08 May Pilates For The Butt? You Bet!
We know it’s wonderful for the entire body, but Pilates also has posterior perfecting benefits that will boost your strength and confidence this summer.
Here, Flex’s super-powered Pilates pro, Julian Lopez, shares her Top 5 favorite Classical Pilates moves where the backside is really working hard*:
“Even though Pilates works every muscle, that is, it’s a whole-body integration method, there are some exercises where one muscle is dominant,” says Juliana.
“So, if you really want to work the butt, these are the ones where the glutes are dominating.”
1) Shoulder Bridge – Lie on your back in neutral spine, with your knees bent and feet on the mat and your legs hip distance and parallel. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms facing down. Press the backs of your arms into the mat. Inhale, pressing down through your feet to lengthen your spine and lift your pelvis toward the ceiling. Come to a bridge position on your shoulders with your knees, hips, and shoulders in one line. Firm your abdominals and hamstrings. Do not arch your back. Use your glutes and core to protect your back.
2) Side Kick – Lie on your side, with the bottom hand underneath supporting the side of your head, elbow bent, and your other hand planted firmly on the mat in front of your chest. With shoulders down the back, inhale and bring your straight legs forward to an angle of 30 degrees, and stack shoulder over shoulder, hip over hip, and ankle over ankle. Flex the lower ankle (toes to kneecap) and press the foot into the mat. Engage your powerhouse (core, back, butt, chest, thighs) to stabilize your spine and to keep your shoulders and hips still and vertically stacked throughout. Lift the top leg with control, lower with control.
3) Swimming – Lie face down on the mat, neck and legs straight, arms both straight out in front of you. Inhale, engage your powerhouse and ‘swim’, using both arms and legs, ensuring they remain straight. “Your butt has to work alongside other muscles, but your glutes really power up.”
4) Leg Pull Front – Get into plank position. Lift your right foot off the ground and raise it up until parallel to the ground. Point your toes out and rock back on your left foot. Point your toes down and bring your right foot back to the ground. Repeat the same movement with your opposite leg. “It’s a plank but you have to kick your leg up by engaging your glutes.”
5) Side Kick Kneeling – Start with right hand on floor directly beneath shoulder, right knee on floor beneath hip, left hand behind head, left elbow towards the ceiling. The left leg in line with the torso. As you are lowering the torso to the floor, float left leg out to the side. You can then lift the hand from the back of the head and raise it straight up in the air.
Inhale to kick left leg forwards, moving ONLY at the hip. Exhale to kick left leg backwards, moving ONLY at the hip. Leg stays in line with the torso the whole time.
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*These are all the basic versions of the exercise.