When summer rolls around, it’s hard to avoid the endless stream of workouts and diet plans designed to get you a perfect beach body. But we don’t think you need strong buttocks just so you can strut on the beach in your new bathing suit. Sure, that’s a plus, but glutes are hugely important for everyday functional fitness tasks, from picking up a bag of groceries to bending over to tie your shoes.
We teamed up with Jessi Kneeland, a Greatist expert and founder of Remodel Fitness, to bring you this 12-day glute challenge, so you can have a strong backside year-round, not just for beach season. Before jumping into the routine, you need to find your glutes. First step: Squeeze your butt. Did you feel a burn in your glutes muscles? If you didn’t, don’t worry. Your glutes are probably a little sleepy thanks to some overcompensation from your quads and hip flexors, but not for long.
This 12-day challenge introduces a new exercise every day to activate your glutes. (You can find the descriptions for each move below the graphic.) The goal is to find three or four exercises from the bunch that really activate your glutes, and then add them to your regular fitness routine. Keep us updated on your progress by using the hashtag #getglutes on social media, and be sure to check back next month for another exciting challenge.
Standing Glute Squeeze
Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your glutes as tightly as you can for 3 seconds.
Side-Lying Leg Abduction
Lie on your side and bend your bottom knee 90 degrees. Raise and lower your top leg while keeping it straight with your foot flexed. Repeat on the other side.
Lie on your side with your legs stacked and knees bent 45 degrees. Keeping feet touching, lift and lower top knee. Repeat on the other side.
Prone Leg Extension
Lie facedown with legs spread wider than hips distance. Lift both legs as high as possible with knees straight, then lower them to the ground.
Lie faceup with your feet flat on the floor. Bend your knees and keep them shoulder-width apart. Raise and lower your hips, making sure there is a straight line from your knees to where your shoulders touch the floor.
Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and send your hips back. While your butt starts to stick out, make sure your back stays straight and your chest and shoulders remain upright.
Standing Leg Abduction
Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold on to something for balance. Shift your weight to the leg closest to the wall and lift the other leg to the side, keeping your foot flexed and parallel with the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Tall Kneeling Hip Hinge
Kneel and keep your hips and shoulders stacked over your knees. Cross your arms over your chest, hinge forward, and push your hips back. Return to starting position.
Get in a tabletop position on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips. Draw one knee in, then extend it back and up, keeping the leg straight. Repeat on the other side.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Lie faceup with your feet flat on the floor. Bend your knees and keep them shoulder-width apart. Lift one leg, keeping shin parallel to the floor, and raise and lower your hips. Repeat on the other side.
Rest your shoulders on a bench or chair with your arms crossed on your chest and your gaze toward the ceiling. Lift your hips to form a right angle at your knees and lower.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Place your front foot about three feet from the bench and place your back foot on top of the bench. Lower yourself into a deep lunge, keep your chest up, and make sure your knee doesn’t pass your toes on the front foot.