No machines, no weights, no sweat!
Retool Your Routine
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When it comes to middle-whittling, Pilates can't be beat, but doing the same exercises over and over can get dull after a while. (And when you're bored, your muscles are too, which can stalemate the results.) So we asked Los Angeles–based instructor Juliet Kaska, the pro responsible for helping to sculpt the bodies of sexy celebs Stacy Keibler and Kate Walsh, to design a routine that shakes up six familiar moves.
"By incorporating either a ball or resistance band, you engage more muscle ﬁbers and improve your form, making every exercise more challenging and increasing the eﬀectiveness of your workout," she says. In other words, those bored abs and arms and snoozing legs and butt are about to get one helluva wake-up call!
How it works: Three to ﬁve times a week, do 2 sets of 10 reps of each move in order. Rest for up to 1 minute between exercises.
You'll need: An 8-inch rubber ball and a resistance band. (A mat is optional.)
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The Twist: Balancing a ball on your legs forces you to keep your lower body still and your pelvis in a neutral position, maximizing the workload on your abs.
Lie faceup with knees over hips, shins parallel to the ground, and toes pointed. Place ball on your lower legs and extend your arms at your sides, palms on the ground. Raise your head and shoulders oﬀ the ground and lift arms just above hip height beside you. Pulse arms up and down 100 times, inhaling for 5 pumps and exhaling for 5.
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The Twist: Adding a band curl sculpts your biceps, and holding the reclined position as you move your arms increases the challenge on your core.
Sit with legs together, feet ﬂexed. Wrap center of band around the arches of your feet, cross it, and hold one end in each hand, palms facing sky and arms extended at chest height in front of you. Pull abs in and slowly roll back, stopping before your back hits the ground; hold and curl your hands toward your head; extend arms and repeat the curl once more. Slowly return to starting position to complete 1 rep.
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The Twist: Squeezing a ball activates your inner thighs. Lie faceup with ball between ankles, toes pointed, and arms extended at sides, palms on the ground. Extend legs straight over your hips. Slowly lower legs toward your head until they're parallel to the ground. Hold and squeeze the ball 5 times, then roll back down, lowering legs 45 degrees from the ground. Return to starting position.
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The Twist: Adding a band pull to this lower-body sculptor gets your back and shoulders in on the action. Stand with heels together and toes turned out, and hold an end of the band in each hand (wrap it around hands until it's taut); extend arms at chest height in front of you, palms shoulderwidth apart and facing the sky. Bend knees as you draw hands away from each other. Return to starting position.
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The Twist: A ball helps keep your back and shoulders aligned to prevent strain, a common problem during this core and butt exercise. Lie facedown with legs extended on the ground behind you, toes pointed. Extend arms overhead, place palms on the ball, and lift your chest. Roll the ball forward as you lower your chest and lift your legs. Return to starting position.
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The Twist: Nearly every major muscle group—from your shoulders to your legs—has to work against the resistance of the band. Sit with right leg extended and wrap the center of band around your left foot, left knee bent and foot flexed. Hold both ends of band in your left hand in front of your chest, elbow pointing out to the side and palm facing the ground (choke up on band so it's taut). Lean back as you extend left leg out 45 degrees and rotate shoulders to the left. Return to starting position. Switch sides to complete set.
Photography by: Randi Berez