If you ever wanted to put on a tight fitting shirt without worrying about lumps and bumps of the belly and back, Reformer Pilates may be your answer. Although spot reduction isn't possible, the Reformer machine can target the entire body while toning your torso and blasting waist and bra fat. Seek out a trained instructor to make sure you are getting the most out of your workouts -- and get ready to pull out your snuggest shirts.
Abdominal Curl Series
Core exercises such as the curl up, the hundred, and arm circles with a curl up target the abs and underarms at the same time. Keep the spring tension light to avoid neck strain as you curl up, focusing on bringing your rib cage closer to your hips and keeping your spine neutral. To increase the abdominal work, extend the legs out in front of you as you curl, or increase the spring tension and lower your head to focus more on the underarms.
Planks on the Pilates Reformer are fun and challenging, and can be amazing for the waist and bra fat. Start with moderate tension to support the body, placing your hands on the foot bar and your feet against the shoulder rest. Move through planks, plank pushups and elephant to work the arms and the abs. Lower the spring tension for an added challenge, or turn the plank around with your hands on the shoulder rests and feet on the foot bar.
Rotating exercises with the small straps can focus on the upper back and underarm area as well as the sides of the abdominals or the obliques. Try keeling side trunk rotation exercises such as "bus driving," keeping the hip square and moving from the rib cage and arms. Sit backward on the carriage with moderate tension for one arm rowing with rotation. Think about contracting the core and rotating around the spine as you pull your arm back.
Long Box Series
Long box Reformer Pilates movements can really tone up the midsection and smooth out the sides of the waist. Place the box on the carriage and lie on your stomach with your feet above the foot bar. While holding the ropes, pull one or both arms back, varying arm height and elbow placement. Flip over on the box for forward and backward double leg circles in the curled up position for a killer core workout.
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.