Our wonderful ambassador Becky Uden talks us through the best 5 Pilates positions for anyone wanting to start Pilates.
The Cat Stretch – Great for activating the spinal extensors as you flow through through flexion and extension.
Come onto a four point kneeling position – hands under the shoulders – fingers spread and pointing forward, knees under the hips. Draw your navel in towards the spine and gently slide your shoulders down your back and lengthen the neck. Take a breathe in, then as you breathe out tilt your pelvis and flex your spine up – nose to tailbone. Hold…and then breathe in, and starting from the tailbone tilt your pelvis and flow back to through to your neutral starting position.
Pelvic Tilts to Shoulder bridge: Great for elongating the spine, firing up the abdominals and working the glutes and hamstrings.
Come onto your back, knees bent, feet sit bones apart, palms of your hands by your side. Breathe in to prepare, then as you breathe out tilt the pelvis back and imprint your lumbar spine. Inhale to return. Gradually start to increase the range of movement until your spine rolls up vertebrae by vertebrae into a neutral bridge position where the rib cage, pelvis and knees are in a long line. Inhale at the top of the movement and then exhale as the spine articulates back down to the mat. Keep the neck and shoulders relaxed, maintain ribcage to pelvis connection, and keep equal weight through the feet so the knees do not flare.
Chest Lift: Great for strengthening the abdominals which will in turn create more length and strength in the lower back.
Come onto your back, knees bent and feet sit bones distance apart. Interlace the hands behind the head to support the neck and keep the elbows in your peripheral vision. Breathe into prepare and as you do so… draw the sit bones, hip bones and ribs towards each other, then as you exhale curl the upper body lifting from the sternum maintaining the natural curves of the cervical and lumbar spine. Look between the legs and feel the ribcage connect towards the pelvis. Hold, then breathe in as you slowly lower to the mat and repeat.
Leg Pull Front Prep: Great exercise for balance, centre strength and to work all the muscles of the shoulder.
Come onto all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under the hips, toes tucked under. Draw your navel in towards the spine and gently slide your shoulders down your back and lengthen the neck. Take a breathe into prepare and as you exhale hover the knees above the mat and hold. Inhale and lower back to the start position and repeat.
Rolling like a ball: Fun and invigorating move to wake the body up, massage and mobilise the spine, and work the abdominals.
Sit at the front of your mat with your knees bent, hands placed by your ankles with your elbows wide. Draw the navel to the back of the body and slowly float the feet off the floor coming into a balance position on your tailbone. Breathe in and roll backward onto your shoulder blades keeping your nose to tailbone, breathe out and roll forwards keeping nose to tailbone coming into a balance at the top.