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bingo – toned arms for the summer

No, not what my nan loves on holiday! But the unflattering name we give those wobbly bits under our upper arms. With summer finally here, I wanted to share a couple of quick fixes for beautiful, toned arms and shoulders. I’m going to focus on 3 muscles: bicep, tricep and deltoids. Make sure you have plenty of space around you and if possible, do these in front of a mirror to check you’ve got your arms in the right places. Let’s get started!

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The dumb waiter combo – Follow the mini-images above to crack this one. Imagine you’re holding a tray in front of you: elbows drawn down by your waist and bent at 90 degrees and your forearms supporting the “tray”. Now rotate your hands out to your sides to “drop” the tray and continue to move your arms up in an arc so you look like a giant T shape (e.g. arms stretched out at shoulder height either side, 90 degrees under your armpits). Flex your elbows to 90 degrees to become a giant fork (your arms are two prongs and your head a pea on the middle prong!) and draw the forearms together in front of you, as if you wanted to squeeze a beach ball in front of your face. Phew – halfway! Bring the arms back to the fork position, straighten your arms to the T shape and then draw your elbows down to your waist and finally, back to the tray position. You’re back at the start! Now repeat the whole cycle again (6 times min.) and add more reps or small weights, as you get stronger (try small water bottles or cans of beans).

The arm circle/pulse combo – I described the first part of this in an earlier b-mail, so assuming you’ve been practicing regularly; I’m going to add the next level of challenge. Stand in the T shape position and get ready to increase the burn! Making sure you’ve plenty of space between your ears and your shoulders, draw small controlled circles, moving from the shoulder joint – small being the key word here. Six in one direction, six in the other. Palm facing forward, pulse the whole arm forward a small amount – yes, it’s that word again, small – six times, turn palms backwards, six pulses backwards. Palms down, six downwards pulses. Last, you guessed it – palms up, six upwards. Got it? Repeat the full set of circles and pulses at least twice. Again, build more sets and add weights.

Why not add these to your morning and evening routines, to achieve beautiful toned arms that you’ll want to show off? While you wait for the shower to heat up or the kettle to boil or during the commercial break of your evening viewing….I’m confident you can find a few minutes each day to invest in sculpting your arms!

Give it a go and if you like the results you see or you want help getting it right, why not come along and try one of my classes to get the same success for your whole body!

How do you fit exercise into your hectic day? Let me know how you combine it into your day to inspire others’ practice.

  • Ritu | the lifester

    Love the animated Gif. nice one! xxoo Ritu

    • Sarae

      Just a hint of the bionic woman in it 🙂 More to follow on Pilates at the end of the summer!

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improve your PB with Pilates!

Andy Murray Facebook timeline post image

Murray’s Facebook photo celebrating his Wimbledon win!

How amazing has the last 12 months been for GB sports? We had Wiggo and now Froome in the Tour de France, some cracking Olympic feats and not to mention my world record breaking Big Blue Kick (ok me and 800+ others doing a synchronised Taekwondo routine in aid of Barnardos). Did you know Andy Murray includes it in his training programme? Should you?

Cyclists can forget saddle sores and increase their stamina and power, by building a stronger powerhouse of core muscles. They stop you wobbling left to right over your saddle and help you channel all that wasted effort onto the road.

Golfers can smoooooooth out their swing with a solid, yet rotationally flexible core as well as hit with greater accuracy through improved shoulder stability.

And what about runners? Tight hamstrings, IT bands and quads? Yep, Pilates builds your core for power transmission to the road and gives you easy to remember warm up and cool down stretches to protect your muscles and ease away any tightness.

And not forgetting accelerating your serve and strengthening your backhand return. It works for Andy – it can work for you too!

So for the mega fit – does your fitness activity include training on body control and awareness? If not, add Pilates – in 6 or so sessions, you can learn how to tune into your core and achieve more from your favourite sports, gym or fitness routine.

And for those of you who enjoy perhaps a few too many hours of watching sports on TV, Pilates is a gentle way to begin your new fitness programme. You’ll build flexibility and strength, as well as growing your body awareness, co-ordination and your confidence.

Ready to raise your bar? Book now for an assessment or arrange a technique Where are you looking for better results? Hit them into court below in the comments and I’ll do my best to cheer you on!class and shave a few seconds off your record, whilst increasing your lifespan!

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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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