Introduction to Pilates – Workout 2 | NHS

Hi, welcome to InstructorLive My name is Sam and this is introduction to Pilates

All you're going to need is something comfortable to lie on so that you can see your screen quite easily but we'll go to a fairly slow pace so that we really get into the details but if anything doesn't make sense or if you're not sure, you can always write to me during the session and I'll answer any questions Ok, let's start with a little bit of a warm-up We're going to have our feet in parallel underneath our hip joints We're going to soften our knees a little bit, draw the abs in to the spine, relax the shoulders from the ears Let's start by just releasing any shoulder tension

Doing lovely little circles there Breathing in and breathing out, and then we're going to take it into an elbow circle Hands onto the shoulders, lift the elbows and circle back Breathing in and breathing out Two more and then we're going to take it into an arm circle

Looking up to the ceiling then looking down to the floor Big breath in and big breath out Two more Open and release back Last one and releasing back down

Let's open up the side of the body Big breath in Bend the knees Side bend over Tuck your ribcage in, grabbing the wrist

Pulling through the waistline Big breath in to that stretch and then coming back up Other side Big breath in and big breath out Opening out

Lengthening through and releasing back Right Let's go a little bit into the legs now So we're going to take one step forward onto the heel I'm giving you the side version

Rest your hands onto your bent knee and then just sighing forward, so we're stretching the back of the leg Breathing into it and then slowly coming up Changing legs Over to the other side, and then slowly coming back up So one of the most important things in Pilates is the detail, so we're going to explore a little bit about alignment of the body

Okay, so you want to think about how your legs are in line with your hip joints Your shoulders and arms, how they sit on the top of the torso So we're gonna explore that in different areas and positions today So let's start with a roll down Really good assessment exercise

You're going to have your feet in a parallel alignment So it's hip-knee-ankle alignment Make sure you're not kind of pushing your bum out or sitting and collapsing into the lower back You want a midway between the two So, we explored a little bit last week about neutral pelvis

So it's just into a relaxed position of the pelvis, not arching the back or curving underneath you Now we're going to nod the head to the chest, stretching the back of the neck Then slowly rolling down Letting your abdominal muscles just guide and control the stretch of the spine as you roll down to the mat or as low as you can get At the bottom, you can roll your shoulders, circle your arms

Then starting from the base of the spine, you're going to slowly drop the tail bone Start to roll back up using your abs Slide the shoulders down the back and lengthening tall and two more Rolling through Make sure you're not just pushing your bottom backwards

You want to actually use those abs to guide curving the spine Shifting the weight into the front of those toes At the bottom, you can bend one leg, stretching the leg and then change So this releases the back of the pelvis as well and alternate again, and last bend Straighten both legs, roll back up, dropping the tailbone, scooping the abs in as if you're rolling over a pole that's underneath your tummy

Last one We're going to roll through the spine Then at the bottom, we're going to walk our hands forward, coming down into four-point kneeling So it's really important that you're nicely aligned in this position We're going to have wrists, elbow and shoulder all in line and the knees underneath your hip joint

So you don't want to be too far back and or too far forward with those knees Okay, let's go into a little bit of a push-up position So we're going to take a big step forward Now we're moving out of alignment with the shoulders but because we're working the upper body, we're now going to lean forward, bringing the alignment back over those wrists Make sure you're not collapsing your pelvis down to the mat

You want to keep it lifted and keep the head lifted Slowly bend the elbows, and then push back up Now when you bend the elbows, try not to push them out to the sides You want to keep the elbow, wrist and shoulder alignment So you bend the elbows towards your ribcage, so they're close to the body, and then pushing back up

If you can go all the way down, go all the way down, but I'm really working on the technique of this pushup because often we get aches and pains from doing incorrect alignment of the arms We're going to breathe in as we lower down Just as low as you know you can pull yourself back up without collapsing and hurting the back Let's do three more Remember as you're going down try not to drop your head down like I'm demonstrating now too

Remember that your neck is an extension of the spine So you want to keep it in line with the spine as you go down and then pushing back up Last one We're going to breathe in and breathing out Sit back off the wrists and just get a nice little stretch there

Tiptoe the fingers nice and far away from those sitting bones, and just let your whole body weight just relax into those legs Okay, right Now, we're going to swing our legs around and we're going to come into a sitting position Now there's spine, and one of the issues that we have in so many people is poor posture So we want to work, in the Pilates we work all areas of the body in different positions

So that we can really try to get the body back to its original movement patterns and ideal posture So one of the exercises we're going to do now is a pelvic tilt What this does is it helps to warm up your abdominal muscles It helps to mobilize your pelvis and a little bit of those legs as well So we're going to do that first and then we'll add on to it

So sitting up nice and tall So try not to curve, especially if you have a habit of collapsing into your back You want to sit up onto your sitting bones Use your legs as little handle bars for the movement Now we're going to, by tilting your pelvis underneath you and pulling your belly button in, your pelvis is going to shift into, like a concave position or what we call flexion, and then we're going to use our hands, if you need to, to bring yourself back up and we're going to do another four like that

So we're going to tilt the pelvis Stretching the lower back Warming up into that pelvis area and then coming back up and sitting tall For those of you who suffer from aches and pains in that lower back – this is a really good exercise to practice doing, just to help release any tension but always hold onto your legs for this position, and coming back up Now we're going to scoop back

