Pilates can be done at any stage of fitness to improve your balance and strength. The benefits are innumerable for simple floor mat routines. Here are three beginner’s exercises for toning your bottom.
This move is more than part of a program designed to shape your gluteus maximus; it is also great for your spine and shoulders. This is best done on a floor mat for subtle cushioning and a rolled up towel. Face the floor mat, with the rolled up towel fitting comfortably under your forehead. You will lift only your upper body from the floor, making sure to focus your eyes on the floor mat below and engaging your stomach muscles for support. Your shoulders should go back slightly when you raise your upper body, but be sure to position your arms so that the back of your hands lie flat on the mat to your sides. You will be breathing in as you raise, and exhaling as you lower your face back on the towel. The benefits of Pilates is in controlled movements, so make sure you do this in a very controlled manner and focus on the muscles being used. Repeat it no more than five times when you begin.
This exercise is actually very easy for beginners and will work out your buttock, hamstrings, and lower back all at the same time. To perform this move start by lying on your side with the arm against the floor extended above your head, palm up. The other arm will be bent at your waist and stabilizing your upper body from tipping over. The leg that is against the floor will be bent at the knee, but for comfort don’t do a complete 90 degree angle until you are more used to the exercise. With the upper leg, you will first position it straight, so that it is not touching the other leg and is in line with your extended arm. Now ‘kick’ your free leg slowly forward so that it is at a 90-degree angle with your torso. Keep the leg straight as you do this and bring it back to starting position. You should do this for no more than 10 reps per leg to start with because you will really feel it working after just one session. Be sure to keep your pelvis in neutral position as you do this and work out both sides in turn.
To do this type of leg lift you need to start on one side with your bottom arm extended as with the forward kick with your palm up. This time you will place a folded towel on top of the extended arm, cradling your neck and face in a comfortable position. Your free arm should fall draped over your waist. You can bend your lower leg somewhat, but it shouldn’t be a 90-degree angle like the last exercise. You will only lift your free leg slightly up and down without touching the lower leg. Be sure to inhale as you lift the leg and exhale as you lower it. This exercise will tone your bottom and work your abs and hamstrings at the same time. Repeat this on both legs for 10 reps.
If you will use this as part of a regularly scheduled Pilates workout you will be able to effectively tone your bottom, and be well on your way to a healthier you.