Pulse your way to a perfect body with Callanetics. These gentle, non-impact exercises are easy enough to be completed by even the most wary of fitness-phobes and are said to change your body shape dramatically from the very first session. Too good to be true? They don’t think so...
Callanetics was developed in the 1980s by ex ballet-dancer Callan Pinckney, who was searching for the perfect exercise routine to bring her body back to health after years of suffering from intense back and knee pain. The result was Callanetics – a series of tiny, pulsing movements, each of which target specific muscle groups (think Pilates for ants). Pinckney’s background in dance is clear to see in the routines, and each exercise aims to target the deeper muscle groups, meaning that you may not actually feel as though you’re getting a tough work out, but practitioners swear by the results.
The claims are big – apparently just one hour of Callanetics has the tightening and lifting value of 20 hours of aerobics. The idea is that lifting weights works against the muscles, shortening them, while the isometric actions (or not bending your arm/leg/torso, to you and me) of Callanetics work in the same direction, producing that long, lean physique traditionally reserved for the Elle Macphersons of this world.
After the success of her original program, Pinckney also developed a strand of Cardiocallanetics, based on the same principles but tailored more towards those who also wanted to lose weight. These routines retain the calm, yogic elements she started with, but are set to music designed at 110-118 beats per minute - much slower than traditional aerobic classes. This slower beat allows for larger and more controlled movements requiring the use of more muscle fibers. More muscle fibers means more calories burned – that’s the kind of science that results in a new pair of jeans.
This 1980s fitness craze is still going strong, with classes popping up around the country and many instructors offering home visits. All you might need is a yoga mat, and the patience to pulse your limbs in teeny tiny motions for an hour – leotards and an 80s perm are completely optional.
This activity is perfectly suited to absolutely anyone – all ages and fitness levels are welcome as the exercises are so gentle and controlled. It’s perfect for those who may be returning to exercise after an injury, or who are concerned about the possibility of hurting themselves with more vigorous activities like aerobics or running. It could also be great if you’ve already tried, and love, yoga or Pilates, as the tone and pace of the routines are quite similar. However, if you’re lacking in patience or prefer to take your cardio with a side of sweat, Callanetics probably isn’t for you.
Actress Sharon Stone is rumoured to love Callanetics, so if it’s good enough for the amount of nudity required for Basic Instinct, it has to be worth a shot.