They’re an elite breed of skinny-pant wearing sylphs who are never slogging it out on the treadmill, yet always manage to squeeze into the last size six at sale time. Their secret? Clever targeted exercises that fuse yoga, pilates and resistance training. Flow Athletic is one of the hottest new gyms to hit Sydney and boasts an impressively well-heeled clientele (including Beauticate Kate Waterhouse). We begged director and personal trainer Ben Lucas to spill the beans on the workout he used to do with Kate (pre-baby bump). Read on to find out what four exercises that promise to get you fitting into that new season Josh Goot neoprene pencil skirt in no time.
1. Yoga Push-Up
“A challenging variation on the regular push-up that tones the triceps and the abs”.
Start in the push-up position with butt slightly raised, palms and toes to the ground, feet shoulder width apart.
Bend your elbows, slowly lowering your body to the floor.
Once lowered, press your palms against the floor (elbows should be tucked in by your side) and straighten your arms, raising your chest and head to the sky. Make sure your hips, legs and feet remain planted on the mat.
Use your knees to help you return the push-up start position.
Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
Tip: Invest in a pair of Nike’s innovative Studio Foot Wraps which are designed to help you make the most of workouts typically done in bare feet.
2. Supine Dead Bug
“A foundation exercise for the abs, key for a taught and toned tummy”.
Lie on your back on an exercise mat or firm surface, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your arms are by your side and bent at the elbows so the backs of your arms are on the floor and your hands are off the floor, pointing towards the ceiling. Your shoulder blades are pulled down and back. Hold this position throughout the exercise. Maintaining deep and even breaths gently contract the pelvic floor muscles without moving your hips, ribcage or spine. You want to engage your abdominals to protect your lower back as you prepare for the exercise.
Once you have stabilised your spine and pelvis, lift both legs and arms off of the floor; the knees should be directly over the hips and bent at 90 degrees and the elbows should be directly over the shoulder joints so your hands are pointed to the wall behind you in "dead bug" pose. Inhale.
Keep your pelvic floor muscles activated as you slowly lower the right heel and left hand toward the floor (you left arm goes backwards towards your head). The hand and heel should tap the floor lightly but not rest. Exhale.
With the abdominals still engaged, slowly bring the leg and arm back to "dead bug" position.
Continue the movement, alternating sides for 15 - 20 reps each side.
Tip: Protect yourself from sweaty studio floors with a cushioned yoga mat.
3. Bench/Chair Dips
“Fantastic exercise for you triceps which can do done anywhere there is a bench or chair”
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench with your feet together. Place your hands on the seat either side of your thighs and keep your feet flat on the floor. Straighten your right leg. Your left leg should be bent at about a 90 degree angle.
Bend your elbows and gradually lower yourself towards the floor, ensuring your elbows remain tucked in. Your back should just clear the seat behind you.
Straighten your arms to raise your body back to the start position. Avoid the temptation to rely on your feet for help, instead use the muscles in your arms.
Do one set of 12, and then repeat with your left leg extended. Do 2 sets each leg.
Tip: Do it in style with a pair of leopard printed tights from Vie Active.
4. Dumbbell One-Point Row
“An advanced exercise that is sensational for good posture”
This exercise works your back and core muscles while challenging your balance. If you find it too difficult, perform the row with your toes touching the floor.
Begin standing upright. Holding a 2kg dumbbell in each hand, balance your weight on your left foot, bending forward at the hips and raising your right leg out to the side so it forms a ‘T’ with your torso and left leg. Your chest and right leg are parallel to the floor and your shoulders are square to the floor. Hold the weights below your shoulders, arms straight (remain balanced on your left leg).
Pull the weights straight up to your sides by puling your elbows up, keeping them tight against your body.
Slowly lower weights down again (you are still balanced on one leg) and repeat.
Do 2 sets of 8 repeats on each leg.
Tip: Look the part and be practical at the same time with an exercise bag by Lululemon. We love this metallic blue and silver one, which has separate pouches for your iPhone, tablet, water bottle and yoga mat.
Words by Madeleine Boyd; Photo by John Akehurst