Mix-and-Match Pilates Moves for a Strong, Sleek Body
Pilates with a twist
Talk about the ultimate beautiful-body combo: Each of these moves—from Molly Sigman’s new Pilates with Weights class at The Sports Club/LA–San Francisco—mixes the core-firming of Pilates with the muscle-shaping of weight-training.
Choose a move for the upper body, a move for the core, and a move for the lower body, then do one set of each. A strong, sleek body? It’s in the cards.
Upper body: Balance with curl and press
Stand with feet together, toes pointing directly ahead, arms by your sides, and a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand (palms out to sides). Shift weight to left leg as you bend your right knee, lifting leg until thigh is parallel to floor. (Too tough? Just touch right foot to left ankle.)
Keeping upper arms close to your body, curl weights up toward outsides of your shoulders. Then, keeping shoulders down and neck long, turn palms out and circle arms up overhead so they frame your face. Reverse motions to return to starting position with leg raised. Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Upper body: Biceps with front balance
Stand with heels together and toes turned out in a V, arms by your sides, and a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand (palms forward). Shift your weight to your left leg as you point your right toe and draw it up your left leg to knee height. At the same time, bend your elbows to bring your forearms parallel to the floor, as if holding a tray.
Keeping your elbows slightly bent, press into your left foot and reach your right leg out (toe pointed); lift the dumbbells to head height with palms facing up. Return to previous position. Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Lie on the floor with legs straight and arms overhead by your ears; hold a 2- to 3-pound dumbbell between both hands. Keeping legs firm and extended and shoulders down (away from your ears), engage your abs and reach your arms toward the ceiling and forward as you begin rolling up; end with arms reaching toward your toes in the shape of a sideways letter U.
Sit up tall, then slowly roll back down to starting position. Do 15 reps, keeping your navel pulled in toward your spine throughout the move.
Core: The hundred
Lie on your back with legs extended, arms by your sides, elbows slightly bent, a 2- to 3-pound dumbbell in each hand, and palms down. Inhale, draw belly button in, and raise legs to 45 degree; exhale, lifting head and shoulders (keep lower back on floor—don’t let it arch).
Begin pulsing arms up and down, as if pushing the dumbbells repeatedly toward floor, while you inhale for 5 pulses then exhale for 5 pulses. Repeat for a total of 10 inhales and 10 exhales, then bend your knees and lower your feet and head to the floor.
Lower body: Plie with lateral fly
Stand with feet about 4 feet apart and toes pointed out. Hold arms by your sides and a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms forward. Imagine sliding down a wall as you bend your knees deeply (knees should come over big and second toes) and raise your arms out to the sides at shoulder height so they form a T. Keep head, shoulders, and hips in line and abs engaged throughout the move. Return to starting position. Do 15 reps.
Lower body: Booty burn
Begin on your hands and knees with hands directly under shoulders. Keeping your right knee bent to 90 degrees, lift your right leg up and out to the side, like a dog at a hydrant; do 30 reps.
Next, straighten your right leg out to the side (toe on the floor) so it’s in line with your hip, then lift the leg until it is parallel to the floor. Do 30 reps, then return to starting position and repeat entire series on the opposite side.