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Pilates to Sexy Butts!

“The great thing about pilates is that just about everyone – from couch potatoes to fitness buffs –
can do it”

Pilates (pronounced: puh-lah-teez) is a body conditioning routine that seeks to build flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination without adding muscle bulk. You might think Pilates is a new type of exercise or even a fad, but it has been around for decades, and as the exercise of choice for dancers and gymnasts. It was originally used to rehabilitate bedridden or immobile patients during World War I.

Why Pilates?

The human body is a versatile machine, able to adjust and compensate for muscle weakness caused by physical injury, repetitive athletic regimes, and the daily habitual motor movements of work and home life. But long-term compensation leads to muscle imbalance, permanent misalignments and misspent energy, leaving one’s body susceptible to further, more serious trauma. Pilates is the fitness training solution that combines exercise and physiotherapy for the restoration of proper body alignment and optimum physical performance.

There are two ways to exercise in pilates:

1. Today, most people focus on the mat exercises, which require only a floor mat and training. These exercises are designed so that your body uses its own weight as resistance.

2. The other method uses a variety of machines to tone and strengthen the body, again using the principle of resistance.

Why is Pilates effective?

Pilates embraces the anatomy and biomechanics of your body: it concentrates on developing those muscles which wrap around joints and are responsible for proper alignment – the deep stabilising muscles of the torso, core abdominal and back muscles, muscles along the spinal column – as well as the scapular regions and your particular weakened muscles. The secret is non-impact resistance that resembles muscular contractions and eliminates stress on your joints, making Pilates safe, versatile, and effective for all ages and fitness levels. Toned, stretched, and lengthened, your muscles will acquire the strength and flexibility needed for a balanced, agile, and healthy body.

Who can benefit from Pilates fitness training?

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or pure beginner, you can benefit from the Pilates lifestyle. From physical rehabilitation for special needs personage to performance enhancement for seasoned athletes, Pilates is intentionally customised for your unique health history and physical demands. The result is a body that is free of old tensions and ready to gain new altitudes.

The benefits of Pilates

  • Exercise safely and effectively toward dynamic functional fitness.
  • Free yourself from lower back and joint pain, neck and shoulder tension, etc.
  • Lose inches off your waistline and acquire a slim, sleek body without adding bulk.
  • Improve your posture, rebalance muscles around joints, and prevent muscle & soft tissue injury.
  • Develop and refine your agility and flexibility.
  • Observe joint safety with non-impact exercise.
  • Improve balance, coordination, circulation, and lung capacity.
  • Heighten overall body awareness.
  • Relieve stress and tension.

Getting started

The great thing about pilates is that just about everyone — from couch potatoes to fitness buffs — can do it. Keep these tips in mind so that you can get the most out of your pilates workout. But, before you begin any type of exercise programme, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor, especially if you have a health problem.

  • Stay focused. Pilates is designed to combine your breathing rhythm with your body movements. The goal of pilates is to unite your mind and body, which relieves stress and anxiety.
  • Be comfortable. Wear comfortable clothes and keep in mind that pilates is usually done without shoes. If you start feeling uncomfortable, strained, or experience pain, you should stop.
  • Let it flow. When you perform your exercises, avoid quick, jerky movements. Every movement should be slow, but still strong and flexible. Joseph Pilates worked with dancers and designed his movements to flow like a dance.
  • Don’t leave out the heart. The nice thing about pilates is you don’t have to break a sweat if you don’t want to — but you can also work the exercises quickly to get your heart rate going.

To give beginners a feel of pilates, we got Yvonne Kuang, Certified Instructor at Signature Pilates Studio to show you some simple moves to shape up your butts.

Hip Roll/Bridge

This move is excellent for training juicy bums, releasing tight hips and knees especially after sitting long hours, and also stretching the back muscles for lower back issues.

  • Lie flat with natural arch of neck and lower back. Rest upper back and pelvis on mat. Place feet flat on wall (option: on mat or on higher surface like a stool). Hands besides hips, palms face down or up.
  • (Inhale) Engage deep pelvic floor and stabilising core muscles, by starting from maintaining good arch of the feet (particularly if foot is pronated), make sure inner thighs are kept close to each other.
  • (Exhale) Lift hip off the floor slowly one by one up to the top of head (with upper back still touching the mat), untill forming knees-shoulders-hips a diagonal line. Keep ribs elongated up to the crown as well (the ribs will naturally wrap like wearing a corset).

Note: You may use a couple of sets of breaths to complete to the top, or small range of ups and downs midway till the buttock muscles are tight.

  • (Inhale) Hover while keeping the front thighs together and the pubic bone towards ceiling
  • (Exhale) Lower hips slowly from upper back to tail bone. Bring down hip back to nuetral position (hip back on the floor).
  • (Repeat the exercise)

In this exercise, make sure to avoid just squeezing the butts or push lower back or ribs forward to the ceiling. If cramps are felt at back of thighs or butts harden without any further range to raise pelvis off the ground, or lower back aches; you might have not used the core to make the job light and easy. You should feel a nice sensation with front hips opened and thighs stretched down to the front and back of knees. You should feel your lower back being stretched, too.

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