Transform Your Home into an SLT Gym with Total Gym:
Pilates-cardio is the hot fusion workout for a summer-ready body, and Total Gym is poised to help you sculpt and define every smoking curve of your dream physique. The SLT (strengthen lengthen tone) full body workout, developed by Amanda Freeman in New York City, is “like Pilates on crack.” She uses the Lagree Megaformer machine in a 50-minute session that progresses from strength moves, to toning exercises, to cardio bursts, for ultimate fat burning. If you’d like to try an SLT workout, but can’t make it to New York City, and you happen to already own a Total Gym Fit, Flex or XLS model, you’re set. The Total Gym, with targeted Pilates accessories, is designed to provide the resistance and instability that’s challenging, the way Pilates-based workouts are, as you ride the rails toward a stronger, leaner body.
Slow, intense Pilates intervals make you concentrate on balance and flexibility while you strengthen the muscles, especially in the arms, upper back, core and legs. Cardio intervals focus on elevating the heart rate: you’ll increase your oxygen pumping capacity with controlled impact on the Total Gym.
Train with Intention
Execute each movement slowly and with focused intensity on the muscles you’re engaging. When envisioning a muscle as it contracts, form improves and you benefit from a more efficient workout. This technique also decreases the risk of injury. Work at the highest level that will allow your muscles to fatigue. It’s about low reps, heavy resistance and extreme balance. You will need the leg pull accessory and hand cables.
- Side-lying Leg Pull (to the front and into abduction/adduction): Lay supported on one elbow with the top foot in the leg pull accessory. Raise your hip off the glideboard and keep your hips stacked. Next, abduct the top leg; swing it forward and then down to the glideboard. Reverse the motion, raising the leg to the front, swinging it up and then adducting it back to the glideboard.
- Chaturanga Pushup to Pike (on the floor): Start in plank by placing your feet on the glideboard (in open position) and your hands on the floor. Lower into chaturanga, then return to plank and lift the hips until your head is between your arms and your body forms an upside-down V. Your knees should be straight and try to press your heels into the glideboard. Return to plank.
- Bicep Curl on Lunge: Hold one cable in each hand; knuckle down facing the tower. Get on your knees and place one foot forward so you’re in a lunge position. Perform alternating or double bicep curls. Switch the forward foot half way through each set.
- Kneeling Chest Press to Hip-thrust: Holding a cable in each hand, sit on your knees facing away from the tower. Raise your elbows to should-height. As you press your arms straight in front of you, rise up into a high-kneeling position; press the hips forward and squeeze the glutes. Then return to low kneeling with the elbows bent.
- Iron Cross to Double Leg Raise: With your head toward the tower, lie on your back with cables in each hand at shoulder height. Extend both legs. Press your arms down to your sides, then raise your legs to 45 degrees and curl the upper back off the glideboard. If the curl-up is too difficult, just do the iron cross with the double leg raise. If the double leg raise causes strain in your back, do one leg at a time.
Cardio Blast Intervals
Perform these exercises quickly and with force to raise the heart rate. Breathe with purpose: full inhalations and exhalations increase oxygenation and help move toxins from the cells to the bloodstream for elimination. Time each exercise at 20 seconds. Rest 10 seconds between exercises. Go through four exercises twice for a total of four minutes of intensive cardio training. I’ve added one extra set, which you can throw in for variety.
For the best results, remember to lengthen your limbs as you extend the joints. Pilates is all about lengthening and extending, even when you’re doing cardio work.
- Double Knee Raises: Lie on your back with your head toward the tower. Squat with the balls of the feet on the toe bar. Then push off the bar and bring the knees to your chest as you ride up the rails. Land softly with the feet on the toe bar and the knees bent.
- Air Jacks: Lie on your back with your head toward the tower and your feet on the toe bar. Press off the bar by abducting your legs. At the same time, raise your arms to the sides in a jumping jack motion. Land softly with the feet together, knees bent and arms by your sides.
- Mountain Climbers: With your hands on the glideboard and your feet on the ground at the end of the Total Gym, slide the glideboard to open position. Lift one knee at a time and keep your body in plank. Lengthen the spine. Keep your center contracted. You can vary this by lifting each knee in a cross-over to target the oblique abdominals.
- Jumping Plank Lunges: With your hands on the glideboard and your feet on the ground at the end of the Total Gym, slide the glideboard to open position. Place one foot forward so that the knee and ankle are in alignment, and the back leg is extended straight. Keeping the hands on the glideboard, jump so the other foot is forward (like a switch lunge).
- Toe Press-Single Leg Stretch: Lie on your back (head toward the tower) with your feet on the toe bar. Curl your upper back off the glideboard as you lift one knee and catch the leg at the shin. Press off the toe bar with the other foot and switch legs. Continue in this alternating single leg stretch.