Tummy Toning Exercises – Tone Your Stomach Muscles For a Great Tummy

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Jul 072010

Is that really the way you want your stomach to look? Of course not, you want to have a great looking stomach for wearing all of the great outfits for spring and summer. You want to wear tight jeans, and tight tops which show off your great looking tummy. It is time to start hitting the tummy toning exercises to get your stomach ready for action.

If you really want to have a great looking stomach we need to work on the entire abdominal area of your body. By getting the center of your stomach and the side muscles of your tummy all in great shape, strong, and fit, you will have a tummy you are proud to show off.

The number one exercise for building up strength in the abdomen is the crunch. It looks easy, but try telling yourself that after you do several sets of crunches back to back. The crunch is simply done by lying on the floor, rolling your head and shoulders up using the power of your stomach muscles. Hold the up position for a moment or two before dropping back down. The real trick to crunches is to never release the tension at the bottom before starting the next repetition. Expect your abdomen to feel the burn in just a few reps.

When the crunches become a little too easy, start holding a heavy book, a weight plate, or other weights on your chest with your arms folded across your chest.

To start working on the sides of your abdomen we are going to use exactly the same exercise, but you are going to start rotating your shoulders on each crunch. On the first time up twist slightly to the left, on the next rep twist slightly to the right. Your abs are going to complain about this exercise. This exercise is going to help transform your tummy.

Time to have a little more fun in your tummy toning exercises. You are going to pretend to ride a bicycle, except this is a little more challenging. Staying on the floor on your back put your hands behind your head and lift your head and shoulders a little. Now you need to start alternating lifting your knees similar to riding a bike. As you lift one knee bring the opposite elbow towards the rising knee. This exercise works the entire abdominal area and is going to help create a tremendous looking stomach.

These few exercises are enough to make major changes to the look of your stomach if you add one more ingredient. Most times your stomach is covered with a layer of body fat hiding the real power of your stomach. Cut your calories a little bit so you start losing weight slowly. Then when you employ these tummy toning exercises your new stomach fitness is going to show up rapidly, making all of your clothes look great, including the tightest, sexiest clothes you own. If you do not own any sexy clothes, it is just about time to go shopping.

Tricep Exercises for Women – No More Jiggling Upper Arms

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Jul 072010

Do your dread wearing sleeveless shirts even on the hottest days due to the sagging and jiggly upper arms? If you want to correct the problem you are going to need to implement a two part solution which is guaranteed to improve your arms. You need to combine tricep exercises for women and make a very simple change to your eating.

Do you know which part of your arm has the largest muscles? Most people believe it is the front of their arm in the biceps. The triceps muscles on the back of the arm are a larger part of your arm and have the most impact on improving the shape of your arms.

With tricep exercises, women need to focus on extending or straightening your arm, with resistance. Usually this is done with using dumbbells (one-handed weights), barbells (two-handed weights), or with body weight. Many trainers will attempt to tell you push-ups are great for working on your triceps, but in reality they are only minimally effective. Instead of isolating the triceps muscles and focusing the exercise, they engage many muscles, using the chest muscles the most, limiting their effectiveness.

To improve your arms shape we need to isolate the triceps muscle. The easiest exercise to do is the triceps kickback. Holding a dumbbell, or even a large canned vegetable, bend at the waist until your are bent at a 90 degree angle. Put your upper arm beside you, with your lower arm hanging down at a 90 degree angle. You then simply straighten, kick back, your arm to exercise the triceps muscle. Do this exercise for 3 sets of approximately 15 to 20 reps each time. This will help to start toning and building a little muscle in the back of your arm.

Another simple exercise can be done using only your body weight and a chair. Facing away from the chair put both hands down on the chair. Lower yourself down using your arms to control the movement. Go down until your arms are at a 90 degree angle. Now push yourself back up using the power of your arms. Focus your thoughts and efforts into the back of your arms.

Any exercise which requires straightening the arm using the muscles in the back of your arms will be effective tricep exercises for women. Instead of discussing more exercises, we need to discuss the second part of the equation. The jiggling mass is not only loose muscles, but is actually more fatty tissue. In order to have the best looking arms possible you need to reduce your body fat percentage a little. Do not jump to the conclusion you need a strict and difficult diet. You want to just modify your eating a little. Reduce you portion sizes a little, reduce the amount of fats and processed sugars, and you will have created a successful and easy to follow plan.

Tricep exercises for women is not the entire picture. You will need to modify your eating, and should make your tricep exercises part of an exercise routine for your entire body. When you improve your overall fitness your arms will follow along quickly. Not only will your arms look great, every part of your body will, too.

Toning Exercises for Women – Create a Firm, Energetic, and Sexy Body

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Jul 062010

Girls, what part of your body do you want to tone the most? If you are like most women the answer probably came back as a single body part. Your answer may have been your stomach, your legs, your buttocks, or maybe your arms. The real method to getting a great looking body is to quit targeting one area and start using toning exercises for women for your entire body.

When you attempt to train only one area of your body to tone it up, you are doing yourself very little good. When you work to create the entire package by toning your entire body you increase the effects on the body part you wanted to target, and create the body you really are dreaming about. Let us take a quick inventory of your body, and discuss exercises to target each area.

Starting at the top, do not overlook the importance of your neck. Do stretching exercises for your neck in all four major directions. This can help firm the muscles, increase flexibility, and give you a better looking neck.

Women’s arms are a trouble spot for many ladies. Toning your arms is easy by doing simple exercises with hand weights. For the front of your arms do curling motions, bending your arms completely, compressing the muscle at the top of the bend. For the back of your arms to kick backs. This requires bending at the waist, keeping the elbow against your body, then straightening the arm backwards in a kicking motion with the weight.

