Pilates has long been recognized as one of the best movement systems for improving core strength and stability. But it’s also one of the most effective methods for toning and sculpting the abs, hips, waist, and thighs. And with summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to incorporate Pilates into your workout routine so you can feel beach-body ready!
Here are 6 exercises that will target and tone the muscles that you need to rock that bikini with confidence.
Lying on your back, lift your legs 45 degrees off the mat, lengthen your arms, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, look towards your toes. Pump your arms vigorously up and down 5 times on an inhalation and 5 times on an exhalation. Repeat 10 times for 100 pumps. Continuously draw the navel in deep, squeeze the glutes and thighs. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Pull your knees to your chest, lift your head and neck off the floor, elbows wide. Extend your arms overhead in line with your neck, and your legs out 45 degrees, stretching in opposition, head and neck stay lifted. Circle your arms around and pull your knees back in to your chest. Repeat 10 times. Inhale to extend out, exhale to bend in. Draw the navel in deep and avoid tilting the pelvis or arching the back.
Lie on your stomach, arms stretched forward, palms and forehead down. Keep the pelvis anchored to the mat for stability, toes pointed, inner thighs pressed together, squeeze the glutes. Shoulder blades stay anchored down the back. Lift arms, legs, chest, and head up and hold. Alternate lifting right arm/left leg and left arm/right leg without touching the mat. Count slowly from 1-30 as you swim, lifting higher and reaching longer with each progressive count. Breathe normally.
Kneel in the middle of the mat with a long waist, knees hip distance apart. Put your right hand, palm down, on the mat to support the torso while extending your left leg out to the side in line with your hip. The left hand is behind the head, the hip over the knee, and the shoulder over the wrist. Inhale and swing the leg forward and pulse, then exhale and swing the leg backward and pulse. Repeat 10 times total or 5 sets front/back. Keep the pelvis pressed forward, navel to spine, and stabilize the shoulders. Repeat second side.
From sitting, legs straight and together, lift pelvis and support position with arms extended beneath the shoulders, shoulders rotated outward, eyes forward, body in one long line. Lift one leg with a swift kick, knees straight, toes pointed. Lower leg and repeat second side. Repeat 10 times alternating – 5 each leg. Inhale up exhale down.
LEG PULL-DOWN W/PUSH-UP
Come to a full push-up position with hands under the shoulders and draw the navel in deep. Lift the leg to hip height or slightly higher, point toes. Lift and lower the leg 8 times, repeat with the right leg. Extend the left leg, bend elbows, lower the chest a few inches from the ground, elbows in, then straighten the arms. Do 5 push-ups with the left leg lifted, then 5 with the right. Inhale to lower, exhale to lift.
Do these moves 3-4 per week along with 15-20 minutes of high intensity cardio, and feel long and lean in no time. These exercises are designed to target your full body, resulting in a toned butt and thighs, sleeker arms, and swim-suit worthy abs!
About the Author:
The Core Expert™, Jessica Schatz, uses extensive knowledge, skill, and heart to motivate others to live better, happier lives. Her diverse clientele includes professional athletes, dancers, actors, as well as anyone who desires transformation into optimal wellness. She’s worked with fashion mogul Ashley Olsen, NBA star Wesley Matthews of the Dallas Mavericks, the company of Wicked (while in residency at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theatre), and members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.