The Slow-and-Steady Glutes Workout That Fire up Your Butt Muscles

Each month, a new trainer takes us through four of the best workouts they have in their back pocket. Follow along weekly for new ways to sweat it out with us. See All

Welcome to Trainer of the Month Club, our brand-new fitness series, where we tap the coolest, most in-the-know fitness leaders to create a month-long fitness challenge. On Mondays, we have our “sweat drops” where you’ll get access to the week’s workout that you can follow along at home. This week, Kimmy Kellum from East River Pilates is taking you through a sesh that focuses all on the glutes.

Walking into a Pilates class, I know that my core is about to be fired up, lengthened, and stretched in all different directions. The workout is often very abs-focused, after all—but for Well+Good's Trainer of the Month Club, East River Pilates founder and all-around goddess Kimmy Kellum is bringing us a sequence that's all about your booty.

The perks of this? You'll be sculpting your glutes, yes, but since it's Pilates, you're also still getting that core work, while also strengthening your legs. It's a sweaty trifecta, and all you need is a mat. "What I love [about this workout] is that you're tapping your glutes and your hamstrings," says Kellum. Ready to try Kellum's multi-beneficial Pilates glutes workout for yourself? Keep scrolling.

The warmup

1. Squat: Take your feet as wide as your shoulders or your mat. Before you get going into a squat, focus on your alignment, which is super crucial. The back of your neck should be super long, your shoulders are down and away from your neck, your chest is soft, and your pelvis is neutral. You want to honor the natural curves of your back—so don't hyperextend the low back or tuck it under. Now, come down to the knees, keeping a soft bend, with weight through the feet. With your hands on your hips or up over your head, inhale to squat back, sitting your hips down and back. Exhale to stand up tall, keeping your hips nice and open. Don't let your head drop forward.

2. Squat pulses: Hold it down into your squat, and pulse for 10 seconds. Don't press your knees forward—keep them right on top of your ankles. Keep breathing, making sure there's no tension in the upper back or neck.

3. Squat with leg balance: In your squat, stand up onto one leg, keeping strong on that supporting leg, pulling your arms up overhead. You'll notice this starts to engage your gluteus medius, those side glute muscles. Alternate your legs, going down into a squat between balancing with one leg in tabletop. You can press your hands into prayer position, or sweep them overhead. Inhale to lower into the squat, and exhale to lift your knee to your chest.

Round one

1. Lunge to balance—left: Start with your arms overhead, your leg is in tabletop position (or you can do it with the foot down on the mat). Start with a deep breath in, and as you exhale, shoot your arms down and back, finding a low lunge with your knee right on top of your ankle. Spread your toes out onto the floor, grounding down through the heel. Inhale to float the arms up and find a balance. Make sure the neck alignment is still in tact, not allowing that head to drop forward.

2. Lunge with hip hinge: Keep your back heel lifted up, and your arms extended long by your side. Sweep your arms into a prayer position. Press into the palms, take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, lift the chest. You're also squeezing this left glute to protect that hip joint. Fold forward, then exhale and lift, all while staying in the lunge position.

3. Scooter—left: Hold down into the lunge, bringing your hands onto your hips. Transfer a little more weight into that front leg. Take a higher stance, and without allowing your hips to spiral on either side, slide that right leg in, keeping the back of your neck long. Simply slide that leg back. Inhale to bring it forward, and exhale to slide it back. Feel your bellybutton pull in towards your spine with that exhale. Shake it out when you're done.

4. Side scooter—left: Come down into a squat, knees over the top of those ankles and in line with the second and third toes. Bring your hands onto your hips and slide that left leg in, tap down, and on your exhale, slide that leg out. If you want more of a challenge, lift that leg, then slide it back in with control. You can do this also standing up for an easier modification. The deeper you go, the harder it will be.

Round two

1. Lunge to balance—right: Start with your right leg up in table top, balancing on your left leg. Sweep your arms overhead, taking a deep breath. As you exhale, stretch that back knee, making sure it's lined up over your second and third toes. The shin bone is vertical, not overextended. Sweep up with the leg up, finding the balance, inhale and lift, then exhale and reach it back. Even though your knees aren't touching, think of squeezing the inner thighs together for an inward pressure.

2. Lunge with hip hinge: Take your hands into prayer pose while holding the lunge position. Press your hands together into prayer pose, letting your chest open up. Take a deep breath and stand tall while squeezing the right glute. Lean forward, then stand tall in the lunge position. Move your entire body in one piece, including the pelvis, not just the torso. Lengthen from your tailbone to the crown of your head. Fun fact: This also strengthens your feet.

3. Scooter—right: Bring your hands to your hips, chest broad. Come up a little bit higher with less of a bend in the knee. Slide the leg in, then stretch it back. You're not applying too much pressure into this leg, so as you're moving, you could do it with your foot completely hovered off of the mat. You can use running arms, or arms out to the side—find whatever position that helps with your balance.

4. Side scooter—right: Come down into your squat, and bring the right leg in. As you exhale, stretch that leg out. If you want the extra lift, go for it. As I lift, my knee knocks in a bit—but make sure to keep it aligned over the second toe. So make sure your knee doesn't knock inwards. If you are lifting, make sure you're looking down, not allowing the knee to knock inwards. And that's the sequence—though Kellum recommends doing it a couple of times back to back for a fun challenge. Pro tip: Counter-stretch those tight glutes with a figure-four stretch, which will undoubtedly make you go, "ahhhhh."

For more of a yoga workout, try our August Trainer of the Month Val Verdier's beginner yoga flow, or her heart-opening yoga poses to combat tension from hunching over all day. 

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