How to tone your glutes with Pilates

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

One of the questions I am often asked by my clients is: how do I tone my glutes?

Well for a start the so called "glutes" (aka the muscles of your posterior) are actually made up of three muscles: glutes max, medium and minimus that have slightly different functions among them. But the hip joints is also the intersection of other important muscles called hip flexors, small little muscles called external rotators (you might have heard of the piriformis or piriformis stretch) and obviously ligaments, tendons and fascia.

The glutes also connect the upper body with the lower body whilst in a standing position, help create pelvic stability, are involved in lower back pain, and create what is called leg extension when you are running or walking. With all these functions, it is not a surprise that the answer to the question above is not an easy one.

1.Mix both floor work and standing exercises.

For a start, you will need both matwork and standing exercises. As the glutes are the muscles connecting the upper with lower body, standing exercises are needed to work them both for strength and functionality. Squats, various types of lunges, various types of plies, barre exercises, but also compounded and dynamic exercises that work the whole body in the standing position.

2.Add some ankle weights or resistance bands

In order to build muscle in your glutes, you need to you will need to add some weights or resistance bands. Ankle weights are fantastic for some mat-work exercises, in particular the side series exercises in Pilates. But also adding hand weights or a weighted medicine ball for standing exercises like squats or lunges or wide legs plies, will help you build mass quickly.

To avoid increasing muscle volume in your tights while performing glute exercises simply use light to medium weights.

3.Work the glutes from different angles

Considering that your hip muscles are so complex and have so many functions that best way to train then is with training that take in consideration the above and that works your muscles from different angles to create toned, balanced and functional hips and glutes muscles.

4.Work both strength and flexibility

On another note, we also need to consider that in our modern lifestyle, sitting down all day tends to create not only weak glutes, but also tight hip flexors and hips so we need make sure that we stretch or release those tight muscles to create a balanced workout that create both strength and flexibility.

5.Avoid crash diets

If you trying to achieve a more pert and defined posterior you need to build muscle. Crash diets tend to make you lose more muscle mass rather than body fat, and also make you gain weight faster after the diet is over, creating a yo-yo effect on your weight and increasing the possibility of sagging skin around your hips.

So if you are trying to lose weight, make sure that your weight loss is sustainable and your body nourished.


Walking is a great to wake up your glutes muscles after sitting for a few hours. It is easy and it costs nothing, so make sure that take little breaks from your desk during the day and include some longer walks when you can.

Combining Barre & Pilates exercises is one of the best ways to create toned glutes and free from tensions hips, that are both pleasing to the aesthetics and functionality.

If you would like a tailored to you fusion Pilates & Barre workout aimed at your hips and glutes, get in touch and take advantage of my current limited special offer with tailored to you online fusion or Pilates classes starting from £ 25. Hurry up, limited offer!

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