Get totally toned with this Pilates workout

Firm up those jiggly bits ahead of your holidays with this total-body Pilates workout — no studio required, says Amanda Khouv. 

PILATES first burst on to the fitness scene with a focus on building strength.

But it’s become popular as an effective way to create a slim, slender physique — tightening and toning the whole body in ways that other workouts can’t.

In the last decade, studios have been popping up everywhere, and Pilates equipment — from the simple ring to the complex genius of the reformer — has become a staple in many people’s weight-loss routines.

In the lead-up to summer, we know just how busy these studios and classes get. So we asked fitness trainer Jess Schuring to devise a Pilates inspired workout that you can do at home (or in the gym) without the price tag or time constraint of attending a class.

The routine is designed to tone your body from head to toe.

Kit you’ll need: Pilates ring or pilates ball; 2 x dumbbells and resistance band

MARCHING ON THE SPOT WITH TORSO TWISTS

Get totally toned with this Pilates workout

Areas trained: STOMACH, SIDES OF THE STOMACH

Technique:

Stand tall with a light Pilates ball between the palms of your hands, arms overhead.

Elbows should be slightly bent.

Lift your right knee to hip height and turn your torso and arms to your right side. 

Bring your arms down to the outer side of your right hip. Exhale on the twist.

Repeat on the other side, alternating for the duration.

BUNGEE KICK

Get totally toned with this Pilates workout

Area trained: BOTTOM

Technique:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Reach your arms to the sky, keeping your shoulders retracted and your neck long.

Roll your hips off the floor, then kick one leg up and start pulsing through your supporting leg.

Your movement should be minimal, keeping your glutes contracted the entire time. Repeat the movement on the other side.

SAFETY TIP: Keep your hips aligned and on the same level.

KNEELING LEG CIRCLES

Get totally toned with this Pilates workout

Areas trained: STOMACH, SIDES OF STOMACH, THIGHS

Technique:

Come into a table position with your hands and shoulders aligned, and your knees and hips aligned.

Extend your right leg out to the side, kneecap turned to the sky. Extend your left arm forward.

Move your leg in tiny clockwise circles from your hip.

Maintain alignment by keeping your hips parallel to the floor. Keep your abs engaged and lift your belly up into your spine. Halfway through, change direction.

Repeat on the other side of your body to complete the move.

SAFETY TIP: Keep your gaze about a metre ahead of you.

SQUAT WITH OVERHEAD LIFT

Get totally toned with this Pilates workout

Areas trained: BOTTOM, THIGHS, BACK

Technique:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. With straight arms, slightly wider than your shoulders, hold on to a resistance band.

Lift your arms straight overhead and begin to squat.

Take four seconds to lower into the squat, and stop when your hips are almost level with your knees.

Hold for around four seconds.

Now take another four seconds pressing through your heels and glutes to return to the starting position. Continue this movement.

SAFETY TIP: Keep your shoulders down, maintaining a long neck.

STATIC WIDE-STANCE SQUAT WITH BICEPS EXTENSIONS

Get totally toned with this Pilates workout

Areas trained: BOTTOM, THIGHS, BICEPS, SHOULDERS

Technique:

Come into a deep wide-stance squat with your feet slightly turned out. Your hips should be almost at knee level and your upper body upright with your abs engaged.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms straight out to the side. Make sure your palms are facing up and your shoulders are retracted and externally rotated.

From here, bend your arms slightly then extend them back out again. Repeat.

SAFETY TIP: Your shoulders should be rolled back throughout.

TRICEP EXTENSIONS INTO DIPS

Get totally toned with this Pilates workout

Areas trained: TRICEPS, SHOULDERS, BACK

Technique:

Sit on the floor with your hands close to your hips. With your palms down and fingers facing forward, push through your hands to lift your hips off the floor.

From here, bend your elbows to lower yourself towards the ground (but not on to it).

Push back up to the start and repeat the move.

SAFETY TIP: Keep your neck relaxed, taking care not to strain it.


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