• How Pilates can help you build a better butt

    How Pilates can help you build a better butt

    The secret is out — and it’s in the glutes. 

    The gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus are the three muscles that make up your butt. 

    With Kaya’s Pilates and Pilates reformer classes, learn the best ways to strengthen your glutes and benefit your buttocks. As you grow with your fitness at Kaya, your butt will too. 

    Here are 6 easy exercises to help bulk your butt. Try exercises #1 and #2 on the mat at home, and practice #3, #4 and #5 in your Pilates reformer classes here at Kaya.

    Pilates reformer classes

    Flutter Kicks: 

    Flutter kicks are a Kaya favourite, as they work hard at the glutes and engage the core. 

    Start on the mat by lying on your back and lifting your legs to a 45-degree angle. Raise your arms slightly, keeping them straight and in line with the floor, and face your palms down. Lift your head, neck and shoulders so they are just off the ground. Keeping your legs extended and toes pointed, flutter each leg in an alternating sequence, lowering and raising them repeatedly. Keep this up for 30 seconds. Remember your abs — actively engaging the core is essential to keeping your limbs off the ground and stopping your back from overarching. 

    The intensity of your flutter kicks can be altered depending on your fitness level, or the side of the bed you get out of in the morning. If it’s the right side, place your arms under your glutes instead of at your sides to increase the challenge. Don’t stress if today isn’t the day to push it — just keep your head on the mat instead of lifting it. Practise either way in Kaya’s Pilates classes and you’ll start to see the difference. Here are some tips for getting your technique just right. 

    Heel Beats: 

    Heel beats are the perfect butt toner, directly targeting your glutes whilst strengthening your hamstrings and inner thighs. Start by lying on your stomach on the mat and turning your head to rest one cheek on the floor. Extend your legs −keeping them straight−and squeeze your butt muscles tightly. Lift your legs off the mat and keep your hips pressed to the floor, as you quickly move your heels together and apart in a scissoring movement. Repeat for 30-60 seconds. Make sure you listen to your body, and see how far you can take it. 

    Your legs are the key here — keeping them straight will help to engage the abs, lengthen the spine and hold your legs high off the ground. Your butt will thank you for it. 

    One-Legged Pelvic Tilts: 

    Lie face up on the reformer carriage with bent knees, and plant your feet on the footbar in line with your hips. Activate your glutes by pressing your heels into the footbar, and lifting your hips up high. Keeping them high, raise your right leg to the ceiling and hold your body in this bridge position. Slowly lower yourself to the carriage. Repeat this sequence 10 times, before switching to elevate the left leg. The one-legged pelvic tilt is a challenge for your core, glutes and balance, as your entire body weight is supported by one leg. 

    If you’re not comfortable with the movement of the leg, keep them both planted to the footbar and focus on the height of your hips. This will still target the glutes, and help to build your strength.

    Side Leg Kicks: 

    Everyone does these a little bit differently. We suggest starting by lying on the reformer your right side with your head on the rest, ensuring your body is aligned and your hips and shoulders are stacked. 

    As you inhale, press down firmly onto the shoulder rest with your left hand and raise your left leg to the ceiling. Your hand is just here for added support — it’s your abs you have to depend on. Repeat 8-10 times before swapping sides. 

    Taking it slow with side leg kicks doesn’t mean taking it easy. Intensify the exercise by slowing down your leg lifts.


    We’ve saved the best until last. Used as both a warm up and cool down, lunges are an exercise practised in both Kaya’s Pilates and reformer Pilates classes. 

    To start, stand straight and keep your spine aligned, placing your hands on your hips or on the footbar. Your front foot should be on the floor—in line with the footbar —and your back foot should be bent, up against the shoulder rests on the carriage. Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed and your head held high. Bend your front knee and extend your back leg—pushing the carriage away from you—keeping your front foot firmly planted into the floor. If you can feel the stretch in your hamstrings and your glutes are tight, you’re doing it right. 

    Joseph Pilates may not have said it, but according to Australian Pilates in Melbourne expert Sally Anderson, ‘Pilates exercise will give you more body confidence’ helping you achieve ‘flat abdominals, a strong butt and a sleek upper back’. 

    With Kaya’s Pilates and Pilates reformer classes, there are no buts — just bigger butts! Book a class with Kaya at Prahran or Emporium today.

    About the Author

    Demi fell in love with yoga when she travelled to India when she was 20 years old. She loved the feeling of bliss she experienced both during and after class, and how that feeling would stay with her throughout her day. It was also in India, that Demi learned how much she loved to write about her travels. She believes that stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture in our minds. This led her to her job as a Content Writer. She loves helping businesses tell stories. Especially when the stories involve educating readers on the endless benefits of yoga and Pilates- two of her most loved fitness regimes
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