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7 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen & Stretch

  • April 27, 2015
  • By Brittany
  • 0 Comments
7 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen & Stretch

 Hi friends!  I am so excited to share with you these 7 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen & Stretch.  I have found that pilates has been the best workout for me for getting my core back in shape post-baby.  I hope you enjoy these exercises!

ROLLING LIKE A BALL

rolling like a ball Collage

Breathing technique:  Inhale as you roll back, exhale as you roll up

Sequence:

1.  Sit forward on the mat with knees bent and pulled into chest.  Wrap arms around legs and grab ankles.  Balance on tailbone and lift toes off mat.  Tuck chin to chest (the tighter the tuck, the faster the roll and more control is needed).

2. Sink back and pull navel to spine. Roll back onto shoulders as hips roll into the air.

3. Exhale and roll back up to balanced position on tailbone.  Keep heels lifted and glued together and do not let toes touch the mat.

4.  Repeat 4-6 times.

Primary muscles: Abdominals (including rectus abdominals)

Focus: Improves balance, massages the spine and articulates the spine

SINGLE-LEG STRETCH

single leg stretch Collage

Breathing technique: Inhale as roll vertebrae down, exhale then switch legs

Sequence:

Sit balanced on tailbone with knees bent, arms wrapped around legs and hands holding knees.  Toes are lifted off the mat.  Abdominals are scooped.

Inhale and roll vertebrae down while pulling one knee in towards chest and straighten the other down towards the mat.  Keep neck lifted and slightly tucked.  Maintain abdominal scoop and control of core.  Toes are pointed and back is falt.

Place inner hand to the ankle and outside hand to bent leg knee.

Complete 8-10 sets.

Primary muscles: abdominals

Focus: Torso stability, leg stretch, strengthen abdominal wall

SINGLE STRAIGHT-LEG STRETCH

straight leg single leg Collage

Breathing technique: Inhale for one set, exhale for one set

Sequence:

Lie on back with both knees pulled in towards chest and arms wrapped around legs with elbows extended and hands holding knees.  Neck is lifted and slightly tucked.

Anchor toro on the mat.  Inhale and extend one leg straight up toward ceiling and grasp both hands around that ankle, toes pointed.  Extend the other leg straight out to hover just above the mat.  Pull your upper leg towards you with two short pulses as you inhale.

Exhale as you switch to the other leg. 

Complete 5-10 sets.

Primary muscles: abdominals

Focus:  Strengthening the abdominals and stretching the hamstrings, core stabilization

CRISSCROSS

crisscross Collage

Breathing technique: Inhale when you lift to twist, exhale when you complete the twist

Sequence:

Lie on back with hands behind head and shoulder blades up.  Knees are tucked in towards chest, toes pointed.

Inhale and reach one elbow across body towards knee and extend other leg straight out in front. Alternate sides, reaching other elbow towards opposite knee.  Look back at elbow to utilize obliques.

Complete 5-10 reps.

Primary muscles: abdominals, obliques

Focus:  Strengthening the abdominals including the obliques

SPINE STRETCH FORWARD

spine stretch Collage

Breathing technique: inhale to lengthen neck, exhale as stretch forward

Sequence:

Sit tall on mat with legs extended at hip width and feet flexed.

Extend arms straight out in front with palms pronated.

Inhale and lengthen neck.

Tuck chin to chest and round spine to a C-curve.  Exhale as you stretch forward, pushing navel to spine.

Inhale and reverse the motion.

Repeat 3-5 times.

Primary muscles: abdominals,neck, shoulders, hamstrings

Focus:  Good posture, articulation of the spine, stretch hamstrings, focus on breathing

THE SAW

saw Collage

Breathing technique: Inhale to lengthen, exhale to stretch forward

Sequence:

Sit tall on mat with legs extended in front, hip width apart and feet flexed.

Extend arms out at shoulder level with palm pronated.  Inhale and lengthen neck.

Twist from the waist keeping a tall back and flex forward from the hips extending hand past opposite foot.  Exhale as stretch forward.

Initiating the moment from the navel, draw torso up to starting position and repeat to the other side.

Complete 4-5 sets.

Primary muscles: abdominals, obliques, hamstrings

Focus:  Strengthening the abdominals including the obliques, stretch hamstrings, focus on breathing

SWIMMING

swimming Collage

Breathing technique: Percussive breathing-inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts

Sequence:

Lie prone on mat with arms extended overhead.

Inhale, lift right arm and left leg while pulling navel to spine.  Lift head and neck off floor looking down.

Switch arms and legs moving like swimming in water.

Complete 3-5 reps of 5 inhalations/exhalations.

Primary muscles: back, gluteus maximus, hamstrings

Focus:  core stabilization, stretch and strengthen back, gluteus maximus and hamstrings

Readers, are you a fan of pilates?  What do you do to strengthen and stretch?

By Brittany, April 27, 2015
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