My Premium Performance method focuses on functional and fun pilates based exercises to improve strength, flexibility and work all the intrinsic muscles we often forget about. Doing these exercises will get to those tough spots and actually make a change to your body shape and improve your mental and physical health as well.
Below is a snapshot of my favourite exercises – no equipment necessary! (except maybe a pink netball or soccer ball!) Whether you do them all together or slot them in throughout your day, they are your essential guide to toning up and defining you body in no time.
Pilates Roll Up
Perfect for: Stomach definition upper ab strength.
Steps: Lay flat on the ground with bent knees a ball rested on your belly button (a kids ball or soccer ball will do). Engage your core and draw your belly button to your spine. Exhale as your roll the ball up your legs to the top of your knees. Reach as high as you can take a deep breath in at the top and then exhale as you role the ball back down to your belly button. Repeat 15 times.
How often? Every second day for a few weeks. You should notice improvement and definition quickly.
Bridge Leg Lift
Perfect for: A lower body all-rounder, this exercise works. your hamstrings, quads, and glutes, with an added bonus of toning the abs too.
Steps: Lay flat on your back with bent knees and hip width apart. Take a deep breath in draw your belly button into your spine and tuck your pelvis under, squeeze your glutes and drive your hips and pubic bone up to the ceiling into a nice bridge shape. (Be careful to arch your back but instead squeeze and tuck your bottom under). Now squeeze your right but check and lift your left leg straight up into the air. Lower and repeat on the other side all the while keeping your hips straight and stable. Add 5 pulses on each side if you need to make it harder. Repeat 6-8 on each side.
How often? Bridges can be done daily and bridge with the lift could be added into your weekly routine 3-4 times for a killer booty.
Super Charged Crunches
Perfect for: Working both your inner thighs and core, at the same time.
Steps: Lie on your back with legs in table top, and toes pointed.
Place an exercise ball (or a cushion) between your knees and begin to squeeze the knees together. Remember to engage your core and focus on your breathing exhaling as you squeeze. After 5 quality squeezes grab the ball and exhale as you extend your legs and reach with the ball to your toes into a crunch. Lower back down in the exhale returning the ball to your knees and start squeezing again. Repeat x 2 sets of 10.
How often? Every second day in your weekly routine.
Perfect for: Stomach definition and toning your arms.
Steps: Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your arms are straight and hands pressing into the mat. Keeping your core engaged bend your right knee and bring in to touch your right elbow. Swap to the left leg and left elbow and keep alternating. Complete 20 x reps.
How often? Mountain climbers can be done daily for quick results.
Perfect for: Making sure you don’t skip out on the stretch- which is easy to do post workout!! Great for inner thighs (they may be sore from your super crunches) and groin and hammys.
Steps: Sit opposite your friend, sister, mum, husband with legs spread wide. Sit up tall on your sit bones and hold hands in the center. Take turns pulling each other gently by leaning forward and backward keeping legs and spines straight Repeat x 5 each side
How often? Post workouts or a few times a week you will feel a huge benefit.
So what are you waiting for? Start with these exercises today, your body, health and happiness will thank you for it!
Winter Olympian, pilates and fitness guru, Steph Prem is the founder of Premium Performance in Melbourne.