Adele, 31, looks better than ever these days so we had to find out more about her favorite new exercise, Pilates. A low impact method of exercise designed in the 1920’s, Pilates focuses on improving posture, core strength and muscle balance. It can be done at home on a simple yoga mat but Adele is said to have opted for private lessons on the reformer, a machine with a carriage that moves back and forth on tracks within a frame. On the reformer bodyweight, along with a system of pulleys and springs creates resistance that helps to tone and lengthen.
When asked about how Pilates could have helped Adele with her incredible transformation, Amy Jordan, ACE Certified Pilates Instructor and founder of WundaBar, explained EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife why the exercise is great for slimming down. “In Pilates, we use the ENTIRE body initiating from the core for every movement, not slicing it up into a “leg exercise” or “arm exercise”. At WundaBar, we teach every exercise from head-to-toe and incorporate props whenever we can. Doing so is called compound movement. A lunge is all booty work? Not in Pilates. To rise try lifting your waistline off your hips and see how quickly the legs, booty AND CORE share the effort. Add a resistance band, dumb bells (or soup cans if you don’t have any) and get burning!”
Danielle Mitchell, Certified Pilates Instructor and owner of CoreSpark Pilates, agrees with Amy, telling HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY, “A regular Pilates discipline of about three times a week, along with nutrition assistance, can help create a longer, leaner body. Multiple props such as balls, or resistance bands, or hand weights can help also achieve goals even faster.”
Although Adele is reportedly doing Pilates on the reformer, Danielle says you can get the same results at home — with one caveat. “You can achieve the same results as long as the form and alignment is proper. Otherwise, it’s kind of like you’re just flailing around. You can also incorporate resistance bands or balls and weights to help increase the intensity of the workout. Mat Pilates is an excellent way to start.”
To help you get started with your at home Pilates session, WundaBar founder Amy shared five of her favorite excercises with us.
Set up with hands shoulder width apart on the floor and feet 4″ apart parallel. Create your best diagonal from head to hips to heels. If you’re on your knees
then it’s your best diagonal from head to hips to knees.
Draw your navel up and in – up at a diagonal between shoulder blades.
Broaden your collar bones on every inhale to lift off of wrists or elbows.
Lift your heart to broaden space between shoulder blades, without rounding.
Narrow your outer hip bones without gripping your booty. This activates your low belly for healthy conditioning and flat abs!
Pro Tip: if this is the first time you’re trying a plank, start in 10 second intervals, aiming to hold it longer every time you try, eventually reaching 1 – 2 minutes of a hold.
2) Lunge + Arm Raises
Start standing with feet 4-6″ apart and parallel.
Inhale, step left (L) foot forward and shift weight into all four corners of the L foot, right (R) heel will be raised.
Exhale, bend both knees as torso lowers straight down. Allow L knee to glide just in front of ankle and align it with 1st and 2nd toe.
Inhale, think about the torso lifting up and off of the hips to return you to standing with two straight legs at the top.
Exhale, lower into the lunge thinking of inner thighs resisting away from each other like two strong magnets to slow the movement down.
Inhale, lift ribs off of pelvis and think of inner thighs closing like a pair of scissors to lift to standing.
Pro Tip: add small dumb bells (or soup cans!) in each hand and lift out to the sides in a wide T as you lower down to pump cardio and weight loss effort.
Do 12 reps on each side
3) Downhill ski
Start in a plank position, hands shoulder width apart on the floor and feet 4″ apart parallel.
Exhale, shift torso back behind arms as knees bend to the left.
Inhale, shift back into starting plank.
Exhale, shift torso back behind arms as knees bend to the right.
Pro tip: place a 5″ playground ball between legs a few inches above knees, feet still 4″ apart. This will add major toning to inner thighs too!
Do 12 reps on each side
Lay on your back with legs in table top position and hands interlaced below base of skull.
Slowly lift head neck and shoulders into a shallow curl – don’t add any wrinkles to the front of your shirt – lots of length all sides of the spine.
Inhale as R shoulder blade peels off of floor and ribs rotate toward the left. As you rotate, R leg extends at a diagonal.
Exhale return ribs to center but keep head and shoulders raised.
Inhale as L shoulder blade peels off of floor and ribs rotate toward the right. As you rotate, L leg extends at a diagonal.
Pro tip: don’t touch elbow to knee – think LONG front of body instead.
Do 12 reps on each side
5) Single Leg Bridges
Lay on your back with knees bent, both feet flat on the floor and outer thighs magnetized to keep legs closed. One 3 lb dumb bell in each hand with arms reaching straight to the sky.
Exhale, roll the pelvis like a gear wheel towards your navel to peel your hips off the floor and slowly follow with the rest of the spine – lift with LENGTH – until you are in a bridge with no creases on the front of your hips,and length through the low back.
Inhale, keeping the knees glued together, extend the right leg at a 45 degree angle, front of ankle is open.
Hold in the single leg bridge; exhale, both arms open to the sides with a soft bend at elbows until hands hover over the floor.
Inhale, arms bend to 90 degree angle with elbows hovering over the floor and arms sweep through back to start position straight to the sky.
Exhale, slowly roll down starting from behind the heart and the pelvis follows. Lower down the spaces between your vertebrae rather than the bones themselves to really find length through your downward motion. If this feels aggressive, do the same sequence but keep both feet flat on the floor.
Do 4 reps on each side
Bonus challenge: do 6 reps each side, but for the last 2 reps hover the standing heel 1″ off the floor throughout the entire range of motion.