Pilates moves from celebrity trainer Kit Rich takes a “back to front” approach
Just like your mother told you: beauty is on the inside. Your transverse abdominus to be exact. Pilates takes a “backward” approach to the core and overall conditioning, focusing on the muscle groups around your spine and deepest muscle groups to get the bikini-ready abs you’ve always wanted. Now celebrity trainer and Pilates expert Kit Rich shares Pilates moves that literally starts from the back to create the body of your dreams, with a workout designed to tame and tone the top three areas her clients ask for while building flexibility and strengthening the back of the body.
Most people take the direct approach to their trouble spots, focusing on just one area instead of creating an evenly conditioned body inside and out. “There’s no such thing as spot reducing,” says Kit. “You can’t crunch your way to beautiful abs.” Kit, who frequently is on set with her clients, has developed KICHGO, a big gym in a little bag that weighs less than two pounds and fits inside your backpack, purse or suitcase and makes the moves below easy to do anywhere, anytime.
Request: Tone my arms
Great arms start from the back—toning your lats (the biggest muscle in your back) and triceps. In the cell phone era and with people spending more time in their cars, we’re hunching over, weakening the muscles in our back and the back of the neck and seeing tightness in the front of the chest. To get the arms you want, you have to emphasize the back and triceps to not only tone and strengthen, but also improve your posture and strengthen your neck. As you lengthen your spine and stand up straighter, everything tightens up and snaps into place.
Overused move: Push-ups, which don’t do anything for posture or strengthening the neck.
- Pulling straps and T straps
- Pilates pullups
- Chest expansion
- Tricep kickbacks
- Swimming (mat move)
Request: Lift and tone my butt
The muscle systems work together, so you have to work the entire leg muscle system as well as your glutes to get the butt you want. It’s especially important to do isolation exercises for hamstrings and quads, which are often overlooked.
Overused move: Jump squat and squats, which are effective but lead to overactive quads and underactive glutes and hamstrings.
- Lying hip raises (lifting hips up and down on your back)
- Single-leg hip raises
- Pilates side leg series
- Side leg sweeps
Request: Flat lower abs
By far the most requested—and most misunderstood—fitness target area and the “core” of the Pilates system. Pilates works “in and up by flattening the lower abs rather than pushing up or protruding out.” The first thing to know is that “abs” are actually a set of muscles with different layers. Beautiful abs depend on the deepest ab muscles, the transverse abdominus below your belly button and above your pubic bone, but traditional weight training focuses on the rectus abdominus, the superficial ab muscles. To get the tight, lean look you want you need to focus on the strengthening deep below the surface.
Overused move: Crunches, too many of them without proper form and awareness.
- Pilates series of 5
- Pilates toe taps
- Side series on the box
- Pilates short box series (round, flat, up and over, side reach)
- Pilates reformer or Pilates Wunda chair (tendon stretch)