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  • Sharon Parsons

5 Pilates exercises to practice everyday!

The 100

This is a breathing exercise. It is meant to circulate your blood and warm up the body to prepare for the exercises that follow. If done right, this practice turns on all the body systems in less than an instant. If done right, it will feel like a full-body exercise.

BENEFITS:

  • Enhances breathing efficiency

  • Promotes a firm, flat and stable core

  • Strengthens and lengthens the spine

STEPS:

  1. Lay on your back with your knees folded into your chest or a table position.

  2. Deeply inhale; as you exhale, lift your upper body off of the mat into an upper ab curl (make sure you are bending at your torso and not pulling your neck forward)

  3. Rise up until your shoulder blades are off the mat (you will be able to feel the tips of them on the mat still)

  4. Start beginning your pumps. Inhale for 5. Exhale for 5.

  5. End by lowering your head and rest your feet on your mat

TIPS:

  • Reduce the number of reps

  • Keep your feet on the mat

  • Lower your head between reps

  • Place your feet against a wall for support

Single Leg Circle

  • The single-leg circle connects, develops, and strengthens your leg within the hip joint. It will reveal asymmetries in the hips and hamstrings. Short and stiff hamstrings prevent you from reaching a full pelvic range of motion and stability. This is one of my favourite exercises for correcting hip issues.

BENEFITS:

  • Increases hip joint movement

  • Strengthens muscles in the leg, hip, shoulder and torso

  • Teaches oppositional energy

  • Promotes uniform development in your legs

STEPS:

  • Lay on your back with your knees bent. Left one leg up on an angle so that both your knees are at the same height

  • Press your palms, firming into the mat to keep your collar bones broad and to allow a capacious breath.

  • Begin by circling your leg across the body and down towards the floor and back up to the start position.

  • Do five circles in each direction. Inhale to begin and exhale to finish.

  • Do the same thing on the opposite side.

  • Finish with both feet flat on the mat.

TIPS:

  • If you find your quads take over, you can start with a bent knee to encourage a stronger connection to your center, or you can slightly turn your knee outward to find a better link to your outer hip muscles.

  • Maintain control of your hips throughout the exercise.

  • Keep your pelvis level and stable.

Single Leg Stretch

This is one of the exercises in the "Stomach Series" and is considered a belly buster. This exercise focuses on building the strength and endurance of your abs and your powerhouse. You will notice this exercise increases the body's heat from the demand of coordinating your hands and legs and coordinating your breath and movement.

BENEFITS: