20-Minute Pilates Butt Workout for Stronger Glutes

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This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com.

When you think of Pilates workouts, it’s all about the core — from your lower abs to the transverse abdominis to your obliques. But what you may not realize is that your core also includes your hips and glutes.

“In Pilates, we refer to your powerhouse, and that actually includes your hips, glutes and pelvic floor,” says Andrea Speir, lead instructor for the Daily Burn Pilates Phase 1 and 2 programs. “Since the core and glutes are a connected part of the powerhouse of your body, by engaging your core, you’re halfway there.”

All About That Base: Pilates for Your Backside

What makes Pilates a great workout for a rock solid booty is it targets not only your glutes, but also the muscles that support your hips, like your hamstrings, quads and outer and inner thighs. “The glute medius, for example, wraps around the hips and connects under the body. This helps support the lower back, which is usually pretty weak in people,” Speir says. “Hamstrings are also targeted, and these are the base that the glutes rest on, so having that strong lift will help hold everything up properly,” she adds.

Even better, the different ranges of motion and subtle postural changes in Pilates workouts help engage all muscle groups without adding external weight. “Small movements in Pilates are challenging because they focus on form and control. They get smaller muscles to work harder than they might if the bigger muscles have the chance to take over,” Speir explains.

Keep reading for Speir’s five favorite Pilates butt exercises — and how to put them all together.

RELATED: 5 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Deep Abs

5 Butt Exercises for a Booty-Sculpting Pilates Workout

Hate squats? You’re in luck! This Pilates workout from Speir includes variations of leg lifts to deliver booty-boosting benefits to your thighs, outer hips and glutes. “By working with your own bodyweight, you’re able to lengthen and strengthen safely,” Speir says. Watch carefully, then do 12-15 reps of each exercise for two sets.

Pilates Butt Exercises: Lying Butt Kicks

GIFs: Daily Burn Pilates

1. Lying Butt Kicks

This exercise might look easy, but if you imagine you’re moving your foot through something sticky and thick, you’ll be able to activate your glutes and hamstrings. “Think about active energy between your inner thighs, like you’re hugging an imaginary ball. Finally, activate your booty. That means go ahead and squeeze those muscles to engage them,” Speir says.

How to: Lying on your stomach, lift your torso off the floor and press your tailbone down, keeping your butt and abdominals firm. Make sure your shoulder blades are also down and your forearms parallel to each other on the mat (a). Pointing your toes, kick your right foot towards your butt for two counts, then alternate with your left foot (b).

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Pilates Butt Exercises: Single-Leg Lift and Kick

2. Single-Leg Lift and Kick

You’ll want to keep your hips square throughout this entire exercise, so if your top heel is inching up, engage your core. “The more your abdominals are engaged, the less those hips will go Beyoncé on you,” she says. Speir also likes to imagine that there’s a wall behind her back. “Don’t let your back leave that wall, and that will help keep your body lined up,” she notes.

How to: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up so your head rests on your right hand (a). Keep your left leg stacked on top of your right in a diagonal line and use your left hand to help stabilize you on the mat. Flex both feet (b). Pointing your left foot, lift your leg to hip height. Kick it twice towards the front, and then lengthen and kick it once behind you (c). Switch sides.

RELATED: 15-Minute Leg Workout to Tone Up Fast

Pilates Butt Exercises: Hip Abduction

3. Hip Abduction

Similar to the single-leg kick, your spine should be aligned with your hips and legs to elongate your waist. Lower your leg slowly down to truly feel the resistance. For a visual, Speir likes to imagine moving her leg through chunky peanut butter. “Any time you do abduction or adduction, it’s targeting your inner thighs. But this will lengthen and strengthen the hip extensors as well,” Speir says.

How to: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up so your head rests on your right hand (a). Keep your left leg stacked on top of your right in a diagonal line and use your left hand to help stabilize you on the mat. Flex both feet (b). Lift your leg to hip height and then lower it back down for three counts, so you feel resistance and engage your glutes and inner thighs (c). Switch sides.

Pilates Butt Exercises: Leg Circles

4. Leg Circles

In addition to strengthening your glutes, these leg circles also work your quads and hamstrings. The key is to keep your pelvis stable during the exercise, which means engaging your abs and pelvic floor. “The adduction, abduction and focus on pelvic strength is hugely important because these muscles help to create that true balance between the strong outer hips, glutes and core,” Speir says. 

