Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pilates and a Stronger You!

For years I have spent most of my time exercising either on the treadmill or on the elliptical. I love the way I feel after a good cardio workout. However, I was never able to manage slimming down my waistline (post-childbirth) doing only cardio. That's when I discovered Pilates. Pilates is a conditioning routine that seeks to build flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination without adding muscle bulk.

Since discovering this passion for Pilates, I've combined these exercises with my regular cardio routine. I have experienced much delight from the results and thought I would share a few of my favorite exercises that will trim down your waistline, tighten your abs, increase your flexibility, and shrink your back side. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will!

To make this post more entertaining, in shape magazine fashion, I have added some not-so-beautiful-me pictures to help explain and show these moves in action. These moves are really that great--you'll be begging me for more (well, maybe not. At least they will jazz up your workout). To make this even more entertaining (in case you're not jumping out of your chair yet), I wanted to share with you (once again) my favorite playlist(at the end of the post) to go along with the moves...

Elbow Plank Hip Abduction

Layer 1:
1) Elbow Plank from top of head to knees making sure the elbows are directly underneath the shoulders and the belly button is pulled back toward the spine.
2) Hold for 15-20 seconds.

Layer 2:
1) Elbow Plank from top of head to toes. Again, make sure elbows are directly underneath the shoulders and belly button is pulled back toward the spine.
2) Hold for 15-20 seconds
Layer 3:
1) Maintain Elbow Plank from top of head to toes (keep stomach in tight and elbows under shoulders).
2) Lift right leg up (off floor) move away from the body and bring back in 8 times
3) Lift left leg up (off floor) move away from the body and bring back in 8 times.
Lower and stretch in child's pose, then repeat entire sequence.
Elbow Side Bend
Set yourself up sitting on your side, elbow under shoulder, hips stacked and knees bent.

Layer 1: (no picture)
1) Lift your pelvis up off the floor, upper leg extended, lower leg bent (elbow and lower leg supporting your body)
2) Lower back down
Repeat this sequence 4 times.

Layer 2: Add an arm and leg movement, top leg extends
1) Lift to side plank, arm reaching over head, top leg lifting upward
2) Lower
Repeat 4 times.

Layer 3: Add Hip extension
1) Lift yourself up into side plank
2) Top leg extends forward 8 times.
Lower and stretch and then repeat sequence on the other side. (Do both sides of your body twice).

I promise, these moves will make you sweat and you will see results!

Now that I've shared a few of my favorite exercises...share yours! I am always looking for new exercises to try and would love to know how you stay in shape and what you enjoy doing! (Feel free to email pictures along with the comments!)

On my playlist (to name a few): "Chasing Cars," snow patrol--The Way I Am," Ingrid Michaelson--"Your body is a wonderland," John mayer--"Keep Holding On," Avril Lavigne.


Christie said...

You are too cute. These could be in Shape magazine. Can't wait to try them out.

Erin said...

You look adorable! These are hard! (but my abs are no good, well, missing really) Anyway, I love doing Pilates with a resistance band. I recently picked up a DVD that included the band and I LOVE the extra resistance. Especially for arm workouts. And when your doing your leg lifts you get resistance in all directions.

I too notice slimming results with pilates. I love the burst of endorphines from cardio, but pilates seems to tighten up or get rid of that yucky cottage cheese...I've got tons to get rid of! :)

Aly said...

Thanks for sharing! You look so great in your cute little outfit! I have a favorite pilates dvd that I used to do all of the time...thanks for reminding me to get it back out again:)

carla said...

love the post/tips and your SMILE!

I always look awkward on camera...pained.

great post.


Michael said...

That post looks awfully familiar. Someday I'll post about my pilates experience.

Rachel Corbett said...

Ugh! Every time I try Pilates I think ugh! But... that's because it's hard work! It certainly gets results though! So, no pain no gain I guess. I am a real believer that a good body cannot come from just cardio! You have to add some stregth training or you'll never get anywhere! I was doing cardio for a long time, but as soon as I added in a weight training class, that's when all my friends started commenting on how good I looked. Now if I could just get back into that routine!