Sunday, July 27, 2008

6 Pilates Power Moves - Part 1

6 Pilates Power Moves - part 1
These 6 moves are graceful, but they're also intense.

"Compared with crunches, most Pilates ab exercises challenge the abdominals to a greater degree," says Michele S. Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University-Montgomery. For an even faster payoff, we paired the moves below with an exercise band (available at sporting goods stores). Research shows that adding extra resistance to strength-training almost triples the benefits.

Precision is vital to results, so start slowly and build from there. Try the main moves first; if they're too strenuous, stick with the easier versions, and aim to take it up a notch around Week 3.

1. The Scissor

Works abs, quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps, shoulders

Main move:
Seated, place center of band around ball of left foot, grasping one end in each hand. Roll down, back on floor, legs extended, feet flexed. Curl head, neck, and shoulders up, pressing belly to spine. with upper arms on floor, bend elbows, bringing fists to chest. Lift left leg straight up over hip [a]. Using a rapid, controlled motion, inhale and kick left leg down, stoppping just inches from floor, while lifting right leg straight up. Exhale and switch legs. Repeat for a total of 8 reps. Switch band to right leg and repeat.

Make it easier:
Rest head and shoulders on floor [b].

Make it harder: Grasp band closer to foot to increase resistance.

2. Seated Side Twist With Triceps

Works obliques, back, quadriceps, triceps, shoulders
Main move: Sit tall, legs extended, toes pointed. Bend left kneed, foot on floor, and place center of band under ball of foot, holding band ends in left hand. Turn torso to face left knee and squeezing shoulder blades [a]. Exhale and lift and extend left leg to 45-degree angle with floor while straightening and extending left arm back at shoulder height and turning to face left hand [b]. Keeping back erect, enhale as your bend and lower leg and arm. Do 8 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

Make it easier: Keep both feet on floor.

Make it harder:
Instead of holding kneed or calf, extend free arm toward toes at shoulder height and hold there for entire move [c].

3. Double Leg X

Works abs, quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps, shoulders

Main move: Seated with knees bent, place band under balls of both feet. Crisscross band, holding one end in each hand, and slowly roll down until back is on floor, keeping knees bent and bringing thighs close to chest, feet flexed. With upper arms on floor, elbows bent and tucked in, raise head and shoulders [a]. That's the start position. Inhale and straighten legs out to sides while raising arms out and overhead to form an X [b]. Keep movement controlled. Hold for 1 count and return to start. Repeat for a total of 8 reps.

Make it easier: Keep feet on floor for first 5 reps.

Make it harder: Hold extended position for 5 counts on each rep.

Article from msn

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