For your chest the easiest exercise is simple push-ups. If doing them with straight legs is too difficult, do the push-ups from your knees. For the upper back use your hand weights again, bend over and do a rowing motion pulling the weights into your chest.

Toning exercises for women requires a strong middle in your stomach and lower back. Do crunches for you stomach, they are much safer than sit-ups and more effective. For your lower back do Good Mornings. These are done by standing, keeping a straight back, bending deeply at the waist, and then straightening again. This exercise also strengthens the hamstrings and the buttock muscles, a good 3 in 1 exercise.

Moving down to your legs, instead of just taking care of one part let us get a full leg workout. The lunge is one of the finest toning exercises for women. The lunge is done by taking a step forward with one foot, bending deeply on the front knee, and then pushing back up. Do several reps with one leg then rotate to the other leg being in front. This exercise workings the calf muscles, frontal thigh, hamstrings and buttock muscles.

Just these few toning exercises for women will give you a full body workout, giving you a balanced strong body. When you train your full body you accelerate the effects on the portion of your body you really want to target, making it improve rapidly. Get started today, and look great fast.

Thigh Exercises – Building Great Looking Upper Legs With Ease

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Jul 062010

Which thigh problem are you suffering from? Do you have skinny legs, or do you have fat jiggly legs? Either one of these problems can be made to disappear when you use the proper thigh exercises, and give your legs a great workout.

You can look all over the place and see specialty workouts claiming to target building up skinny legs, or trimming down fat legs, but were you aware both people are facing almost an identical issue? Both a person with flabby legs and a person with skinny legs are lacking muscle in their legs. Muscle is what creates the shape, the beauty, and the structure of the leg. For both of you, the answer is simply adding a few of the most important thigh exercises into a daily routine.

Before you get the two simple exercises you need to be doing, we need to cover an important topic which does separate the two types of legs, nutritional needs. If you are one of the people with flabby legs you must reduce your body fat a little to make your legs become truly fantastic. This means cutting back a little on the calories, especially on the sweets and fatty foods. Did you just give a big sigh of relief? You are right, it does not require an exhaustive plan of starving yourself, just cut back a little and you will be off to a great start.

Now, for those of you with skinny legs, your nutritional needs are a little different. You need to eat a little more. Not more fats and more sweets, but more proteins and complex carbohydrates like pasta, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. In order for your legs to grow and develop is going to require the proper building blocks. Let us make this easy for you. Take along a couple snacks to work with you which include some cheese, hard boiled eggs, or other proteins, and some form of complex carbohydrate. Make sure to eat those two snacks in addition to any other food you would normally eat. This should give you an added boost in nutrition which will help fuel the growth.

For our two exercises we are going to focus on thigh exercises for the front and back of the leg. For the front of the leg you need to be doing squats. This is the most effective exercise to target your quadriceps. For the hamstrings you must have a curling, or leg bending, exercise. We will keep this simple and use hamstring curls.

Squats are perhaps the easiest exercise in the world to perfect. You are simply squatting down to a sitting position, and then powering back up, while maintaining a straight back and upright head. Do these for 3 sets, with approximately 10 to 15 repetitions in each set. As this become easy add weight to continue to build muscle, which thins fat legs, and builds up skinny legs.

Hamstring curls can be performed most easily on a weight machine, with a leg curl attachment. For anyone without a weight bench you can lay on your back with your feet on a chair, drive your heels downward into to chair, bending your knees and using your hamstrings to lift your body. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. Add weight as the exercise becomes easy.

With just minor adjustments to your diet these two thigh exercises can thin or build your upper legs. Your legs can be turned into a work of art.

Swiss Ball Exercises – Playing Like A Child Can Make You Very Healthy

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Jul 062010

If you want to have a little fun while getting fit, swiss ball exercises may be the perfect answer. Think about how much fun children have playing with a ball, rolling around on top of it, finding all kinds of ways to balance, push, and play with a ball. Your large exercise ball is the equivalent for you.

Swiss ball exercises can be used to strengthen and tone almost any part of your body. It helps to produce better balance, and works on your core stability muscles at the same time. Your core stability muscles become engaged due to being called upon to maintain your position and balance on the ball. This gives you a more complete workout than your can get doing the equivalent moves on the floor.

What exercises can your do with your swiss exercise ball? For the upper body you can start off with push-ups or push-offs. For push-ups you can use the ball in one of two ways. You can place your feet up on the ball if you are needing to get a little more resistance. This requires even stronger arms and chest muscles than push-ups from the floor. If you are needing to make push-ups easier, just turn around. Keeping your feet on the floor and your hands on the ball reduces the resistance allowing your to complete push-ups easily. As you build up strength your can try new positions. Push-offs are similar to push-ups, but you are holding the ball against a wall, and then pushing your self away from the wall.

For the back of the arms you can do a triceps push-up. Turn around, go into a sitting position with your hands supporting your body behind you. Straighten your arms, using them to power your body upwards.

For the legs you can do a variety of squats and lunges to develop stronger legs. For squats you can put the ball against the wall, with your back against the ball. Simply squat down to a sitting position and then power yourself back up. If this is too easy, then try doing one leg squats. The swiss ball lunge is done very similarly. You put the ball behind your back against the wall, placing one foot slight back, and with the other foot stepped forward. Bend the front knee to approximately a 90 degree angle and then power back up. Do several repetitions and then switch legs.

Swiss ball exercises for your core body strength usually take the form of static positions. Two of the most popular are the plank and reverse plank. In the plank you keep your feet on the floor and place your elbows on the swiss ball. Maintain a straight back and hold the position firmly. In the reverse plank your feet are on the exercise ball, and your hands are on the floor. Your are in almost the same position as an the top of a push-up. Hold the position maintaining a straight back to build core strength.

Swiss ball exercises are not grueling, but they do work on giving your stronger more toned muscles. Using the ball to work on balance, and changing leverage can give you stronger muscles throughout your body, while building strong core stability muscles.

