The Endless Benefits Of Pilates

Pilates is one of the best exercise programs to help women rebuild their pelvic floor post pregnancy, and equally as important for women pre-pregnancy and during menopause. Pilates expert Kimberley Garlick takes SHESAID readers through the endless benefits of Pilates.

RELATED: Pilates For Better Sex

“You are only as young as your spine is flexible,” according to Joseph Pilates. Pilates is more than you could imagine – it offers a nurturing exercise based program that can cater for all beings. Pilates is an effective rehab tool and sports performance enhancer, and works from the inside out to educate the mind to work the body ergonomically. Pilates decreases pain, increases muscle tone, improves posture, balance and coordination.

A recent Poise Pulse report revealed more than a million Australians suffer from light bladder leakage (LBL), yet 95 per cent of these females neglect these important pelvic floor exercises, which are so essential in managing and preventing the condition. Pregnancy and childbirth rank in as the number one cause of LBL, accounting for more than 80% of cases.

People mistakenly believe pelvic floor exercises are difficult or time consuming – they are neither! It’s all about adopting a routine and sticking to it to improve bladder issues. Simple things like –if you are stuck in traffic, sitting at your desk or even waiting to cross the road, seize the opportunity to do your pelvic floor muscles. No one will know!

Fire up your neurons and create balance between the intrinsic muscles and superficial muscles, and create lean muscle mass that supports your structure through movement and static postures.

The Wellbeing Workout

Exercise 1 – Pelvic clock

Start lying down with your knees raised and feet flat on the floor. Breathe in and as you breathe out settle your ribs towards the floor. Roll your pubic bone towards twelve o’clock then gently release and lower the pubic bone towards 6 o’clock.  Breathe in and slowly peel your back one vertebrae at a time towards the ceiling, in this position think of a ski slope, then slowly lower your back to the floor. Repeat x 4 focusing on your breathing. For the final move stay raised in that ski slope position, and as you breathe in, squeeze your knees together and as you exhale release your knees, repeat x 3.

Exercise 2 – Bent knee fall out

Start lying down with feet on the floor. Breathe in and as you exhale draw your belly away from your hands. Place your hands across the hips and as you exhale allow one knee to move away from your midline and inhale as it returns back to the centre, keep the opposite side still and repeat on the other side. Extend the arms to the celling and continue, keeping a stable position across both hip bones, remember to focus on your breathing. Repeat x 4

Exercise 3 – Femur arcs

Keep your hands in the air, remaining in the same position as the last exercise. Breathe in, and as you exhale lift one leg into a right angle and then place it back on the floor, doing the same with the other leg. Repeat x 4. This time breathe in and keep one leg raised in the air, as you exhale join the other leg so both the legs are in a right angle. Lower one leg, then the other and repeat x 4.

Exercise 4 – Side leg lift

Lying on your side have your elbows slightly underneath your shoulder and your arm directly out from that elbow line. Imagine that you have a hammock lifting you up from the underneath side this is really important for your shoulder alignment, ensuring that you aren’t sinking down. Place your hand in front or on your hip, or as an alternative you may like to lie the entire way down. Keep your heels together, breathe in and as you exhale the thigh rolls within the joint of your hip to open towards the ceiling and inhale as it rolls back and returns to the start position.  Repeat x 4. Next float your feet away from the floor with your knees directing down towards the floor, and the heels are up. Allow your top knee to move away, the same motion as before still rolling that thigh bone within the hip joint. Repeat x 4, then swing around to the other side and do the same.

Exercise 5 – Prone press up

Lying on your belly, place extra weight on your pubic bone and draw your stomach away from the matt as if trying to create enough space to place a blueberry. Press your hands and the forearms into the ground and inhale as you open through the centre of your chest and extend through your upper back. Exhale and return back down towards the ground, inhale and open through the chest and imagine that there is a light shining from the centre of your chest coming forward. Repeat x 4. Place your hands by your side and your bottom in towards your heels, to give your lower back a break.

Exercise 6 – Lateral lunge

Starting kneeling, take a giant step forward with your right leg, ensuring that you can see all 5 toes. Feel the tail bone curve under and there is a very gentle lean forward giving you a strong stretch through the front of your thigh.  Place the same arm as leg across the bottom of your waist, making sure that you are sturdy and steady in that hip. Reach the opposite arm up and over to enjoy the stretch and hold for 2 deep breaths. Retrace your steps and bring it back to the start position, repeating on the other side x 4.

By Kimberley Garlick, an experienced Pilates instructor with over 15 years experience. I come from a professional dance and human movement background and have extensive experience in sports science, as well as all concepts of Pilates. I attribute my success to my never-ending dedication to health and fitness through Pilates.

Get A Victoria’s Secret Body This Summer

Have you always wanted the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel, but never knew how to achieve it? The Angels are all known for their drop-dead gorgeous looks, but also their amazingly toned physiques which some might say were crafted by the gods themselves!

