From Erika Bloom, Pilates Expert and Founder of Erika Bloom Pilates
A secret to staying healthy and strong is having a workout that you can do anywhere, at any time. We all know that regular body conditioning is a must but sometimes the realities of life leave us with just a few minutes to spare. I find this true for my clients, who sometimes need to work out on set in between takes, and for myself, as I often work out on my bedroom floor in the few minutes before my kids wake up. This series came from these experiences and it truly works to stay toned, healthy, long, and lean. Pilates is the perfect workout to choose when time is short because it effectively works one from head to toe with just your own body weight. These moves align and stretch while also hitting both small and large muscle groups.
This is the first in a three part series of complete workouts that challenge, lengthen, tone, and align starting with just 5 minutes. The benefits of this method are best gained by focusing on form and precision. Perform each exercise slowly, with continuous breath, and with attention to alignment. Keep your pelvis neutral, your shoulders wide, your core engaged, and your spine lifted. You have one minute for each exercise but only do as many reps as you can do correctly within that time. Move with ease and proper form. Doing 8 right is always better than doing 20 wrong.
Articulated bridge:Lie on your back with your arms by your side. Place the soles of your feet flat on the floor with your legs parallel. On an exhale, deepen your belly button to your spine to curl your tailbone up. Press into your feet as you continue to roll up, one vertebra at a time, to come into a bridge. Inhale to lengthen at the top. Exhale to soften your front body in to your back body to roll back down.
Single leg stretch:Begin on your back in a neutral spine with your legs in tabletop position. Neutral is the position of the spine where the natural ‘s’ shaped curves are maintained. You will have a small space under your low back. Exhale to extend your right leg out to 45 degrees as you deepen the belly button in and up. Inhale to draw the leg back in to tabletop position. On the next exhale, reach the left leg out then inhale to draw it back in. Maintain a stable pelvis and an engaged transversus abdominis throughout.
Flight:Lie face down with arms along your sides. Reach your arms back as you float up into a small upper back arch while maintaining a long, supported lower back. You should feel like the top of your head is reaching forward as your fingers and toes reach back. Lower back down to starting position.
Kneeling side leg lift:Kneel on the right leg with your left leg extended out straight to the side. Have your right arm supporting you with your palm on the floor under your right shoulder and your left hand on your hip. Lift your left leg up just above hip height then lower it down to halfway down to the floor. Continue reps on that side and then switch sides to do the opposite leg.
Front support:Begin in a plank. Lift your left leg a few inches off the mat as you point your foot. Flex your foot and return it to plank. Maintain a stable pelvis and a long reach from head to toe. Repeat with the opposite leg.
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