Stomach Exercises For Women – Create A Flat Sexy Stomach

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Jul 062010

Trying to get rid of the excess bulge of your tummy is a challenge faced by many women. By using a few stomach exercises for women you can quickly flatten your abdomen, and create a beautiful and sexy tummy.

To get the best looking stomach possible you need to work on both the middle of your stomach and the oblique muscles on the sides of your abdominal wall. By conditioning and toning all of these muscles you create a sexy, shapely center you can be proud of.

The first abdominal exercise you should try is the bicycle. This exercise is going to target both your abdominal muscles and the obliques. To complete this exercise lay flat on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Pull your right knee up, lifting the foot off the ground, bringing the knee towards your nose. At the same time raise your head and turn your left elbow towards the rising knee. Keeping your head up, switch legs and rotate your right elbow towards the rising left knee. You switch legs and rotate elbows for approximately 10 reps to each side. Take a short rest of about 1 to 2 minutes and then repeat for another set.

One of the most common stomach exercises for women is the crunch. The crunch is one of the easier exercises to complete, while putting intensive work into the abdominal wall. You should do two varieties of the crunch to target your entire stomach. The first variety is the standard abdominal crunch. Lay on the floor with your knees bent slightly. Place your hands behind your head, or folded on your chest. Raise your head and shoulders using only your stomach muscles for power. If you chose to put your hands behind your head remember not to use them for pulling. The work must be done by your abdominal muscles. Do two sets of ten crunches.

The second variety of crunches requires a slight twist, literally. Position yourself identically, but this time as you use your head and shoulders turn your shoulders slightly to the right. On your next rep turn your shoulders slightly to the left. These small twists will bring your obliques into the action while still working on your abdominal muscles. Do two sets of 10 reps. On both types of crunches if they become too easy just hold a weight plate, or other weighted item across your chest to increase the resistance.

If you thought you were done crunching you were wrong. This time we are going to do a reverse crunch. Your head and shoulders remain flat on the floor with your arms lying on the floor beside your torso. Raise your legs into a 90 degree angle, the knees can be bent. In this positions pull your knees towards your chest while trying to rock your hips upwards with the pull of your abdominal muscles. This crunch will target the lower part of your abdominal muscles.

With only these four stomach exercises for women you can produce a strong, flat and sexy stomach. You will have a stomach ready for the beach, short shirts, and looking great in those tight tops and dresses.

Rowing Machine Exercise – Complete Aerobic and Strength Conditioning in One Machine

 Bodybuilding, Exercises, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Rowing Machine Exercise – Complete Aerobic and Strength Conditioning in One Machine
Jul 062010

Rowing machine exercise is one of the most complete forms of exercise you can utilize. It works your arms, upper and lower back, your chest muscles, your abdominal muscles and your legs. Being an exercise of almost constant motion it is highly aerobic in nature, and very effective at increasing cardiovascular health. You may begin wondering why it is not the most popular machine in most gyms.

The simple fact is rowing machine exercise is challenging. It requires good coordination, can put stress on your lower back if proper form is not used, and requires getting down near floor level. As anyone who has mastered exercising on a rowing machine can tell you, overcoming those few hurdles can lead to the greatest benefits possible.

Before you start using a rowing machine in the gym or at home, you must take a few minutes to warm up and stretch your back. Rowing machines are more intensive on your back than many other forms of exercise. Your lower and upper back muscles are used extensively in rowing machine exercise. Make sure you get a good stretch in your legs, too. Your legs will be providing much of the power used on the rowing machine.

Using nearly perfect form is very important on the rowing machine it minimize your risks of back strain. The first part to keep in mind is keeping your back straight and flat throughout the exercise. When you start off a repetition on the rowing machine use your legs. Push strongly with your legs to start the motion. You then engage your lower back, arms, and upper back muscles to draw the rowing handles to your chest while leaning slightly backwards. We need to repeat the part of keeping your back straight. Keep your back flat and straight even while you power back and lean back.

Keeping your back straight is required as you move back to the starting position again. This return movement is when it becomes very tempting to allow your back to round off as you extend your arms to the starting point. Do not allow the temptation to win, make sure to maintain great form.

As you are completing your workout make sure to focus on the muscles you are putting into use. Feel the power of your legs driving the seat back. Notice the strength of your lower back and buttocks helping to drive the seat and transitioning you to the arm pull. As you pull with your arms feel your biceps and upper back muscles drawing the handles to your chest. By paying attention to the muscles your are using you will keep better form, and get a better workout.

You will quickly discover rowing machine exercise is very effective at building lean muscle and burning fat quickly off your body. You will not only be improving your cardio fitness, but the overall shape of your body, too. This could be the most effective exercise machine you will ever use.

Resistance Band Exercises – Strength Conditioning Without The Bulky Weights

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Jul 062010

Resistance band exercises are one of the best ways to get great strength conditioning while keeping the heavy weights out of the house. Resistance bands are often recommended by Doctors, Rehabilitation Therapists, and Sports Trainers to help their patients and clients increase their strength during recovery from injuries. It is not only great for rehabilitating injuries, but for building better muscle strength and preventing injuries.

Resistance band exercises are available to work every portion of your body making them a highly effective piece of exercise equipment. These bands are great for taking on the road with you, too. Many exercisers love to keep a set of bands in their suitcase to take on vacation with them. Even though they may not have access to a gym they can still get a great workout for all their body parts. Here are a few examples of the exercises you can do with resistance bands.

For your upper back you can do lat pulls. You hold the resistance band in front of you with both hands at about chest level. Gripping the bands tightly stretch the bands outward using pulling your elbows back towards your spinal cord. Make sure to contract your upper back muscles tightly at the end of your pull and hold the contraction for a few seconds before releasing the contraction.

