Summer is just around the corner and it’s time to get your beach body ready. Pilates is one of the most effective methods for toning the abs, hips, waist, and thighs. As Joseph Pilates himself allegedly said, in 10 sessions you’ll feel better, in 20 sessions you’ll look better, and after 30 sessions you’ll have a completely new body.
Do these moves three to four times a week in addition to your other workouts and you’ll be ready to rock that bikini with confidence.
Start lying on your back and lift your legs 45 degrees off the mat and lengthen out through your arms as you lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Pump your arms vigorously up and down five times on an inhalation and five times on an exhalation. Repeat 10 times for 100 pumps.
Start lying on your back and lift your right leg up and keep your body still as you make 8 clockwise circles, then 8 counter-clockwise. Repeat with your left leg.
Single-Leg Straight-Leg Stretch
Start lying on your back and lift your head, neck, and shoulders up. Kick your left leg straight up and pull twice with your hands as you lengthen your right leg, then switch and pull the right leg. Continue alternating legs for 8 reps.
Pull your knees to your chest and lift your head and neck off the floor. Extend your arms overhead and your legs out to 45 degrees, then circle your arms around and pull your knees back in to your chest. Repeat 8 times.
Start lying on your side with your legs slightly in front of your hips. Lift your top leg a few inches, turn your toes up to the ceiling. Circle your leg forward 8 times then backwards 8 times, making tiny circles. Don’t let your body rock at all–stay solid in your center. Repeat on the left side.
Start lying on your side with your legs slightly in front of your hips. Turn your right toes up to the ceiling then lift and lower your right leg 8 times without letting your hips rock backward. Keep your core tight the entire time. Repeat on the left side.
Start lying on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Lift your torso and legs up off the mat as you lengthen your arms forward by your ears, reaching long from fingers to toes. Lower down to starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Kristin McGee is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Health’s contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV. Her latest in a large collection of fitness DVDs is YogaSlim. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMcGee and like her page on Facebook.