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Top 3 Classical Pilates exercises

By bzz1251, Sep 26 2017 08:28PM

The benefits of Pilates are experienced by a huge number of people from an array of backgrounds and abilities. Here are 3 exercises from the classical repertoire which you can try wherever you are. To mix things up, you could incorporate some of these exercises into a more general training session. Adding hand weights and/or a Pilates circle will also make the exercises harder.

It is very important to keep the pelvic floor, transverse abdominis and the lower back muscles properly engaged - if in doubt check with a qualified Pilates teacher.

Your discretion is needed with some of these exercises as they may not be appropriate if you suffer with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis or intervertebral disc problems. If in doubt, check with a medical professional or suitably qualified Pilates teacher.

1. The Push-Up (x6 repetitions)

Set-up: Stand tall feet in parallel, arms next to thighs.

Exercise: Inhale, float arms over head, exhale, sweep arms to thighs and roll down through spine vertebrae by vertebrae. Continue to exhale as hands walk forward to plank pose. Keeping spine and pelvis in neutral with abdominals braced, inhale and bend elbows to lower chest to floor. Exhale, press back up to plank pose. Inhale, walk hands back to feet keeping bottom high, soften knees if needed. With control, exhale and roll back up the spine vertebrae by vertebrae to stand.

2. Double Leg Stretch (x10 repetitions)

Set-up: Lying in table top position with imprinted spine (lower back on floor), lift head and shoulders off floor, reach arms down the outside of legs. This is the start position for Double Leg Stretch.

Exercise: Inhale, reach arms over head, simultaneously extend legs out to diagonal. Keep inner thighs squeezing together and ensure lower back stays on floor. Exhale, circle arms around body back to thighs and bend knees to return legs to table top. Upper body should remain off the floor and maintain a neutral head and neck position throughout. The pelvic floor and transverse abdominis should be activated constantly to keep spine imprinted, particularly as the legs extend to diagonal.

3. Supine Leg Pull (x5 repetitions on each side

Set-up: Place hands underneath shoulders with legs straight and laterally rotated. Press through heels and lift hips to create a diagonal straight line with body.

Exercise: Exhale lift one leg up up to ceiling with foot pointed, inhale lower leg to floor. Keep abdominals and glutes engaged to stabilise pelvis.

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