Once the secret fitness weapon of professional dancers, athletes, and movie stars, Pilates is sweeping the country with a vengeance. And if even half of what its many fans claim is true, then it?s easy to see why. Combining elements of yoga, dance, gymnastics, and boxing, along with many original movements, Pilates exercises build muscle tone, improve flexibility and balance, lengthen the spine, increase body awareness, and repair past injuries. Most people who?ve done it, even for a short time, say they feel stronger and more energized, centered and physically confident than ever before. They also like having the flat tummies, tight buns, and long lean thighs of a dancer. Pilates For Dummies lets you get on board with the Pilates method , without the high cost of private instruction. Packed with step-by-step exercises, photos, and illustrations, it helps you develop your own Pilates fitness program to do at home or in the gym. Top Pilates trainer Ellie Herman shows you how to use eight basic Pi lates principles to get the most out of your mat-based routines and: Look and feel better than ever Get stronger, more flexible, in control and less prone to injury Target and tone problem areas Get movie star abs, buns, thighs and arms Repair chronic stress and sports injuries Calmly, clearly, and with quirky good humor, Ellie explores the origins and basic philosophy of the Pilates method, and helps you set realistic fitness goals and custom-tailor a program. She also covers: Basic, intermediate , and advanced mat exercises Using Pilates exercise equipment and accessories Targeting specific areas including the stomach, back, thighs, and chest Pilates for the pregnant and recently pregnant body Using Pilates to heal injuries, reform posture Ten simple ways to incorporate Pilates into your everyday life Combining Pilates with other forms of exercise, including yoga, swimming, aerobics, and more Why let the rich and famous have all the fun? Your complete, friendly, step-by-step guide, Pilates For Dummies shows how Pilates can offer a fitness program for the rest of us.