In Week 1 you’ll perform three sets of every exercise per workout, which over the course of the week adds up to nine sets total for each bodypart, a good starting volume for your purposes. With the exception of crunches for abs, you’ll do 8–12 reps per set. This rep scheme is widely considered ideal for achieving gains in muscle size (the scientific term is hypertrophy) and is commonly employed by amateur and pro bodybuilders alike.
The “Lying Bicycle” is one of the “gold standards” of abdominal moves according to Marie. “If it’s performed correctly, you will be targeting all areas of your abdominals and core for a tinier, tighter waistline.” To do it: Lie on your back on a mat, placing both hands at the base of your head to lightly support your head and neck (do NOT “yank”). In one continuous motion, bring one knee up to your chest and crunch up angling the opposite elbow towards that knee. Without pausing, alternate while bringing the other elbow up and toward the other knee. Perform this move in a fluid continuous motion without pausing. Count ten reps on each side. Rest and then begin again. Marie says to be sure not to “yank or turn your head,” as this move is done by the abdominals, not your neck. “Crunch up as much as you can throughout the start and finish,” she says. “Extend your legs completely; don’t just ‘cycle’ your feet.”
The mental benefits of Pilates include an increase in the ability to focus. It takes a great deal of concentration to coordinate your breath and body position during workouts. In fact, Joseph Pilates often referred to his method as “the thinking man’s exercise” due to the improvement in memory and other cognitive functions that results from doing it. A clear mind also reduces stress levels, which translates to an improvement in your overall health.
Thus, little is known about the effects of monitored vigorous exercise in elderly people. While significant benefits for basic motor tasks (such as balance and gait) can be achieved through different kinds of physical activity (i.e., stretching exercises, treadmill, Pilates, and strength and balance training), no conclusive relationship has been proven between its intensity and such improvements. Recently, Pau et al. [14] reported that spatiotemporal gait parameters and sit-to-stand performance significantly improve through vigorous (but not light) exercises, thus suggesting that higher levels of intensity might be more suitable in generally improving static and dynamic daily motor tasks.