By Sylvia Favela
Who doesn’t love a firm butt?
What’s the one common physical feature that stands out when you look at a dancer, a gymnast or someone who practices Pilates?
A firm, attractive butt. But it’s not just firm, it’s also lifted.
“High & Tight” — that’s my motto in the Pilates studio. In fact, I say it so often my clients chipped in and had a tank top made for me!
Okay, so you’re probably wondering what makes bodyweight Pilates exercises so special when it comes to plumping and firming the derriere…
It helps to understand a couple key Pilates points: proper placement of the pelvis and engagement of the abdominals. And I’ll explain how they work in terms of the exercises I’m sharing with you in the video below.
First, we’re placing a great deal of focus on recruiting the deep transverse abdominals, which are the main muscles that keep the pelvis stable and in proper alignment with the spine.
The lower bodyweight movement in our video sequence focuses on your inner/outer thighs, as well as the three main gluteal muscles that form your butt.
We’re targeting the medius in this exercise — the muscle that wraps from the side of your butt to the rear (your gluteus muscle).
You do this by squeezing your butt as though you were trying to pinch a coin between your cheeks, while simultaneously engaging your inner thighs. The visual of holding a coin back there might sound a bit funny, but it works. You have to squeeze it “High & Tight”.
In the video below I demonstrate a lower body butt workout that you can start practicing right now. Please pay careful attention to my points about how to properly hold your position with each exercise so you don’t cause unnecessary strain in your low back.
Here are the important points to keep in mind when performing the Bridge Pull, Leg Reach and Leg Raise:
- As you begin each move, pull your belly button towards your spine.
- Knees are hip-width apart when starting the move.
- Stay focused on the deep transverse abdominal — that’ll protect your low back.
- When holding your pelvis up, maintain a diagonal line from shoulder to knee. No sagging hips!
- Keep your glutes actively engaged. Remember: pinch that coin between your cheeks!
- Keep your pubic bone lifted and tucked under while you lengthen the lower back. This’ll help prevent your low back from getting involved in the movement.
- Open your chest and keep both shoulders pressed down to the floor, arms with arms held as close to your body as possible.
- If your shoulders are tight, it will be a challenge to keep your arms close to your body. In this case it’s okay to move your arms out at an angle.
- Maintain shoulder placement to the floor and keep your ribs drawn in at all times.
- Keep your palm heels pressed firmly into the floor. This will make your triceps work.
- Do not thrust your ribs forward or arch your low back down.
- Control your breath so you are pulling your ribs in towards each and breathing to the side and back of the body.
Execute each movement with mindfulness. You’re going for full control and awareness throughout.
These lower body moves will teach you to move your body in a fluid motion, and they’ll increase your strength and stamina as they develop a lean, toned physique.
Oh yeah, and they’ll give you a butt to drool over as well!