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The Pilates Series of Five

  • August 7, 2017
  • By Brittany
  • 0 Comments
The Pilates Series of Five

The Pilates Series of Five is the classical pilates mat sequence used to work your abdominals and focus on the breathing.  I love this series for a quick ab blast or to warm up the core for even more work.  Even if you only did these five exercises everyday, you would end up with a much stronger core and tighter abs.  Here is an in-depth look at the series of five and how to do the exercises.

Single Leg Stretch

Reps: 8-12 sets

Start: Sit on the mat with both legs pulled into the chest.  Place the inside hand on the knee and the outside hand on the ankle and roll down with control as the free leg straightens.  Keep the leg at a height that allows the low back to remain stable.  Keep the head up.

Exhale and release the leg held into the chest, straightening it out below and pull the other leg in.  Sink the abdominals as you bring the leg in, keep the elbows wide and the back steady.  Inhale and switch legs.

Tips:

  • Keep the torso as still as possible.
  • Keep the legs level with the eyes.
  • Keep the shoulders down and the elbows wide.
  • Move the legs and the arms only.
  • Pull the abs in deeper with each repetition.

Double Leg Stretch

 

Reps: 3-6

Start: Lie on the back with the head and upper body rounded off the mat, both knees in to the chest and the hands on the ankles.  The back is in imprint.

Inhale and reach the legs out straight and the arms up overhead without changing the curve of the upper body or the position of the lower back.  Lower the legs only as far as you can before the back arches off the mat and keep the arms in line with the ears.  Exhale and draw the legs to the chest and sweep the arms around to hold the ankles.

Tips:

  • Keep the back heavy on the mat.
  • Lift up a little higher as you pull the legs in.
  • Pull your abs in and away from you shirt.
  • Keep the torso still.
  • Keep the head and upper body in the same position throughout the entire exercise.
  • Maintain the position of the low back as the legs move.

Single Straight Leg Stretch (aka Scissors)

Reps: 8-12 sets

Start: Lie on the back with the head and upper body rounded off the mat with one leg reaching toward the ceiling and the other leg reaching toward the wall.  Lower the leg only as far as you can without disturbing the stability on the low back and pelvis.  Place the hands as far up the leg as they can easily reach but not directly behind the knee.

Inhale engage the abs and draw the leg closer to you.  Pulse the leg two times with a short inhale on each one.  Exhale and switch legs.  Keep the torso still, the low back in place and the shoulders down with the elbows wide.

Tips:

  • Keep the torso still as the legs and arms move.
  • Lower the leg as close to the floor as possible without disturbing the back or touching the ground.
  • Support the torso and head with minimal tension.
  • The rhythm is “pull, pull, switch”.
  • Imagine you are holding a glass of water on your abs and you don’t want to spill it.
  • Pull the abs in deeper with each rep.
  • Keep the head and the upper body in the same position throughout the entire exercise.
  • Keep the shoulders down and chest open.

Double Straight Leg Stretch (aka Leg Lowers)

Reps: 2-4

Start: Lie on the back with the hands behind the head, the head and upper body lifted off the mat and both legs reaching toward the ceiling.  The back is in imprint or supported neutral until you can keep the back absolutely still as the legs lower.

Exhale and engage the abs and lower the legs towards the floor only as far as you can without arching the back off the mat.  Inhale keeping the abs engaged and return the legs to the starting position.

Tips:

  • Keep the abs engaged throughout.
  • Keep the pelvis and low back absolutely still as the legs lower.
  • Pull the abs in more deeply with every repetition.
  • Keep the elbows open throughout the exercise.
  • As you lower the legs, curve up more.

Crisscross

Reps: 8-12 sets

Start: Lie on the back with the hands behind the head and the upper body lifted off the mat.  One leg is bent in towards the chest and the other leg is reaching out away from the body.  The back is in an imprint.

Exhale and rotate the torso reaching the rib cage to the opposite knee while keeping the elbows wide and the abs engaged.  The lower abs stay still and both hips stay on the mat.

Inhale as you switch sides.

Tips:

  • Don’t rock and roll the hips or torso.
  • Keep the shoulders down and the elbows wide.
  • Keep the torso still.
  • Imagine you are holding water on your belly and you don’t want to spill it.

By Brittany, August 7, 2017
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Brittany Bendall is a hardcore barre and pilates instructor with a passion for staying fit and living a healthy and amazing life!

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