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Pilates – not all it seems…

Joseph Pilates exercising with his students

Joseph Pilates exercising with his students

Pilates isn’t just for pop stars and dancers: in fact, the first students were soldiers and security guards. The common factor is that they all want to feel confident in themselves and proud of their bodies.

Yes Pilates does improve your posture, flexibility and core strength, but here’s 3 body issues that you might not expect Pilates to deliver quick fixes to.

So invest a little time each day and you too can step out with your head held a bit higher.

1)   the chin jut – you know it, a long day staring at your screen…..gradually your chin is getting nearer and nearer to the screen. Tension grips your head, neck and shoulders. Here’s a “do it at your desk” fix: sit up tall, look to your left and then roll your head down to look at your toes and around until you’re looking to your right. Look straight ahead and you’re back to the beginning. Repeat a few times to the left and the reverse to the right.

UPDATE April 2014: Focus on keeping your shoulders still to avoid the stretch slipping to your waist.

2)   the bingo wings – the summer is coming (I hope!) and your arms want to be out of long sleeves. Stop the wobble fast: arms out to the side, like you’re a giant T. Draw 6 tiny little circles with the finger tips, with the movement coming from the shoulder and keeping the arms straight. Repeat in the other direction and add in more sets (clockwise and anticlockwise – no skipping!) as your arms get strong. Oh yeah, it’s meant to burn!

UPDATE April 2014: you should be getting better at this now, add a water bottle in each hand.

3)   the nipped in waist – apple, pear or bean pole body shape, we all want that nipped in waist (Guys, you know it better as swimmer’s lines down your sides). Fold your arms in front of you like a Cossack dancer and focus on your top wrist (wearing a watch, hair band or cuff helps here). Breath out to rotate through your waist like you’re a pepper grinder to twist the top half of your body to the side and breath in to come back to facing forward. Repeat in the other direction, trying to keep your wrists, nose and breastbone (or cleavage, if you’ve got one) in one vertical line. Repeat the same number of times each side or risk ending up wonky!

UPDATE April 2014: you want it harder? Ok. Tie a know in a belt, ribbon or dynoband. Hold it taut between your hands. Raise them up to shoulder height in a wider V shape. Keep the knot central to the move as you twist.

These quick and easy exercises are adaptations of matwork and standing Pilates exercises: if you want a body overhaul, book in for an assessment now or class and in the meanwhile, get going with these.

What are you looking to fix? Tell me in the comments and I’ll see what I can suggest!

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