miércoles, 18 de mayo de 2011

Easier than you think

Easier than you think


From Health magazine
Ever caught yourself staring enviously at the toned abs and tight butt of the woman next to you in the produce section? Chances are, she’s getting help from Pilates.
Pilates is the workout to turn to for a flat tummy. A 2008 study found that Pilates mat exercises engage and strengthen the deeper ab muscles responsible for a sleek, flat stomach. But Pilates isn’t just about whittling your waistline: It can also give you exceptional whole-body toning and graceful posture, plus make your daily activities (like hoisting groceries) easier to do.
Ready to get a Pilates body of your own? We’ve partnered with New York City–based expert Kristin McGee (her clients include LeAnn Rimes and Soledad O’Brien), shown here, to bring you the ultimate 20-minute Pilates workout. Do it three times a week for a month to drop up to 6 allover inches.


Circles in the sky

For core, inner thighs, outer hips, butt
Lie on your back with hands behind your head. Contract abs, lifting upper body slightly off the ground. Raise right leg 5 inches (or keep it on the ground if that’s too challenging) and left leg straight up toward the sky (shown). Keeping your core engaged and hips stable, trace 4 softball-size circles clockwise with your entire left leg; reverse, circling 4 times counterclockwise. Lower both legs, switch sides, and repeat.


Incline plank

For triceps, biceps, chest, core, quads, hamstrings, butt
From a seated, feet-forward position, place hands on ground slightly behind waist, fingertips facing forward. Straighten both legs, pressing heels and palms into the ground, and contract abs while lifting hips up, forming a straight line from head to toe. Keep gaze forward and shoulders pressed down; don’t lock your elbows. Lift your left leg straight up as high as you can (shown), then lower it without allowing your right hip to sag. Do 4 reps; repeat on opposite side.

Donkey kickbacks

For triceps, biceps, core, butt, hamstrings, back
Kneel on all fours, toes tucked under, keeping your back neutral. Draw your belly in toward your spine as you contract your abs and lift both knees about 2 inches off the ground. Keeping abs engaged, bring right knee to nose (shown). Then kick right leg straight out behind you, squeezing your butt (shown); keep lower abs contracted and hips facing the ground to protect your back. Repeat 8 times; switch legs and repeat.


Swan dive

For triceps, shoulders, lower back; stretches abs, chest
Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms overhead, point your toes, and lift your arms and legs about 6 inches off the ground. Hold for 1 count, imagining your legs being pulled out and back, away from your hips. Next, circle your arms out to the sides and behind you. Exhale and reach your arms toward your toes, palms facing in (shown). Hold for 1 count, then bring arms back to starting position and relax entire body to ground. Repeat 6–8 times.

Side incline with a twist

For triceps, biceps, core, waist
Lie on your right side with forearm directly under shoulder, hand perpendicular to your body, and legs stacked. Engage your abs and the right side of your waist, lifting your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to feet. Extend your left arm toward the sky, staying engaged through your core (shown). Now scoop your left arm in front of your body and reach under the space between your chest and the ground, twisting only from the waist up. Come back up; repeat 4 times, then lower body to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side.

Charlie's Angels abs

For triceps, lower abs, inner thighs, hips
From a seated, feet-forward position, lean your upper body back while contracting your abs. Straighten arms, interlacing all fingers except your index fingers. Lift knees, forming a tabletop with shins. Keep arms pointing forward and circle knees to the right, down, to the left, and up (shown); reverse direction. (If this is too challenging, place palms on floor behind you for support.) Complete 4 circles in each direction. Maintain a 120-degree bend in knees, straightening out as you circle through the 6 o’clock position. Continuously contract abs to protect lower back. Repeat 2–4 times.

Thigh shaper

From Health magazine
For inner and outer thighs
Lie on your left side on the floor with the ball between your calves. Support your head with your left hand and balance yourself with your right hand on the floor in front of you. Squeeze the ball between your legs, slightly lifting your left leg off the floor.
Hold for a second, then relax; that’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10–12 reps, resting up to 30 seconds between sets; repeat on your right side.


Ball pull-in

For core, chest, and shoulders
A. Kneel with stability ball in front of you, then walk hands forward, rolling up on the ball until it’s beneath your shins and your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet.
B. Keep upper body stationary, and pull ball in toward chest with both legs. Return to extended position to complete 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10–12 reps, resting for 30 seconds between sets.
Trainer tip: Keep your chin tucked throughout the move. For an extra challenge, target the muscles on the sides of your stomach by twisting your right knee toward your left side (and vice versa) when you pull the ball in.

Ball squat with front raise

For butt, thighs, and shoulders
A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides, pressing a stability ball between your lower back and a wall.
B. Keeping the ball pressed against the wall, squat until thighs are nearly parallel to the floor and lift arms in front of you to shoulder height. Hold this position for 2–3 seconds, then lower your arms and return to standing. Do 3 sets of 10–12 reps, holding the last rep in each set for 10–15 seconds, and resting for 30 seconds between sets. 
Trainer tip: For more of a challenge, hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand or a 10-pound medicine ball with both hands through­out the move.

Ball push-up

For chest, core, and triceps
Kneel with stability ball in front of you, then walk hands forward, rolling up on the ball until it’s beneath your thighs. (Your body should be in a straight line, with hands directly beneath your shoulders.) Bend your arms and lower your body until your nose almost touches the floor. Straighten your arms to complete 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10–12 reps, resting for 30 seconds between sets.
Trainer tip: To protect your back, don’t let your hips sag. Mastered this move? Try it with the ball beneath your shins instead of your thighs.

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