Does Pilates help build glutes?

Created by Joseph Pilates, pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that emphasises the importance of mind-body connection during exercise. While pilates is low impact and isn’t exactly a massive calorie burner, it works to bring overall balance to the body. But does pilates help build glutes?

does pilates build glutes

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the benefits of pilates, whether or not pilates is a good option for glute building, and how you can incorporate pilates into your lower body routine for a sculpted, shapely booty. Let’s take a look!

What is pilates?

Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that prioritises core strength, with extra importance put on mind-body connection during exercise. Often confused with the two, pilates is similar to yoga and other low-impact workouts, such as barre workouts.

Does pilates help build glutes?

In short: yes and no. No, because pilates isn’t a form of weight training – even if some pilates workouts can be carried out using ankle weights or wrist weights, pilates isn’t going to offer enough resistance to break down your muscle fibres (which is what you need to achieve to build rounder, fuller glutes.)

But just because pilates doesn’t actively help build muscles, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t space for a pilates workout in your exercise routine. From toning to building core strength, pilates offers a wide range of health and body benefits – and can even positively impact your wellbeing.

Benefits of pilates

So, what benefits can you enjoy if you incorporate a couple of pilates workouts into your exercise routine? Here are just some reasons you should considering adding pilates to your workout routine:

Increased core strength

As we alluded to above, pilates is great at increasing your core strength. While you might wonder what your core strength has to do with your bum goals, having a strong core makes it easier for you to perform high intensity workouts or lift heavy weights while strength training. While a pilates workout isn’t going to grow your glutes in the same weight that weighted resistance training will, it will make you stronger: this can make it easier for you to move to heavier weights, and therefore boost your results from your strength training.


While strength training helps to grow and build your muscles, pilates and other low impact forms of exercise can help tone and shape your muscles. Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston have used pilates for decades to maintain their red-carpet bodies – so it must do something! While it’s normal for you to want to focus on your main fitness goals – aka building a rounder and fuller booty – you shouldn’t ignore the rest of your body.

In fact, having a toned upper body is only going to accentuate your glutes results further – when your abs are more toned and your waist smaller, your bum is going to appear even more shapely and round. Win win!

Lifting your bum

Aside from offering toning benefits, pilates also works to lift and shape the bum. If you find that your strength training programmes always result in you developing square-ish glutes, pilates is your key ally. Pilates doesn’t just work the largest of your three glute muscles (the gluteus maximus), but instead is able to fire your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus using different complex movements. Adding pilates exercises to your exercise routine will prevent you from overworking your gluteus maximus, and also means you’ll enjoy a rounder, perkier, peachier bum.

Pilates for bigger glutes: what to do

If you want to add pilates into your exercise regimen to help you shape and lift your glutes, here’s what we’d recommend doing:

Do pilates at the end of your strength training

You don’t need to perform a full-length pilates workout to enjoy the benefits; you can also look up some popular pilates moves and include them at the end of your workout. Not only will this help shape your glutes as we explained above, but it also exhausts your muscles fully – forgive us if you wake up with achy sore muscles the next day!

Perform a short pilates routine on your rest day

We all know that rest days are incredibly important for your muscles – when you’re performing intense strength training, you need to give your muscles time to repair and heal – it’s this process that allows your muscles to rebuild themselves stronger and larger than before. However, if you’re feeling good after your last gym session and you want to get in a quick workout, pilates is a great option. It’s low impact – so it won’t interrupt your muscle repair – but it’s still effective enough to yield results.

Do pilates once a week

If you’d prefer to try out pilates in a follow-along class, we’d recommend performing a full-length class just once a week. When your primary goal is muscle gains, you should be prioritising strength training, ideally performing around 3-4 strength workouts a week. You also need at least two rest days, so you can fit in one full-length pilates workout during a free day.


Does Pilates burn fat or build muscle?

Pilates can help burn fat while strengthening your muscles, but it isn’t the best exercise method for those looking to put on muscle in one particular area of the body (such as the bum.) Pilates aims to provide you with balance and strength equally throughout your body.

How many calories does pilates burn?

Pilates isn’t the biggest calorie burner, but anyone around 140-160 lbs can still burn around 175-200 calories in a regular hour-long session. As with any form of exercise, those who are heavier will burn more calories.

Can Pilates change your body shape?

The goal of pilates isn’t to change your body shape, but rather bring a sense of balance to your body via your core strength. If you’re looking to build a larger booty, pilates isn’t really your best option – although you can add some pilates movements onto the end of your strength-training routines to wear out your muscles and provide some tone.


I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.

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