How to: From the same position as the hip abduction exercise, point on your left foot and lift it to hip height (a). Circle your leg past your bottom right leg slowly, working with resistance to activate your glutes and abductors (b). Repeat for six reps before circling in the other direction for six more reps (c). Switch legs.

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Pilates Butt Exercises: Swimming

5. Swimming

The small movements of this butt exercise will help you move with more control and create greater resistance. Slow and steady wins the race! “This is a very focused exercise, and because of the position of your body, your glutes have to do all the work,” Speir says. “The bonus is that your hamstrings also get majorly strengthened.”

How to: Lie on your stomach with your legs straight behind you, and your forehead resting your hands (a). Keeping your abdominals tight and your shoulders down, lift your feet up off the mat (b). Pointing your toes, lift your right leg higher, pause, and then switch and lift your left leg higher (c).

Steal Karlie Kloss’s Snow-Day Lower Body Strengthener

Steal Karlie Kloss’s Snow-Day Lower Body Strengthener

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While most folks stayed snug at home yesterday during the #BombCyclone, a few brave souls headed outdoors. One in particular caught our eye: Karlie Kloss. The model and fitness fan took to the snowy New York City streets (and Instagram of course!) to get in a little bit of exercise. Her move of choice: slide-board skaters.

 

While this move may look like a fun-filled way to pass some time during less-than-stellar weather, slide-board skaters actually have a lot to offer, including helping to build leg and glute strength, power, and endurance. “They also offer lateral movement, which people don’t focus on,” says Frank Baptiste, CSCS, owner of FranklyFitness in New York City, noting that most of the movement patterns folks tend to follow are forward and backward. “And it’s good for maintaining a balanced body.”

Looking to slide your way to workout success like Kloss? Give ‘em a try.

RELATED: The Best Fitness Vacations to Take in 2018

Slide-board skaters

With booties over shoes, start at the right end of the board, your right foot up against the board’s edge. Soften knees into athletic stance, lift left foot, and swing right arm across body toward left leg, as you explosively push off the right foot and into the ground to slide across the board. When you get to the left edge, lower left foot and repeat movement with right leg and left arm. Continue sliding back and forth, focusing on smooth, controlled movements. Aim to do 8-10 reps per side.

Trainer tip: Turn this into a Tabata, says Baptiste, doing the skaters for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest, and then repeating that sequence for 8 rounds. “This will help with fat loss and endurance,” he explains.

No board (or snow)? No problem. Simply swap the slide-board skaters for traditional ones.

Skaters

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees soft. Hinge forward at hips and raise left foot. Push off right foot and explode toward left, landing on left foot with knees soft; touch right toes to ground behind left foot. Push off left foot and explode back toward the right, landing on right foot with left toes touching behind it. Repeat, alternating sides.

8 Secrets of People Who Never Miss a Workout

8 Secrets of People Who Never Miss a Workout

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We all have that one pal or family member that seems to consistently be working out. On social media, there are the countless check-ins at the gym and fitness studios, the #seenonmyrun hashtags, the pics of brand-new and triumphantly mud-covered sneakers, updates on calories burned, and maps of miles biked or jogged. Meanwhile, you may have meant to head to the gym—but instead, here you are, scrolling through your feeds on the couch.

Real talk: It may not look like it, but even those avid exercisers sometimes struggle. “When my alarm goes off each morning, my first thought is often ‘urgggg,’” confesses Jessie F.*, an endurance athlete who’s completed three marathons, a full Ironman, and more half-marathons and Olympic triathlons than she can count. (Impressive, right?) But no matter what the weather—or how early her alarm goes off—Jessie never bails on a workout.

RELATED: The Best 10-Minute Online Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

What keeps her so committed? We spoke to people who never miss a scheduled sweat sesh–along with personal trainers and coaches who go to the gym like, well, it’s their job–to find out their secrets.

Make it easy—really, really easy

Your workout can be gentle or challenging, but the logistics should always be simple. That’s why Pete N. skips the gym in favor of P90X. “Exercising at home saves time, so there’s never an excuse not to work out,” he says.

Rachel Kasab goes a step beyond the classic advice to pack your workout gear the night before. “If I have an early wake-up the next day, sometimes I sleep in my workout clothes to make sure I follow through,” she says. “Once you have your gear on you have no excuse!”

Find a tribe—or at least a buddy—to keep you accountable

“My real secret is finding the other ‘crazies’ who enjoy working out at the crack of dawn,” Jessie says. “If you agree to meet your workout buddy at 5:45 a.m., there’s no way you can back out. When I did the Ironman, I couldn’t have done it without finding my crew.”

