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Stay in Shape with Top 5 Pilates Poses

If you practice Pilates and you are doing the breathing and poses correctly, then you can’t help but see good results. Brooke Siler, a well known Pilate’s instructor, and author of several of my favorite Pilate’s books, suggests that if you don’t have time for a full Pilate’s workout, you can still stay in shape by doing the top 5 Pilates Poses 4-5 times per week. It only takes a few minutes and you will be pleased with the results.

There are 34 original poses from Joseph Pilates Full Mat Program. They are instructed in a particular order and meant to remain in this order. When performing the 5 Pilates Poses keep in mind that they should be done gracefully and flow one into the next. The abdominal muscles are engaged the entire time and because of this concentration on your core you can do fewer repetitions and still get great results. Here are the top 5 recommend Pilates Poses:

1. The Hundred
•Lie on your back and breathe. Feel your body begin to settle into the mat with each exhale.
•Bend your knees and bring them toward your chest.
•Lift your head and neck until you feel your shoulder blades pressed against your mat.
•Lift your arms off of the floor about 6 inches. Begin pumping your arms up and down keeping them straight.
•Inhale for 5 breaths and exhale for 5 breaths. This is 10 repetitions. Continue the pumping and breathing motion until you reach 100 repetitions.
•This is probably something you will need to build up to.

2. The Roll up
•This is not an easy pose and you may need to practice for some time to be able to do it entirely. In the meantime there are a variety of modifications.
•Lie on your back and stretch your arms over your head. Lengthen your body long from finger tips to toes.
•Now bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground.
•Squeeze your knees and butt. Inhale and begin to roll up by bringing your chin to your chest. Bring your arms straight out in front of you.
•On your exhale straighten your legs and continue to lift and stretch forward.
•Begin to roll back down by squeezing your butt and tucking your tailbone.
•Bend your knees and press each vertebra into your mat until you have rolled all the way down including your head and neck.
•Do 10 repetitions.

3. Single Leg Circles
•Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
•Press your arms firmly into the floor.
•Lift one leg straight up towards the ceiling.
•Begin circling by moving your leg across your body first, then circle it down, and bring it back to starting point.
•Do 5 repetitions then reverse the direction of the leg and repeat the above instructions.
•Repeat with other leg.

4. Single Leg Stretch
•Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Anchor your body into the ground and with each exhale settle deeper.
•Draw your knees into your chest place your right hand on your ankle and your left hand on your knee.
•Lift your head and neck as though your chin were reaching for your belly button, keep the head lifted. Extend your left leg straight out at about 60 degree angle forward.
•Inhaling switch legs and hands.
•Do 8 repetitions on each leg.

5. Crisscross
•Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
•Lift your head and put your hands behind it keeping your upper back and shoulders from touching the ground. Bring your legs into a table top position.
•Extend your right leg and at the same time reach your left elbow towards the right knee.
•Switch position with left leg extended and right elbow towards the left knee.
•Repeat 10 repetitions to each side.

Enjoy staying in shape with these Pilates exercises. Always check with a medical professional before doing these or any exercises. Be healthy, be happy!

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Content copyright © 2013 by Terri Johansen. All rights reserved.
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