Activate Your Booty in 3 Unlikely Poses

low yoga lunge, kneeling anjaneyasana image

Activate Your Booty in 3 Unlikely Poses

Ever notice that vinyasa yoga has very few postures that strengthen the buttocks? The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body, enlisted with the important job of keeping your trunk in an erect posture. Missing out on developing this muscle can lead to pain and poor function in lumbar and sacral region of the spine. Not to mention, who wants a flat booty?

Not only will engaging your buttocks support your spine, but reciprocal inhibition is at play in releasing the front of the hips. Reciprocal inhibition is a neuromuscular reflex that aids in movement: When you contract the muscle on one side of a joint, the opposite is inhibited to prevent it from working against it’s counterpart. Put simply: engaging the glute = release at the front of the hip.

{Read more about reciprocal inhibition in backbends here}

Engage your gluteus maximus in these 3 poses for a stronger, bigger booty and maximum stretch in the opposing muscle group:

Low & High Lunge

Whether your back knee is on the floor or not, engage the glute of the back leg. Notice that the opposing muscle group, the front part of the hip, relaxes. Try backing off of the stretch, moving your hips back in space, then engage the glute and press forward gently again, keeping your hips squared. For maximum effect, you can repeat 2-4 times.

Warrior 1

Make sure that feet are hip’s width apart, back foot turned out at 45 degrees. Engage the buttock of the back leg. You can test engagement by placing your thumb at the top of your buttock. You should feel the muscle pop up, in roundness, a few inches beneath your waistline a the top, middle buttock. Notice that you have a bit more space to deepen your posture by guiding your front thigh more parallel to the earth, keeping the front knee over the ankle. As you deepen, you may need to step your front foot farther forward to keep your front knee over your ankle. Notice how the engagement of the glute here supports your posture, adding power and stability to your low back, trunk, and back leg.

woman doing warrior 1 yoga pose


Pigeon Pose

In yoga, we often think of pigeon as a passive, resting stretch, mainly because it’s usually offered near the end of a class, after we’ve worked about every muscle in our body a hundred different ways. Next time you’re in it though, try engaging the back leg’s buttock to release the front of the hip. Not only will you reap the rewards of a more bodacious booty, but your hip will love you for it, and you may find spaciousness in the pose that didn’t exist before.


image of man doing pigeon yoga pose

Booties Beware! Engagement’s-a-commin’!


Kelli Russell
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