One of the best resistance band exercises for your legs is squats. Place the bands under your feet and grip one side in each hand. Make sure the band is lightly stretched while you are in the crouched position and then stand using your legs to stretch the resistance bands. Tense your muscles at the top of the stretch, then lower down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Rest a moment and then do another set.

For your arms you can do biceps curls using the resistance bands. Again place the bands under your feet, and in a standing position grasp one band in each hand. Curl your arms up at the elbow pulling against the resistance of the band. When you have your arm fully bent contract the muscle fully to get the best results from your efforts.

Doing just your biceps on the front of your arm would be very incomplete. You need to exercise the triceps muscle, too. The best exercise to target the triceps is to hold the band in both hands in front of your chest with your elbows raised and bent with your hands near each other. Holding tightly on to the band, straighten one arm pulling with the muscles on the back of your arm. Repeat with the one arm 10 to 15 times, then switch arms.

As you can see it is easy to work almost any body part using resistance band exercises. The resistance band is one of the easiest to use and effective home training devices you can have. It may not be as effective as using weights, but takes little room, and is an exercise you will have fun doing in any room in the house.

Prenatal Pilates – Can Pilates Improve Your Pregnancy Experience?

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Jul 062010

What muscles is your body going to need during pregnancy? Pregnancy and delivery require strong core muscles. You are supporting more weight on your body, and experiencing new challenges in maintaining good posture, and avoiding a sore back. Prenatal Pilates can help you prepare for the physical challenges ahead.

Think about what carrying a baby in your womb actually does to your body. Your stomach is growing, attempting to make your spine bend in new ways as the pressure and weight of the baby moves your center of gravity forward. Your hips begin to widen, and your leg joints become a little looser in preparation for delivery. With the baby pushing down on your pelvis, your circulation can be reduced to your lower extremities.

What is Pilates designed to do? Pilates is designed to help you strengthen your core, maintain a balanced straight spine, increase flexibility, and improve circulation. Take the list of benefits from this Prenatal Pilates plan and compare it to the negative effects of pregnancy. What becomes quickly apparent is Pilates overcomes almost every facet of the problems created being pregnant.

Pilates is going to give you even bigger benefits when it comes time for labor and delivery. Your core will be strong, your body flexible, and you will have developed great mental control of both your body and your breathing. These factors will help when you are battling through the pain of a contraction, and then needing the energy and power to push to deliver your baby. It is much easier to enjoy your moment when you are working with a strong, fit, and ready body, rather than battling against an unprepared body. Using Pilates to build up your strong core will give you many advantages

If you have already been practicing Pilates before becoming pregnant, just keep up with your normal routine, and modify it slightly as you feel the need. You already have developed a good sense of your body. For women who are wanting to start Pilates and are already pregnant, first check with your Doctor. They are almost certain to give you their approval, but may have some recommended restrictions for you. Your Pilates instructor will help you adjust your routines to be safe, and to give you the best benefits in preparing for the changes in your body. It is very important you discuss your pregnancy with your instructor. They will want to keep a little closer eye on you and your routines during classes. They have probably worked with pregnant women before, and may have some added exercises they would like you to try to give you even more benefits.

Prenatal Pilates is the ideal way to prepare your body and maintain it during pregnancy. All the normal issues created by pregnancy are nearly a perfect match for the benefits you gain from practicing Pilates. No pregnancy and delivery is easy, but with Pilates training it can be much smoother and enjoyable.

Postnatal Exercise – Fast Recovery From Life’s Most Challenging Event – Pregnancy

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Jul 062010

Pregnancy and delivery of your new baby is a very challenging time for your body. You have just undergone one of the most dramatic physical changes any human can endure, and it is completely natural. Postnatal exercise can help to accelerate the healing and recovery of your body. With proper exercise you body will start returning to pre-pregnancy condition quickly.

Before starting postnatal exercise please check with your obstetrician and gynecologist. You do not want to risk doing more harm than good to your body. You may have vaginal tearing, separations in your abdominal muscles, and other conditions which must be treated cautiously as you begin exercising.

One of the most highly recommended exercises for women after pregnancy is Kegel exercises. These exercises are simply tightening your pelvic floor muscles and holding them for a count of five before releasing. You can do these up to five times each day for about 12 to 20 repetitions each time. These simple exercises will help you recover bladder control and start to firm up the muscles which have been unbelievably stretched during delivery.

Another highly recommended exercise is the heel slide. This exercise is very easy before pregnancy but may feel a little more challenging as a postnatal exercise. Lay down on your back with your legs straight out. Now slide one heel up, bending at your knee. The heel never leaves the floor, you simply slide it until the foot is flat on the floor, then lower and rotate legs. Do this with each leg for approximately 20 repetitions. This exercise starts to strengthen your abdominal muscles without putting too much strain on these muscles which have been stretched and separated during pregnancy.

One of the best overall exercises you can do is walking. Your nurses and Doctor were probably already prompting you to start walking in the hospital. Now is the time to get up and start moving more. Walking is fairly easy on the body, but engages large amounts of muscles for support. It helps to get your blood circulating and your entire body engaged in recovery. Even walking around the house carrying your infant is beneficial. If you have a treadmill go ahead and start using it while the baby sleeps. Again, as a reminder, check with your Doctor about your plans.

One last group of exercises you may want to add to your postnatal exercise routine. Pelvic rocking is a great way to improve lower back and lower abdominal strength without risking injury. You can do pelvic rocking while lying on the floor or while on your hands and knees in a crawling position. In either position simply rock your pelvis upwards and downwards. This simple exercise can be very beneficial when combined with the other exercises. You should never over exercise shortly after delivery, but getting started with simple exercises will help accelerate your recovery and healing. Ask your Doctor even before you leave the hospital and get started in improving your health, and taking care of your baby.

