My Go To Exercises
I thought I would share some of my all time favourite exercises that I tend to use a lot in my classes and at home for self-practice. I have decided to narrow my post to 4 exercises but honestly, the list is endless. The exercises chosen are diverse enough that you can use them from beginner to advanced by changing the level of the exercise, adding equipment or combining it to form a sequence. Each exercise provides its own challenge but also has its own role in targeting specific muscle groups and the control of specific movements.
This can be done resting on your knees (as shown) or on your toes. It is key that you keep your elbows drawing in to your side as you lower down in order to protect your shoulder from injury. This exercise should be felt in your triceps and chest. Only lower down as far as comfortable and engage those abs to maintain your neutral spine.
A staple exercise for anyone practicing Pilates. This exercise really engages your deep abdominal muscles and the more you do the more it burns!! Focus on controlling your centre in neutral as your legs lift and lower to table top pose. Your table top position is where your hip and knee are both at 90 degrees. Remember to start with the level that works best for your body.
I enjoy this exercise as it incorporates the whole body. You should start with your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips with a neutral spine. As you float your leg up into full extension imagine lengthening your toes away from the body. Keep the core muscles engaged and a gentle squeeze on your glutes. Watch out for any pelvic rotation or extension in your lower spine and keep your elbows soft.
If you have ever been to a Pilates class then I guarantee you have done this exercise before. This is designed for spinal articulation and strengthening of the glutes and hamstrings. To begin tuck your tailbone in and slowly peel your spine off the mat bone by bone, rolling up through the spine. Hold at the top, keeping your knees hip width apart. As you begin to roll down imagine lowering one spinal bone at a time. Relax your tailbone as your pelvis touches down. A nice variation to this is to take your feet a little further forwards and you should feel it more in your hamstrings.
If you do decide to try any of these exercises then make sure they feel comfortable to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort then please consult with a trained Pilates instructor or a health professional.
Most importantly – enjoy!!