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Revitalize Your Glutes and Thighs with These 7 Dynamic Exercises

Woman doing glutes exercise on pilates mat

Who doesn’t desire a great booty? Not only does strengthening your legs and glutes make you look and feel great, but it also contributes to your overall well-being. Your glutes are a vital part of your core, after all. The muscles in your glutes and thighs are some of the biggest muscles in your body, and strengthening them takes some serious work! Luckily, with workouts like Pilates and barre, getting your derriere stronger can be quite enjoyable (even if you want to kill your instructor while doing them).

Here are 7 exercises that, when done consistently, will tone your thighs and glutes. These are all body-weight exercises, so grab a mat or a soft spot on the floor (some of these are on your knees), and let’s go!

Glute Bridges

This is a popular one. You’ll not only feel a good burn in your glutes, but your hamstrings will gain strength, and your hips and quads in the front of your legs will lengthen. Here’s how to do it:

  •  Lie on your back. Keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Feet are hip distance apart.

  • Curl your tailbone under and roll your hips up to the ceiling. Your spine lifts off of the floor one vertebrae at a time.

  • Hold the hips up for a few seconds, then roll the spine back down onto the floor

Make it Spicy

Add some small pulses at the top for an extra burn! 

Leg Lifts

As long as you’re able to keep a steady spine, this one really gets the burn going in the booty. It’s also an aesthetic movement (if done correctly), making you feel like a ballerina!

  • Come to your knees. 

  • Place your left elbow and forearm on the floor and the right palm of your hand on the floor. This position takes a little pressure off of the lower back, as opposed to the all-fours, hands-and-knees position.

  • Stretch your right leg behind you. The leg should be right behind your right shoulder and turned out slightly so that the knee points outward (instead of pointing down). Point through your toes.

  • Lift the leg only as high as your back doesn’t arch.

  • Lower the leg back down until your toes tap the floor.

  • Repeat at least 10 times.

Make it Spicy

Add small pulses of the leg at the top.

Rainbow Leg Lifts

This one is just like the previous leg lifts exercise, but we’re making it a little more dynamic and fun!

  • The setup will be the same as before.

  • Instead of lifting the leg straight up and straight down, the leg makes an arch like a rainbow.

  • So, lift the leg to the ceiling, and as it lowers, cross it behind the body, towards the opposite shoulder, and tap the floor with your toes.

  • Lift the leg up again, and as it lowers, open the leg (the right leg) to the outside of the right shoulder. Only go as far as your hips can stay steady.

  • Repeat at least ten times on both sides.

Make it Spicy

Challenge your range of motion! As you get stronger, you’ll be able to lift the leg higher and make larger rainbows without disturbing the position of the hips and torso.

Glute Blasters

Glute Blasters are a fun and dynamic workout that can be done using different props and machines, but we’re keeping it simple and prop-free on the mat! This exercise can be challenging for people with tight hips and quads, but the benefits outweigh the initial difficulty.

  • Come to your knees and elbows. Place your forearms on the floor with your palms face down.

  • Lift the right leg and bend it 90 degrees. Aim to have the thigh bone parallel to the floor. Flex the foot.

  • Press your thigh up to the ceiling. Think of trying to touch your heel to the sky. Come back to the start position.

  • Don’t arch your back. Keep your belly lifted away from the floor.

  • Repeat at least 10x. Work up to 1 minute or more!

Make it Spicy

Change the dynamic in speed. Maybe do 20 very slowly, then 40 a little quicker.

Side-Lying Exercises

The following exercises are done lying on your side. You can rest your head in your hand or lie all the way down, placing your head on your bicep or a pillow. Side-lying exercises are perfect if you’re pregnant, postpartum, not feeling energetic, or if you’re feeling completely normal! If you are pregnant and your belly is really poking out, you can support it by placing a pillow underneath.

Side-Lying Leg Lifts

For some, these leg lifts never get old or easy. 

  • Lie on your side with long, stacked legs. Bring your legs slightly forward so that your body is not in one straight line. Place your top hand on the floor in front of your belly like a seatbelt. 

  • Lift the top leg to the height of your top hip. This is your starting point. Make sure your foot is flexed and your toes and knee point straight forward, not upward.

  • Lift your leg up towards the ceiling. The leg stays in that parallel position, so don’t turn the knee up to the ceiling.

  • Bring the leg back down to hip height.

  • Repeat at least ten times on each side.

Make it Spicy

Lift the leg a little higher than hip height and do small pulses. You can also change the dynamic and speed of the leg lifts.

Leg Circles

  •  The setup is the same as the previous exercise.

  • Lift the top leg to the height of your top hip. Make sure your knee and toes are pointing forward and not upward.

  • Make circles with your leg without changing the orientation of your knee and toes. Make the circles only as big as you can control them, making sure the hips don’t shift and your upper body stays stabilized.

  • Circle the leg at least five times in each direction on both legs.

Make it Spicy

Change the speed and the size of your circles.

Clam Shell

Clam shell is a deceiving workout. It looks simple, but your outer hip will burn quickly!

  • Lie on your side and bend your knees. Your knees will be at a 90-degree angle from your hips.

  • Keep the top knee bent and keep the toes touching as you open the top thigh towards the ceiling like a clamshell. 

  • Bring the thigh back down and close the knees.

  • Repeat at least ten times on both sides.

Make it Spicy

Keep your knees together and point all ten toes up to the ceiling. The knees will point down to the floor. Repeat the movement of the clamshell with the feet lifted. Feel the buuurrn.

As a friendly reminder, don’t forget the core’s involvement in each exercise. Whenever you’re on your knees with the leg reaching behind you, think of pulling your belly button up towards the ceiling and not arching the back when you lift your leg. When you’re lying on your side, keep the upper body still and strong as your working leg moves.

Of course, these are just a few of the many exercises that can be done for the targeted area of the thighs and glutes. Consistency is key, so grab your mat and try to make these a part of your daily routine. You're sure to look and feel great. So, feel the burn, spice it up, and revel in this routine. Your derriere will thank you! For more Pilates workouts and exercises like this, visit my YouTube channel and subscribe.

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