Health & Fitness

Strip your way to a better bod!

Author: Elle Canada

Health & Fitness

Strip your way to a better bod!

Trade in your yoga mats and pilates reformers for three-inch stilettos and a brass pole.

Striptease, or pole-dancing, is becoming a phenomenon for young housewives and grandmothers alike. Once relegated to seedy, back-alley clubs, strip-based dancing has hit the mainstream with studios popping up across North America faster than you can say "lap dance."

With A-list supporters including Kate Moss and Teri Hatcher, it's no wonder ladies are quick to strip away their inhibitions (literally!) to experience a work-out that offers deep muscle conditioning, flexibility and overall body toning.

Curious? If so, unleash your inner Demi Moore à la Striptease fame with this step-by-step beginner's program, courtesy of Aradia Fitness, one of Toronto's first pole-dancing for fitness studios (www.aradiafitness.com ).

According to Christine Boyer, one of the founders and owners of Aradia Fitness, before attempting any pole moves, make sure your hands are free of any oil or moisturizer so you can ensure you have a good grip on the pole. Keep movements slow and controlled, don't forget to breathe and most importantly, let your hands wander as you explore your sexy side and have fun!

1. Hip circles

Hip circles are a fundamental exercise in pole dancing and sensual movement. The circular motion of hip circles helps to unlock your hips and allow your body to move with increased flexibility. It is a great work-out for the abs and your legs. It is a very sexy way to express yourself!

How to:
Against the wall: With your head and shoulders comfortably resting against the wall, on your toes with your feet a little wider than the hips, knees are soft and your abdominals are engaged. Place your hands on your body and move your hips away from the wall to begin moving them to the right, the front, the side and back forming a circle. Keep the movement slow and exaggerated. This can also be done without support of the wall, but free-standing.

Repeat 6-8 times in each direction.

Sexy tip: Keep your hands moving around your body to explore your own sensuality.

Photo courtesy of Peter Timofejew

2. Beginner pole hold

This is a fundamental pole exercise which develops strength required for more advanced pole dancing moves.

How to: Standing on your tip-toes with your body against the pole and your hands at eye level, hold onto the pole tightly and lift your legs behind you. Be sure to keep your shoulders square and down not inching towards your ears. Your hands remain at shoulder level as you gently slide down the pole, using your inner thighs until you are carefully lowered to your knees.

Repeat as many times as desired.

Sexy tip: To get up, curl your toes under your body and stick your backside out, slowly straightening your legs to get up.

Photo courtesy of Peter Timofejew3. Fireman spin

This is a more challenging exercise in which you will lift your feet off the ground and spin using your body's momentum -- so fun!

How to: With your hands on the pole above your head, walk around the pole (in a sexy way, of course!), letting your body be heavy. Swing your outside leg in an arc and place it directly in front of the pole. Then, bring your other hand to the pole at chest height and your other leg crosses behind the pole at the bottom at the level of your shin and spin. To finish, land on your feet taking your outside leg and top hand behind you with your hips next to the pole.

Repeat 2-4 times.

Sexy tip: This movement is all about control and expressing your body. Keep it slow and exaggerated. Feel each movement and express it through your body language.

Photo courtesy of Peter Timofejew4. Aradia push-up

Who knew push-ups could be so sexy! They are the perfect way to strengthen and tone your arms while practising a sensual cat-like pounce at the same time.

How to: Start in a child's pose (on the mat with your buttocks on your heels, bending down with your chest resting comfortably against your knees, forehead down). Stretch your arms out in front of you and move slowly forward keeping your chest as close to the mat as possible, buttocks up, elbows bent close to the body -- like a pouncing cat. When your shoulders are above your hands, straighten your arms into a full push-up. Going back, slowly bend your elbows raising your buttocks to the ceiling and lowering your chest to the floor, bringing your buttocks back to your heels. To make this movement easier, bring your knees closer to your chest. To make it more difficult, straighten out your legs.

Repeat 4-6 times.

Sexy tip: Keep your toes pointed and your buttocks up! Think Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment.

Photo courtesy of Peter Timofejew
5. Sexy bicycle

A much more enticing version of the bicycle motion where you are showing off your sexy legs and body!

How to: Lying on your back or on your elbows, abs engaged, peel both legs up towards the ceiling with your toes pointed. Bend your right knee in towards you and extend the left leg towards the wall, continuing in a cycling motion. Really reach through your toes -- The slower and bigger your bicycle, the more your legs and abs are going to work making them long and lean.

For beginner's, start on your back and when this feels comfortable, move up to your elbows as depicted in the picture above.

Repeat as many times as desired.

Sexy tip: When you're ready, let your hips rock side-to-side and let your head gently fall back.

Photo courtesy of Peter Timofejew
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Health & Fitness

Strip your way to a better bod!