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Callanetics(r) - Superb Exercise Programme based upon Ballet and Yoga

by Ágnes Nagy(more info)

listed in bodywork, originally published in issue 156 - March 2009

by Agnes Nagy

Is your New Year resolution to do with getting healthier and fitter? Have you tried many different kinds of exercise and are still not satisfied? Right now, here is a chance to draw great motivation from reading about the Callanetics® Body Shaping Exercise Programme and the various benefits it can offer you. The newest celebrity trends suggest that you need to exercise for an hour every day to attain a healthy life style, and that the most effective way of exercise is to do lots of repetitions and stretching to get a dancer's body; furthermore finally point out the importance of the pelvic floor. However, the Callanetics® method has been teaching this for nearly 30 years, and it is enough if you exercise two-three hours a week to achieve guaranteed and fast results within weeks!

Floor exercise

Callanetics® exercises were developed by Callan Pinckney in the 1980s, who was way ahead with her concepts. The ex-ballerina was working on an exercise programme that could help her back and knee problems, which doctors sentenced to an operation. Apart from curing her back and knees the exercises also toned up her body in no time, and in a unique way. The traditional Callanetics® exercises have been updated introducing the Callanetics® Evolution Body by Design Fitness Programme, and the CardioCallanetics® workout, which brings a non-traditional type of aerobics into the Callanetics® method.

How it Works

Callanetics® exercises isolate muscle groups and work on targeted areas of the body. The exercises are based on repetitive contractions in a very small range of motion. These minute movements, called 'pulses', work deep down into the muscles. Instead of contracting then releasing the muscles and repeating this pattern, the Callanetics® method encourages one pulsing into a deep contraction. The exercises do not put any strain on the cardiovascular system, or any pressure on the joints, since there is no bouncing kind of movement involved. This no impact type of movement is biomechanically acceptable for male, or female, slim or overweight, the young and the elderly and pregnant, and can be altered for most people with disabilities and medical problems. Those who try it, will find themselves challenged – and throughout every session! Beginner, intermediate and advanced, all can work together, and the exercises will be intensified as soon as they are ready for it. You work at your own pace, with a certified teacher supervising your positions and movements, keeping you in safe hands, as well as teaching you a technique that will make it possible to never again have to put pressure on your back.

The exercises change the body from head to toe by:
  • Firming and lengthening the neck;
  • Eliminating double chins;
  • Toning the arms;
  • Firming flabby 'underarms;
  • Flattening the tummy;
  • Reducing the waist;
  • Erasing saddlebags;
  • Creating a light, firm, long look for the legs without bulking protruding muscles;
  • Tightening the inner thighs;
  • Reducing the hips;
  • Rounding, lifting and re-sculpting the buttocks;
  • Improving the posture and flexibility;
  • Making one appear graceful and feel confident

Body Types

What is a beautiful body? Having a beautiful body means different things to different people. One may be the 'shell' of a body that looks beautiful to you, and another may be that you are ready to face the day every morning having energy, vitality and strength. Let us start with the 'outside'. We all know that we cannot change our genes. Our body type is constant and no amount of dieting or exercising will change it. But there is an important fact to note: un-worked and out-of-shape muscles don't belong to any of the body types. Let us identify your body type! As you may know there are three basic types, called somatotypes. Ectomorphs are characterized by being naturally lean, having long arms and legs, angular features, long and thin muscles. This body type usually has a low ratio of body fat to muscle. Callanetics® exercises add definition and more shape to this body type. Mesomorphs tend to have larger bones and low fat levels. They are strong and fairly compact; they usually have a solid torso and wide shoulders in the company of well-developed muscles. These muscles, however, can droop and sag with underuse or age. What the Callanetics® programme can do for this type is tighten and lift the muscles back into place. Higher ratio of body fat to muscle, and proportionally shorter limbs than either of the other two characterize endomorphs, which also tend to have larger bone structure, and wider hips and waist. Callanetics® exercises help this body type by pulling in and tightening the muscles. Larger framed people can look smaller because, as the muscles get stronger, the body pulls up and results in a sleek and tight body contour. Your body can be any type; Callanetics® exercises will help you achieve your best shape!