Pilates Mat Exercises – Pilates Can Be Very Effective Without All The Hardware

 Exercises  Comments Off on Pilates Mat Exercises – Pilates Can Be Very Effective Without All The Hardware
Jul 062010

When you start watching Pilates training material, reading in the books, or watching many classes on TV, you begin to believe Pilates requires special tables, chairs, arcs, and other accessories. Pilates can be highly effective by just using a complete set of Pilates mat exercises, eliminating your needs for all the high end equipment.

Most of us do not have a desire to go to the highest extremes of Pilates training, and mat exercises will fulfill every need we have. Using mat exercises reduces the cost of training, and allows you to easily do your routines at home when it is impossible to make it to a Pilates center.

If you were under the belief most Pilates positions required special equipment, we are about to prove differently. Here are a few of the easy to use, and effective Pilates exercises you can do with just a mat, and your own body.

One of the basic Pilates moves for strengthening your back is the Pilates Dart. The dart is performed by lying face down on your mat, with your hands and arms positioned straight along the side of your body. Lift your head, looking straight forward, and then arch your back lifting your shoulders and chest up from the mat. Think of your head and shoulders not only coming up, but going forwards as you lift. You wish to both strengthen and stretch the back simultaneously.

The Pilates Clam is another of the basic Pilates mat exercises. This time you will be lying on your side. Your knees should be pulled up with the knees at approximately a 90 degree angle. Keep your feet together. In this exercise think of your two big toes as a hinge. Keeping the lower leg flat on the floor, rotate the upper knee upward and away from the lower knee. Make sure to keep the two big toes together. Spread far enough to feel a light stretching, hold through one breath, and then lower back down. Repeat this several times and then roll over and repeat from the opposite side.

To work on your stomach area, the Pilates Chest Lift is a great exercise. While you may think this looks like a traditional abdominal crunch the focus and technique is a little different. Start by lying on your back, keeping your lower back flattened to the mat. Have your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head, elbows straight to your sides. Your elbows are never to come forward, this is to prevent using your arms for leverage. Now, drive your belly button down towards your spine by drawing in your abdominal muscles. While your abs are drawn in, lift your head and shoulders by pulling with your abdominal muscles. Hold the upward position for one to two counts making sure you are keeping your belly button driving downwards, flattening your spine into the floor. Keep your head high and extended throughout the exercise. Repeat for approximately 8 repetitions.

This is just a very small sample of the Pilates mat exercises you can use to change your body. You will discover you can have a very complete Pilates workout without ever touching any other equipment than a mat. Forget about all those accessories, unless you choose you want a little more variety in your Pilates routines.

Pilates Lessons – Getting Started With Pilates With The Right Lessons

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Jul 062010

Are you considering getting started with Pilates exercise? Choosing the right Pilates lessons can make a big difference on whether you love Pilates, or whether it just becomes another exercise program you drop in just a few weeks.

One of the biggest temptations when choosing to start Pilates is to go buy a book and trying to follow the directions in the book. The book can be great, and very complete, but trying to go through the proper movements, understanding the stretches, and getting the breathing right is difficult when all you have is the written word and static pictures.

The next idea which crosses many people’s minds is to grab a video of Pilates lessons. The video is definitely much better than a book. The video will let you see the motions being performed properly. You will hear the instructors directions and see great examples of breathing techniques. You will get a much better idea of how everything is performed if you see it in motion. While this is much better than a book it leaves one major component out of your learning process. You will not be getting any feedback on your performance of the techniques. You may feel like you are assuming the pose properly, but you cannot really be sure.

The best way to get started is to attend a beginner’s Pilates class. When you are in a class of beginners along with an instructor who is prepared to slowly step through proper form, stretching, and breathing, you will get the very best training possible, plus you are able to ask questions and get answers. When you are surrounded by other students you get the benefit of the questions they ask, and the shared challenges. You get to see how other people make mistakes, and watch as the instructor corrects them. This helps you learn to notice your own errors and make proper adjustments. If you are making mistakes the instructor will notice and come over and give you proper instructions.

You may choose after a few weeks of classes you prefer to exercise at home. This is the perfect time to switch to using a DVD of Pilates lessons. You will have the experience of the instructions from your instructor, have been practicing proper breathing, and now the DVD video lessons will make perfect sense. Instead of becoming frustrated with your lessons you will have greater success, and you will have great fun practicing the techniques you see in the DVD.

Pilates lessons are great fun, but you must start off the right way. You do not want to get stuck not understanding and losing interest. Once you have a firm understanding of the movements and techniques you can choose whether you want to remain in a class, or take your Pilates training home. Even if you started out believing you wanted to exercise at home, you will probably discover you love the classes and having an instructor. You may discover using both a DVD and classes is the perfect combination to take care of your needs.

Pilates For Beginners – Building A Great Body Starts At The Core

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Jul 062010

When Joseph Pilates created the Pilates exercise program his vision was of building up a strong central core of your body, with long lean muscles. Pilates for beginners is going to be centered around developing your abdomen, lower back, and buttocks. This central region of your body is the center of your strength, stability, and your bodies protection. Here is what your should expect from starting off with a Pilates program.

One suggestion as your embark on your journey into learning Pilates, if at all possible start off in a class with a certified Pilates instructor. You may be tempted to start off at home with a video course, but you will miss out on some of the most important intricacies of the program. A Pilates instructor is going to be meticulous in teaching you about form. They know the exercises are only as effective as the preciseness you perform each movement. If your form is incorrect, you will not focus the energy into the proper muscles and will lose a large percentage of your benefits.

