Toe taps are an accessible exercise that can be done by anyone. They help strengthen your core and correct poor lower back posture. To perform, lie on your back with a neutral spine (not tucking or arching). Lift the legs into the tabletop and slowly lower one leg and lift it back up. Repeat on the other side and eventually try both legs together.
The Curl-Up is the Pilates version of a crunch, designed to heat up the core. What makes this a Pilates move is its focus on the breath in coordination with the abdominal scooping action. Lie on your back with your hands behind the head. On the exhale, curl your head up as if you could reach your nose to your navel. Inhale and lengthen to lower the head back down. Start with 3 sets of 10.
This one’s just fun! Try it watching TV or showing it to your kids. Tell your children to keep doing it, even as they get older- they won’t regret it!
To do this one, make your body into a tight ball-shape with the feet lifted and hugged in. Inhale to rock back to the shoulders (not the head!) and exhale to come up and balance (don’t drop your feet!). Just because a teacher may not be looking over you doesn’t mean you get to cheat when you’re at home. Do 6 rocks.
Now it’s time to get into the hips. The hips are closely related to the core (well, they are neighbors in the body after all), so it makes sense to take care of them, too.
Lie on your back with your shoulders and hips grounded into the mat. Bend your right knee into the chest and extend the leg up toward the sky. Place your arms by your sides for support. Then, begin to circle the leg across the body and pull it back to them by using your lower abs on an exhale. Make sure your hips stay even and square. Do 5 rounds in each direction and then repeat on the other side.
The Shoulder Bridge exercise is essential to strengthening the spine, glutes, and core. It is performed by lying on the back with the knees. On an inhale, imprint the lower back into the mat and begin to lift the hips upward. Sequentially peel the rest of the spine off the mat and gently squeeze the hips at the top. As you exhale, slowly roll back down one vertebra at a time. Do 5 sets.
Take a seat and wring out the spine! It’s important to move in all directions, and a spinal twist helps emphasize the three-dimensionality of our bodies. From a seated position, open the arms wide to a T-shape. Inhale as you twist to the right and exhale back to center. Repeat 4 times in each direction.
Some love it, some hate it- whatever your feeling is, planks are absolutely essential in class and at home. Keep your core and arms extra toned by holding a plank with good posture for 5 breaths. Repeat 3 times.
When you become a Pilates specialist with us at Future Fit through our Level 3 Specialist Diploma, you can take these exercises and tailor them to your client’s needs so they can improve their practice at home. Sign up today!