From Erika Bloom, Pilates Expert and Founder of Erika Bloom Pilates
One of the best things about Pilates is that all you need for a complete workout is your body and a mat. As many of us are over-scheduled, it can be hard to find more than a brief period of time to dedicate to maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. This series of moves is designed to be efficient at working all areas of the body in just 10 minutes. This is the second of our three-part series that started with 5 moves in just 5 minutes.
Do each part separately, or combine them for a well-rounded 20 minute workout. Pilates is designed to lengthen, tone and align your body, so it is important to pay close attention to proper form. Keep your pelvis neutral, your shoulders wide, your core engaged, and your spine lifted. Move slowly and with continuous breath. Each exercise can be done for one minute, but remember to do only as many reps as you can perform correctly.
Begin lying on your back with both feet flat on the mat. Press in to your feet to lift up in to a bridge position. Hold at the top as you fold each thigh to chair position, as if you are marching, for a count of 10. Roll down through your spine to finish that rep and then repeat.
Begin lying on your back with a neutral spine and your arms reaching up to the ceiling. 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 engage your transversus abdominis, wrapping your deep core around your waist like a corset, as you float each leg to a tabletop position. On the next exhale, reach the arms down and curl the upper back up as you extend your legs out to 45 degrees. Keep your abs deep, your lower back neutral, and your neck long. Inhale to draw the legs back in to tabletop position as you lower your head down and reach your arms back up to the ceiling.
Single leg stretch circles
Lie on your back with a neutral spine and your legs suspended in tabletop position. Keep one leg in tabletop while extending the other leg out to a 45-degree angle. Circle the extended leg with control about the circumference of a small bread plate. Be sure to maintain a stable pelvis. Do 8 circles each direction and then switch legs. Repeat.
Begin lying on your back with your legs in tabletop. Twist your lower body to one side, bringing your legs to about 45 degrees off center while maintaining tabletop position. Keep your shoulders wide and open against the mat. Keep the range small so that it does not feel like a stretch for the back but rather that you are maintaining control in your core. Alternate sides.
Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched out into a comfortable “X” position. Reach one leg and the opposite arm off the mat about 4 inches. Continue to look towards the floor and keep the length of your spine and neck. Alternate.
Lie face down with arms and legs extended straight. Take flight by lifting arms, head, shoulders, and legs up. Alternate tiny arm and leg lifts as if you were swimming, but only take your arms as high as you can keep your collar bones wide and your legs as high as you can keep your back long. Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 4 counts.
Lie on your side with knees bent and stacked. Keeping feet together, spiral the top leg out to lift the knee up as high as you can while keeping pelvis stable. Lower it back down, opening then closing like a clamshell.
Kneeling front back kick
From a kneeling position, side bend to the right to bring your right palm to the floor. Reach your left leg out to the left and parallel to the floor and your left hand to your hip. Keep your pelvis neutral and stable as you flex the foot to lengthen the leg forward and point the foot to reach the leg behind. Stay wide through the collarbones, long through the spine, and connected in your core.
Inner thigh lift
Lie on your right side with right leg extended out and left knee bent, with your left foot resting in front of the right leg on the mat. Engage the left inner thigh to lift the leg 4-6 inches above the mat, or as high as you can bring the leg while maintaining a stable pelvis. Slowly release the leg down the mat.
Start sitting on your sitz bones with your legs extended in front of you and your arms behind you, fingers facing your hips. With straight arms and legs, press in to your feet and hands to lift the hips up. You’ll make one long line from toes to head. Hold, with your shoulders wide, as you lift and lower your right leg, then your left. Lower your hips down to return to starting position.
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