply
  5. Fatima

    Thanks so much for this Bret! Coincidentally i was actually planning on starting the 30 day squat challenge from today but I’m glad I saw this, will definitely be doing it :) I just purchased your Strong Curves book yesterday and I love it! I was quite surprised that you prescribed fewer exercises per workout than I have seen in other plans but I won’t complain! Excited to see results :)

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Carisa, stick with Get Glutes. If I felt that adding more frequency/volume would help build more muscle mass, I’d be having you do it.

      Best option for glute building: Strong Curves and Get Glutes.

      Next best thing: this 30-day challenge.

      I know it’s tempting, but trust me, avoid the temptation and stay the course. Just read your thread on the GetGlutes forum – congrats – you’re seeing such great results!

      Reply
      1. FAB

        Hi Bret, I don’t know if it’s the right place to ask you this, but I’ll try anyway…I have bought Strong Curves (on Amazon…i am waiting for it) but i need to know something: when i will follow your programs I will built muscles in this area but my fear is to make my butt bigger!!! is that going to happened? and when you bult this muscle do weight increases? (sorry for my english I am italian)..hope you can help, I have this doubt on what should I do and not do for this to happen.
        (I can’t wait for my book to arrive anyway….)thanks for help……. Fab

        Reply
  6. Marija

    If we are doing this challenge, how does it affect our training split? Should we still include Leg day, or just skip it? I don’t want to “overwork” my glutes :)

    Reply
  7. Iris

    Bret, I also thought about adding this to my weight training routine…My question is: Do those super high rep/super low weight workouts have the potential to build muscle? I am asking because from what I have learned everything above 15 reps is pure strength endurance and doesn´t do much for hypertrophy? Correct me if I am wrong I am far from being an expert :-).
    In response to the pregnant lady: I had my second child in March and I lifted weights (I modified some exercises and some that did not feel right, I abandoned completely) throughout my pregnancy. I think if your pregnancy is totally complication free and low risk and you are already an experienced lifter (!) and you do not aim for personal records you can continue to lift heavier than 20 pounds (if you did that before becoming pregnant), the advice not to lift anything heavier seems to be outdated…My daughter had turned three when I became pregnant last July and there were quite some occasions she (still) needed to be lifted and she was around 30 lbs then and it didn´t even feel heavy because of my training routine…

    Reply
  8. Caroline

    I’m pregnant too (33 weeks), if you’re already fit & strong a blanket ‘no more than 20lb’ is crazy as it totally depends! I’m still doing chin ups & using 16kg kettlebells for clean & presses & Sgl leg dls, been hip thrusting with 18kg steelbell recently was using 50-60kg when bump smaller now bb just not comfortable. Sgl leg dead lifts & all the rest of it don’t need to be mega heavy either….

    Reply
  9. Dino

    Thanks Brett! If someone already has developed glutes and wants to make them smaller is this beneficial? Or is it used to promote growth? Thanks :)

    Reply
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  11. Jacqi

    My question, exactly, Iris! I’m looking to get big “back there”, lol and strong. I currently don’t have access to a barbell, so I use kettlebell and bodyweight for my glute training. This looks interesting! Probably would shape the hell out of your backside.

    Awesome, Bret!

    Reply
  12. Maia

    Hi Bret,

    I’d like to take the challenge but I don’t have access to a gym and don’t have a weight bench. I’ve been looking at possibly getting the Reebok deck but I’m not sure it high enough to do all the exercises in the glute challenge..Any suggestions/recommendations?

    Thanks,
    Maia

    Reply
  13. Lynne

    I also am curious about Dino’s question. I do not want to increase the size of my Glutes, I just want them firmer, or “higher and tighter” as I tell my trainer. Do you still recommend this challenge if that’s my goal? Thanks!

    Reply
  14. John B.

    Great post Brett.The added benefit of quad develop and overall leg strength is always nice. Side lunges are also great for the glutes. Just my two cent :)

    Reply
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  16. Blair

    Hi Bret! I work out on a regular basis.. with that being said do you suggest that I add weights to the workouts? And if so xhange the number of reps or just add enough weight where I could still complete the number of reps with good form?

    Reply
  17. Belatrix

    Oohhh this is perfect for when I go on vacation for a month! I won’t have access to anything other than floor space & my own body weight.

    Reply
  18. ken lo

    Hey Bret, Im 17yr old and can boys do this as well to build muscle?

    I have no acces to weights for the next 2 years ( then I will have the money to go the gym or buy my own weights). I want to maximize the time and train my legs and build muscle with bw exericse like you mentioned above.

    Also do we superset the movements or 1 by 1?
    how many seconds do we rest?

    Great page man, really awesome !!

    Reply
  19. Virginie

    Hi,
    Just to confirmed, when exercise it’s bulgarian split squat or One-Leg Foot-Elevated Bridges the number it’s for one leg, and we have to do both?

    Thanks for this challenge!

