Summer is finally on its way so expect to be bombarded with advice about how to transform your body for swimwear, beach and bikini season but there’s nothing more valuable than longer-lasting results. Matthew Harris discovers how Dynamic Pilates can keep you looking and feeling younger for longer.
A routine for all seasons
Many people are fiercely loyal to Pilates and there’s a very good reason for that: This is a method that works on all areas of your body to achieve results that last. No one wants a great beach body that sags again the instant that the cold weather starts to return.
A full body work-out
For anyone who has yet to try Pilates, quite simply it works by concentrating the work-out around the waist and lower back muscles – the Powerhouse as Joseph Pilates called it. This helps to improve your posture and flexibility and as a result, you become more resistant to injury.
Over time, the work you do on this core area quickly begins to benefit the whole body, making you more supple and feeling great all over. Your posture and breathing improves and you become more focused on how your body works as a whole. It’s hard to convey how great Pilates is and the only way is to try it for yourself.
Dynamic Pilates is a new programme that provides all the great benefits of traditional Pilates but also provides an instant cardiovascular work-out. It takes Pilates to the next level by taking the basic principle and adding resistance. So you have conditioning benefits, an increase in muscle development and a soaring heart rate.
The science part
Neil Dimmock, Master Trainer at TenPilates in London, explains that Dynamic Pilates works by using revolutionary Reformer Beds which make you work against a varying levels of resistance. Quite simply, more of your body is working and it’s being put through its paces at a greater level of intensity than with traditional Pilates on the mat thanks to the springs and weights.
So the science part wasn’t that taxing! It’s a fairly simple process that builds on traditional Pilates but with improved and quicker results for the whole body.
Neil has some tips for things you can do at home and just by using basic hand held weights, you can build some firmness in your arms.
“Resistance training is an excellent way to sculpt your arms,” says Neil. “Remember to keep the amount you’re lifting on the low side if using handheld weights, but do lots of repetitions. This will help you gain definition without building muscle mass – working on arms from say the half term holidays in the lead up to schools breaking up is always a good marker to get arms in shape.”
A combination of lunges and spinning are your secret weapons for a more pert bottom. ‘The aim is to keep your bum tightly squeezed when you do lunges. To complement this, if you ride a bike to work or go spinning, stand up while you cycle to really hone your rear.’
The TenSpin classes are another way to get you peddling to a more toned bottom. ‘When you are cycling slower due to a stronger resistance, try to squeeze your bum while going through this motion. You will feel the burn – but it’s good for you!’
‘Another basic exercise with Dynamic Pilates involves positioning yourself on your hands and knees. Walk your knees back until they are behind your hips and your thighs should now be at a 45 degree angle. Lift your hips to the same height as your shoulders, tip your pelvis back as though you are pulling your tail bone between your legs. Hold the position for 10-20 seconds, two to three times with a short rest between.’
This is quite a strenuous exercise but it will have some great benefits for flattening that stomach.
TenPilates is a boutique Dynamic Pilates studio for all levels from beginners upwards found at three locations in London – Notting Hill, Kensington and Mayfair. For more information visit TenPilates.com.