The party season will soon be upon us and, with it, those inevitable pangs of fear and body-loathing that can afflict even the most outwardly confident of women. The double-edged sword is drawn – the cocktail parties with free-flow canapés and champagne, the groaning buffet tables and the calorie-laden cocktails conspire to sabotage your figure… at the time when you want to look your very best.
However, with some simple preventive and remedial moves, you can have your body party-ready long before the first champers cork is popped. Ms Claudel Kuek, Managing Director of PowerMoves Pilates in the Park network, suggests you should work on all of your body but concentrate on one or two of your best features. That way you can magnetise all eyes on – say, your lithe and lovely legs – and divert attention from your slightly thick waist or your less-than-ample cleavage.
Here are all the moves for priming and prepping a party-ready bod.
For ladies with lovely long legs suited to strutting in a pair of killer heels, try toning them with Side Kick Kneeling. Here’s how… Start by kneeling on both knees with your hands behind your head. Reach your left hand down to the mat and raise your right leg parallel to the mat. Your left hand is under your shoulder, your left hip over your left knee, your right elbow reaching to the ceiling. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, kick your right leg toward the front of the room and then toward the back of the room. Bring your leg back to centre and repeat 12 times before switching sides.
For damsels with delicious derrieres, why not add a little extra oomph to an already perky butt with Single Leg Drops? To begin, lie on one side in a straight line with the bottom arm supporting your head up. The top arm is bent with hand placed on the mat. Keep your pelvis in a perpendicular line to the mat. Lift your top leg to hip height and flex your foot as you point your toes towards the mat in front. Imagine your big toe is touching a hot stove on the mat so you don’t want to stay there long. As soon as the toe taps the mat, it lifts off the mat again with the heel of foot reaching to the ceiling. Stay stable and square in the hips as you tap and lift your toes for 25 times without stopping. Breathe normally.
For graceful gals with alluring backs, lengthen and strengthen your spine with the Swan. Lie on the mat face down, keep your arms close to your body as you bend your elbows to bring your hands under your shoulders. Extend your shoulders away from the ears. Keep your legs together as you engage your abdominal muscles, lifting your belly button up and away from the mat. As you inhale, lengthen your spine, sending energy through the top of your head as you press your forearms and hands into the mat to support a long upward arc of the upper body. The elbows are close to the body, the head stays in line with the spine, and the hips stay on the mat. On the exhale, release the arc, lengthening your spine as your torso returns to the mat in a sequential way (low-belly, mid-belly, low-ribs until you are in prone position again). Repeat 6 times.
For misses with sexy midriffs, define your admirable abdominals with Long Arm Crunches. Lie face-up with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Interlace your fingers, extend arms above your head and pull your abs in. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, lift your arms, head and shoulder blades off the ground at the same time in a slow and controlled manner. Inhale to lower in 2 slow counts. Repeat 8 times.
For a sexy cleavage, enhance what Nature gave you – or didn’t – with a Wonder Bra. (Sorry, Pilates can only do so much in this department – but it can improve your posture so that your back is straight, your shoulders are drawn back and your chest is both standing to attention and attracting it.)
Once you’ve optimised your physical assets with Pilates, you’ll feel confident to walk into a roomful of beautiful people and hold your head high, confident in the knowledge that your bod is party-ready and flaunt-worthy. And while you’re at it, permit yourself a little guilt-free indulgence… Chocolate fountain, anyone?
By Suzanne Lauridsen