We share with you just a few workouts which are used by some of the Angels themselves, to create their much sought after physiques.

RELATED: Check out Get The Look: Victoria’s Secret Angel Hair here


Angel: Behati Prinsloo

The Namibian native and VS Angel has been known to take part in swimming and water sports to maintain her naturally slender physique. Paddle boarding, surfing and swimming laps are just some of the ways she chooses to tone her body, apart from a few pilates classes throughout the week.

Get A Victoria's Secret Body This SummerBallet

Angel: Miranda Kerr

With a workout routine mainly consisting of ballet and pilates, there’s no reason Miranda Kerr has an incredible body! Even though she’s usually working on a tight schedule, she regularly attends Ballet Beautiful classes in New York City, and follows the Blood Type Diet in order to stay healthy and keep at a consistent weight.

Get A Victoria's Secret Body This SummerBoxing

Angel: Candice Swanepoel

Not only does Candice Swanepoel love to box on a regular basis, but she also enjoys barre lessons which help to keep her entire body toned. The South African native also takes part in resistance training up to three times a week, which allows her diet to be a little more indulgent than the other angels.

Get A Victoria's Secret Body This Summer

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Angel: Erin Heatherton

Rather than focusing on a particular part of her body to work on, Erin Heatherton takes part in HIIT which keeps the entire body toned and lean. While weight resistance one of her favourite workout routines, she does take part in pilates, yoga and running to keep fit and healthy.

Get A Victoria's Secret Body This SummerPilates

Angel: Adriana Lima

After the birth of her second child, Adriana Lima enlisted the help of a trainer to help get her pre-baby body back. Her workout routine is similar to the other angels, and mostly consists of pilates and boxing training.

Get A Victoria's Secret Body This Summer

Images via NY Daily News, Hawt Celebs, Victoria’s Secret

What Is Piloxing?

The hottest new fitness craze has reached our shores – piloxing. With claims to be the greatest cardio fusion workout, incorporating cutting edge research and fitness techniques to burn maximum calories, build lean muscles and increase stamina, we look at what exactly is involved in a piloxing class. 

Basically, the program uniquely blends the power, speed, and agility of boxing with the targeted sculpting and flexibility of Pilates. These techniques are also supplemented by the use of weighted gloves, further toning the arms and maximizing cardiovascular health. Add exhilarating dance moves and you have a muscle-toning, fat-burning workout that will make you feel physically and mentally empowered!

Piloxing is the brainchild of Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer Viveca Jensen and is the culmination of a mission to physically and mentally empower women through fitness as well as create a unique exercise program that instructors worldwide can embrace together. Viveca’s celebrity clients include Hilary Duff, Alexis Bledel, Vanessa Hudgens. and Emmy Rossum.

Piloxing launches at Virgin Active Health Clubs on August 4.

Virgin Active Health Clubs can be found in Sydney (Pitt Street Mall, Norwest, Frenchs Forest) and Melbourne (Bourke Street), with a club at Moore Park (Sydney) set to open in November 2014 and one in Collins Street (Melbourne) due to open in mid 2015. To find your nearest club, visit www.virginactive.com.au 

What is Yogalates?

So you love Pilates, or you’re religious about yoga…but what if you combined the benefits of both? While Pilates focuses on core strength and muscular training, yoga aims to increase the union between body and mind with the intention of wellbeing and calmness.

Together, Yogalates combines the best of both – the importance of spirituality and power of the mind plus intensive muscular training and physical awareness. Created by Louise Soloman, who has a popular school in her hometown of Byron Bay, Yogalates really is the perfect fusion of east meets west.

Try out some of these Yogalates exercises:

Double Butt Lifter
Tones the butt, inner thighs, strengthening lower back, back of thighs. Lay on the floor, face down. Place forehead onto hands, neck long. Inhale prepare, exhale. Scoop abdominals up off floor. Pull up on pelvic floor and lift legs, Squeezing buttocks together and extending into toes. Inhale, release. Repeat 5-10 times.

NB: Any pain in lower back, do one leg at a Ttime.

The Clam
Tones inner thigh, deep buttock muscles and abdominals. Lie on side, place head on folded handtowel, neck long. Stack hips on top of each other. Inhale prepare. Exhale. Scoop waist off floor, hold Wwaist.

The Clam (part 2)
Inhale prepare. As you exhale, raise knee. Do not move pelvis. Squeeze buttocks. Inhale release. Do 10 on each side.

Cat Pose With Abdominal Lift
To get that hourglass figure. Kneel on all fours, plasm pressed firmly on the floor. Inhale prepare. As you exhale, contract abdominal muscles for a count of 5 up towards the spine, pull up on the pelvic floor muscle. Inhale release, exhale repeat 10 times.

