Pilates is one of the best workouts you can do to really isolate your muscles and challenge each and every one of them at their current level. It’s amazing for toning and strengthening your body, but it’s also extremely efficient at balancing out your left and right side.
Every person has some sort of muscle imbalance and pilates exercises help you put even the smallest of muscles to work, not allowing bigger muscle groups to take over. Since you’re mostly using your body weight and only adding resistance bands, pilates rings, and 3-5lb dumbbells if you really want to, pilates uses a combination of a high number of repetitions and multiple exercises that target the same muscle until it’s completely tired out.
Here are some of the best isolation moves for your glutes that will help you reach your fitness goals.
This exercise focuses on your glutes and hamstrings, using specific modifications as the repetitions progress to cause them to give out and cause muscle hypertrophy, which helps build muscle and increase strength.
Start by lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, a foot away from your sitting bones. Place your arms beside you and push the palms into the ground, using them as leverage. Inhale and prepare, exhale, and lift your hips up, keeping your knees parallel. Inhale and bring your hips back down, one inch off the floor. Repeat 20 times and on your last exhale, stay at your highest point. Open your knees and then close them. Repeat 20 times and stay there.
Start performing little pulses with your glutes, simply going up and down. Repeat 30 times and stay high. Open your knees and close them again 20 more times, and then do the full glute bridge 20 more times. After your last exhale, drop your hips to the ground. Bring your knees toward your chest and hug them in to reset.
You might not be able to finish each repetition and that’s ok. Whenever you feel like you can’t hold on, just bring your hips down to take a short break and lift them back up when you’re ready.
ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball
Challenge your muscles with this handy ball.
One of the toughest pilates exercise combos, the lunge sequence is amazing at tackling each leg at a time, working on all of your weaker links, and helping you tone the glutes from every angle.
Start in a standing position, legs hip-width apart. Step with your left leg back, bend your knee, and bring it one inch off the floor. Inhale and exhale, extending your leg and squeezing your glute. Go slow and controlled, repeating 20 times. After your last exhale, come down to your lunge and stay here. Start doing little pulses up and down for 30 repetitions.
Finish and stay low, starting to step with your back leg to the left, back to center, and then to the right, repeating this for 10 full rounds. Stay low, take an inhale, and on your exhale kick back. Inhale bring it back down, exhale kick back. Do 15-20 kicks. Stay low, and finish with 15 full lunges.
You might not be able to finish it all and your legs will probably be shaking by the time you’re done. Whenever you need a break, simply extend your legs and shake them out. Repeat everything on the other side.
Don't worry about slipping across your mat on even the sweatiest workouts.
This combination of exercises works on all of your glute muscles from the all-fours position so you have to be mindful of the mind-to-muscle connection in order to prevent your lower back from taking over once the burn starts to be too tiring and intense.
Come to all-fours position, hands right under your shoulders and knees right under your hips. Push the ground away from you so that you’re creating space in between your shoulder blades and elongating your spine.
Stretch your right leg behind you, coming high on the ball of your right foot. Inhale and on your exhale, lift the leg up, squeezing your glute. Inhale and bring it back down. Repeat 20 times. On your last inhale, instead of dropping your foot straight, drop it over your left leg to the left and then bring it over the leg back to the center. Repeat 20 times.
Right before bringing it back to the center for the last time. bend your right knee and bring it in towards your chest, exhale and kick the bent leg up towards the ceiling. Flex your foot so that your entire foot is parallel to the ceiling. Repeat 20 times, stay at your highest point and perform little pulses up and down. Repeat 30 times. Bring your knee down and start opening it to the right, adding fire hydrants into the mix.
Repeat the full movement 20 times if you’re able to. In the end, lower your knee to the floor, come down to child’s pose to stretch it out, and repeat everything on your left side.
Take your Pilates workout home with this incredible set.
No glute workout can be complete without squats, the ultimate leg exercise. Start in a slightly more open position, like you’re performing sumo squats. Controlling your movement, do 20 squats, focusing on your core muscles, keeping your spine straight, and trying to hit the parallel with your thighs every time you go down into your squat.
On your last rep, stay at your lowest and hold for 30 seconds. Stay and start performing 30 little pulses before another 30-second hold. Now start elevating one heel and then the other, alternating for 30 reps. Try to keep your hips as low as possible.
After the alternating hip lifts, elevate both heels and drop them down. Do this 20 times. Finish it off with another 20 full squats.
Pilates may seem easy, but you’ll realize after your first class that it couldn’t be further away from the truth. And if you’re still on the fence about it, here are some of the best reasons why adding pilates to your workout routine is a good idea.