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How to Do Pilates on the Total Gym

By Tami Parrington

Pilates is an exercise discipline designed to stretch the muscles and increase flexibility. Special machines are often involved to provide resistance for extra strength and muscle conditioning. Each Pilates exercise is meant to be done in slow, fluid and controlled movements. Pilates are usually done with a special machine known as a Pilates reformer. However, if you own a Total Gym, you have everything you need for a perfect Pilates routine right in your own home. With a special Pilates toe bar, you can do all of the lower body exercises. The equipment used for other Total Gym strength and aerobic workouts are easily adapted for upper body and core Pilates training.

Attach the Pilates toe bar where the foot pad is normally situated in the total gym. When doing Pilates exercises on the Total Gym, it is best to wear only socks or work out in bare feet instead of wearing training or gym shoes.

Use the Pilates toe bar for a hand grip while kneeling on the slide pad to do core exercises.

Set the slide bar of the Total Gym at the highest level. Remove the Pilates toe bar. Stand on the floor next to the machine. Place your palms on the slide bar to do controlled waist bends to the front and sides.

Set the Total Gym slide pad at the desired height by removing the locking pin, standing behind the unit and releasing the pull bar to move the machine up or down to the desired level of tension. The Total Gym has 6 levels of tension. The higher you place your pad, the harder each exercise will be. When you reach the desired level, allow the pull bar to release back. Remember to always re-insert the locking pin for safety. Attach the pulleys to the hook under the pad (see picture). Sit facing the tower of the unit with legs hanging over the top of the slide pad. Use pulleys to do stretching exercises like rowing.

Sit on the Total Gym slide pad facing the foot of the unit. Use the pulleys to do forward stretching exercises. All of the Pilates groups can be done fluently on the Total Gym without moving from your position to change the equipment grip.

Sit in the middle of the slide pad with legs hanging over one side of the machine. Grasp both pulleys in hand clasped together in front of your body. Pull slowly to the end side of the gym. Release for a side core Pilates stretch.

Remove the hand pulleys. Attach the Pilates leg pulleys from the hook at the top of the resistance tower (see picture). Put on the foot connections. You can do many of the Pilates leg resistance exercises. This accessory is also wonderful for many common aerobic exercises.

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