As recommendations go, none could come more highly for a pilates teacher than from the Duchess of Cambridge’s little sister.
Cast your mind back to April 29 last year when, besides the lacy number worn by Kate Middleton for the royal wedding, all eyes were on her sister, Pippa – and, more specifically, on her rear.
Now, the woman Pippa credits with helping her create that internationally-renowned hour-glass figure, has revealed her secrets.
Pilates guru Margot Campbell has just released a workout DVD, entitled The Perfect Pilates Bum.
It features a ringing endorsement on the front from Miss Middleton, as well as a book, Pilates On The Go.
As pilates has developed, the original mat exercises have become more popular and you’ll often find these are the basis for local classes.
Margot’s book is a series of such exercises, with exotic names such as ‘bananas’ and ‘clams’.
Pilates is often recommended to those with back problems, because as you strengthen stomach muscles, you give your back muscles a rest, meaning they’ll hopefully ache less.
‘For people with non-specific back ache, a lot of it is to do with how we carry ourselves and if you can use pilates to strengthen the stomach, learn to stand up and walk tall, you’ll be using your abdominals more and your back muscles less,’ explains Margot.
‘And it will improve your wellbeing – you’ll look and feel better.’
She adds: ‘One thing that puts people off when you first start pilates is it’s quite slow, because you’re learning the basics.
‘But you’ll be rewarded tenfold, because you’ll be so much better and more controlled and you’ll get so much more out of the exercises because you’re doing it correctly and you’ll see the change in your shape.
‘You’ve got to stick with it and persevere.’
So how exactly did this shape Pippa’s bum?
While Margot says you can tailor her exercises to focus on certain body parts, it’s better to work on the whole body – and you’ll be better off combining pilates with other forms of exercise to get that Middleton shape.
‘The bottom line is pilates can be enough for certain people,’ she says.
‘If someone came in here and hadn’t done any kind of workout for a number of years, they will start to see results, because they’re going from a baseline of zero.
‘But if triathletes (like Pippa) come in here, they’re incredibly fit already, and pilates helps them to stretch out and tone in a different way.’
So it helps if you add it into the mix with other regular exercise – and you’ll see the difference in the way you perform those sports.
‘If you’re a runner, you’ll be running a little bit taller and be drawn in, supporting your back a little when you’re doing it,’ adds Margot.
‘If you’re doing aerobics, you’ll breathe better and draw your tummy in – it’s all about connecting the abdominals and stomach muscles.’