Think of this as part two in our Pilates workouts. If you are a newbie, you might want to check out our Pilates Workout For Beginners. This will give you a gentle introduction to the idea behind Pilates as well as some of the basic moves. If you are ready to take your Pilates to the next level, this workout is for you! (Of course, even if you are new to Pilates you can certainly give this one a try!) This powerful routine is all about strengthening the core. Core strength is great for tightening the tummy, but it also helps keep your back healthy as well.
Here’s what to do:
- This one will pack a punch so go through each of the five exercises slowly and methodically. Once you get the hang of them, feel free to pick up your pace a little.
- Remember, stability is the key! Keep that belly nice and tight and keep your lower back pressed gently into the floor.
- Go through the five exercise sequences and take a one-minute break. Repeat the entire thing 1 or 2 more times. Good luck and happy breathing!
A) Start lying on your back. Bring both knees into the chest to form a tabletop position. Bring your head, neck, and shoulder off the mat. Arms are long at the sides. Extend legs long and lower as far as possible while keeping the abs engaged and back connected to the mat in a slight imprint. (This can be modified by bending knees or bringing feet to the mat with bent knees.)
B) Pump the arms up and down in a quick, controlled manner while taking five short breaths in and five short breaths out (like sniffing in and puffing out). Be sure to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed and focus on your abdominal muscles doing all the work.
Use the 5 count breathing pattern until you reach 100. (i.e. “inhale-2-3-4-5, exhale-2-3-4-10”, inhale-2-3-4-5, exhale 2-3-4-20)
Double Leg Stretch
A) Start lying on back with knees bent hand next to calves. The back should be imprinted gently into your mat and abdominals are engaged. Head neck and shoulders flexed up off the mat.
B) As you inhale, reach your arm straight back behind the head and push your legs straight out to the diagonal. As you exhale, circle the arms back to start position and pull the legs back to tabletop position forming an ab crunch. Keep your neck relaxed and your head lifted throughout the exercise.
Perform 8-10 slow, steady reps
A) Start lying on your back and reach one leg towards the ceiling. The other leg is parallel to the floor and 3-5 inches off the mat.
B) The top leg pulses in towards the body twice and then switch legs. Inhale with right leg pulls, exhale with left leg.
Perform 8-10 reps per leg
Bird Dog Crunch
A) Kneel on the mat on all fours. Reach one arm long, tighten the abdominal wall and extend the opposite leg long behind you.
B) As you inhale bring the elbow and knee in towards your center as you round your back. Remember to draw in your abs. As you exhale press back out long. Repeat on the other side.
Perform 8-10 per side
Side Plank Scoop
A) Also called a T Stand, this move really helps to sculpt the abdominals! Begin in a full side plank position with the right hand below the shoulder, left arm reaching high above left shoulder, and legs long.
B) Tighten abdominals and slowly scoop your left arm under the body, following with your eyes until you see behind you.
C) Slowly reach the left hand back to start position.
Perform 8-10 per side