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Shape up SquarePants! Great Glutes

It happened one dreadful day in February 2002. Changing room…pink dress…innocently check the back view…there it was in all its neglected glory…derrière became a square. Yes, a square. The muffin-top/saddlebag combo glaring at me as if to say “What did you think would happen from ignoring me that long!?”. 9 years to be exact. I didn’t even know how to begin working out again. Pilates mat work sounded like laying down and working out. Sounded like a good start.

It was. Thirteen years later, I still do a handful of sequences that reverse SquarePants phenomenon. With little effort, we can lift, shape and maintain a very UN-square derrière. A fave of mine is this thoughtful bridge routine.

Elsa is not square

Elsa is not square


Put this bridge sequence in your life…It’s about control and slow mo.

  • First move: Get into the pictured position picturing your tailbone and try your BEST to keep it ONE SPOT while you circle the leg around as slowly as you can. I mean slow. Think of respecting each angle of the rotation. Eventual goal: 8 slow circles each way.
  • Second move) keep leg extended and SLOWLY move spine down from top to bottom, SLOW MOTION I MEAN IT, then barely, I mean barely, touch the mat with spine (but definitely touch!) then SLOW MOTION peel spine up to pictured position.  Start reasonable eventually get 8 counts of 8.   Repeat on other leg. That’s it.


These are only two moves. Easy to remember.  You will feel such unusual muscle fatigue that you know it’s good for you. You will succeed at this goal.

The slow mo circle is shaping your glutes and thighs in two awesome ways. Stabilization is key. You will feel the muscles in your glutes and thighs being recruited in unusual ways as you work to stabilize that wiggly tailbone while circling.  All you have to do is try to control it. René’s Tip: Picture it as if it’s a crayon your making a DOT in space with no squiggles. But it’s always about progression, not perfection?. Secondly, really stretching the lengthened circling leg opens up that hip, getting blood flow to neglected muscles, evening out the flexibility all around. It really makes the area look better in the long run, too.

The second move, melting and peeling the spine, is a butt lifter, saddlebag scorcher for sure. Plain and simple: My glutes fall down when I stop doing this move. Sad but true.

Things to help you achieve more and more reps:  Take long, deep breaths they make you feel lighter while up there. Keep symmetry of hips and shoulders, feet and knee alignment in mind. Always focus on the good stuff, relax the neck, the shoulders, knees and toes, and picture what you want the working area to look like. There’s so much good to focus on! I hope you love the way this feels, and the result the way I do… You’re on your way to great glutes.

Remember, work out because you love and cherish yourself, not because you feel inadequate. It’s the difference between doing it for a month or doing it for life!

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