This is the best yoga posture to strengthen your glutes

Even though it’s pretty simple, chair pose still manages to be one of the more challenging yoga postures. As you stand there with legs shaking and buttocks burning, you can rest assured that at least your butt is getting a good workout.

Chair pose, or utkatasana, is a standing yoga pose that involves holding yourself still in a kind of squat with your legs together and your hands extended above your head. It’s a common move incorporated into various yoga styles, including hatha, vinyasa and power yoga, says Karina Blackwood, a registered yoga teacher, who notes that it can be part of a dynamic flow or held statically to build strength and warmth in . the body

The posture is considered a full-body strengthening move, but it really focuses on the glutes as you extend your hips forward while sending your butt back. This movement activates your butt muscles to maintain balance and stability, says Brie Bednarski, a 500-RYT yoga instructor and breathwork facilitator at YogaRenew Teacher Training. By practicing this pose, you can strengthen your glutes, making it easier to perform everyday activities that involve hip extension, like walking, climbing stairs or running, he tells Bustle. As a bonus, having stronger glutes can improve back pain, she says, which is another benefit of working on a perky butt.

Along with your glutes, chair pose engages your quads, hamstrings, core, and back. Your quads support and stabilize your body while your back muscles work in conjunction with your core to support your spine, encouraging proper alignment and posture, Bednarski tells Bustle. The move also provides a good stretch for your ankles, shins and shoulders, thanks to the way you lean forward and reach, which is also great for your overall mobility. Here’s how to do chair pose and how to modify it, according to yoga pros.

How to do chair pose

Here, Blackwood explains how to pose in the chair.

– Start by standing with your feet together or hip-width apart, planting yourself evenly on the ground through all four corners of your feet.

– Inhale as you raise your arms above your head and reach for the ceiling.

– Keep your palms facing each other or bring your hands together.

– Exhale and bend your knees, as if you were sitting on an imaginary chair.

– Keep your thighs parallel to the floor, or as parallel as possible, without letting your knees extend past your toes.

– Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button towards your spine.

– Keep your chest lifted, shoulders relaxed and gaze forward.

– Hold the chair pose for 5-10 deep breaths, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and endurance.

– Try to hold the position for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute, or even more if you feel comfortable.

– To come out of the pose, inhale as you straighten your legs and lift your torso to a standing position.

– Exhale as you lower your arms to your sides.

How to change the position of the chair

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The chair pose is tough, but it definitely shouldn’t hurt. If you feel discomfort or strain, you can reduce the depth of the bend in your knees or decrease the duration of the pose for a partial chair pose, Blackwood says. It may also feel more stable to move your feet further apart. For even more support, he recommends adding some props. If you have limited mobility or no balance, stand with your back against a wall and slide down into chair position.

There are lots of fun ways to level up, too, says Whitney Berger, certified yoga instructor and founder of WhitFit NYC. To light up your inner thighs, squeeze your legs together as you squat. To train your core and back, really stretch your arms. To go further, try standing up on your toes or lifting and bending one leg over the other to create a figure of four. This is great for balance and also strengthens your legs, Berger tells Bustle. Adding a boost to the chair pose is another simple and effective way to make it a little more challenging.

Once the chair pose becomes second nature, try extending one leg forward for a one-legged chair pose. This variation further challenges balance and stability and strengthens the standing leg, says Blackwood.

Common mistakes in chair pose

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It’s common to slouch a bit while in position in the chair, so look down and make sure your knees don’t slip past your toes. This puts a strain on the knee joints, Blackwood says. Instead, focus on getting your hips back and down while keeping your knees in line with your ankles.

It ensures that your chest also stays up and lifted. Avoid rounding your upper back and sagging chest, she adds. Maintain an upright posture, lengthen your spine, and pull your shoulder blades down and back to engage your core and maintain proper alignment.

Keep your core and legs engaged, shoulders relaxed, and weight evenly distributed from heels to balls of feet. This will help create a stable foundation for the pose, Blackwood says, so you don’t lean too far forward or too far back. Keep the invisible chair image in mind and you should be all set.

Studies referred to:

Jeong, UC. (2015). The effects of gluteal muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on low back muscle strength and balance in patients with chronic low back pain. J Phys Ther Sci. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.3813.

Salem, G. J. (2013). Physical demand profiles of hatha yoga postures performed by older adults. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. doi: 10.1155/2013/165763.


Brie Bednarski, 500-RYT Yoga Instructor, Breath Facilitator at YogaRenew Teacher Training

Karina Blackwood, Registered Yoga Teacher, Pilates Instructor

Whitney Berger, Certified Yoga Instructor, Founder of WhitFit NYC

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