In your first classes plan on spending a lot of time focusing on breathing and working on mat routines. Pilates for beginners almost always stays far away from the more advanced techniques done on the reformer, arcs, and barrels. Usually you will spend most of your time on the mat or using a Pilates exercise ball to focus on building up your core muscles. One thing you will hear your instructor discuss constantly is centering, and talking to you about your alignment. You are going to be focusing on creating a powerful, long core, but it must be completely in alignment. You want you spinal column straight, and your power to be kept centered and aligned for the greatest benefits.

Pilates is not only about your body, but also your mind. This is not getting metaphysical, but working on getting your mind focused on your body, the movements, and the precision of your techniques. You will be reminded constantly to think about your breathing and to breathe in deeply during certain movements, and to exhale completely during the next portion of your movement. This is not just working on clearing your lungs and increasing your oxygen flow, but helps to focus the effort into the proper muscles.

Make sure you do not start thinking of your instructor as a drill sergeant with all of their instructions. They just recognize with precision you get the greatest benefits and want what is best for you. They are there to help you learn and enjoy the experience of learning Pilates and getting the great benefits.

Is it beginning to sound like a Pilates programs is filled with rules and learning? In some ways it is. It is a precise exercise routine, but the benefits of being precise are tremendous. You will build a stronger, leaner, longer body by following the proper Pilates for beginners routines than you can with any other form of exercise. You are going to love the way your body changes, looks, and feels after practicing Pilates.

Pilates Ball Exercises – Can You Skip The Reformer, Arcs, and Barrels?

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Jul 062010

Pilates training requires stressing and stretching your core muscles in almost every movement to improve your fitness, strength, and flexibility. Pilates classes usually contain a wide variety of techniques on the mat, reformer, arcs, and barrels. One thing quickly recognized by many Pilates instructors was the lack of enough equipment for larger classes, and the inability of many of their students to afford expensive equipment at home. They quickly started adapting many of the routines to be done as Pilates ball exercises.

Technically a Pilates ball is just a simple Swiss exercise ball. Often Pilates trainers recommend their students get two different sizes of exercise balls. The larger traditional exercise ball for using in core strength building and stretching, and a smaller exercise ball which can be held in the hands, or squeezed between the knees.

While an exercise ball is not nearly as capable as the other Pilates exercise equipment, there is a large range of exercises which can be done with the ball. This allows most students to have a great Pilates training session without all the expensive equipment, to practice at home, and for fitness centers to allow larger classes than can be managed with standard Pilates equipment.

Pilates ball exercises add a great advantage over the traditional equipment, too. Since the ball refuses to stay in place by itself, you must focus completely on your stability muscles, and maintaining balance. This can aid in developing your core muscles even more quickly. This is a secondary reason many Pilates instructors have started adopting the use of the exercise ball. They can see the added advantage their students are receiving from the forever trying to move exercise ball.

What types of Pilates exercises can you do with the exercise ball? You can do both a forwards and reverse spine stretch. While lying on your stomach over the ball you can flex your spine upwards, but lifting your head and shoulders, arching your back. Hold the position to strengthen the back support muscles. To get a deep stretch into your spine you can do the reverse stretch by lying on the ball with your back, and arching over the surface of the exercise ball.

The Pilates Plank is one of the most common exercises. You can use the exercise ball by either putting your hands or feet on the ball during the plank. You will discover the difference in power required due to leverage changes, and the added work you get by adjusting for the rocking exercise ball.

Pilates ball exercises take the standard Pilates maneuvers and make them more challenging by adding new positions, new angles, and requiring added balance. Using an exercise ball is a great way to enhance your workout over working on the mat only, while keeping your costs low. You can get most of the benefits of the reformer, arcs, and barrels without the added costs of the more expensive equipment. An exercise ball is much easier to store out of the way, and inexpensive to replace if it becomes damaged. Give your Pilates program a boost and add a Pilates ball.

Pilates at Home – You Can Get All The Great Benefits Of Pilates At Home

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Jul 062010

If you have been reading about all the great benefits of Pilates, you can gain all of those benefits practicing Pilates at home. Before you get started on doing Pilates in your home, you may want to consider a few options.

One of the biggest challenges to doing Pilates properly is learning perfect form and perfect breathing. This is very difficult to do with just a DVD video. For the best results from your Pilates workout it is highly recommended you attend a couple of sessions with a certified Pilates instructor. Go ahead and explain to them you plan to workout at home, but want to get some instruction first. They will be happy to get you started off on the right foot.

You may have been reading about Pilates exercises online or in some magazines, before you start doing Pilates at home it would be a really good idea to buy a DVD showing techniques, and which takes you through a normal exercise routine. The reason a video is superior is because you can see the action in motion. You can hear the instructor’s directions, and you get cues to how long to hold a position. This will help you create a routine you enjoy, and can stick with, instead of struggling to understand the pictures in a magazine. The voice of an instructor can be very motivational. Many times the DVD includes music to help you get into the proper mindset, too.

What equipment will you need to have at home? For most Pilates exercises you need comfortable clothing, or as Joseph Pilates used to say, minimal clothing. You want your body to be able to move easily without restrictions. The only other equipment required is plenty of floor room. You may choose to buy a Pilates exercise mat to give you a little added comfort.

Equipment for doing Pilates at home has started popping up all over the place. You can get lower cost reformers and many other pieces of Pilates equipment. If you are just starting out, stick with just a good mat, and maybe add an exercise ball. This combination will allow you to do a wide variety of exercises. Once you have learned the basics, started improving your core strength and flexibility, then you may want to consider added equipment. The higher end equipment is never required, it can just enhance your workout if you choose.

One thing which can really enhance your Pilates at home workouts is finding an exercise partner. Whether it is someone in your family, or a friend, you will enjoy the experience much more if you can share the efforts. Being able to talk about your body’s changes, share a good laugh when you do something wrong, and cheer each other on all adds to the fun. Just ask a few of your friends, you will probably discover many of them have been considering Pilates, too.