Not wanting to let people down is compelling for instructors too. “I became a group fitness instructor in 2016,” says Cori Magnotta. “You can’t flake out when 20 people are counting on you to show up and lead them!”

Make sure you’ll pay a price for bailing

Gyms and studios that charge even if you skip out on your workout are on to something. “My gym charges a $10 penalty fee if you don’t show up for a class you registered for plus the price of the class,” says Jen. C. “You could lose up to $30 for just being lazy. I can’t stand wasting money, so when I sign up for a class, I go.”

Ashley D. upped the ante and hired a running coach who crafts personalized workout schedules for her and her husband. “The accountability is huge,” she says. “I don’t want to waste the money we pay for the coach, and I’m embarrassed if I don’t get in all my workouts or don’t show improvement over time, so I make sure to do all my runs and try hard. First time I’ve ever really stuck with running–and I just ran my first half-marathon!”

Invest in technology

Gadgets know when you hit your fitness goals–and when you slack. “My Fitbit keeps me honest and accountable,” says Deb Russell, who never misses a workout aside from sick days.

Cathy Hale combines both friends and tech to keep her accountable. “I share my workout activity on my Apple Watch with my super-fit friend,” she says. “It may sound silly, but it keeps me motivated to hit our shared goals. We’re both in our 40s with kiddos, so even when we can’t always work out together, she keeps me motivated virtually. We text each other notes of encouragement.”

RELATED: The Best Smartphone-Friendly Workout Clothes and Gear

Focus on how it’ll make you feel afterward

Jessie credits happy-making endorphins with keeping her committed to daily workouts. And she’s not alone. “I always know I’ll feel great after I start my run, and sometimes that’s reason enough to get going,” says Emily A. “After I had a bad breakup and was feeling so depressed, I’d remind myself that if I ran, the endorphins would make me feel better chemically. I’d make a conscious effort to remember that running would lift me up and improve my mood.”

Sign up for a race—or schedule a treat

A due date—in the form of a scheduled race—is motivation magic. “I started running in 2017 and part of how I got myself to run was registering for a 5K and planning to do it with friends,” says Amy M. Gardner, certified coach and consultant with Apochromatik. After her first 5K in April, she signed up for another in September and a 15K the following month. “Whether it was not wanting to finish a race dead last or just wanting to keep a commitment to friends, it helped me get out the door on the days when running wasn’t remotely appealing,” she says. “By the time I registered for an 8K on Thanksgiving Day, I was doing it because I knew it would be fun and didn’t need the peer pressure/embarrassment threat to get myself training [anymore].”

Not into running? Other concrete, specific fitness goals–like doing 50 crunches a day–are also effective. Small incentives help too: “Book a manicure,” suggests Kasab, or schedule another fun reward for immediately after your gym session.

RELATED: 7 Tips for Running Your First Race

Make it a habit

“Rut” is usually a bad word when it comes to workouts. But a predictable routine—swimming every morning, for instance—can remove that will I or won’t I? deliberation.

“For about 10 years I worked out six to seven days a week without fail,” says Jessica Cintron. Exercise was originally a way to avoid the dreaded freshman 15, she says, but eventually grew into a habit. “At some point it became a part of my routine, and I no longer thought about it as something to schedule into my day,” she says. “It just was a part of my day.”

She’s not the only one. “We say that doing something every day is easier than doing something some days,” says Lara Land, owner of Land Yoga, an Ashtanga yoga studio in New York City. “You just do it, the same way you brush your teeth every day.”

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Give yourself a little break

Here’s maybe the biggest secret of all: Even the most devoted exercisers take days off. “To keep my workout promises to myself, I build in rest days without guilt,” says KJ Landis, author and creator of the Superior Self series. “I allow myself to sleep in, get a massage or pedicure, take in a movie, or go on a shopping excursion. It’s a well-deserved break that deserves no self-deprecating thoughts.”

Learn to tell the difference between simply not being in the mood to hit the gym and those days when you’re really better off taking it easy. “Get into a routine—but listen to your body when it’s tired,” says life coach Emily Radin. “If you’re truly dying to veg in front of the TV for a night with a bowl of pasta, just think of it as a refueling night,” she says. “My ultimate golden rule is never miss three days in a row.”

*Some names have been changed for privacy

9 Ways to Get a Great Workout at Home

9 Ways to Get a Great Workout at Home

“You’re not tired! You’re not tired!” says Chalene Johnson, as she starts another set of high-intensity exercises. She’s tiny, blonde, and has the body I want to have. I am tired, but I follow her lead–a breakthrough since I’m watching her fitness DVD, an advanced cardio program called TurboFire, and there’s no one in the room forcing me to do so.

