Heel Squeeze to Tone Your Tush!

Pilates heel squeezeHeel squeeze is not an original Pilates exercise, but it is important for teaching your body to activate your glutes and not your hamstrings. Believe it or not, this is a common misfire that happens within our bodies. Frequently, the glutes and hamstrings are in a dysfunctional relationship.

Think of this exercise as a form of mediation to tell themĀ No, you do this. The other muscle does this. This specific division of labor reestablishes what each muscle is supposed to do and helps to restore harmony to the posterior.

Plus, after misfiring, the glutes are often very responsive to work. This means that this exercise will help perk up your posterior and tone your tush!

Heel Squeeze

  1. Begin on your stomach with your fingers stacked on top of each other. This allows enough space for your collarbones to be broad and your shoulders away from your ears.
  2. Laterally rotate your legs (so that your kneecaps face out to the sides) and bring your knees as wide as your mat.
  3. Take a moment to lengthen through your spine and feel the front of your pubis on the mat. You don’t want to have the pubis grinding into the mat, but you don’t want it hovering either.
  4. Flex your feet at the ankles.
  5. Bend your knees and connect your heels.
  6. Only your heels should be touching; your toes should not touch. This is a common error.
  7. We will be using Pilates breathing.
  8. Inhale and lengthen, reaching head through knees. Draw your low belly up to your spine to protect your low back. Maintain this abdominal lift throughout the exercise.
  9. Exhale and engage your glutes. Give them a good squeeze. As you squeeze, you may notice that your knees lift slightly from the floor. This is not a goal, but it does sometimes happen.
  10. Inhale and release your glutes. Make sure they are all the way relaxed. It’s not beneficial to maintain a low level of muscular energy for this part of the exercise.
  11. Do 5-10 reps.
  12. After completing this exercise, it may feel good to do a Shell Stretch.

Heel Squeeze Video

For visual learners, here is a video.

Do your notice a difference in your tush when you regularly do Heel Squeezes? Please feel free to comment below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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