Pilates Moves To Strengthen, Lengthen And Tone

Women's Health |

By Caitlin Carlson

This Pilates-fusion method melds strengthening and lengthening – what more could you ask.

In most areas of life, taking a shortcut often leads to diminished results (remember when you tried to cut your own “Rachel” layers?). Thankfully, fitness is an exception – hybrid workouts can get you a hot body in half the time! One of the best ones we’ve discovered recently: SLT (strengthen, lengthen and tone), a programme in the US that incorporates the controlled, toning movements of a classic Pilates class and adds intensity by cranking the pace to full throttle (no stopping to rest between moves!). “You develop flexibility and core strength, get your heart pumping and literally feel your muscles quivering,” says its founder, Amanda Freeman.

Classes use a Megaformer, a souped-up Pilates-like machine that works multiple muscle groups to torch kilojoules and amp up strength. Score the same perks at home with this SLT-inspired workout from Freeman. At a four-count pace, do as many reps of each move as you can for one minute before moving to the next exercise. Start with the spoon, then do the next three moves on your left side to totally exhaust the muscles before repeating them on the right. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the whole series twice more.


Stand in front of a chair with a towel under both heels. Reach back and grip the front edge of the chair so that your butt hovers over and slightly in front of the seat (A). Lean forward and pull the towel towards the chair without bending your legs (B), then slowly push back to start. That’s one rep.

French twist

Start in plank position with your arms shoulder-width apart and toes resting on a towel. Cross your left foot over your right at the ankle (A). Keeping your legs straight, pike your body to slide the towel a few centimetres closer to your arms (B). Push back to start. That’s one rep.


Get on your hands and knees (tabletop position). Extend your left leg straight behind you (A), then bend it, crossing it over your right leg as close to the back of your knee as possible (B). Return to tabletop position. That’s one rep.

Serve the platter

Place your left foot on a towel slightly behind your right. Hold dumbbells at waist height, elbows bent 90 degrees, palms up (A). Slide your left foot back into a lunge as you straighten your arms (B). Reverse to return to start. That’s one rep.

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