Shy about showing off your flabby body in the gym? Iso Fit, a pilates and gyrotonic studio in Central, helps out here with some strengthening and toning exercises you can do at home.
Single leg circles
Lie back on the floor, legs stretched out along the mat, head down. Bend the right knee in toward the chest and then extend the leg straight up toward the ceiling at 90 degrees to the floor.
Draw eight small circles in the air about the size of a dinner plate (clockwise and then anticlockwise). Try to keep the pelvis still and circle the leg across the body. Exhale as the leg moves away from the torso and inhale as it moves toward the body. Use slight momentum on the exhale. Repeat on the other leg. Repeat making the circles as big as possible.
Allow the pelvis to lift when the leg crosses over the body toward the floor but aim to keep the hips square when taking the leg out to the same side of the body. This is a great exercise for your waistline.
Bridging (aka bikini bottom toner)
Place both feet on the floor in line with the "sitting bones" or hips, knees bent. Relax the pelvis and feel the spine heavy on the mat. The lowest ribs should be connected to the floor and the waist can be slightly relaxed away. The arms should lie alongside the body. Inhale in this position. Exhale to scoop the abdominals in toward the spine while tilting the pelvis so that the tailbone is off the mat.
Roll up one vertebra at a time, aiming the tailbone forwards and up in the direction of the knees until the weight is resting on the shoulder blades. Inhale at the "top" and then exhale to roll back down. Repeat three to four times.
If you want to challenge balance and hamstring tone more, inhale and raise the arms until the fingertips are facing the ceiling. For extra arm tone, do this with small weights.
Roll over onto your side, lengthening the body along the mat. Rest the head onto the bottom arm and stabilize the body with the top arm.
Aim to keep the torso aligned with the back edge of the mat and the waist away from the mat. You should be able to see your feet. Stretch the legs as much as possible. Just lying like this will place demand on your deep abdominal stabilizers.
Inhale and pulse the top leg forward two times aiming to keep the torso still. This needs a lot of control so that you won't fall forwards.
Exhale to draw the abdominals back against the spine and swing the leg backwards, pulsing twice.
Repeat six to 10 times. This tones the waist, hamstring and inner thighs.