Lie face up on a mat with your feet hip width apart and as close to your butt as is comfortable. Place your arms by your sides, palms down on the mat.
Inhale deeply as you contract your core and lift your left leg up so that it is fully extended directly above your hip joint. Exhale as you press through your right foot to lift your hips upward as high as you can, tightly contracting your glute and hamstring muscles.
Inhale as you slowly lower your hips down, pausing around one inch above the ground before repeating the motion. Continue for a set number of repetitions or a set time period before switching legs and repeating the motion with the opposite leg lifted. Lifting your hips up and lowering back down is one repetition.
MODIFICATIONS: To further challenge your core you can 1.Lift your hands and forearms up off the ground, pressing your elbows to the ground. 2. Lift your entire arm directly above your shoulder, using just the tips of your shoulder for balance. 3. Lift your arms above your shoulders and reach upwards, lifting your shoulder blades from the floor to balance only on your spine (for the most challenge to your core muscles).
The Pilates Shoulder Bridge Prep Level 3 is an advanced and extremely effective butt toning and strengthening exercise. The focus of this Pilates move is on your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, making this an excellent exercise for shaping and firming your backside as well as targeting your core muscles (because of extra balance that the extended leg requires). Add this to a Pilates leg routine or any bodyweight home workout plan to tone and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.