Pilates Butt Workout

Pilates Butt Workout

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Tone and sculpt your buttocks with Pilates mat exercises.

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The muscles in your buttocks play an important role in spinal stabilization, pelvic and leg alignment and overall body strength. To build strength in your lower body while sculpting and toning your butt, try Pilates mat exercises for the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and hamstrings. Along with a firmer, more muscular backside, these exercises also promote abdominal and back strength.

Shoulder Bridges

Pilates bridges require you to use your gluteal, abdominal and inner thigh muscles to support the weight of your pelvis. Begin on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Pull your navel toward your spine as you exhale and tilt your pelvis toward the ceiling so your tailbone curls off the floor. Continue peeling your spine off the mat one vertabrae at a time all the way up to your shoulders. Concentrate on pushing your feet into the floor. Inhale at the top of the bridge and exhale as you reverse the movement and return to your starting position. Make bridge work more challenging by lifting one leg toward the ceiling at the top of the bridge. Lower your leg a few inches, then kick it back to its full extension before placing your foot back on the floor and rolling down from the bridge. Complete five to eight repetitions.

Single-Leg Kick

The single- and double-leg kick use coordinated movements of the legs and upper body to strengthen your gluteus, hamstrings and back. Begin the single-leg kick on your stomach with your body propped up on your elbows and the tops of your feet resting on the mat. Draw your navel toward your spine and kick one pointed foot off the floor toward your butt by bending your knee and engaging your hamstrings. Release the foot half way down, flex it and kick it toward your butt again before releasing it to the floor. Repeat six to eight times, and then switch to the other leg.

Double-Leg Kick

Like the single-leg kick, the double-leg kick targets your butt and legs, but adds an additional challenge for your abs, shoulders and lower back. Begin resting on your stomach with your legs extended straight behind you on the floor and your hands clasped behind your lower back. Your head should be resting with one cheek on the mat. Squeeze your buttocks and hamstrings as you bend your knees and draw both feet off the mat toward your butt in a pulsing motion. Straighten your legs away from your body as you extend your arms straight behind you, lifting your chest and head off the mat. Keep your hands clasped and your feet off the mat. Turn your head so the opposite cheek rests on the mat, bring your feet back down to the floor and repeat the entire exercise. Do six to eight repetitions.


The Pilates swim challenges your entire core with a special focus on your butt and inner thighs. Start this move face down on your stomach with your arms extended long above your head and your shoulders pressed down away from your ears. Lift your belly button away from the floor and reach your arms and legs away from your center so they hover a few inches off the ground. Pulse your right arm and left leg up and down, then do the same with your left arm and right leg. Continue alternating quickly as though paddling your arms and legs in water for five breaths.

Side Kick Series

The side kick series tones, lengthens and stretches every muscle in the buttocks and legs through a handful of exercises performed lying on your side. To perform a basic side kick, lie down on your left side with your left hand supporting your head propped up on your elbow. Bring both legs forward at a 45-degree angle with your body and stack your right leg on top of your left. Lift your leg up toward the ceiling as you imagine sending energy out of your pointed toe. Be careful not to let your weight sink into your left hip as you kick. Lower your leg with control. After eight repetitions, turn to the other side and repeat the exercise with your left leg. For a variation on the basic side kick, try lifting your top leg until it is in line with your hip and drawing small circles in the air to engage and work your gluteus maximus.


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