    Reply
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  21. Lina

    Hi Bret,

    Was wondering what your thoughts are on training with muscle soreness. After i combined this programme with my other strength training days, my posterior chain is tight and sore. Should i train through on a daily basis or will this inhibit my progress.

    Thank you.

    Lina

    Reply
  22. Anna

    Hi Bret,
    Is this meant to be done straight through or can be broken into sets ? Lets say on Day 1, 2 sets of 30 reps of squat and 2 sets of 30 bridges?

    I break the challenge into sets and do them back to back. Not sure if that’s how it’s meant to be done. Looking forward to your comment.
    Thanks,
    Anna

    Reply
  23. Katie

    Hey Bret,

    Loving this program! Im on day 23, and I have been going up to bodyweight for my max weight per workout. Ive noticed that when I hit 110 reps my back was pretty sore, and by 130 I knew I couldn’t go higher, so instead, im working my way back down, extending it into a more 35-day program :)

    Im wondering if you have any suggestions for progression after this program? I have a wrist injury that prevents me from doing my traditional lifting program (I<3 Deadlifts!!). I want to work on getting my squat numbers up, as well as work on my goal of my pants no longer fitting my quads.

    Much respect and admiration,
    Katie

    Reply
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  25. Megan

    I’m a bit late to this party but have just started the challenge – just wanted to ask if hip thrusts done from the floor are as effective as from a bench? I want to do the challenge at home some days but don’t really have anything like a bench I can use :-S

    Reply
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    1. Bret Post author

      Brett – same routine! I write to women because they’re proud to perform a glute workout. With men, you often have to trick them into doing special glute exercises. Sure they’re happy to perform squats and deads, but not so much band exercises, single leg exercises, rotary exercise, etc. But the routines are the same for men and women, just maybe not quite as much volume for men and maybe slightly higher loads percentages for men.

      Reply
  27. Aida

    Super excited I found you Bret.
    I do have an arse but since my weight flactuates between 55 to 62kgs, I loose it. I did Insanity for 2 months and it improved. Now I started Jillian Michaels’ Killer Butt and thighs workout and my friends are telling me that I have lost it again? I do want to try your challenge. It is okay to switch?

    Reply
  28. Kira

    Hi Brett, is it ok to do interval training/cardio and the 40 day glute challenge and how should I break it down: do the glute challenge right after my 15-25 high intensity interval training or Tabata training or do one in the morning and the other in the evening. How do I get good results as I want to shred body fat but build muscle without losing my bum from the high intensity workouts

    Reply
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  34. Kel

    I do heavy squats and deadlifts during the week and I was wondering if all the reps for the 30 day glute challenge need to be done in succession or can it be spread throughout the day? I.E. Day 1: 3 sets of 20 = 60 reps, spread throughout the day.

    Reply
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  36. Rebecca

    Ok, i am an apple shaped woman. I carry most of my “fat” in my mid section. I have no fat on my arms or legs. I am 29, 5’10, and currently 250 lbs. and diabetic. I am also 9 weeks pregnant. I want to build glute muscles. Will this help me build a bigger butt and give me curves? Jw.

    Reply
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  38. am

    i agree with jenna. i just had baby number 3 and i always gain a lot of weight. skinny or a little overweight i have always a “big butt” but it is fat. it is not toned. i want to shed the top layer or so and tone up what i have. is this the right thing for me to do now? or is it better to lose pounds first then do it?

    Reply
  39. Deeann

    I have recently lost a lot of weight .i.e 70 lbs, I am 46 and want to build core strength as I have a weak core. Would I be able to do this and not hurt my back? I am trying to build my self back up from a serious illness and have started walking, gentle floor exercises but am ready to move onto something that will help with my weak core muscles. Thank you.

    Reply
  40. lucy

    Hey! I’m currently doing the Program Minimum ftom Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel. I swing kettlebells twice a week (I worked up to 8 sets of 25 swings; 10 kg) and do TGUs twice a week. Would it make sence to do this challenge without getting off PM? Or will the total work load kill me (or worse yet – my ass)?

    Reply
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  42. Hillary Coates

    I’m loving this challenge! I’m only on day 5 and so far it’s been pretty easy but I know it will get harder. I’m looking forward to when I can add weight and not have to do so many reps. This seems almost like cardio to me so far but it still burns really good.

    Reply
  43. Hillary Coates

    Hey Bret,
    Just taking a chance that you might be able to answer this…

    As the reps increase each day I find myself wondering, could I add weight instead of more reps and if so what would be the equivalent to the 10 rep increase for the squat/thrust and then for the 5 rep increase for the single leg exercise day? I want to add size.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
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  46. Donald

    In this month’s Men’s Health you show a glute routine for guys that utilizes a barbell in a routine you call the Barbell Thrust. Is there a variation that can be done with dumbbells and is just as effective?

    Reply
  47. milagros

    i have a question.. if i excercices my glutes everyday , will it deformed?.. thanks for your post ..

    Reply

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