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pilates workout

Pilates to tone the legs, abs, and rear

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Pilates is one of the best ways to change the shape or sculpt your body because it uses controlled movements to build body strength, flexibility and endurance. Here are some simple Pilates exercises to help tone and sculpt your legs, abs and rear:

Double-leg stretch
This exercise has double the ab-strengthening benefits of a single leg stretch and works your abs and legs. To start, lie on your back flat. Exhale slowly while curving your upper body off the floor. Grasp your shins or ankles and gradually bring your forehead towards your knees.

Inhale and extend your arms with palms facing each other over your head in line with your head. Simultaneously, push your legs out in the opposite direction.

Extend arms and legs as far as possible while keeping your abs tightened and your lower back on the floor.

Return to your starting position. Do 15 repetitions, three to five times a week.

Roll Up
This exercise requires a fuller range of motion than sit-ups and works more ab muscles. Done correctly, one roll up is equivalent to six sit-ups. To start, lie on your back with legs straight and arms extended overhead with palms facing ceiling.

Slowly bring your arms forward. As your arms pass your ears, let your chin drop with your head and upper spine following the motions to curl up. Continue in one smooth motion to curl your body towards your toes. Pull in your abs and deepen the curve of your spine as you exhale.

Inhale, then exhale as you reverse the sequence to return to the starting position. Be sure to keep your legs on the floor and check that your shoulders are relaxed. Do 5 repetitions, three to five times a week.

Rond de Jambre
This exercise improves your postural alignment and balance while toning the legs and core. Lie on your right side with legs extended and stacked together on the floor. Feet should be slightly in front of your hips with heels together.

Place your hands behind the head. Raise your left leg straight up, then let it fall slowly forward so your legs create the letter "L". Hold for five seconds without letting your left leg touch the floor.

Slowly, raise it straight up and then down to your starting position. Switch sides to complete one side. Do 10 repetitions, three to five times a week.

Incorporate a healthy diet and regular cardio exercise together with these exercises and it will help you tone your body and make you leaner over time.

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