Bottom, booty, toosh, posterior, butt, bum... whatever you prefer to call it, we are talking about the glutes and how to strengthen them! This has been a hot topic of discussion in my classes recently. “Lazy” glutes are a common issue these days and can contribute to low back and/or knee pain – who wants that in their life? Here are some Pilates exercises that you can do to help get those glutes firing. Let me know how you get on!
Hip flexor stretch. Tight hip flexors can mean inactive glutes. If this is you, try this simple stretch. Start on your knees, then bring your left foot onto the floor in front of you. Square your hips, slightly tuck your pelvis and lengthen through the crown of your head towards the ceiling. Bend into your left knee without allowing the knee to go over the toes. Hold for a few breaths, then swap sides.
4 point kneeling hip extensions. Start on your hands and knees, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Lengthen your right leg, lift it to hip height, then bend the knee. Keeping your hips facing the floor and your knee bent, lift and lower your right leg. Think of using the glutes to lift the leg. Make sure you don’t allow the spine to dip towards the floor or the ribs to flare. Repeat on the other side.
Spine curls. Lie on your back, arms by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart and parallel. As you exhale, tuck your pelvis and imprint your low spine into the mat before peeling it away, one vertebra at a time, coming up to the tips of the shoulder blades. Breathe in at the top and as you breathe out, melt the spine back down to the floor, again, one vertebra at a time, starting from the breastbone and travelling down the spine to the tailbone. Focus on lengthening the spine throughout.
Oyster. Lie on your left side with knees bent. Line up your feet, tailbone and shoulders. Gently press the feet together as you lift your right knee towards the ceiling. Make sure you don’t roll back on your hips as you lift the knee. Exhale to lift the knee and inhale to lower, keeping the hips and torso still. Repeat on both sides.