Blast away that stubborn back fat with a well rounded Pilates program. Pilates exercises are known for sculpting long, lean muscles as they develop total body strength. Although you can't spot reduce, a full body pilates program and the right nutrition plan will help you create a slim and toned waist, back and bra area.
With limitless possibilities, planks can tone and strengthen the entire core and upper torso. Begin with forearm planks, focusing on lifting from the waist and contracting the underarm muscle area. For variety, tap one or both knees as you hold the plank or rotate your hips side to side. Transition into one-arm forearm planks to engage the waist and bra area. Hold each side for 30 seconds to one minute, lifting the top arm or top leg for added difficulty.
Place a Pilates ring or "magic circle" between your palms to engage the back and bra area during Pilates core work. Extend the ring straight out, pressing into it as you perform Curl Ups, Hundreds or Roll Up. Use the ring for seated or lying core rotation, pressing into the ring as you twist from the waist. Alternatively, you can put your hands through the ring and press out to engage the back muscles as you perform the same exercises.
Use the resistance of the Pilates Reformer for abdominal and back toning exercises. Grab hold of the straps for rear arm pulling movements, rotating exercises like Bus Driving, or to add resistance to abdominal work. The Reformer can also provide assistance for body-weight-bearing exercises such as planks and Elephant with the use of additional spring tension. Seek the advice of a trained Reformer instructor to learn proper form and develop a safe routine.
The Pilates Chair is a portable, lower cost alternative to the Reformer that provides a variety of options for back and abdominal toning. Numerous chair exercises require you to hold yourself in a plank position on the chair seat as you move your lower body. These movements are great for the upper back, waist, and bra area toning and fat reduction. Try exercises such as handstands and torso presses, or incorporate more leg work with side leg extension and tendon stretch.
Vicki Vara has been a fitness professional for more than 15 years, working in health clubs, studios and schools. She is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutrition consultant and Pilates instructor. Vara holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Delaware.