love your lower body! this targeted routine, created by a power pilates teacher trainer, will whip your hard-to-slim lower body into bootylicious shape
iving in sunny Fort Lauderdale in South Florida, we spend the majority of the year in a bathing suit, which means that our legs, thighs and bottoms are constantly on display. But no matter where women live, I have found through experience that most of them love to work on their lower body, specifically their butts. Let’s face it, we all want a great booty! To help clients focus on these tough-to-reach areas, I developed this routine by adding a few exercises to the classical mat series that really target the hips, glutes, inner and outer thighs, and quads. My clients love the results they get from this workout. They feel and see the difference and also get a sense of overall confidence from doing it. Because all of the exercises require a strong connection to your powerhouse, this routine will also allow you to improve your posture and become more graceful when you move. In this routine, you start lying down to connect with the abdominals, then do Sidekicks and Mountain Climber to build stamina and add a bit of cardio. You finish with some standing moves, which is how we spend the majority of our days. This will help you incorporate those movement patterns in your everyday life. This total-body workout is challenging and fun, and best of all, it can be done anywhere: Whether at home or in a hotel room, all you need is a mat or just a comfortable floor. When you’re doing these exercises, it’s important to initiate the movement from your core, so remember to always keep your abdominals engaged throughout. The results are incredible; when performed consistently three times a week, you will see and feel the difference—including a more lifted, trimmer bottom, leaner thighs and more toned legs in just two weeks. This series should take you about 15 to 20 minutes. Warm up with the Hundreds to get connected to your core and get shakin’!
by Dana Eisenstein Smythe
46 january/february 2011 pilatesstyle.com
shoulder bridge purpose increases core and pelvic stability; strengthens entire body; tones entire back body setup Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet parallel and flat on the mat, separated as wide as your hip sockets. Extend your arms by your sides and press your palms firmly into the mat, fingertips together. 1 Curl your tailbone under and lift your pelvis up one vertebra at a time, until your shoulders, hips and knees are in a one long line. Feel the energy reaching long out of your thighs. 2 Shift your weight to your left leg and extend your right leg up to the ceiling, keeping equal weight on both shoulders. 3 Pulse your right leg up twice, then lower it until it’s parallel with your other knee. Make sure to keep your hips level and steady. Place your right leg back on the mat, knee bent, and roll back down, staying lifted throughout. Do 3–5 repetitions. Repeat with your left leg. modification Lift your pelvis up and hold for 3–5 counts, then roll back down. advanced Keep your legs together throughout. Or on the last rep, reach your leg toward the ceiling and lower your hips halfway, then press back up.
Photography by Rod Foster; Hair and Makeup by Heather Puhek; Outfit by Yummy Bodywear
Initiate all movements from your powerhouse—this will help keep your shoulders and hips stable throughout the exercise.
side leg lifts/circles purpose challenges core in a different plane of movement; strengthens hips and legs setup Lie on your right side with your shoulder, ribs and tailbone aligned with the back edge of the mat. Stack both legs at the front corner of your mat. Cradle your head with your hands, placing your fingertips under your head, elbows widely bent to your sides, bottom elbow resting on the mat. Make sure you keep your shoulders and hips stacked. 1 Keeping your hips stacked, point your top foot and lift it
to hip level. Flex your foot and lower it to the starting position. Do 5–10 repetitions. Repeat on your other side. 2 Lift your top leg to hip level, foot flexed and parallel, and make small circles clockwise and then counterclockwise, brushing your inner thighs. Do 5–10 repetitions each way. 3 Repeat steps 1–2 on your other side. modification Rest your head on your bottom arm and bend your bottom leg on mat. advanced Place your top hand behind your neck and/ or add ankle weights (no heavier than three pounds).
tips Keep your core strong and stable and your shoulders stacked over your hips. Reach your legs long. 48 january/february 2011 pilatesstyle.com
hamstring extension purpose challenges pelvic stability and core strength setup Get on all fours, wrists directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips, spine neutral. 1 Extend your right leg back, keeping your heel in line with your hip. Flexing your foot, pulse your hamstring toward the ceiling. Do 5–10 repetitions.
2 On the last pulse, keep your leg reaching long and do small circles. Do 5–10 repetitions in each direction. modification Get on all fours and reach your right leg long, then bring it back to the starting position, alternating legs. advanced Add ankle weights.
tip Keep your hips and shoulders square and your abdominals engaged to support your lower back.
mountain climber purpose strengthens core; increases stamina setup Press out into a plank position, keeping your wrists under your shoulders, legs together and active, and the crown of your head reaching long. 1 Pull your right knee into your chest as you bring your forehead toward your knee and engage your abdominals, lifting your heel toward your seat. Do 2–5 repetitions.
Repeat with your left knee. 2 Repeat step 1 but, this time, alternate your legs, using control so you don’t bounce. Do 10 repetitions. modification Hold the plank position for 10 counts. advanced Alternate between legs with a dynamic rhythm.
tip Strongly engage your core and upper body while alternating your legs. pilatesstyle.com
kneeling side kick purpose challenges core with minimal movement of torso setup Kneel on a mat with your legs together. Extend your arms out to your sides at shoulder height. Keep your shoulder blades down the back, abs engaged and tailbone tucked under. 1 Place your left hand on the mat, shoulder over wrist and
your right hand behind your head. Keep your left hip over your left knee for stability and support. 2 Reach your right leg long to hip height. 3 Kick your right leg to the front and lengthen it to the back of the room, keeping your upper body still. Do 5â€“10 repetitions. Repeat on your other side. modification Hold leg in the air and lengthen.
setup tip Keep your hips and shoulders stacked.
50 january/february 2011 pilatesstyle.com
deep plié in second position
purpose strengthens and tones legs setup Stand on a mat with your legs open wide, feet turned out. Extend your arms out to your sides at shoulder height. Curl your tailbone under. 1 Keeping your abs tight, bend your knees over your toes into a deep plié. Lift and lower your heels and then straighten your legs back to the starting position. Do 5–10 repetitions. 2 Repeat step 1 but, this time, do 3 pulses when your heels are raised. advanced Lower your thighs so that they are ps parallel to the floor.
tip Engage your abdominals to help with balance.
Dana Eisenstein Smythe has a BFA from the Conservatory
instructor at Pilates of Boca in Boca Raton, FL. She is
of Dance at Purchase College and danced profession-
also a Senior Level Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates and
ally with the Kevin Wynn Collection for seven years. After
has helped develop their continuing education program.
discovering Pilates as a remedy for dance-related injuries,
Craving comfortable, functional activewear with a consis-
she went on to get her certification through Power Pilates.
tent fit, Dana created her own line, Yummy Bodywear, in
She has been a teacher for 13 years, and is currently an
2010 (yummybodywear.com). pilatesstyle.com