Pilates For Intermediates: Strengthen And Tone Your Arms

Pilates For Intermediates: Strengthen And Tone Your Arms

Pilates For Intermediates: Strengthen And Tone Your Arm. If you've already been practising pilates for a while, understand the principles of the method and feel confident and strong enough to take the next step, then this intermediate film on how to strengthen and tone your arms is for you.

Step 1: You will need

  • 1 exercise mat
  • some comfortable clothing
  • 1 rubber exercise band - preferably 6ft long

Step 2: Exercise One: Leg Pull Lift

Step 3: To prepare

Kneel down on all fours on your mat, with your hands shoulder-distance apart and feet and knees together.

Tuck your toes under and check that your neck follows the natural line of your spine.

Step 4: Breathing

You will inhale deeply through the nose to prepare, aiming the breath towards the back of the rib cage and exhale deeply through the mouth.

When you exhale, think of flattening the abdominal region. Imagine gently pulling your belly button towards your spine.

This exercise will be performed in 8 breaths.

Step 5: The exercise

Inhale to prepare then as you exhale, stabilize your shoulder blades, squeeze your legs together and lift your knees off the floor.

Inhale stay, exhale and gently lift one foot off the floor. Inhale, bring the foot back down, exhale and change feet.

Inhale bring the foot back down, and finally as you exhale slowly lower your knees back down to the mat.

Repeat this four times, checking that your shoulder blades stay down on the back and neck neutral.

Step 6: Exercise Two: Side Lifts

Step 7: To prepare

Stand up, and place your band down along the length of your mat. Step onto the middle, with your feet hip-distance apart checking you have equal pieces of the band on each side.

Pick it up in either hand and wrap it around your hands until you feel sufficient tension. Keep your arms by your sides, with your knuckles facing forwards.

Step 8: Breathing

The same principles apply as in the previous exercise.

Here we will use two different patterns. The first will be an inhalation to prepare and three separate exhalations to perform the movement, and the second an inhalation to prepare and only one exhalation for the movement.

Step 9: The exercise

Inhale to prepare, then exhale three times as you lift your arms up sideways, until parallel to the floor, then inhale and return back down.

Repeat this four times, then, inhale to prepare and exhale to perform the movement in one go. Also repeat this four times.

Step 10: Exercise Three: Forward Lifts

Step 11: To prepare

Stay in exactly the same position as before but turn your hands so that your thumbs are facing forward.

Step 12: Breathing

The breathing is the same as in the previous exercise.

Step 13: The exercise

Inhale to prepare, then as you exhale over three breaths, stretch your arms directly out in front of you, keeping them parallel to each other and your wrists straight, inhale and return back to the beginning.

Repeat this four times.

Then inhale to prepare, exhale and do the same movement over one breath. Also repeat this four times.

This is the last exercise with the band.

Step 14: Exercise Four: Press Ups

Step 15: To prepare

Stand at one end of your mat with your feet and legs together, and arms down by your sides.

Step 16: Breathing

You will use two breaths to start the exercise and then the breathing will be the same as in the previous exercise but in reverse - over three inhalations and one exhalation.

Step 17: The exercise

Inhale to prepare, lengthening upwards from your head, then as you exhale roll down through the centre of the spine, reaching your hands down to the floor, and take four steps forwards to reach a plank position, with your hands a little more than shoulder width apart.

Inhale over three breaths and gradually flex your elbows to lower your body towards the floor, exhale, to push up keeping your body in a straight line.

Repeat this twice more, then walk your hand backwards and