Seven points that make the Callanetics® workout unique:
  1. Just one hour of Callanetics® exercises has the lifting and tightening value of 24 hours of aerobics;
  2. Losing a dress size (about an overall six inches) in ten to 15 toning classes is usual. Some lose even more during shorter periods of time if doing an intensive workout;
  3. If one is on a weight loss programme, every lost pound will look like two;
  4. No other exercise programmes address women's desperate thigh problems. Callanetics® transforms wide, big outer thighs into longer looking, lean legs;
  5. The small deep contractions get blood pumped into the muscles. This results in a distinct improvement of skin texture, and ultimately blasts cellulite;
  6. The Callanetics® programme is wonderful for women over 40 for whom weight loss often results in a haggard look in the face. You can pull in and shape your body without losing weight;
  7. Anyone's body can look half its age, regardless of the shape.

Other Benefits

What about the 'inside'? Exercise in any shape or form makes us feel happier. When we exercise, endorphins, the cause of a 'natural high' will be produced in the brain. These hormone-like, small protein molecules are responsible for the good frame of mind and wellbeing, while performing as the body's natural painkillers. The Callanetics® method transmits the highlights of Yoga, improving the mood by motions that free negative emotions from the body, and by reducing tension and stress. We do not only change on the inside by means of what mood we have, there is more to it.

Working the Pelvic Floor Muscles

There is a very important muscle group called the pelvic floor which, simply saying, is the muscle group between our legs. The pelvic floor is a significant factor of the Callanetics® method. Tightening the pelvic floor muscles opens up the sacral area ensuring more space to stretch, and most of the movements of Callanetics® exercises originate from the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles tend to be ignored, partly due to our culture, as they happen to be in our intimate zone, and partly because we cannot simply see them. Female or male, young or elderly, everybody should be aware of the pelvic floor's significance. Let's see why! As long as we walked on all fours, the bladder, the uterus, and the intestines were leaning against the abdominals. Since humans took up an upright position, the pelvic floor has had the duty to support these organs, which hang into the abdominal area on ligaments. The ligaments are not flexible, and due to the weight on them, they keep stretching. If someone has a bad posture, these organs are pushed downwards forcing the ligaments to stretch even more, and the pelvic floor has to bear that extra weight. The same happens while jogging: our organs are being heavily shaken inside and putting pressure onto the pelvic floor. That is why it is advised not to jog if we have weak pelvic floor muscles. A prolapsed condition is the result of a process that shows no symptoms for a while, but comes about underhandedly. If we do not take care, we might face problems that most people incorrectly link only to the ageing process: the involuntary discharge of urine or incontinence – are just a couple of examples. If noticing warning signs like haemorrhoids, you don't have to panic, but you have to start caring. Most problems can be avoided or helped with the appropriate exercise. Before and after childbirth or an emerging operation, training our pelvic floor muscles is a 'must'.

Let's now look at the more fun side of a strong pelvic floor! Right after the first Callanetics® class you will understand what 'lifting excess weight off your legs' means, and soon you will be walking lighter and more gracefully. What's more, it is not only you who can benefit from your pelvic floor training. I have had women proudly telling me that their partners have noticed a 'difference' since they have been doing Callanetics® exercises. It is worth knowing that you can extend the sexually active part of your life, and stay young, with a strong pelvic floor.

Keeping fit improves your life. Increasing your strength and stamina allows you to participate in life, not just to drag yourself through it, and to perform a range of activities with a newfound ease and energy. The fuel for the fit body is food in the form of a healthy dietary, and drinking plenty of liquid. Throw away the excuses that stop you making the first step!

Stop thinking about changing your lifestyle, and do it!


Pinckney C. Callanetics®. Budapest. ISBN 963-548-317-1. 1996.
Pinckney C. Callanetics® For Your Back. New York. ISBN 0-380-70506-0. 1988.
Franklin E. Pelvic Power. Munich. ISBN 978-0-87127-259-1. 2002.
Kriston A and Ruzsonyi P. Kriston Intim Torna. Budapest. ISBN 978-963-864-281-5. 2004.

Further Information

To find or to become a certified Callanetics® instructor, and for available DVDs, visit the Callanetics® Management Company's official website at


  1. DAREAU Pascal said..

    pouvez-vous me donner l'adresse d'un centre qui pratique LA METHODE callanetic
    à Paris.

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About Ágnes Nagy

Ágnes Nagy, Hungarian born, has lived in the UK for seven years, and is a Certified Callanetics® Instructor. Having discovered the Callanetics® workout about 15 years ago, it has been a part of her life for much of that time. Becoming a certified Callanetics® instructor has changed her life, enabling her to transform people's lifestyles and encourage them to care more about themselves. Seeing her students becoming happier and uplifted after the classes makes her love her job more and more every day. She is also completing a degree in Music Technology – Audio Systems, and hopes to be working in the music industry professionally in a couple of years time, alongside her fitness career. Agnes may be contacted via

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