You know that taught, toned, bounce-a-coin-off-her-bum look that all super toned people have? Yeah, you can thank Pilates for that. If you haven’t already heard, we’re pretty much obsessed with Pilates and the noticeable effect it has on our minds and bodies after just a few sessions.
We caught up with our mate Aaron Smith, CEO of KX Pilates, about the most effective Pilates moves for shaping up quick smart. Here’s what he had to say:
1. The Bridge
Perfect for working your glutes (butt), hamstrings (back of the thighs), lower back and abs, the bridge requires you to lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and in neutral spine. Draw your belly down to activate your core and slowly lift your hips off the matt while squeezing your butt as tight as possible. Then slowly roll down the spine articulating one vertebrae at a time until your hips are back on the mat. Exhale to lift, inhale to lower. Aaron tells us, “This simple move is great for loosening up the lower back and will help you achieve that taut tush you’ve been lusting after”.
2. The Hundred
If you want abs of steel, you’ve got to work for it! The hundred is a sure-fire way to get your body warmed up and to get those rock hard abba dabbas. Begin by lying on your back with your knees in table top position (right angles through the hips and knees), and your hands by your side. Activate your core and crunch up by lifting your head and shoulders slightly. At the same time lengthen your legs out long to 45 degrees. Inhale while gently waving your arms slightly whilst ‘slapping’ the floor with your hands for 10 breaths. Exhale and repeat for 10 breaths. Repeat 5 times to achieve ‘the hundred’ and feel that burn!
It works wonders on your booty but we’ll warn you, this one burns – but in that awesome way where you know you’re working toward something great. This can be done on a reformer bed or a mat with a theraband. Begin by getting on all fours with a neutral spine (straight back) and pull your belly button up to your spine to stabilise the core. Push one leg back and extend the leg long to form a straight line from shoulder to ankle whilst squeezing through the butt. Hold for 1-2secs and then slowly lower down. Exhale to push back, inhale to return. Aaron says “it’s a fantastic exercise to strengthen the core as well as the glutes at the same time, not to mention a static hold on the upper body.”
No doubt you’ve given this a go before, the plank is one of the oldest (and most effective) moves in the book. Aaron tells us “it’s a full body workout that increases core strength while keeping arms, glutes and legs activated.” To do a perfect plank, position yourself as if you are doing a push-up on your toes, engage your core and extend your legs and hold the position for 5 deep breaths (about 30 seconds). Repeat 5 more times. Drop to your elbows and / or knees to make things easier.
5. Side Kick
Another one that burns like the fire of a thousand suns, but in the best way possible; this will have your buns feeling like rubber and looking like two scoops of ripple-free ice cream. Lie on your side with one elbow up, supporting your head. Flex your foot, and lift your top leg so it’s in line with your top hip. Slowly kick your top leg out in front of you, and bring it back to the start. Now bring that leg up to the ceiling, and back to the start. Inhale out/up, exhale to return. Do this 10 times, switch legs, and do another 10. We warned you!
This is a good exercise for improving your posture, strengthening your core and getting a little closer to those rock-hard abs you’re after. Get on all fours with a neutral spine (straight back), and extend your right arm and left leg at the same time, stabilising through the core and hold here for 1-2 secs. Slowly return and do the same with opposite limbs, repeating 10 times on each side. Exhale to extend, inhale to return. Aaron tells us, “this move is perfect for those that sit at a desk all day, and it encourages a natural spine position”.
7. Back Extension
Okay, this one might look a little silly, but it’s super effective and feels great (after it stops burning). Simply lie flat on your stomach, arms bent out in front and hands under your chin. Lift your abdominal muscles away from the mat while you lift your shoulders and head lift up slowly to extend the spine. At the same time squeeze your butt together and lift your knees off the mat. Inhale to lift, exhale to lower. Repeat 5-10 times. Aaron says “It’s important to note that your lower back is like any other muscle in that it tires our and burns with lactic build up. Muscle fatigue should be a good feeling, but make sure you don’t work through pain.”
Ready to go? Take advantage of KX Pilates' 5 classes for $50 offer and get ready to see those results!
Image credit: KX Pilates
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