This Lower-Body Pilates Routine Will Have Your Glutes Burning

If you’ve been looking for a short, effective, lower-body Pilates workout, this most recent episode of Well+Good Pilates with East River Pilates instructor Brian Spencer offers just that. This 17-minute glute workout will have you feeling the burn while building muscle in your lower body. Spencer also wears a surprising twist in the video: Bala Bangles—adjustable wrist or ankle weights that add a lil extra oomph to bodyweight exercises.

Stronger glutes have a lot of whole-body benefits, believe it or not. For example,  Laurence Agénor, PT, DPT previously told Well+Good that lower back pain, easily fatiguing from standing, and getting tired from stairs are all signs of weaker glutes. Strengthening these large, lower body muscles can support better movement as you sit, stand, and walk.

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For this workout, Spencer begins with some simple squats to get your circulation flowing in your lower body and wake up your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. The squats then move into some pulse squats with side scooters, bringing your toe to and away from you, where you really begin to feel that burn in your glutes and thighs, while challenging your core.

Some exercises included in the video are side lunges into curtsey lunges, which target you side butt muscles and outer hips. These are done standing and supporting most of your bodyweight on one leg, while you extend the other directly out to the side (lunge!), then cross it back behind you on a diagonal, which’ll light up your inner thighs and test your balance.

You’ll also get into some donkey kicks and hamstring curls to home in on your glute max muscles. These are your biggest butt muscles, and they support you when you stand up, sit down, run, walk, climb stairs, among other daily movement patterns. They’re supported in all this by your hamstrings, which is why you want those to be strong, too. Both these moves are done from an all fours position on forearms and knees. You’ll lift and lower you bent leg toward the ceiling for your donkey kicks before leaving it lifted as you straighten and bend your leg for your hamstring curls.

You’ll also move through a long flow of exercises done on all fours designed to really dial into your legs and glutes through dynamic movements that’ll test your muscular endurance and help you build more.

This workout is super fun, if a little challenging, so at the end of the session, Spencer wraps up this lower body Pilates workout in a peaceful child’s pose to reward viewers for all of their hard work.

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