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Top 10 Barre Exercises for a Bouncin’ Booty

Top 10 Barre Exercises for a Bouncin’ Booty

If you're looking to sculpt a toned booty, barre exercises could be just what you need! Barre workouts are designed to target multiple muscle groups, including the glutes, through a series of low-impact, high-intensity movements. Building strong glutes is imperative to creating a stable foundation for your body: the glute muscles are our stabilizers which help us sit, stand, walk and stay balanced. By combining elements of ballet, rehabilitative exercise, and strength training, barre can help you achieve a bouncin' booty that not only looks great, but is strong and supportive too. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the top 10 barre exercises for targeting your glute muscles and building the booty of your dreams. So grab your mat, pull up your at-home barre (that’s code for a chair 😘) and get ready to sweat!



What are the glute muscles?


You’ll often hear your booty referred to as the glutes, but did you know that this title actually refers to a whole group of muscles? The glutes are one of the largest muscle groups in our bodies! It is comprised of:

1. Gluteus Maximus

This is probably the muscle you are most familiar with. It is located at the back of your booty (the round part!) and is one of the strongest muscles in your entire body. The gluteus maximus helps create movement of the hip and thigh and can be felt standing up from a seated position, climbing stairs, doing squats and more!

2. Gluteus Medius

This muscle crosses over slightly with your glute max, however, it is located more toward the outside of your body. The gluteus medius works together with the gluteus minimus to help stabilize you when standing on one leg, and is also responsible for providing outward rotation of the thigh, commonly referred to by your barre instructor as ‘turnout.’ When your instructor says “squeeze your glutes to find your turnout,” this is the muscle they’re talking about!

3. Gluteus Minimus

    The gluteus minimus sits slightly in front of the glute med muscle; out of the three glute muscles, it is located farthest to the side. As well as helping to provide internal rotation of the hip and hip adduction (outward movement of your leg), the glute min muscle works together with the glute med to keep you stabilized, especially when working unilaterally. 
    How to Stretch Glutes ? Loosen Tight Glute

    4. Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL)

    This muscle is largely unknown to anyone who hasn’t taken an anatomy class. It is a very small muscle and is located closer to your pelvis, connecting to the top of your thigh (ITB). Due to its size it can be difficult to differentiate from the glute med and min when exercising, however, there are certain stretches that specifically target the TFL and can help you to feel it. The TFL assists with hip flexion (e.g. lifting your knee up or taking a step forward), abduction (inward movement of your leg) and pelvic stabilization.

    How to get rid of pain in the TFL (tensor fascia lata)

     

     


    10 Exercises for a Bouncin’ Booty


    Pliés

    1. Plié in seconde

      Strengthens: gluteus medius

      Shapes: side booty (roundness)


      This exercise involves standing with your feet wider than your hips, an approximate distance that is equal to 2 and a half of your own feet, and turning your toes out slightly. Be sure to squeeze your glutes as you turnout so that your gluteus medius muscles are activated! Then, bend your knees to drop into plié. From here you can add pulses, heel lifts and more! It can be done facing the barre, side-on, or away from the barre. Follow along with Amy here:

       

       

      2. Parallel plié in first

        Strengthens: gluteus maximus

        Shapes: back booty (perkiness)


        Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your toes pointing directly forwards. Bend your knees and hover your heels off the floor to find your plié position. As you move here, keep your heels lifted, even when you stretch your legs; lifted heels allow you to work in a larger range of motion. This is best done facing the barre, but can also be executed side-on. Try adding a ball between your thighs for an extra burn! Follow along with Amy here:

         

         

        3. Curtsy lunge 

          Strengthens: glute max, med, + min

          Shapes: roundness and perkiness


          This exercise involves standing with your feet hip-width apart and crossing one leg behind the other in a curtsy motion. Your front foot stays flat while your back heel is lifted to allow you to lower your hips down towards the ground and lift back up. You can alternate legs, pulse in place, or even jump side-to-side for some bonus cardio! Follow along with Amy here:

           

           

           

          Arabesque 

          An arabesque is when you lift your leg directly behind you, keeping it straight and squeezing at the base of your glutes (gluteus maximus).

