Here's a way to tone the thighs and butt without a reformer. Begin by kneeling. Lean to the left, placing your left hand on the mat under the shoulder and your right hand behind the head with the elbow pointing up. Raise your right leg until it is parallel to the floor. Holding the torso steady, kick the leg to the front and then to the back, knee straight. Do five reps on each side.
“The best exercise you can do if you only have 30 seconds each day is to learn and practice diaphragmatic breathing,” explains Carla Chickedantz, a personal trainer with Crunch gyms. “Diaphragmatic breathing is the most basic, original strength building technique that each and every human uses to build core strength as a newborn baby. As adults, we lose this skill and rely on auxiliary muscles in the chest, shoulders, and neck for respiration. This causes all sorts of problems. During our workouts, we often focus on the front, back and sides of the core, and neglect the top and bottom. Yes, the core is like a canister with the diaphragm at the top and pelvic floor at the bottom.”
The physical benefits of Pilates include an increase in muscle strength and tone without creating bulk. The increase in deep core muscle strength helps to make your abdominal muscles look tight and toned. It also improves your flexibility and posture, which can decrease your chances of injuring yourself. Pilates is also effective in easing chronic lower back pain and preventing future back pain and injuries.