Pilates has numerous benefits – it will strengthen your core, improve your posture and make you feel more mobile in general. It also tightens and tones your body as well as reducing the risk of back problems. Try this Pilates workout for a stronger body.
Exercises written and demonstrated by personal trainer and fitness consultant Caroline Sandry.
Benefits: mobilises your shoulder joints and improves your posture
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet and knees hip-width apart.
- Make sure your spine is in a neutral position and that your shoulders are drawn down away from your ears.
- Lift both arms to the ceiling so your hands are above your shoulders, palms facing inwards and with a slight bend in the elbow.
- Inhale to prepare.
- Exhale, engage your navel to your spine and float one arm behind you, placing the other to the floor by your side.
- Inhale your arms back up.
- Exhale with the opposite arm.
Benefits: mobilises your spine, particularly your thoracic spine (upper back), improves your posture and stretches your shoulders and chest
- Lie on your right side, with your knees bent, fingertips touching in front, hips stacked on top of one other. Keep your waist hollow.
- Inhale and reach your top arm to the ceiling.
- Exhale and reach back towards the floor behind you, keep your waist and hips still, and let your head and eyes follow the move.
- Inhale into your ribs and hold the open position.
- Exhale, draw your navel to your spine and bring your arm back to the start.
- Repeat four times on each side.
Benefits: mobilises your lumbar spine, flattens your abs and strengthens your pelvic floor and core
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet and knees hip-width apart. Keep your spine in neutral. Inhale to prepare.
- Exhale and draw your pelvic floor up and your navel in as you tuck your tailbone under. At the same time press your lower back into the floor.
- Inhale and lengthen back into a neutral position.
Basic ab curl
Benefits: strengthens your core and flattens your abs
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet and knees hip-width apart.
- Begin with a neutral spine and your shoulders drawn away from your ears.
- Inhale and gently lengthen the back of your neck, tucking your chin slightly.
- Exhale, engage your navel to your spine and draw your shoulder blades down as you contract your abs to fold your head and shoulders off the mat while reaching your fingers down to your toes. Keep your arms off the mat.
- Inhale and maintain your navel to spine connection as you take a shallow breath into the sides of your ribs.
- Exhale and return your head, shoulders and arms to the mat.
- Using your breath, do eight reps.
Table Top Legs
Benefits: stabilises your pelvis and spine and strengthens your core
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet and knees hip-width apart with your spine and pelvis in neutral.
- Exhale and engage your navel to your spine, keeping your hips still as you lift one leg so your knee is above your hip and bent to 90˚ – like the leg and top of a table.
- Inhale and keep a stable spine and pelvis as you lower your foot to the lift-off spot.
- Repeat on the other side and continue alternating your legs for 12 reps.
Basic breast stroke
Benefits: mobilises your spine, especially your upper back, and strengthens your postural muscles around your shoulder girdle
- Lie on your stomach with your legs drawn together and your arms bent on the floor with your fingertips approximately in line with your nose.
- Inhale to prepare.
- Exhale and gently draw your navel to your spine as you push your hands into the floor and draw your shoulder blades down, away from your ears.
- At the same time extend your head and shoulders off the floor while keeping your bottom rib in contact with the floor.
- Inhale to hold up and try to lengthen the front of your chest away from your toes.
- Exhale to lower yourself back to the start.