Pilates Exercises to Tone Muscle and Lose Fat

Pilates for Arms

Although pilates won’t necessarily help you shed weight by the pound, pilates exercises do help tone arm muscles so you’re always looking your best in short sleeve or sleeveless tops.

Pilates Magic Circle: There are many uses for the Pilates Magic Circle, but one of the best is for arm muscles. Stand with your feet about one foot apart and grasp the circle behind your back with both hands. Your elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Push the circle in and out, working against the resistance you’re creating while doing so. Start with five sets of five pulses and work up to ten pulses each.

Pilates Push-Up Plank: The pilates push-up plank works more than just your arm muscles, as it employs your whole body to do the push-up. Stand with your arms raised above your head. Bend over, touch the floor and walk your hands out until you are parallel with the floor. Do one push-up, bend your hips and walk your hands back to a standing position. Perform three to five of these exercises at once.

Pilates for Abs

Pilates exercises for the abdominal muscles strengthen the core and improve breathing habits. These are some of the best pilates exercises for abs.

Abdominal Plank: The standard plank pilates exercise is good for maintaining core strength and breathing. Start off stomach-down on the ground. Use your arms to raise yourself into a push-up position, but instead of keeping your elbows bent, extend them all the way so your body is at a 30 degree angle from the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and breathe through your nose. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds. Try to work up to a minute eventually.

The Hundred: Lay flat on the ground on your back. Raise your legs to a 30 degree angle off the floor, raise your head and neck and look at your feet and extend your arms a few inches off the ground and parallel to the floor. You should feel your abdominal muscles tightening.

Pump your arms by your sides for one hundred repetitions, exhaling and inhaling slowly through your nose. Though this pilates exercise sounds daunting, it goes quicker than you realize.

Pilates for Legs

Get rid of fat and cellulite in the upper thigh region with pilates exercises for legs. This will improve your stability and muscle tone in the leg regions.

Thigh Tightening Arc: Lie flat on the floor, stomach down. Raise your head and chest and clasp your hands behind your back. Lift your legs slightly and stretch them as far as possible straight behind you. Hold this pose for a few seconds and release. Keep your pelvic bones solidly on the ground. Do not lift them when you lift your legs.

Pilates Leg Kicks: Being in the same position as the thigh tightening arc above, but instead of extending your legs, kick them at the same time towards your buttocks so your feet land as close to your bottom as possible. Don’t worry if they don’t touch the rump region at first. Keep your upper body lower to the ground than in the thigh tightening arc. Perform ten repetitions total.