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It is time to address the ‘love handles’ and hips. What if we could do this in one exercise?
Today we look at a Modified Side Support. This is very similar to the Pilates Front and Back Support but it is done on your side. We are doing a slightly simpler version this week to enable you to get stronger for the full Pilates Side Support.

Working on our sides is always tricky as we need to work this area in a manner that is safe for our spine, and we need to avoid unnecessary tension on our shoulders and neck. Remember that tension can be good if it is the right tension in the right places. The Pilates Side Support focuses on the ‘love handles’ as well as the hips and shoulders. But today we are going to bring in some additional hip work to make this exercise a powerful exercise to target the two areas that all ladies want to work on the most.

In order for us to improve our waist and hips, we are going to have to put in some additional effort and work a little harder in those areas. That means that you work your body to the point of fatiguing in those muscles. If the movement feels too easy, then it is either not being performed with good form or the exercise is too easy for your level of strength.

We all need exercises that can target more than one area at a time, and this pilates exercise is one of them. It saves a bit of time and it is extremely effective. We will be progressing with this exercise in the coming weeks, and we will definitely get stronger in the process.

How to begin

Sit sideways on the mat, with your legs bent and the same hand as your hip that is on the floor, on the floor. Get the feeling of lengthening out of your shoulder so that you do not create unnecessary tension in that shoulder and neck. Reach the top arm up to the ceiling and again get that feeling of pulling the arm away from you so that you get a good position with your shoulder blade on your back.

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You are then going to put pressure on the bottom arm and lift your hips and torso off of the floor until your body is in a diagonal line. Be sure to keep your knees on the floor for this modified version. When you are ready and you feel stable enough, lift the top leg off of the bottom leg and extend the knee. This will immediately work into your hips (glutes). Just with this one repetition, you have now worked into your bottom waist and both hips (glutes).

How many times should you do this Pilates routine?

The modified side support focuses on a static muscle contraction of your waist (obliques) so you will be staying in the raised position for at least 10 – 30 leg extensions. Take it easy, see how many you can handle until you feel you really cannot do another one. Rest for 40 seconds and then repeat it on this side again. Then switch over to the other side to repeat it on the other leg.

Please be aware that if you have any shoulder injuries, you will need to get consent from your Health Care Professional in order to ensure that your safety comes first.

BREATHING TIP

Inhale and prepare your body for movement, then exhale, contract your abdominals and core and then lift your hips up off of the floor. As you do this, also focus on opening your chest. You are now going to stay in this position as you do 10 – 30 good breaths with a leg extension on each breath.

Take a mind-body journey with Pilates. I would like to invite you to discover movement in a different way. Take this time to be still, feel and embrace what your body has to offer you. This week we are looking at the Modified Side Support where we allow your body to get stronger and to improve your posture in one simple movement. Your hips and waist will thank you later. As you do these Pilates exercises, connect to your body, feel all of the muscle contractions that are emanating through your body, hear and feel your breath and start developing your true mind-body connection. As we embark on this Pilates journey, we will introduce you to both Pilates Mat and Pilates Equipment repertoire. Enjoy!

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Tanya Thompson

Tanya Thompson is the owner and founder of Pilates Unlimited. Tanya has been in the wellness industry since 1998. Her company has over 180 000 hours of experience in movement and rehabilitation. Pilates Unlimited has helped thousands of people achieve a holistic approach to health. Pilates Unlimited is blessed with clients that have been with them from the first day that they opened their doors. They are committed to offering a warm and inviting environment for all their clients in their beautiful studio. Tanya has also developed and presented specialized courses to assist health care professionals, Pilates instructors and personal trainers improve their patients or clients results through movement and exercise. Her company has launched a new product called Of-Courseonline.com, which is focused on post education for all movement professionals across the globe. Of-CourseOnline currently has members in South Africa, USA, UK, UAE, India, China, Australia, Namibia, Botswana, Switzerland and Belgium.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.