Gone are the days of women running a mile from resistance training, afraid that they would ‘bulk up’. Nowadays, it’s cool to be strong, fit and happy! How good is that?
Resistance training has SO many health benefits for women including body fat loss, increased muscle mass, decreased risk of osteoporosis, reduced risk of injury and back pain, less stress, improved posture and enhanced mood!
With more and more women getting on board with resistance training, I thought I would share with you some simple pilates exercises that you can do to not only tone your muscles but also help you to build a base level of strength.
As some of you may know, pilates is really good at working muscles you didn’t know you had (aka the small stabilising muscles in your body). These stabilising muscles will help you to build core strength and improve your posture, flexibility and balance. So if you are looking to start resistance training, I highly recommend building up a good foundation of strength before you begin lifting weights!
Below, I have listed five exercises that you can do to tone your arms. Pay close attention to the little cues that I have provided you with, as they are key to maintaining correct posture and technique throughout each exercise.
All you need is a resistance band! I suggest performing each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds in between. All of these exercises will take five minutes in total. If you’re up for it, repeat every exercise two or three times!
1. BAND PRESS OUT (45 seconds on/15 seconds rest)
Set up: Lying on your back with your spine in neutral, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your arms up towards the ceiling holding your resistance band tightly.
Exhale, press your arms out.
Inhale, bring your arms halfway back in, keeping some resistance on the band.
1. TRICEP EXTENSION (45 seconds on/15 seconds rest)
Set up: Start in a 4-point kneeling position with your shoulders directly above your wrists and your hips directly above your knees. Hold onto your band with your left hand and bring your right elbow in by your side.
Exhale, keeping your elbow in by your side, extend your arm back so that it is straight and in line with your spine.
Inhale, bend your elbow and bring your arm back in.
3. EXTERNAL ROTATION (45 seconds on/15 seconds rest)
Set up: Start in a standing position holding your resistance band with your palms facing up and your elbows in by your side.
Exhale, press your forearms out, keeping your elbows locked in by your side.
Inhale, slowly release the band back, keeping some resistance on the band.
4. TRICEP PUSH-UP (45 seconds on/15 seconds rest)
Set up: Start in a kneeling position on your mat with your elbows in by your side and your knees, hips and shoulders in one straight line. Draw your belly button in towards your spine and draw your shoulders back and down.
Inhale, lower your chest down towards the ground, keeping your elbows in by your side.
Exhale, press back up.
5. STANDING BAND ROW (45 seconds on/15 seconds rest)
Set up: Stand on your resistance band with your feet hip-width apart. Cross the band over and hold onto each end of the band.
Exhale, row your arms back, with your elbows pointing out to the side.
Think of squeezing your shoulder blades back and together without letting your shoulders rise up around your ears.
Inhale, release the band forward slowly.
You can find out more about Duo Pilates here.