Back in shape
Dance-inspired moves help you get your body back IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a relatively light post-baby exercise to help get your fitness levels up and the baby weight off, try channeling your inner ballerina. With these six targeted moves you’ll soon be back in pre-baby shape.
✓ Do this workout every other day, alternating with a day of cardio exercise, a yoga or Pilates class or an at-home exercise DVD routine. ✓ Warm up for 15 minutes by walking briskly, marching in place while doing opposite knee-to-elbow knee lifts, or dancing around the room with your baby in your arms or a front carrier. ✓ Cool down afterwards for five minutes by stretching your lower back and legs – bend over towards the floor while standing – holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds while holding still.
1 CURTSY LUNGE WITH BICEPS CURL
Stand with the middle of the band under your right foot and point your left foot to the side. Hold one end of the band in each hand, arms at your sides, palms facing your thighs [1A]. Step your left foot behind your right and bend your knees into a curtsy as you bend your elbows and curl your arms toward your chest [1B]. Slowly straighten your arms and legs and return to the starting position. Do five to 10 reps and switch sides.
2 SIDE STRETCH WITH OVERHEAD RAISE
Stand with your feet farther than hip-width apart, feet and knees turned out comfortably from the hips, abs tight. Place a workout band across your lower back, holding an end in each hand and wrapped around your palm, elbows bent and hands on hips. Bend your knees into a plié as you lean your torso to the left and raise your right arm overhead (as shown). Straighten your legs and lower your right hand to the starting position. Do five to 10 reps, then switch sides.
3 CIRCLES BACK
Face the chair back and hold it with both hands at arm’s length, feet turned out and abs pulled in. Point and slide your left toe forward, then circle it to the left and back as you bend your right knee and lean your torso slightly forward (as shown). Straighten your right leg as you sweep your left toe in a circle back to the starting position. Do five to 10 circles, then switch legs.
4 BALLET SIT-UPS
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet together. Wrap the band around your feet, holding the ends between your knees. Lie back with your knees open, with the sides of your feet touching the floor, arms straight and fingers reaching toward your knees. Bend your elbows as you curl your head and shoulders off the floor into a crunch, bringing your fists toward your chest in a biceps curl (as shown). Slowly straighten your arms as you curl your torso down to the floor. Do five to 10 reps.
COOL DOWN AFTERWARDS FOR FIVE MINUTES BY STRETCHING YOUR LOWER BACK AND LEGS
5 PLIÉ WITH ATTITUDE
Stand holding the back of a chair with your right hand, legs farther than hip-distance apart, feet turned out and abs pulled in. Bend your knees while lowering your hips into a plié. Squeeze your glutes (buttocks) to help steady your pelvis [5A]. Straighten your legs and lift your left leg to hip height and turned out in an “attitude” position [5B]. Return to plié position. Do five to 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
6 MOVING ARABESQUE
Face the chair back and hold it with both hands at arm’s length, feet hip-width apart and turned out, abs pulled in. Shift your weight to your right foot and point your left toe back, keeping your legs straight [6A]. Keeping your hips still, lift your left leg off the floor into an arabesque. Squeeze your glutes and keep your shoulders back and down [6B]. Slowly lower your left toe to the floor, ending in the starting position. Do five to 10 lifts, then switch legs. YB