Shape Up for Summer – Legs

summer-legsWe had a glimpse of warm summer weather just ten days ago, and shorts, shorter skirts, and even bathing suits suddenly popped out of storage and onto people’s unsuspecting bodies.  Were your legs ready???  Here are some tried and true classical Pilates exercises, as well as a few new Pilates exercise variations to get your legs ready to meet summer head on.

Let’s start with the outer thighs.  For this area, we LOVE the Side Leg Lift Series.  It’s simple and easy, but oh so effective!!  For maximum results, keep your knee cap pointing straight forward so that you are targeting the outer thighs and not the front of the leg.  We feature this amazing leg series in many of our mat workouts, and even in our Bosu workouts too!  For some variety, try doing the series with an Exercise Band, as we demonstrate in our Stretch and Strengthen Workout

Next, let’s move to the inner thighs.  These little suckers are hard to tone, but they do respond VERY well to exercise, when we remember to use them.  One big hint for the inner thighs……  KEEP THEM ENGAGED IN ALMOST ALL YOUR PILATES EXERCISES!!  Truly, if you do Hundreds, Roll Up, Rolling Like a Ball, Side Leg Lift Series, Breast Stroke, etc. etc., concentrating on keeping your inner thighs engaged throughout, you will hardly feel the need to do a separate exercise just for them.  As we are all built differently, it is often helpful to think of squeezing a ping pong ball between the upper inner thighs rather than squeezing the knees or ankles together, as this may often take the femurs (thigh bones) out of optimal alignment.  If you love Pilates equipment like we do, try incorporating a small ball or a Pilates Ring into your workout to experience firsthand the wonders they can do for your adductors.  We recommend our Small Ball Workout, and our Sculpt and Shape Workout!!

And last, but certainly not least, we have the tops of the backs of the thighs, undoubtedly the hardest part to tone.  Exercises to tone the upper hamstrings will inevitably involve the gluteus maximus as well, so performing these exercises regularly will help your butt defy gravity too!  From our arsenal of classical Pilates exercises, we have Swan Dive, Swimming, One Leg Kick and Double Leg Kick to name a few.  For maximum effectiveness, make sure that you keep your knees straight when they are supposed to be straight!  It may help to imagine your leg growing longer as you lift the leg.  Additionally, for this hard to target area, incorporating an exercise band into your routine can reap rewards tenfold!!  The exercise band can provide extra resistance and create increased awareness to that stubborn little area.  Two suggestions:  Try our Strong, Svelte & Savvy Sculpt Lean, Lithe Legs Workout or our Strong, Svelte & Savvy Legs and Butt with Band Workout and you will see for yourself.

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May 6, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings.

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