Different to yoga, Pilates is designed to create long and strong muscles. Practice it regularly to feel yourself stretching out into a lean machine. Follow along with this Pilates workout to get a taste of what a class at your local Fernwood club is like.
Complete each move 8-10 times – except for the last exercise, it’s a killer at 100 pulses! To see how to do these workouts, pick up the latest copy of the Fernwood magazine – Taryn Brumfitt is on the cover – and turn to page 18!
This workout’s muscle hit list is long: abs, quads, glutes, hip flexors and extensors, hamstrings, spinal mobility, shoulders, back and pelvis stability, as well as strength and endurance.
When exercising, remember to warm up and cool down.
Kneel with your feet and knees hip-width apart and shoulders in line with hips. Inhale and activate your abs. With a straight back, exhale as you hinge backwards. Pause and inhale, then exhale as you return to start position.
2 Teaser prep
Sit with knees bent and feet hip-width apart, arms in front, palms facing in. Activate abs and slowly roll your spine onto the floor in a C-curve controlled movement, keeping shoulders down and arms out. Finish by raising arms above your head, thumbs pointing to the floor. Reverse the moves to return to start position.
3 Ab curl with leg stretch
Lie on your back with knees bent and hip-width apart, and arms pressed to the floor beside your body, palms down. With abs activated throughout the sequence, lift your right leg to 90 degrees (tabletop position), followed by the left. Support your head with fingertips as you curl forward as far as possible. At the same time, extend right leg into a stretch. Stay in the curl as you repeat with left leg. Bring legs to tabletop (step 3), lower head and slowly return to start.
4 Hip lift
Lie on your back, knees bent and hip-width apart, and arms pressed to the floor beside your body, palms down. Lift your hips to the ceiling in a straight line, squeeze your glutes and activate hamstrings for stability. As a progression, lift arms to the ceiling, hold for 10 seconds and lower hips back to the floor.
Have you heard of reformer Pilates?
5 Plank, push-up, star flow
From kneeling position on the balls of your feet, engage abs and lift knees 5cm off the floor. Step right leg back followed by the left into plank position. Squeezing your glutes, draw kneecaps and quads towards your hips, and complete a push-up. Move right hand to middle of mat, roll out to the left, keeping your body in a straight line and left foot on the floor in front of your right. Reach left arm up, fingers towards the ceiling, with abs, glutes, quads and calves activated. Keeping balanced, lift your left leg to hip height to form a star shape. Return to plank position and repeat movement flow on other side.
6 Crab prep
From a seated position, cross your legs and hold your big toes. Tuck your chin to your chest, activate your abs and pelvic floor muscles as you roll backwards (not beyond your shoulder blades). Keep your chin tucked as you roll onto your upper back. Roll back up to sitting position.
7 Opposite arm/leg
Kneel with shoulders over wrists and hips above knees. Lift right leg behind you at hip height, pointing your toe. At the same time, keeping your pelvis still, stretch your left arm forward, abs activated and chin tucked. Hold, return to start and repeat on other side.
8 Basic back extension
Lie face down, arms by your sides, palms down and legs together. Lift abs off the mat as you press your hips into the mat. Squeeze your glutes, roll back shoulder blades and pinch them together. Lift hands, reaching backwards while keeping head tucked. Hold, then return to start.
9 The hundred
In tabletop position, activate abs and curl upper body forward, keeping arms off the mat and fingers reaching forward. Beginners should stay in this position. For an advanced progression, keeping knees and ankles together, straighten legs out on a long diagonal. For both levels, inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts. At the same time, pulse arms up and down. Continue until you reach 100!
Check out more fitness ideas here.
Photography by Heidi Boardman