Lifting and toning gluten is probably the most common goal for people who go into a barre studio, but you do not have to attend a class to get that dancer definition. You can build stronger gluten at home and it can be easier than you think! As a bar instructor and personal trainer, I want to share my secrets to shaping the seat.

I often see my barre students struggle with sitting exercises using the torque and strength of their legs – instead of their gluten – to get through these ass sculpting movements. If you want to tone your glutes, try not to let that happen. It is about targeted muscle movement that it takes time, focus and patience to achieve. Believe me, it’s still my battle and I’ve been teaching barre for 10 years. The good news is that your glutes are the largest and most powerful muscle group in the body, and with the right routine – one that works all three muscles that make up the gluteal muscle group – your prey can be lifted, toned and tightened.

Glutes are especially challenging because they are designed for activity, and unless you work them out regularly, they become weak or “lazy” and like to allow other muscle groups, such as hamstrings and quads, to do the heavy lifting. Have you ever worked with your glutes and realized that the place where you actually feel the burn is in your stabilizing leg? It’s your lazy gluten that lets your hip flexors do the work. And no wonder: office jobs and long sitting periods can soften, weaken and flatten the glute muscles, tighten the hips and affect our posture. These lazy glutes can also cause the spine to be less supported, resulting in back pain and other imbalances in the body, such as instability in the knees and hips.

This is the secret: moving muscles is how we change muscles. To get the ass you want, you need to be focused on moving the effort from your gluten. Initiating the movement in the muscle can take exercise. If you feel the work of other muscles, adjust your body position and adjustment until you can feel the glutes activate and become engaged, making your workout more effective. Try one of my favorite tricks: As you move, press your fingertips into the glute muscles you are targeting. This helps your brain create that connection between mind and muscle – feeling the muscles being pushed back right at your fingertips tells you that it is working.

When you finally get the “barre burn”, you know that you have nailed seat work and activated the muscles to the point that your body can begin to change. You will definitely feel it the next day! Try to recreate the same feeling of effort every time you train and be consistent so you see results. Ready to get started? Keep reading for seven of my favorite bar exercises that will help tone and lift your prey in no time.