Exercises

Here are some simple exercises you can try at home. They are aimed at existing clients with a solid understanding of core stability, lateral breathing and good Pilates alignment. If you are not familiar with these then please contact Ann before attempting the exercises exhibited here.

 

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Knee Fold

Starting position –Lie on back, knees bent feet hip width apart, pelvis and spine are neutral, arms at sides palms down.

Breathe deeply. Allow the breath to expand the ribs evenly, and to travel down your spine and into your pelvis.

Engage your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. They should feel active, and your belly will pull in and up as you engage. However, this is not an overly strong move and it does not change the position of the pelvis.

On an exhale, feel that you are using your abdominal muscles to lift one leg off the floor until it is resting in table top position, with the knee above the hip and the shin parallel with the floor.

Your thigh muscles will be part of this move, but the knee does not change position and the abdominals are very important in this move. As you use your abs, keep your torso long. Feel a deepening of the crease at the hip joint. It is important not to allow the hip to lift up with the leg.

Inhale and return your foot to the floor. As you do so, be sure to use abdominal control. Don’t let the thigh take over if possible.

 

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Heel Slide

Starting position –Lie on back, knees bent feet hip width apart, pelvis and spine are neutral, arms at sides palms down.

Inhale to prepare, exhale and contract deep abdominal muscles inward (without using glutes) and at the same time slide the  right heel along mat away from your bottom until the leg is straight.

Do this slowly and feel length in leg as if someone were gently pulling on leg. Keep the leg activated at all times rather than allowing it to rest on the mat when extended. The leg does not lift.

Do not let lower back arch up away from floor and keep the pelvis  still and stable.  Return leg to bent position slowly, again sliding heel along mat.

Repeat with the other leg.

 

 

 

 

 

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Squat

 

 

Starting position – Standing tall, crown of the head reaching up to the ceiling, feet evenly balance and hip width apart.

Take a deep breath. Engage your abdominals. While slowly exhaling, gently lower yourself by bending your hips and knees keeping your head above your knees. This means sending your bottom out behind you and hinging from the hips without letting your knees go over your toes. Go down as low as you can comfortably go sending arms out in front parallel, to counter the bottom going behind. Hold this position and take a deep breath and  while slowly exhaling return to the starting position.  Make sure you push through the heels and squeeze the gluten as you come up. Do not lose your neutral spine when squatting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spine Curl

Starting position – Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat. Your feet and knees should be parallel and hip-width apart, and your spine should be in neutral position. Do not press your back flat into the mat. Let your arms relax along the sides your body.

Inhale and prepare to move. On an exhalation, pull your tummy button into the spine and then flattens the back into the mat,  engaging your glute and thigh muscles in order to lift your bottom off the mat trying to keep the public bone high throughout. Roll your pelvis and your spine up toward the ceiling, one vertebra at a time whilst pulling in on your tummy. The rolling motion should move sequentially from your hips into your lower spine, mid and then upper back and as you roll your hips upward (pulling from your abdominal muscles and hamstrings).

Once you get to shoulder height, inhale and then exhale rolling down pulling in on the tummy and squeezing the gluten until you return back to neutral trying to keep the pubic bone high for as long as possible.

 

 

 

 

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Backstroke Arms

Starting position –Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat. Your feet and knees should be parallel and hip-width apart, and your spine should be in neutral position. Do not press your back flat into the mat. Let your arms relax along the sides your body.

Maintain neutral pelvis and maintain the shoulders back and down to stabilise them.

Breathe in wide and full and maintain connection between pelvis and ribcage, pulling in on the tummy button. Breathe out and at the same time, bring one arm backward over towards the head making sure it remains in your peripheral vision. Stop where you feel comfortable but do not drop the arm beyond your ear and do not allow the back to arch. Keep the arm relaxed and the elbow slightly soft. Do not bend in the wrists. Allow the other arm to remain on the mat.

Breathe in and lower the arm. Repeat on the other side

This is a nice exercise to combine with others like Knee Folds and Heel Slides.

 

 

 

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Oyster

 

Starting position – Lie on your side with your arm lengthened under your head, your knees are bent and feet level with your bottom. Make sure your heels are nearer to your bottom and your hips are stacked. the waist should be active, the core engaged.

Take a breath in to prepare, then as you breathe out ls and float your top knee up towards the ceiling keeping your heels together. Breathe in to slowly place your knee down to the start position. Focus on both the lifting and lowering phases of the exercise.

 

This one is the King of the Glute exercises!