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10-Minute Butt and Core Pilates Workout You Can Do in Your Living Room
Strengthen these important muscle groups with this quick routine.
By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.
It’s hard to overstate how important a strong core and strong glutes are. As a fitness editor and certified trainer, I find myself harping on both of these things quite often—whether I’m talking about how a strong butt can help improve your running or how focusing on your core can be useful for relieving lower back pain. Both of these major muscle groups play a huge role in the majority of our movements, so the stronger they are, the more efficiently you can move.
When it comes to working both the glutes and core, Pilates is a great option. The low-intensity workout focuses on small, controlled movements that target specific muscles. “Focusing on that control helps isolate the muscles being targeted and lets you work them deeper, which is what makes Pilates so good and effective for working the core and butt,” Manuela Sanchez, certified Pilates instructor at Club Pilates in Brooklyn, tells SELF.
She adds that the mind-body focus of Pilates—it’s meant to be done in a precise, slow, focused manner—is beneficial. When you’re thinking about the muscles you’re working (what trainers often call “minding your muscle), it can help you better engage them.
Sanchez suggests doing the below circuit before a run or a high-intensity workout to get your core and glutes fired up and primed to work “before going into a more complex routine.” The workout below should take you 10 minutes max, and if you want to do it twice, that’s fine too. You can also just do it on its own a few times a week to do some extra core- and glute-strengthening work that will help keep you stable and strong for your other workouts.
Demoing the moves is Sonja Herbert, a New York–based writer, classically trained Pilates instructor, and founder of Black Girl Pilates.
- The One Hundred — 5 reps
- Articulated Bridging — 8 reps
- Single-Leg Bridge — 8 reps each side
- Criss-Cross — 30 reps, alternating sides
- Leg Circles — 20 reps each side
Do all five exercises, for the set number of reps. Try to rest as little as possible in between each one. If you want a longer workout, repeat the entire circuit a second time.
Here’s how to do each move:
- Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on floor hip-width apart.Curl your head up to engage your abs, reaching your arms long alongside your body, palms down.Pump your arms up and down as you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. That’s 1 rep.Do 5 reps.
- Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on floor hip-width apart.Squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels as you lift your hips a few inches off the floor, starting with your pelvis, then lower back, and then mid back.Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.Then, slowly lower down in the reverse order—mid back, lower back, pelvis—to return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.Do 8 reps.
- Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on floor hip-width apart.
- Lift your left leg straight up, pointing your toes toward the ceiling.
- Squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. (You may not be able to lift as high as you can in the Articulated Bridge, and that’s totally OK.)
- Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top, then slowly lower your hips to return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.
- Do 8 reps on each leg.
- Lie faceup and bring both knees in toward your chest.
- Place your hands on the back of your head, keeping your elbows wide. Curl your head up.
- Bring your left shoulder toward your right knee as you extend your left leg. Then bring your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend your right leg. That’s 2 reps.
- Continue alternating sides for 30 reps.
- Lie on your right side with your hips stacked. Extend both legs out straight, stacking your left on top of your right.
- Point your left foot. Lift it up a few inches and make a small circle up and back. If you gaze down at your foot, it should be moving counterclockwise.
- Keep the circle small and think about initiating the movement from your butt. Focus on keeping your hips still the entire time. One circle is 1 rep.
- Do 15-20 reps on each side.