          4. Superman

            Strengthens: glute max, med, min + TFL!

            Shapes: roundness and perkiness


            This exercise is done with your arms fully extended, palms resting on the barre, or with forearms on the barre. Your back should be flat and supporting leg should be bent (this will give you major burn into your glute med and min as they work to stabilize you). You should look similar to a flying superhero, hence the name of the posture. Keeping your working leg straight in arabesque, lift and lower, pulse, circle… the possibilities are endless! The movement of your working leg will target your glute max. Add some knee to chest bends to work your TFL too! Follow along with Amy here:

             

             

            5. All 4’s

              Strengthens: glute max, med, min + TFL!

              Shapes: roundness and perkiness


              Working on your mat, your hands should be under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. As with the superman, your working leg can then lift and lower, pulse, squeeze, and more! What differentiates all 4’s from the superman is the additional shoulder and upper back work you will get from supporting your body on the floor. Follow along with Amy here:

               



              6. Standing seat work

                Strengthens: glute medius and minimus

                Shapes: roundness


                The range of motion in this exercise is limited, so your glute max and TFL will do less work here. Standing upright, bend one knee (supporting leg) and extend the other (working leg). Keep your shoulders over your hips as you move your working leg to the back and/or side. To add burn here, try tying a resistance band around your thighs! Follow along with Amy here:

                 

                 

                 

                Mat Exercises

                7. Side-lying series

                  Strengthens: glute med, min + TFL

                  Shapes: roundness


                  This exercise involves lying on your side with both legs extended in line with your body. Variations of movement include lifting and lowering your top leg, sweeping forwards and back, squeezing and pulsing your top leg downwards (abduction) to target the TFL, or bending through retiré to extend to a kick position. 

                  Top 10 Exercises To Lift, Round & Firm Your Glutes | Workout guide ...8. First position bridge lifts


                    Strengthens: glute max, med + min

                    Shapes: roundness and perkiness


                    Unlike traditional bridge pose, this exercise requires you to connect your heels and work in a turned out, first position. Ideally, your legs should form a diamond shape. As you lift your hips into bridge, push into your feet and squeeze your heels together; you should feel your outer thighs (glute med and min) and glute max switch on. You can hold high and pulse, lift and lower, and even add some heel lifts!

                    Frog Bridge | Illustrated Exercise Guide

                    9. Sumo bridge lifts


                      Strengthens: gluteus maximus

                      Shapes: perkiness


                      These bridge lifts work in a wide stance, as though you were doing a squat on your back. You’ll find it works your glute max and hamstring muscles a lot more than #8! You can hold high and pulse, lift and lower, and even add some heel lifts!

                      Sumo Glute Bridge Girl Workout Exercise Guide Black And White Concept ...

                       

                      10. Fire hydrant


                        Strengthens: gluteus medius, gluteus minimus

                        Shapes: roundness 


                        Similarly to #5, this exercise involves being on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Then, lift one leg out to the side while keeping your knee bent. By lifting to the side, the muscles on the outside of your glutes (med + min) have to engage. These muscles are also working on your supporting leg to keep you balanced!



                         

                        By incorporating barre exercises into your workout routine, you can effectively target your glute muscles and achieve a strong, toned and bouncin' booty. These exercises for are designed to work on different parts of your glutes, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as the tensor fasciae latae muscle, which each contribute to overall strength and appearance. Therefore, it is important that you do not focus on one direction of movement to work your glutes. Popular glute workouts often only target the gluteus maximus with squats, all 4’s arabesque, etc, but this will not contribute to your unilateral balance or the round shape of your booty. So don’t forget about your gluteus medius, minimus and TFL too!



                        Want more barre exercises to create a well-rounded routine?


                        Here’s the: 


                        Top 10 Barre Exercises with a Pilates Small Ball

                        Top 10 Barre Exercises with Resistance Bands



                         

                        References


                        The Healthline Editorial Team. “Muscular System Anatomy, Diagram & Function.” Healthline, 19 January 2018, https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/muscular-system/male#1. Accessed 2 July 2023.

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