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Top 5 Pilates exercises to do at home for a stretch and abdominal workout:

Jul 13, 2021

Over the past year many of us have been trying to find different ways of exercising or continuing our regular exercises and  routine even if we could not go to the gym or our regular class. Everybody enjoys different types of exercise and this can also be dependent on how you feel on the day and what you feel you body needs. Here are my top 5 exercises for days that you need a good stretch and abdominal workout:

 

Seated Mermaid

seated mermaid pilates exerciseseated mermaid 2

Starting position:

Sitting with crossed legs. Neutral spine and centre gently engaged. Arms long and placed beside the body.

Action:

Inhale and float the right arm upwards over the right shoulder.

Exhale as you lengthen and bend your spine up and over to your left, keeping your pelvis anchored to the mat. At the same time, keep the left arm long and reach away from your body.

Exhale, gently press down into the floor as you lengthen and return the body to the midline. Allow the right arm to return to the mat beside you. At the same time, keep your right arm long and return it to the starting position.

Inhale and lower the right arm to the mat.

Repeat 5-6 times each side or bias towards the lower curve that needs opening.

 

Leg Pull In prone Prep

leg pull prep in prone

Starting position:

Four point kneeling. Flex toes to resting on the balls of your feet. Knees directly under hips and hands slightly forwards of shoulders (approx.110° shoulder flexion). Elbow joints soft. Head and neck in neutral alignment with the spine. Neutral lumbopelvic position. Centre set.

Action:

Move hands further forwards of shoulders (approximately 140° shoulder flexion).

Inhale to prepare.

Exhale, hover the knees slightly off the mat. Then extend the shoulder joints to transfer your body weight forwards onto your hands and extend the hips and knees to form a plank position.

Inhale and hold the plank position.

Exhale, flex the shoulder joints to transfer your weight back to your pelvis and flex the hips and knees. Once the hips are over the knees, lower the knees to the mat. Repeat 8 – 10 times.

 

Abdo Prep

abdo prep

Start Position:

Pilates rest position with your hands interconnected and placed behind the top of the neck to support the head. Elbows slightly lifted away from the floor, shoulders drawn down and in.

Action:

INHALE and lengthen the back of your neck.

EXHALE, slide your ribcage downwards towards your waist to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat.

INHALE to hold.

EXHALE and lower to the mat.

Tips:

Think of lifting and lowering your body from the ribcage and not the head or neck.

Maintain the neutral spine position.

Do not allow your lower abdominals to dome.

 

Scissors

scissors

Start Position:

Lie on your back with your knees bent up in the Pilates Rest Position. Legs hip width apart, shoulders drawn down and in and your neck long. Centre Engaged. Float your legs one at a time into the tabletop position.

Action:

INHALE and hold this double tabletop position.

EXHALE, lower your left leg and tap the tips of your toes on the mat.

INHALE and float this leg back into tabletop.

EXHALE, lower your right leg and tap the tips of your toes on the mat.

INHALE and float this leg back into tabletop.

Repeat alternating legs.

 

Cat Stretch

cat stretch pilates exercises

Starting position:

On your hands and knees. Knees directly under hips and hands slightly forwards of your shoulders. Elbow joints soft. Head and neck lifted in alignment with your spine. Spine long in a ‘tabletop’ position. centre engaged.

Action:

INHALE to prepare.

EXHALE, roll your tailbone and pelvis down-wards towards the floor. Then round your lower back and continue to round your middle and upper back and finally your neck form a C shaped curve from your tailbone to the crown of the head.

INHALE and hold the cat position.

EXHALE, roll your tailbone and pelvis to neutral. The lengthen your lower, middle and upper back and finally your head and neck to neutral. Draw your shoulder blades downwards and lengthen the back of your neck.

Tips:

Imagine each vertebrae as the key on a piano. Imagine walking your fingers along each piano key to roll it in to your C curve.

Imagine opening the space between each vertebrae as you roll into your C shape curve.