It’s hard to overstate how important a strong core and strong glutes are. As a fitness editor and certified trainer, I find myself harping on both of these things quite often—whether I’m talking about how a strong butt can help improve your running or how focusing on your core can be useful for relieving lower back pain. Both of these major muscle groups play a huge role in the majority of our movements, so the stronger they are, the more efficiently you can move.
When it comes to working both the glutes and core, Pilates is a great option. The low-intensity workout focuses on small, controlled movements that target specific muscles. “Focusing on that control helps isolate the muscles being targeted and lets you work them deeper, which is what makes Pilates so good and effective for working the core and butt,” Manuela Sanchez, certified Pilates instructor at Club Pilates in Brooklyn, tells SELF.
She adds that the mind-body focus of Pilates—it’s meant to be done in a precise, slow, focused manner—is beneficial. When you’re thinking about the muscles you’re working (what trainers often call “minding your muscle), it can help you better engage them.
Sanchez suggests doing the below circuit before a run or a high-intensity workout to get your core and glutes fired up and primed to work “before going into a more complex routine.” The workout below should take you 10 minutes max, and if you want to do it twice, that’s fine too. You can also just do it on its own a few times a week to do some extra core- and glute-strengthening work that will help keep you stable and strong for your other workouts.
Demoing the moves is Sonja Herbert, a New York–based writer, classically trained Pilates instructor, and founder of Black Girl Pilates.
- The One Hundred — 5 reps
- Articulated Bridging — 8 reps
- Single-Leg Bridge — 8 reps each side
- Criss-Cross — 30 reps, alternating sides
- Leg Circles — 20 reps each side
Do all five exercises, for the set amount of reps. Try to rest as little as possible in between each one. If you want a longer workout, repeat the entire circuit a second time.