Pilates: 4 easy moves to lift your butt

Get a toned bum with these exercises, which you can easily work into your daily routine.

The butt consists of 3 muscles, the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus, with the gluteus maximus being the largest muscle in the human body. Here are four easy exercises to lift your bottom, by fitness instructor Lucy Thirsk from Bootcamp Pilates.

1. Clam press:

Lie on your side on the floor in a straight line with your lower arm underneath your head for support.  Bend your knees into a 90 degree angle with feet inline with your bottom.  Make sure hips, knees and ankles are stacked.  Inhale to prepare, exhale and raise top knee.  Keep feet together and watch you don't roll back on the bottom hip (that's cheating!). Complete 20 on each side.  Progression: lift both feet off the floor and raise and lower the top knee.  End with small pulses of the top knee.  Repeat on other leg.

2. 4-point kneeling with leg raise:

Kneel on the floor with knees under hips and hands under shoulders.  Lengthen through spine and raise right knee off the floor keeping leg bent.  Raise and lower foot up to the ceiling (20 times).  Rotate from the hip and lift knee to the side (20 times).  Keep knee and foot in line with the hip, move foot across the other leg and return it towards the arm (20 times). Lastly pulse foot up to the ceiling. Repeat on other leg. Progression: tuck the standing foot under and raise knee off the floor by about an inch repeat above moves keeping bottom inline with head.

3. Lunge and variations:

Standing with feet hip distance apart step backwards with one foot bending the other knee so that thigh is parallel to the floor, stand back up pushing through the heel of the front foot. (20 times). Curtsy lunge, step back and bend back knee behind front knee.  (20 times) Scooter lunge, bend front leg so thigh is parallel to the floor, balance on front foot then slide back foot in and out (20 times). Repeat sequence on other leg. Progression: raise back foot during scooter lunge bring knee into chest.

4. Shoulder bridge: 

Lie supine with knees bent, feet hip distance apart.  Exhale and peel the spine off the floor, from the tailbone, one vertebra at a time lengthening through the spine, inhale at the top and exhale and roll the spine back down (10 times) then hold at the top and pulse the bottom (20 times). Repeat. Progression: place feet wide apart and externally rotate at the hips to turn knees and feet out to 10 & 2 o'clock positions, peel spine off the floor as above.  Raise one foot to the ceiling and continue to peel spine as above.

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