Pilates Accessories – Your Pilates Workout Can Be Enhanced

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Jun 212010

Unlike most forms of Yoga, which uses nothing but your body, Pilates routines often require a set of good Pilates accessories to get the most benefit from your routines. Pilates can use a wide variety of different accessories to extend and enhance your workout.

One of the most common accessories people add to their Pilates equipment is an exercise ball. This accessory is used as a support and a fulcrum for many different positions and techniques. This is a very inexpensive accessory to own for yourself for either taking to the class, or for your home workouts.

Whether you are working out at home or at a fitness center one of Pilates accessories you may enjoy owning, more than any other, is your own workout mat. While most classes have their own mats, sometimes they are used for an entire day before they are cleaned by the staff. You will often find cleaning supplies near the mats in the center, but you would probably prefer having your own mat. At least this way you know all the sweat on the mat is your own.

If you really want to improve the shape of your body you are going to want to add resistance into your routines. This normally requires adding resistance bands, springs, poles, and handles. This allows you to stretch and move with resistance against your body parts, helping to create more lean muscle, which enhances your body shape, making your body more toned and fit. Depending on the particular moves, positions, and techniques you plan to use, you may need a variety of different foot handles, hand grips, and different tensions of bands and springs.

Most good quality Pilates centers have reformers and Pilates chairs for their patrons to use. You may even want to consider adding one to your home. Both of these pieces of equipment can use a wide variety of accessories to increase the effectiveness of your workout. Consult with your Pilates instructor to see what they already have, and if there are any pieces they recommend you bring for yourself.

While many people use primarily an exercise ball, you may wish to use the higher end equipment, arcs and barrels. These Pilates accessories are formed for specific positions and techniques to give you an optimal workout. The exercise ball can perform well for many routines, but is not all encompassing. One of the most critical accessories for your Pilates classes is going to be the clothes on your back. Make sure you choose clothes which fit comfortably, move easily, and are designed to stay with your body through all the long stretching movements.

When it comes down to a final analysis the most important of all Pilates accessories is one your should be carrying with you all the time, a great attitude. When you have the right mindset, and keep your focus on practicing your techniques with perfect form you will get the greatest benefit possible. Use music, motivational talks, and any other means you enjoy to improve your mind and your body will follow. Pilates training is a great way to enhance your total well-being.

Pelvic Floor Exercises – Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor For Improved Bladder Control

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Jun 212010

One muscle everyone usually ignores is their pelvic floor. These muscles lining the lower part of the pelvis, around the anus, and extending towards the urinary tract play a major role in our health, but are most commonly overlooked until we have major health issues. Pelvic floor exercises can be a healthy part of anyone’s life, and is especially critical to people with urinary issues, pregnant women, and men recovering from prostate surgery.

The pelvic floor exercises are most commonly called Kegel Exercises, named after the Doctor who first began recommending them. The most common exercise taught to women in pregnancy classes, or by Doctor’s to their patients is the standard Kegel Exercise. In this exercise you simply tightly contract and hold the pelvic wall muscles, the same muscles you would use to restrict urine flow. Hold the contraction for about 5 seconds then release. Repeat this exercise approximately 20 times, and do them a least three times daily. As your pelvic floor muscles become stronger you can maintain the contraction longer, and do more repetitions.

The standard Kegel exercise primarily works on slow twitch muscles. They help to develop the lower pelvic area, and will aid in controlling urine flow and giving you more bladder control. There is a second set of Kegel exercises you may wish to employ, also. This comes into play because you have two types of muscle fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch. The traditional exercise only focuses on the slow twitch muscles.

To target your fast twitch muscles is going to require changing your tempo dramatically. Instead of tensing the pelvic floor exercises and holding them, this exercise requires fast tensing and releasing. Using exactly the same muscle feeling tense the pelvic floor muscles quickly and release just as fast, keep repeating rapidly for a count of 20 to 30. Then rest a moment and repeat. You can do these exercises a couple times per day, too.

Other exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, too. Put a pillow between your knees and squeeze in tightly. You will feel this in both your inner thighs and in your pelvic floor. It is almost impossible to pressure your knees together without also engaging the pelvic floor muscles. This is a great exercise to add to your Kegel exercise routines.

Even if you are not currently suffering from a medical condition requiring Kegel exercises, it makes great sense to keep the muscles in great shape. When you do have any health issues your body will be prepared, and you will not be trying to improve muscle condition at the same time as trying to recover. Pelvic floor exercises can be performed in the office, in your car, watching TV, or almost anywhere. There is no reason you should ignore these important muscles which play a critical role in our health. Stop wasting time at those red lights, and start improving your physical condition. Someday you will be happy you did.

Jun 212010

If you are not currently including lower back strengthening exercises in your exercise routine, you are missing out on one of the most critical parts of protecting your health. Your lower back is critical in giving you the base for all your other activities, too.

Think about that for just a moment. Every activity you do is centered around the middle of your body, it is the base, balance, and control center for virtually every movement you make. If your lower back is not strong and flexible you restrict the types of activities you can do, and risk potential injury.

What types of exercises should you be doing for your lower back? The best exercises are going to both increase your lower back strength and increase your range of motion. Here are a few key exercises you should consider.

The first one you should include in your workout is the barbell dead lift. If you do not have a barbell, you can use dumbbells, bags filled with cans, or even resistance bands. Bend deeply at the knees and bend slightly at the lower back to grasp the bar, or weights. Keep your back straight during the exercise. Stand up straightening your legs and your back. Make sure to pull up strongly with your lower back. This is one of the best exercises to increase strength in your lower back.