Why is this a big deal? Because I’m lazy–really. When I go to the gym, I can think of a 101 things I’d rather be doing, even as I jog on the treadmill. Outdoor exercise is also out; too hard on my asthma.

You’d think I’d be the last person to do video workouts at home (no witnesses to my sloth!), but I’ve been able to stick with it for the past two years. Now, I’m stronger, I have more energy, and my endurance has improved. I even feel more confident when I pull on my skinny jeans.

Here are my tips for keeping yourself motivated during your at-home workouts.

Find a workout that fits your life 
Guess what? I used to think I hated workout videos. The truth was I had not found the right one for me. There are hundreds of DVD workouts, and some of them are too hard. Or too easy. (Or too boring.) So Goldilocks, take the time to find the one that’s juuuussst right. Amazon.com has hundreds of user reviews for you to read and consider, even if you don’t want to buy. Start by searching for well-known trainers like Jillian Michaels, Tracy Anderson, Chalene Johnson and Tony Horton. Then, hop onto Youtube to find a sample video. Some are short, but there are many high-quality videos that are 40 minutes to an hour long. Take the time to watch them to see if you can do the moves. Even if you’re superfit, why not have a celebrity trainer you’d never have access to in real life?

Stock up on DVDs
Variety is the key to never getting bored. If you choose a popular program, you can save money by going online before buying from a store. If you get lucky like me, you might be able to pick up Tony Horton’s P90X or TurboFire on Craigslist.org or Ebay.com for $40-$50, or half off the retail price. And just so you know, this is a good time to do it, since people are doing their spring-cleaning and getting rid of their dusty fitness gear.

Personally, I like to keep more than one video around, so I can switch things up and never get bored. I currently own three, and one of them is a dated version of Debbie Siebers’ Slim in 6. Even though it’s old, I use it because it has a good track record, the trainer is likable and the music is pumping. After all, the whole point of this exercise is to get fit, get limber and to get moving.

If you’re budget-conscious, get yourself to the local library. Mixed in among old Hollywood blockbusters, there could be some pilates or cardio-based workout DVDs that someone has donated. You can also try using Freecycle.org. It’s a nationwide service that people use to connect with others who are looking to give away their stuff for free.

Schedule your workouts
Open up your planner and schedule your workouts, following your trainer’s calendar as closely as possible. BLOCK THOSE TIMES OFF! Rest days should overlap with special events or visits from out-of-town guests. And before you leave for any weekend trips, load your fitness programs on your laptop or iPad so that you can work out wherever you go. Think ahead, because when you’re standing in front of a screen in your gym clothes, there should be no distractions. Johnson recommends working out six times a week, but I’d be happy if I could manage to do four. I’ve learned to be realistic, and this is a number I can stick to doing.

Reward yourself for working out 
Still feel like you’re too busy to work out? Try this mental trick. Make a list of things that eat up all of your free time. It could be Facebook and Twitter, or the TV shows you watch. Then, circle three or four of your least favorite activities, and swap them out in favor of exercise. For example, I can make a conscious decision not to watch an episode of “New Girl” every week. And just like that, I’m able to squeeze an extra 30 minutes out of my day.

I also like to use a rewards system. Since food-related ideas are out, I’ve been forced to get creative. I’ve made trips to the museum and to Broadway shows. I’ve taken self-defense classes and signed up for bouldering at a local rock-climbing gym.

Create the perfect space 
When I first started using fitness videos, I did it in my living room. It was so crowded that I had to push my coffee table and sofas aside so I could have enough space to do lunges, jump squats and sun salutations. I’ve learned that I’d rather have a trimmer, fitter body than a perfect living room. My commitment to exercise is not something that needs to be rolled up and hidden away all the time.

This is something you might need to consider. I’ve recently moved all of my operations to the basement after discovering that I’m wearing a hole in my living room carpet. If you plan on doing a long-term program, it’s probably a good idea to find ways to save your flooring from wear and tear. You can rotate your rug every few months, or invest in foam exercise tiles to spare your hardwood floors.

Here’s a pro tip. “To motivate yourself to enter and remain in your exercise environment, make it pleasant and inviting,” says sports psychologist Mark H. Anshel, PhD. I’m taking his advice by painting the walls in a pretty, energizing color like peach. It should do wonders for my mood when I exercise.

