In the dead of winter, running a scathing hot bath is one of the quickest ways to thaw a stiff, frozen body.
“The warm water relaxes the muscles, and allows them to become more malleable,” Brooke Siler, author of "The Women’s Health Big Book of Pilates," and Madonna’s former trainer, tells Metro.
“Once they’re in that state, it’s a really nice place to try and foster a bit more flexibility than you might get from say, dynamically attempting to stretch out cold muscles, which tend to tear more easily,” she adds.
But when you get out the bath, don’t go directly in a cold area she warns: “After expansion comes contraction — so do your best to stay warm, and allow your muscles to cool down naturally once you get out. Because if you don’t, they’ll just seize right back up.”
BATH TUB PILATES SEQUENCE:
THE ROLL BACK A + B
A: Sit with your knees bent and your feet flat, and approximately two feet from your bottom. Place your hands behind your thighs, keeping your elbows wide, bottom engaged, and abs pulled in. Knees should be hip-width apart.
B: Inhale with control as you curl your bottom under and roll halfway back. Press your feet down. Hold for a count of three. Exhale as you roll up to the starting position.
Reps: three to five.
SINGLE LEG KICKS A + B
A: You may want to drain some of the water out for this move. Lie facedown with your upper body propped up on your elbows and with tight fists. Your arms are shoulder-width apart and your elbows are aligned directly under. Your chest is lifted high, the pubic bone is anchored to the bottom of the tub (as much as you can), and the inner thighs are pressed tightly together.
B: Maintaining this position, lift both knees two inches, and alternately kick your bottom with your heels. Switch legs, repeatedly sustaining the stretch of abs up through the chest and out the chin.
Reps: Six sets of kicks.
SIDE BENDS A + B + C
A: Sit on one buttock with your knees bent to your side, legs stacked knee over knee, and ankle over ankle. Using your leg side hand, pull your heels close to your bottom and slowly inhale as you raise your opposite arm until your biceps touch your ear.
B: Exhale slowly as you side bend over your legs, stretching up the outside of your body.
C: Return to centre on an inhalation, and slowly exhale as you side bend to the other side by placing your hand on thse bottom of the tub, in line with your shoulder, and bending the elbow toward your waist. One arm is always overhead and connected to your waistline.
Reps: do three breath cycles.