Pilates For The Ultimate Workout

28 May

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It is popular among young and old alike as it suits many people of all ages, weight and sizes. KARINA FOO tells you how to train problem areas using Pilates.

2. (Intermediate) Rest your head down again. Lift your legs up but keep knees bent. Check to see that knees are parallel to the hips, or that thighs are at a straight 90 degree angle.
2. (Intermediate) Rest your head down again. Lift your legs up but keep knees bent. Check to see that knees are parallel to the hips, or that thighs are at a straight 90 degree angle.

3. Now engage your abs and crunch up.
3. Now engage your abs and crunch up.

4. (Advanced) While in this crunch position, extend your legs up and toes are pointed towards the ceiling. You'll feel it in your lower abs by now.
4. (Advanced) While in this crunch position, extend your legs up and toes are pointed towards the ceiling. You’ll feel it in your lower abs by now.

1 (On your left side) Lie on the mat with your left elbow beneath you.
1 (On your left side) Lie on the mat with your left elbow beneath you.

2 (Advanced) Try to do the same exercise but with your supporting arm straight (but keep the elbow slightly bent). This lifts your body higher and intensifies the exercises making your abs work even harder.
2 (Advanced) Try to do the same exercise but with your supporting arm straight (but keep the elbow slightly bent). This lifts your body higher and intensifies the exercises making your abs work even harder.

FORGET the gym, leave your trainers at home and get a mat out. It’s time to tone your mid section, back and butt. Yes, those common “problem areas” that lots of us complain about can be taken care of with some stretching and resistance training (against your own body weight) with Pilates.

These exercises demonstrated by Celebrity Fitness Pilates instructor, Tara Zewar shows a series of flowing movements that work more than one muscle at a time.

“You gently and gradually go from one exercise to the other. There are varying options for level of difficulty and level of intensity so you can choose which ones to do and challenge yourself from there,” said Zewar.

Pilates is gaining worldwide popularity and is going strong at many fitness clubs.

It is also practised by old and young celebrities alike – Madonna at 49 and 19-year-old actress-singer, Hilary Duff.

Why? Because it’s a form of exercise that suits many people of all ages, weight and sizes.

It comprises slow conditioning movements with virtually no impact at all but helps to increase metabolism and blood flow throughout your body.

You’ll build flexibility, endurance, strength and coordination without gaining bulky muscles, rather, you’ll have a leaner and more toned body.

Pilates is done to engage and strengthen the body’s core, sometimes referred to as the “powerhouse”, which is the abdominal muscles (abs) or torso and mid-section region.

While you concentrate on your muscles working, you also have to focus on your breathing techniques – (inhale through your nose as you feel your rib cage going upwards and outwards, and exhale through your mouth as your rib cage expands outwards).

Expect to see results only if you combine Pilates (at least twice a week) with regular cardiovascular workouts and eat a healthful diet. By the way, the best thing about these exercises is that you don’t need shoes (but do wear comfortable clothing)!

Just remember:

* Consult your doctor if you are unsure about your health condition to perform this series of exercises (or any exercise).

* Avoid abrupt and jerky movements because it’ll strain your joints. Do these exercises in a slow and controlled momentum. Keep the transition between each movement fluid.

* Always keep a straight posture (stomach draws in towards the spine, chest up and shoulders back).

For all exercises starting from a lying down position, check that your lower back is flat on the mat. There should be no gap between it (don’t arch your back upwards). You can place a small towel underneath your lower back for support.

 

New Straits Times

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