Everyone knows that Pilates will get you those beautifully sculpted abs that we all seek, but only the devoted clients know KX’s real secret: Pilates is also a great way to get sleek inner thighs, a tight tush and an all over toned lower body.
Training the gluteus muscle group is without a doubt, one of the best parts of the body to exercise. Not only do we get a well-rounded butt to rival Beyonce and Kimmy K, but regularly exercising this muscle group also has many health benefits.
Being the largest muscle group in your body, your glutes have a big factor to play in both strength and stability exercises. Your bum is made up of three layers, gluteus minimus, maximus and medius, each with a different role to play around the hip joint.
In a normal fit and active person, the glutes should all work well together in synergy to abduct, rotate and extend the hip. They help provide better posture and gait while walking and running. However, these days due to an increase in our sedentary lifestyles, like sitting at a desk for 9+ hours a day, and lazy postural habits, we are starting to find weakness in these important muscles, resulting in pain and injury.
Weak glutes can show up as lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain or even foot or ankle pain. This is due to the biomechanics of these muscles controlling the lower limb motion. Weakness in the gluteus maximus can lead to poor hip extension forcing the hip flexors and quads to take over. Weakness in the gluteus medius can cause a lot of side movement in the pelvis and can cause common problems such as tight ITB bands. So, it is important to keep them active!
We can all build up muscle strength, whether it is on the reformer defining those round peachy bums or at home. Different exercises target different areas of your glutes. Here are some exercises that we trainers teach for that well sculpted booty.
Start with some pelvic tilts to get the core muscles activating. Find a neutral position, then begin to tuck the tailbone under. Squeeze the bum in tight and lift the pelvis up toward the ceiling. You should be streamlined from your shoulders all the way up to your knees. Carefully control the spine back down, one vertebrae at a time, working through abdominal control. Advanced exercise option: single leg. Add in a Pilates ring between the knees for that KX OOMPH!
Side lying leg press
Lying on your side, stack both shoulders and hips on top of one another. Bend the bottom leg to hip height for stability. Elevate the top leg so it is ‘hovering’ above the lower leg. From here, keep the leg straight, using the hamstring length, draw the leg forward to a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your bum and leading with the heel of your foot press the leg back under your hip into a streamlined body position. Keep this movement slow and controlled. (This movement can be done both on and off the reformer). Advanced option: hold and pulse!
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart so hips, knees and ankles fall over each other. Stick your bum out like you are going to sit back into a chair. Here your back should be at a “ski sloped” angle, keeping the chest open. Press through your heels, squeeze your booty and draw up through the belly button as you stand. You should finish in a tall standing position. Drop down, hold and PULSE for the KX magic.