Tips For Strengthening Your Glutes In Your Next Barre Class

Crushing a barre class may seem as simple as copying your instructor's pliés, dégagé, or ballet jumps. But it's so much more than that. Barre is meant to energize, build alignment, and sculpt the whole body. "A barre workout combines traditional elements of a classical ballet barre workout with Pilates and contemporary leg exercises to offer a low-impact, challenging workout focusing on the lower body," explains Julie Erickson, founder of Endurance Pilates and Yoga (per Byrdie). In particular, it focuses on activating and fatiguing the hamstrings, calves, and glutes, points out Erickson. And, it works the core muscles too. But with all that work, do you ever feel it's not raising the barre high enough to tone your glutes? Don't worry if you find yourself nodding yes, turns out there are certain tips to help strengthen your glutes – just in time for your next barre class.

Instead of distracting yourself from the burn, learn to harness it. Why? Because the mind-body connection is a powerful one. Research has shown that the mind can positively affect physical responses when it comes to stress, pain, the ability to heal, and more (via Cleveland Clinic). This principle can be applied to exercise, too. Focusing (really focusing) on a barre movement requires attention. And, the more attention you bring, the more you encourage optimal muscle recruitment, shares Popsugar. So the next time you feel yourself drifting during a movement, consider refocusing to truly switch on those glute muscles.

Pay attention to your form and use glute specific exercises

Beyond channeling the power of your mind, another way to lift those buns is to pay attention to your body's position. You see, proper position and form are fundamental to exercise. And barre is no exception. Proper form ensures safety, reduces instability, and ultimately dismisses invitations for injuries regarding the neck, hip, or lower back (per Pop Sugar).

After perfecting your form, for extra glute stimulation, feel free to drop to the mat. Many barre classes practice standing glute exercises to strengthen the glute, but these sometimes don't necessarily target the right muscles for "buns of steel", shares Eat This, Not That!. Enter table top position — a well-known yoga pose. This position, which is on all fours, helps to stabilize the body so you can recruit more glute activation and fully work the bum.

Don't be afraid to talk to your instructor as well. They're a wealth of knowledge and may be able to suggest glute-specific exercises to help you reach your bootiful goals. Think leg lifts and bridges.

Believe it or not, training your peachy rear doesn't stop at barre class — it's only the beginning. While you'll likely be sore after class, avoid letting those sore muscles veto your next workout, points out MindBodyGreen. Rather let it inspire you to keep moving, whether it's an active recovery or glute-specific functional training kind of workout, so you can move through the soreness quicker.

Hold for one more second

That's probably the last thing anyone wants to hear while they're doing sauté jumps or relevés. We get it. By no means do you need to double the time the instructor gave, but adding (really adding) one more second while squeezing the glutes can make all the difference. Eat This, Not That! explains that counting one full Mississippi (feel free to spell it out if that helps) strengthens the glutes faster since it ramps up the intensity. Sure, your muscles may be shaking, but that's a good thing.

According to MindBodyGreen, embracing this tremble is one of the best ways to crush your barre workout. In return, this gets you closer to your leg goals and a tightened bum. Erikson explains to Byrdie that "a barre class is more static, focusing on the tiny movements to work each muscle to its absolute edge". But when this edge is met with intense trembling, it often feels like your legs or butt muscles are signaling that something is wrong. Truth is, the shaking just means you're exhausting your muscle, points out MindBodyGreen. To combat this, focus on your breathing and match your inhale and exhale with the movement, instead of barre-ly breathing, shares Popsugar. Not only will this lift your glute muscles, but it will lift your mood and your barre experience too.