Whether you’re a runner, recovering from injury or just want to boost core strength – Pilates is a go-to workout for many. If you want to make your workouts more effective and boost your body, try these exercises.
Pilates can really help you to focus on specific exercises in order to enhance your shape, says Nadine McCann, instructor at Bootcamp Pilates (bootcamppilates.com). ‘All bodies are different and it pays to know what works for you’. Certain moves can add definition to your body and everyone can benefit from the postural power of pilates. ‘Pilates is great for sculpting the body and stabilising muscles deep in the body’.
1) Toe taps
- Start lying on your back with legs lifted and knees bent above your hips, shins parallel to the floor and arms relaxed at your sides, palms down. Keep your lower abs engaged and your back flat on the mat.
- Inhale, then exhale as you hinge at your hip, lowering your right leg toward the mat.
- Inhale to return the leg to start position and change sides.
- Alternate legs repeat 10-12 reps pm each sides, bring feet to the floor to rest.
- Repeat for 2 sets.
- Lying on your back, interlace your hands behind your head to support your head. Lift your knees and feet off the ground with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
- Inhale as you twist your ribcage to the left and extend your right leg forward.
- Exhale as you take your body through the centre, twisting your ribcage to the right while extending your left leg to complete the exercise on the opposite side.
- Do 6 twists alternating sides. Do 3 sets in total.
3) Glute bridge
- Lie on your back, with your knees bent. Place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, with your arms at your side.
- Exhale as you lift your hips off the floor until your ribcage is in line with yur hips and knees. Press down evenly through both feet.
- Inhale as you squeeze your glutes for three seconds and then exhale as you lower your hips slowly back down to the mat.
- Do 15-20 reps, the rest pulling your knees to your chest, then repeat once more.
4) Side plank twists
- Starting in a side plank poisition, with one hand directly under your shoulder, place your top hand behind your head, with yur elbow pointing straight up.
- Inhale and twist your chest upward.
- Exhale and rotate your chest toward the floor.
- Do 5-8 reps per side and rest before repeating on the other side.
5) Side reach
- Sit with your knees bent and legs tucked behind you to the right, supporting your weight with your left hand and keeping your arm straight,
- Inhale to prepare. Exhale you lift your hip away from the mat, extending your top legs as your top arm reaches overhead. You’re aiming to lift your side up toward the ceiling.
- Inhale to return to the start position.
- Do 6-8 reps on each side and rest, before repeating the whole thing once more.
- Lie on your stomach with your forehead down and arms extended out in front. Extend your legs with your toes pointed out.
- Focus on pressing your pelvis into the mat while drawing your belly button away from the mat. Squeeze your inner thighs and lift your arms, legs, chest and head from the mat.
- Inhale and exhale as normally as possible as you alternate lifting opposite arm and leg without touching the mat.
- Count down from 10 to one then relax onto the mat to rest.
7) Side-lying leg tap
- In a side plank, place your top hand on your top hip to help stabilise you. Pull in your abs and lift your waist off the mat.
- Dip your top big toe down in front of your body to tap the floor then move the foot backward over your bottom leg and tap the floor behind you.
- Repeat for 12-15 reps each side then rest. Repeat again.
8) Plank double pulse
- Start in plank position, with hands directly under shoulders and your body in a straight line.
- Inhale to prepare and as you exhale draw your left heel toward your glutes, bending at the knee.
- Pulse in twice, squeezing your glutes, before setting your foot back down without letting your hips drop.
- Do 8-10 on each leg, rest sitting back on your heels.