Cat Pose With Extension
Tones buttocks and strengthens muscles up and down spine. Position as above. As you exhale, extend opposite arm and leg. Keep neck long. Hold X 3 breaths. Inhale release. Exhale. Do the same thing on the other side and repeat 5 times.

Relaxing Stretch For Buttocks And Lower Back
Rejuvenates Nervous System
Kneel, tucking knees under pelvis and lean forward resting head gently on folded towel, arms at side. Gently breathe in and out, relaxing all the time. Do this for as long as you like.

Visit yogalates.com.au to learn more about Yogalates.

The Best New Pregnancy Exercise DVDs

Whether you workout at the gym, or at home, it’s important for pregnant women to find the right pregnancy exercise for them. With prenatal workout DVDs, you can exercise at any time with trained professionals that work within specific trimesters. We look at the best new pregnancy exercise DVDs from celebrity trainers to prenatal fitness experts.

Tracy Anderson: The Pregnancy Project
Tracy Anderson is the celebrity trainer to the stars (and Gwyneth Paltrow’s business partner). She recently released Tracy Anderson: The Pregnancy Project for a total of nine workouts that focus on each month of the pregnancy.

A pregnant Anderson does all the exercises for the DVD set, which also contains interviews with doctors and a nutrition plan for mums-to-be. Anderson has a really encouraging manner that you’ll enjoy working out to. She suggests doing the exercises five to six times a week, but as long as you can fit it into your schedule, you’ll benefit from this DVD.


Home with Hilaria Baldwin: Fit Mommy-to-be Prenatal Yoga
Hilaria Baldwin (yep, Alec’s wife) is a professional yoga instructor who teaches prenatal yoga movements. Her new DVD aims to keep the expectant mother active until delivery with exercises for each trimester. A bonus feature is available with partner stretches, featuring her famous hubbie.

Within each of the three whole body segments, the workouts focus on easing aches and pains with improved posture and alignment through toning of the muscles. In the second workout, the hips are opened to prepare for delivery and alleviate any pain that is experienced. Finally, Hilaria finishes with a workout that promotes relaxation for reduced tension to ensure a successful delivery with less discomfort involved.  


For pregnant women who want to stay active and maintain their physique during their pregnancy, this DVD offers effective core strength and stability exercises. At just under an hour’s length, the video is easy to follow. The matwork exercises accommodate a growing belly for a comfortable workout that doesn’t feel too strenuous.

Pilates experts Jennifer Kutch and Julie Clark perform modified Pilates exercises to lengthen and strengthen the muscles. It also focuses on breathing pattern to help the mother relax and stay comfortable during her pregnancy and childbirth.


Can’t Stop The Mamma: Prenatal Workouts For The Active Woman
Perhaps one of the most versatile pregnancy exercise DVDs on the market, Can’t Stop The Mamma is a well-rounded program that works to maintain every part of the body. Fitness expert Katalin Rodriguez-Orgen leads six different segments that are safe for both the mother and baby.

The DVD focuses on cardio, flexibility, sculpting, toning, and strengthening of the pelvic floor. Yoga Pilates is also incorporated with a gentle blend of kung fu and tai chi movements – don’t worry, no ninja moves here!

What pregnancy exercises did you enjoy the most?

Fit Mum: The Best Pregnancy Exercise DVDs

Every mother-to-be cares deeply about staying in good health while pregnant. Pregnancy exercise isn’t just crucial for the health of your baby, but for your own wellbeing and vitality as well. If you don’t want to join a gym or sign up for any expensive classes, there are plenty of pregnancy workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Here are our favourite pregnancy DVDs.

Prenatal Yoga with Desi Barlett ($16.36, The Nile)

This DVD contains both floor and standing poses that are designed to help women stay healthy and flexible throughout each of their three trimesters. The gentle yoga exercises are meant to help you stay stress-free, flexible and have an easier delivery.

Preggie Bellies ($44.95, BumpStuff)

Billed as Australia’s most successful pregnancy exercise DVD, Preggie Bellies mixes pilates and yoga techniques to give women the perfect workout through the entirety of their pregnancy. This DVD is designed to alleviate common pains associated with pregnancy, like lower back pain.

Davina McCall: My Pre and Post Natal Workouts ($31.64, The Nile)

The Big Brother star is joined by her personal trainer, Jackie Wren, to lead her viewers through her favourite pre and postnatal workouts. The exercises are fantastic for the woman that wants to invest in a program that will not only keep her healthy during her pregnancy, but give her a way to drop the kilos after she gives birth.

Jane Simmons Pregnancy Exercise DVD ($29.95, BumpStuff)

This DVD is led by one of Australia’s leading physiotherapists. Jane Simmons specialises in prenatal workout techniques, and in this fantastic DVD, she borrows from yoga, pilates and physical therapy to provide women with an easy but effective workout that will ease pregnancy aches and pains.

Have you tried any of these DVDs? Tell us your story in the comments!