Such glorious weather this week, I feel if you have a balcony or garden it would be wonderful to perform your Pilates movements outside. When I go for my daily walk I often see people exercising in the parks so why not add this idea as well? No one seems to mind as the populace go thro their routines!
To continue with our Pilates from last week. Remember we are now exploring side and front positions. Repeat each exercise x 5-10 times. Start low and gradually increase your reps. Try alternate side lying positions. Place a folded towel under your head if needed.
Clam Level 1
Start position:- Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked and underneath arm outstretched in alignment with the trunk. Remember to ensure your back is in neutral position and centre engaged. Hips are bent to 45 degrees and knees to 90 degrees.
Inhale to prepare and as you exhale, lift your top knee upwards keeping the feet together. Inhale and close your knees together.
I would add that it is important beforehand to engage your top buttock muscles. Place your top hand, as it were, in your back pocket and get your buttock muscles squeezing. It really helps the whole exercise.
Clam Level 2
Start side lying position as described above, then lift both feet into the air approximately 8 inches above the floor.
Inhale to prepare and on your out breath, lift the top knee upwards keeping the feet together and lifted off the mat. (So this is similar to the first Clam but with more effort as the feet remain up above). As you then breathe in lower the top knee onto the bottom leg, still keeping the feet lifted off the mat.
Start side lying position, inhale to prepare, then on the exhalation, lift your top leg to hip height and glide this leg forwards from your hip joint. Keep the knee bent and the leg lifted at hip height.
Inhale and glide your top leg back above your underneath leg, keeping the knee bent and leg lifted at hip height. Repeat
Start side lying position; your arms should be reaching out in front of your body and resting one on top of the other.
Inhale, then on exhalation, reach the top arm towards the ceiling and continue moving out to the side, rotating your upper trunk at the same time so that it too opens out to the ceiling. Allow your head to follow the movement of the arm. Hold the stretch and on the next exhalation rotate the arm and body back to the starting position.
Imagine holding a piece of chalk in your top hand and drawing a rainbow over the body. (This is very appropriate with all the children’s rainbow pictures that decorate our front windows).
Breast stroke prep
Start position:- lie on your stomach with a cushion for support if required. Make sure your centre is engaged, your shoulder blades are drawn down and back and the back of your neck is long. Your arms are by your side, palms facing upwards.
As you exhale, bring your shoulders blades down and inwards, simultaneously hover your arms off the mat. Your head remains resting on the mat and your neck long.
Inhale and continue reaching your arms. Exhale and rest your shoulder blades and arms on the mat.
‘Swimming movement’ Level 1
Start position as above, but this time your forehead is resting on the back of your hands. Remember to engage your core!
Inhale to prepare, then on exhalation reach your left leg backwards and off the floor allowing it to hover 1 inch off the mat. Inhale and lower the leg. Repeat with alternating legs.
These simple but effective exercises should help keep you supple. Do a few each day taking some from the old lists and some from this week’s tips – this way you cannot get bored ”with the same old.”