3 Pilates Exercises for a Better Butt

woman with ponytail stretching back

Aleyse Bradford |

Do you have problem areas that you can’t seem to tighten or tone, even after what seems like millions of squats and lunges? Discover how the tools of Pilates will make you look and feel better. With the help of these three exercises, you will soon start to see changes in your body’s shape. Plus, they can be performed anywhere in less than 10 minutes!

woman with ponytail stretching back

Pilates is one of the best ways to tone the body without creating bulk, instead forming long, lean muscles. The reason Pilates is so effective is because it activates and targets the smaller muscles of the body, the ones you didn’t even know you had! By learning to activate and strengthen those muscles, you will actually improve your performance in all other workouts and protect yourself from injury.

For example, classic exercises like lunges will tone your lower body quicker because you’ll have better form and body awareness. And those barbell squats at the gym will start to feel more comfortable and get better results because you have learned to engage your core and gluteals in a new way. So all those problem areas you’ve never been happy with finally tighten up.

woman using prosourcefit stability ball for bridge


One note before you begin - remember to breathe! It’s very important to always breathe deeply and slowly during most types of exercise. This will allow you to  find the muscles you are trying to work as well as release unwanted tension. Breathing also reminds the body to keep your abdominal muscles engaged, which is a key principle of Pilates.

And now for the magic ingredients to that better booty! Practice these exercises three to four times per week. For exercises 2 and 3 you will need a ProSource Loop Resistance Band (start with light, and work your way up to medium or heavy). You may also find these easier to perform on a thick Pilates mat to cushion your hips and sensitive joints.

1) Single Leg Bridge

Lie on your back with your legs bent, feet hip distance apart and arms down by your sides. Keeping the right leg straight, float it up in the air, then squeeze your left glute as you push into your heel and lift your hips off the mat. Lower hips back to mat and repeat a total of 10 times before switching legs. Complete 3 sets of 10 on each side.

woman in starting position of single leg bridge on prosourcefit extra thick yoga and pilates mat

woman doing single leg raise on prosourcefit extra thick yoga and pilates mat

woman doing single leg raise on prosourcefit core balance disc

*Note: Make sure to lift hips by using your glute muscles, NOT your lower back. Move slowly! The exercise will be more effective because you work deeper into the muscle.

2) Side Lying Leg Lifts

Lie on your side and rest your head on your bottom arm, top arm on mat in front of you and legs stacked and straight with the resistance band around your ankles. Engage low abs by “zipping” them in and up. Lift your top leg towards the sky, creating tension on the band and pulse the leg up 10 times at a medium pace. Complete 2 sets of 10 then repeat on other side.

woman using prosourcefit loop resistance band for side lying leg lifts

  • To advance, place feet inside of a Pilates Resistance Ring, with against the padded handles. Note that this will drastically reduce the range of motion.

*Note: Keep both feet flexed and think of reaching your top leg out of your hip as you lift. Stretching longer is more important than how high. This will target the glute muscle more effectively.

3) Side Lying Leg Circles 

Start in the same position as exercise #2 with loop band around ankles. Lift top leg up until the band has tension, keep your abs and glute muscles tightly engaged as you circle the top leg 10x, then reverse the circles 10x. Repeat on the other side.woman doing side lying leg circles with prosourcefit loop resistance band

* Note: It’s important not to arch your lower back, as you will be compressing your back instead of working your butt. Think about reaching your tailbone towards your feet with a slight tucking action.

That’s it! These exercises can be performed on their own, or as a warm up for your lower body workout. Stay consistent with all three exercises three to four times per week, and you’ll see a transformed booty in no time! 

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