The stiff leg good morning is another of the great lower back strengthening exercises to both increase range of motion and to increase lower back strength. The stiff leg good morning is completed using either resistance bands or weights. You can use just a weight plate if you like. Hold the weight against your chest. Keep the back completely straight, then bend at the waist to approximately 90 degrees, or as far as you can comfortably go. Then power back up to the standing position. You will feel the exercise in your lower back, buttocks, and in your hamstrings. All of these muscles are involved in giving you a strong center for support and power.

If you want to start with something a little simpler, not requiring weights try the lying superman. Lay on your stomach with your legs straight out, and your arms stretched straight over your head. Now arch your back lifting your arms. This exercise will focus intensely on your lower back, and help to increase strength and range of motion.

There are many other exercises which can strengthen your back and increase flexibility, but these few exercises can get you started on creating a much stronger back. When you have a strong and flexible back all of your other activities become easier and more enjoyable. You will no longer worry about lifting items, picking up the children, and doing other intensive exercise. You know your back is strong and ready for the activity. Lower back strengthening exercises are one of the most important components of your workout program, do not ignore them.

Leg Exercises For Women

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Jun 212010

When you watch a man exercise his legs you see him focus on only two parts, the quadriceps in front, and the hamstrings in the back. Leg exercises for women need to be a little more encompassing. Women want to target not only the front and rears of their legs, but the inner and outer thighs, too.

To cover all parts of your upper legs is going to require a minimum of four exercises. To get the best looking legs possible you want to tone and condition the front, rear, inner, and outer portions of your thighs. Here are four exercises which can help you target all of the areas, giving you the gorgeous legs of a dancer.

1. Squats – This traditional exercise is still the most effective and powerful exercise for toning and conditioning the front of your legs. You can start off doing squats without weights, but as your legs become stronger you may want to hold a barbell, dumbbell, or other household items to add a little more resistance. Bend your knees lowering your buttocks as if you were sitting down onto the edge of your bed. At approximately the level of sitting down into a chair, push back up to a full standing position, and squeeze the thigh muscles tightly. Repeat this exercise for 15 repetitions, take a 1 minute break and repeat two more times.

2. Hamstring Curl – This exercise targets the back of your leg and can be performed using a weight bench, exercise ball, or even a chair. On a weight bench you will use the leg attachment and weights to bend your leg, contracting the hamstrings with the resistance of weight. Using an exercise ball or chair requires a little different technique. Lying on your back with the feet resting on the top of the exercise ball or chair, bend your legs pushing down on your heels, bending your knees to raise your buttocks and lower back. If you are doing the exercise correctly you will be contracting the hamstrings and feel the work in the back of your legs.

3. Lateral Leg Raise – Any leg exercises for women designed to target the outer thighs require a motion of spreading your legs against resistance. Starting off the resistance may just be the weight of your own legs, but with time you may want to add ankle weights, or use an exercise band to increase the difficulty. Lying on your side with your legs together, lift the upper leg straight up to your side. This spreading motion should be felt in your outer thigh, hips, and even up into the sides of your abdomen. After doing 15 reps, roll over and do the other side. Repeat for 3 sets on each side.

4. Inner Thigh Crunches – Your inner thighs can only be toned and strengthened by pressing your knees together powerfully. You can use equipment in an exercise gym, or purchase an inner thigh machine, but you can get almost as effective of a workout using a simple exercise or playground ball. Place the ball between your knees, then using your inner thigh muscles crush the ball with your knees trying to draw your knees together. You can vary the amount of air in the ball for more motion or to increase the resistance.

Leg exercises for women do not need to be complex or difficult. Using only these four simple exercises, you can tone, condition, and re-shape your entire leg. You do not even need to run to the gym, buy fancy equipment, or worry about exercise clothes. These exercises are simple to do at home, and are highly effective.

Leg Exercises At Home

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Jun 212010

Getting your legs in great condition and improving strength is easy, even at home. Leg exercises at home are very simple and you can get a very complete workout with just a few simple exercises. Here are a few exercises you may want to have in your home workout routine.

The first of the leg exercises you should do at home are squats. The squat focuses mainly on the front of the upper leg, but gets all of your leg muscles into the action. If you are just beginning your exercise program you may want to have a chair beside you to help with balance. The basic move of the squat is almost identical to sitting down in a chair. Lower your bottom until it reaches approximately the level of a chair set, while keeping your head upright, and your back straight. Then raise yourself back up to fully extended legs.

Start off doing your squats without any added weight, doing about 10 repetitions for 3 sets. Rest briefly between sets. This may be very easy for you, if it is try holding some additional weight either in the form of dumbbells, or possibly grocery bags filled with canned goods. As you increase in strength you will probably wish to invest in an inexpensive set of adjustable weight dumbbells to keep your health improvements moving forward.

The second exercise is the lunge. This is another exercise which works many muscles in the leg, but gives more focus to the hamstrings. The lunge is very beneficial in strengthening the buttocks muscles, too. The lunge is performed by putting one foot a little in front of you, and the other foot a little behind you. Bend the knee of the front leg until it reaches about 90 degrees and then push yourself back up using your leg muscles for power. You may want to use a chair for support, but do not pull yourself up using your arm on the chair. As you increase in strength add additional weight. Start off with 3 sets of 8 reps each. Make sure you switch legs and do 8 reps for each leg.

With just those two exercises you are working the upper halves of your legs very effectively, but we do not want to neglect your lower legs. This is another one of the very easy leg exercises at home. All you need is a stair, a brick, or step stool. Depending on your calf muscle strength you may be able to do these one leg at a time or both legs together. Stand with your toes on the edge of the stair, drop your heel down a little to stretch the calf muscle, and then power up until you are at the highest you can go. Lower down to the starting position slowly and repeat. Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Leg exercises at home can be as simple as using only these three exercises. You can build very impressive legs with just a few simple exercises done daily. The biggest thing, make sure you do it, do not keep putting off getting your legs in great shape.