It’s summertime, which means it is the perfect time to pretend to be a mermaid! You have two ways to do this: go swimming and channel your inner Aquamarine, or do this mermaid glute workout!
This can be done without any props and will still be very challenging for your gluteus medius muscles (the side of your butt), or you can add a band like I demonstrate here or a light weight tucked behind your top knee for a greater challenge. If you are using a resistance band, bring it around your legs to a few inches over your knees. It is important not to place it over your knees because it can strain the joints.
When I teach a barre class, I do each side of glute work for anywhere from 4 to 5 minutes. So try to do at least 16 of each movement and do the whole set for 4-5 minutes. Of course, take breaks and modify or shorten the exercise if you need to! Challenge, but don’t injure yourself.
To start, lie on one side and bring your knees straight out in front of your hips and your feet in line with your knees, so your lower body makes a 90 degree angle. Either rest your head on your bottom hand or arm for support. Take your top hand and press it into the floor slightly in front of you body - this will help you keep your alignment as well as stay balanced. Keep the top hip stacked on top of your bottom hip, and even slightly rolled forward. As it gets harder, there is a tendency to roll the top hip back behind the bottom hip, which takes the work out of your glute muscle.
Bring your top leg to hover at the height of your hip, keeping the leg flat so your feet stay in line with your knees. Imagine that your top leg has your favorite ice cream on it, so you don’t want to spill it by tilting your feet or knees out of alignment. Take tiny pulses of your leg up from here, just moving the leg an inch or two in both directions and pressing against the band if you are using it.
Next, start to tap your knees together, then feet together, lifting the leg in between so your knee transcribes an arc - imagine you are drawing a rainbow! Then bring your leg back up to hip height and straighten it out in front of you. Start to lower and lift the leg, gently tapping the toe to hover above the ground. Then switch to small pulses, moving the leg just a few inches up while pressing against the band.
For the final move, start to engage your gluteus maximus (the back of your butt muscles) to press the leg straight back, and bring it back forward. This is where your balance can start to feel shaky, so remember to keep your top hip rolling forward and stacked on top of your bottom hip, and press your top hand into the ground for stability. Take a final hold with your leg up for 8 counts, then release and do the other side! For a great glute stretch after this, try this supported pigeon stretch, or do it without the blocks. Now that you have done this mermaid workout, jump in the water and see if a tail appears like in H2O!