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Great Butt Exercises

5 Pilates Moves to Tone Your Butt


Updated June 10, 2014

Here's the greatest thing about Pilates butt exercises: We almost never do anything that affects just one part of the body. Therefore, these Pilates moves will work the backs of your legs, abdominal muscles, and back too!

It is not recommended that you do all of these exercises in a row. These are options to add to your regular balanced routine. In Pilates we work our muscles in context with the effort you need for the exercise, so don't over-do your glutes (butt muscles). Stay balanced. Be sure to click on the full instruction links to get the details for each exercise.

Learn 5 great butt exercises:

1. Pelvic Curl

Woman doing shoulder bridge, chest down
Milena Boniek/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Exhale: Do a pelvic tilt by engaging the abdominal muscles to pull your bellybutton down toward your spine.
  3. Inhale: Press down through your feet to curl the tailbone up. The hips raise, then the lower spine, and middle spine.
  4. Come up to the lower part of your shoulders with a straight line hip to shoulder.
  5. Exhale: Use abdominal control to roll the spine back down to the floor. Begin with the upper back and work your way down.
  6. Inhale
  7. Release to neutral spine
  8. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

2. Heel Beats

Pilates heel beats
(c)2010, Marguerite Ogle


  1. Lie on your stomach with your forehead on your hands. Your legs are together, straight behind you.
  2. Lift your abdominal muscles away from the mat. Feel your spine lengthen.
  3. Turn your legs out very slightly at the hip. Heels together.
  4. Keep your abs lifted as you send lengthening energy down the backs of your legs and through your heels. Let that energy lift your legs off the mat.
  5. Quickly beat your heels together and apart.
  6. Do 10 beats. Rest and repeat.

3. Pilates Swimming

Mat Exercise - Swimming
(c)2008, Marguerite Ogle
  1. Lie on your stomach with the legs straight and together.
  2. Keeping your shoulders away from your ears, stretch your arms straight overhead.
  3. Pull your abs in so that you lift your bellybutton up away from the floor.
  4. Reaching from center, extend your arms, legs and spine so far that your legs, arms, and chest lift off the mat. Don't crease your neck.
  5. Alternate right arm/left leg, then left arm/right leg, pumping up and down in small pulses.
  6. Breathe in for 5 kicks and reaches, and out for a 5.

4. Leg Kick Back w/wo Exercise Band

pilates with band
  1. Start on all fours with the middle of the exercise band around the right instep. Hold the ends under the hands
  2. Lift your abdominal muscles.
  3. Keep your right knee bent and extend your right hip so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  4. While maintaining the height of the knee, slowly kick your heel back so that the leg is straight.
  5. Bend your heel back toward your butt. Don't let the knee fall.

If you don't have an exercise band, you can do this without.

5. Double Leg Kick

pilates exercise
(c)2007, Marguerite Ogle
  1. Lie face, head to one side, legs together.
  2. Clasp your hands together behind your back, as high as possible.
  3. Inhale: Pull your abs in, lifting your belly away from the mat. Lengthen your spine, extending the feeling of length so your legs lift slightly off the floor.
  4. Exhale: Legs together, kick your heels toward your butt in a three-part pulse-kick.
  5. Inhale: Keep your hands clasped and extend your arms behind you, arcing your upper body high off the mat. At the same time, stretch your legs out straight, just above the mat
  6. Exhale: Return to the starting position with your head turned to the opposite side.

This is an intermediate exercise. Start small.

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