4 Pilates Moves to Tighten and Tone Your Body

For carving a solid core, Pilates is king. But it also makes a great total-body workout. Pilates challenges big and small muscles from your tootsies all the way up to the base of your noggin. The result is a longer-and leaner-looking you. "It's resistance training, pure and simple, because you work with your own body weight in every move," says Alycea Ungaro, owner of Real Pilates in New York City. Do these four movesd three days a week for a smashing silhouette.

Works core, glutes, and hamstrings

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Grab the backs of your thighs and suck in your navel so your torso forms a C. Keeping your back rounded, slowly roll back as low as you can with your feet planted on the floor. Take three deep breaths. Return to start. Repeat twice without resting.

Double-Leg Stretch
Works core, shoulders, back, glutes, and legs

Lie on your back. Bring your knees toward your chest and grab your shins. Brace your abs. As you lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, extend your legs. Hold them about 12 inches off the floor and straighten your arms over your head with your palms up. Bring your knees back up to your chest and grab your legs again. That's 1 rep; do 8.

Side Leg Circles
Works core and inner and outer thighs

Lie on your right side with your right upper arm on the floor and your head resting on your right hand. With knees straight, bend at your hips so your legs and torso form a slight angle. Raise your left leg 6 to 8 inches and make 8 small forward circles from the hip, raising the leg higher with each one. From the highest point, make 8 more small circles in the other direction as you lower the leg to start. That's 1 rep. Do 3 and then repeat on the other side.

Spine Twist
Works shoulders, obliques, back, glutes, and legs

Sit with your legs extended in front of you, knees straight and toes pointing up. Extend your arms to the sides at shoulder height, palms down. Twist your upper body as far as you can to the left without compromising your posture or shifting your hips or legs. Pulse twice, reaching farther to the left each time. Return to center and repeat the move to the right. That's 1 rep; do 5. Make it harder Hold a 2-or 3-pound weight in each hand.

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