Gone are the days of women running a mile from resistance training, afraid that they would ‘bulk up’. Nowadays, it’s cool to be strong, fit and happy! How good is that?
Resistance training has SO many health benefits for women including body fat loss, increased muscle mass, decreased risk of osteoporosis, reduced risk of injury and back pain, less stress, improved posture and enhanced mood!
With more and more women getting on board with resistance training, I thought I would share with you some simple pilates exercises that you can do to not only tone your muscles but also help you to build a base level of strength.
As some of you may know, pilates is a great total-body workout that can tone each and every muscle. It even has other health benefits, such as improving cognitive function and easing back pain. If you’ve never tried Pilates before, it’s something to consider. All you need is a basic gym mat and a set of weights that are between one and three pounds. If you’re looking to get toned arms, these are some Pilates exercises you should definitely try.
1. Arm circles
Arm circles activate the shoulders and build endurance in the triceps, biceps and forearms. From a standing position, with your legs pressed together and toes turned out, allow your arms to hang long in front of you. Draw small, controlled circles originating at your shoulders as you gradually raise your arms up above your shoulders and toward the ceiling. Reverse the circles and lower your arms back to start. Complete three to five sets of arm circles. Add weights above 3 pounds to make this exercise very challenging.
2. Pilates push-up
The main difference between a Pilates push-up and a regular push-up is the way that you bend your arms. HuffPost says you should start this move in a plank position, arms straight and right below your shoulders. Keep your feet close together. Then, you’ll want to bend your elbows to start your push-up, keeping them as close to your core as possible. You should feel your triceps working if you’re doing this move correctly. Once you’ve bent your elbows as far as they can go without rounding your back or sticking your butt toward the ceiling, bring your body back to starting position. Repeat eight to 10 times.
Hold weights in your both hands and move your arms upwards. Press the weights together in front of you. Now move the weights up and down in a slow motion by bending your elbows. Keep the weights together throughout the exercise. Repeat this exercise 7 to 9 times.
4. Pulling a Sword
Start with your arms crossed in front of you and at hip height, elbows slightly bent and shoulders back.
Reach the arms up and out to the sides, almost forming an “X” position. Make sure to keep the shoulders back and down.
Bring the arms back to start position without letting the hands rest on top of each other.
5. STANDING BAND ROW
Set up: Stand on your resistance band with your feet hip-width apart. Cross the band over and hold onto each end of the band.
Exhale, row your arms back, with your elbows pointing out to the side.
Think of squeezing your shoulder blades back and together without letting your shoulders rise up around your ears.
Inhale, release the band forward slowly.