Build a Better Butt with Pilates

Pilates has a myriad of benefits - flexibility, core strength, stabilization, long lean muscles and mental clarity and focus. But, among these benefits, Pilates can help you build a better butt! I wanted to feature the best at home Pilates exercises to build a better butt!

If you’re at home and are looking for a quick Pilates-inspired workout to target the glutes and hamstrings- you’re in the right place! Repeat these three exercises three times each, and you have an easy 15 minute toning workout on your hands! I’ve included the below video to demonstrate all exercises.

This video was filmed at and originally for Endurance Pilates & Yoga.


Stand at the barre. Legs together and parallel. Bend the knee of the leg closest to the mirror and keep looking at alignment. Lift the heel toward the buttocks by bending the knee and NOT by lifting the thigh. Knees should stay together. Reach back and place the ball behind the thigh without letting the hip flexor and quad reach the knee forward. Draw the belly in by using the lower portion of the rectus abdominus. Be sure to look at the position of the pelvis, the position should be neutral (for a woman ASIS is slightly lower that the PSIS…for a man, these two points are even). The pubic bone and tailbone should be in line with each other. DO NOT allow the knee to come forward, the start position is the thighs together and level- the working thigh DOES NOT come forward of the standing leg. The focus is on keeping the the lumbar spine still and not using the back muscles, thus the hamstring will be held in constant engagement. Students must achieve this leg muscle connection during most of the leg actions in a typical barre or Pilates class. Be sure to keep the following muscular connections- lower belly in and up- one hand at the belly, be sure to pull in and not allow the belly to pooch. Stable lower back- one hand at the lower back to ensure the muscles there are stabilizing and not gripping to move the thigh. Knee to knee. Thighs touching.

For most women, just standing in this start position is hip extension. Hold the ball and
attempt to press back in small little pulses 10x and then pull the heel closer to the butt 10x. Repeat 3x through.


Pressing into back of arms firmly (you should feel upper back and triceps pushing down hard into the mat), keeping the head totally still (no sliding), place you feet on top of a squishy playground ball. Stabilize the feet by squeezing inner thighs and glutes (thighs should be touching and butt should be active) and pulling in lower belly and ribs. Begin to tilt pelvis up the ceiling, lifting first the hips, then the low back then the mid back up into a shoulder bridge position.

Firstly roll the spine up and down a few times. Then, hold the shoulder bridge and pull the heels closer towards your butt in tiny pulses 10x and roll the hips down. Repeat 3x.

For an added challenge, roll hips up, pull heels in 10x then extend each leg up to the ceiling (making sure to keep those inner thighs together and abs active). Pull each leg in 10x each. After you’ve done one on each side, place both feet onto the ball, squeezing the inner thighs and pull the heels in 10x. Repeat all of this 3x.


Lay on your back with palm over palm underneath your forehead. Your two front hip bones (ASIS) and pelvis are pushing down into the mat while your abs are lifting up and away from the mat. Legs start long and parallel. Squeeze a magic circle (or even a playground ball) between the back of thigh and ankle. Keeping inner thighs squeezing and glutes engaged in both legs, pull the heel in towards the butt 10x. Relax slightly and repeat 3x. Switch sides. Repeat all 3x through


If you have the luxury to be in the studio, work on that back of leg connection by using the Gratz Cadillac leg springs to practice frogs, leg circles and more. Under the supervision of an experienced instruction, you’ll feel your upper back, abs, butt, and inner thighs!

Remember, you can contact me at anytime if you have questions about this workout or would like to try out the Equipment at my Cambridge Home Studio!

Christie Wang