Change your diet too
Some of the more advanced DVD programs offer menus and an eating plan, and I am happy to take advantage of the free advice. I love that I don’t have to decide what to eat since it’s all mapped out for me. For example, both P90X and TurboFire offer three meals and two snacks a day, and multiple options for each. With TurboFire, I get 50 pages of recipes, all based on a 1,500-calorie plan. There are weight loss tips, such as how to track your calories, understand food labels and break a weight loss plateau. And P90X has more than one nutrition plan. I can choose whether it’s more important to me to shred fat and build muscle, boost my energy or maximize my endurance.

Get the right gear
To find out what equipment you need, you’ll want to skim through the user manual that comes with most DVD programs, or watch the first five minutes of the video. Amazon reviews are especially useful, because you can find information on what equipment is necessary, what’s optional, and where you might get items on the cheap.

My current setup consists of a yoga mat and blocks that I purchased from Lululemon, and a pair of Powerblock dumbbells that I got for half off the retail price on Craigslist. I also ordered a set of resistance bands from Amazon. They can be used to replace small hand weights and don’t take up much room. And since I do dance-based exercise routines, I have a pair of jazz shoes to help me slide and twist.

Altogether, I’ve spent about $300 on equipment. It’s steep, but still cheaper than paying for a gym membership every year.

Dress to sweat! 
It’s tempting to start working out in whatever you happen to be wearing, such as pajamas and bare feet. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about using exercise DVD’s, it’s that it’s always best to get dressed as if I’m going to the gym.

Wearing sneakers actually makes it easier to do jumping jacks, lunges and leg lifts. Since they cushion my feet and give me a better grip on the floor, I’ll last longer and do more reps, giving me a better shot at actually finishing my routine. Equally important is a good sports bra, to prevent bounce when you start jumping around. And if you do yoga, I recommend wearing a top that doesn’t gape open when you do the down dog.

Still not convinced? Dr. Anshel says that workout clothes “reflect your commitment to perform at optimal levels and have motivational value.” This means it’s a lot easier to jump in and do your exercises if you change as soon as you get home from work.

Here’s another lazy-girl trick. If you’re an early-morning exerciser, you can wear your gym clothes to sleep. The next day, you can pop out of bed, scrunch your hair into a ponytail, and hit the “Play” button on your DVD player.

Practice patience
It can be frustrating to have to learn a new series of moves, especially if it’s a dance or aerobics routine. But in real life, you can’t ask your fitness instructor to stop the class and show you those moves just one more time. The beauty of using fitness videos is that you can stop and rewind as many times you need.

When I get frustrated, I like to take a deep breath and concentrate on getting the steps down. Most of the time, I’ll discover there are only a few moves that are repeated several times. And if that isn’t the case, I can choose whether to persist or downgrade to an easier video. That’s always an option so don’t give up!

 

5 Belly-Blasting Tracy Anderson Moves to Start the New Year

5 Belly-Blasting Tracy Anderson Moves to Start the New Year

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A new year means another opportunity to make strides toward finally getting the body you’ve always wanted. The top priority for most women: the belly. That little extra pudge seems to drive us all crazy. That’s why this month is all about moves that will help cinch the waist. Here’s to a better version of you (and those abs!) in 2018.

Plank Sous-Sous to Forward Step

Get into a plank with feet wide (A), then cross right foot over left (B). Return to “A,” then step right foot under left leg, placing it slightly in front of left foot; rotate torso as left arm extends up (C). Return to “A” and repeat.

Arabesque Sous-Sous Plank/Attitude Combo

Start on hands and knees; place left forearm down and extend right leg out to side (A). Pull right leg in, then extend it up and back (B). Lower right leg as you extend left leg straight back; cross left leg over right (C). Return to “A” and repeat.

Hydrant Side Kick/Toe Tap Combo

Start kneeling. Place left hand on hip, then lower right hand to floor and lift left knee so thigh is parallel with floor (A). Extend leg out and up (B). Swing left leg back behind right, tapping toes to floor (C). Extend left leg back out, then return to “A.” Repeat.

Open Diagonal to Plank Extend Side

Start on hands and knees. Lower down to left forearm and extend right leg back behind you (A). Extend left leg back on a slight diagonal (B). Return left knee to floor, then lift and extend right leg straight out to the side (C). Return to “A” and repeat.

Flexed Coupé Swing to Plank Arabesque

Start kneeling with left forearm on floor. Bring heels together, then open right leg out so thigh is parallel with floor (A). Push into left foot and extend right leg straight up (B). Return to “A” and repeat.