For those of you you feel comfortable doing that, you can lift your arms off those legs, go back a little bit further, hold it there and then coming up using your abdominal muscles Arms come up to the ceiling and again, you want to just relax your shoulders, and we're going to do another four like that If it's too much without holding onto the legs, then just stick to holding onto the legs We're going to tilt the pelvis underneath us Going back just as low as you feel your abs switch on, and then coming up, legs stay on the floor, arms reach to the ceiling and two more

Breathing out as we scoop back, breathing in as we lift up tall, and last one Scooping back and then lengthening up tall We're going to circle our arms behind the body Turn the fingertips to face the same direction as the toes and try not to have your arms too wide Keep it as close and as parallel as possible, and we're going to take a big breath in, lift up

For those of you get really tight and tend to slouch a lot, this is a really good stretch You can just do breathing into it and then just releasing through So, two more like that Big breath in We're shifting our weight into our sitting bones, opening up those lungs and then releasing back

Last one Big breath in, stretching out the front of the body and then coming off those wrists Give them a little bit of a circle and in the other direction Okay we're going to go onto our side now Sometimes people prefer having a little cushion to support the neck

Otherwise most of the time, I'm just going to adjust my microphone, most of the time I just tell people to just rest their head underneath, I mean their hand underneath their head So we're going to now think about our alignment of our spine in sideline Often this can be quite a good sleeping position, lying on our side So you want to start to be aware of how it affects the posture in general So when you're in this position you want to think about the alignment of your pelvis

You don't want kind of a wonky angle like I'm demonstrating now So you're going to pull your top hip away from your shoulder so you're creating a nice length in the top of your sideline and then you'll feel that as you do that movement, and you can practice it as I'm talking, then as you pull the hip away, the little bit of waistline starts to lift off the floor under underneath side You want to keep that imaginary little ice cube gap underneath that waistline and keep the ribcage tucked onto the floor at all times You don't want to flare the ribs Very important for posture, you want to always keep your ribcage tucked in nicely so that your abdominal muscles are working

So, hand on the hip we're now going to do some exercises on the glutes, okay, which is your bottom cheek It's really important to work these muscles because they actually hold the pelvis in a good position that prevents lower back issues So We're going to straighten the top leg and imagine someone's pulling that foot away from you I'm going to just push my bottle of water there onto the towel and we're going to now lengthen our legs through

Again you still got that imaginary ice cube underneath your waistline, and now we're going to just do some simple movements Going into leg circles We're going to do ten of those and I want you to think as you're doing this move, what's happening in the rest of the body? Do you find as your leg goes back, you end up rolling a little bit forward? Try to keep the rest of the body completely still as you circle that leg because the body is the anchor point for that movement, because if you've got an unstable foundation, you're gonna find that you're just gonna aggravate other areas of the body when you're trying to target a specific area of the body and then, change direction We're going to go ten The bigger the circle the more you're going to work into that glute but also the more you're going to have to use your abdominal muscles to hold you nice and still, and three

Two One Hold that leg there Check you haven't lost the alignments of the pelvis If so, pull that top hip away from the shoulder, check your abs and then release back down

Give it a bit of a rub, and you can give it a bit of a pat too on the leg and glute if you need to Okay Now, we're going to go into another exercise and this is really going to challenge the stability of your pelvis It's called the 'Highland Fling' So we're going to straighten that bottom leg and you're going to bring it forward of the body

Okay and again, keep that imaginary little lift of the waistline off the mat Then you're going to bend your top knee Now watch what your pelvis is doing It's really important, especially if you've had it issues with the lower back, you want to make sure you correctly aligned Hips on top of each other, knee pointing up to the ceiling and you're going to toe tap your foot forward and then toe tap behind the bottom leg

So tapping forward and back and we're going to do another eight of those One, and I want you to, as you doing this movement, be aware of what's happening with your pelvis As your leg toe taps back, watch you're not rolling backwards into the pelvis Keep it still So as you toe tap back, you can actually push your pelvis forward just slightly so you connect into the glute and keep that stability through the hips, and let's do two more

Open up the knee nice and wide So you're working into that glute Last one, and then straighten the leg and just give it a bit of a rub Okay, so side lying is actually a really good position to use when trying to assess our alignments in our body, especially with the spine, because as we will notice in the next exercise, if we are a little bit wobbly, we talked about a concept called core stability If you're incorrectly aligned, and you don't have that support, you're gonna find it's gonna be really hard to keep the alignment, so this is a really good way of assessing the body and also improving that alignment as well as your core stability

So if you need the hand support, pop your hand down on the floor If you feel it's quite easy and want a bit of a challenge, you can move your hand up to the ceiling, but keep the full hand on the floor for now Top leg, you're going to hover up just to hip height Then big breath in You're going to squeeze the bottom leg to meet the top leg and then lower back down and we're going to do eight of those

So breathing out to lift, breathing in to lower If at any point, any of these exercises are too many repetitions, that's fine Just do what you can It all comes with practice and you improve as you go along, and another four So if you're comfortable with your hand on the floor and you want to give it a bit of a challenge, you can try with your hand to the ceiling

If you're feeling it in your back, the alignment might be a little bit out So you want to think about maybe bringing your legs a little bit further forward and drawing your abs in a little bit deeper Let's do two more, and one Two We're going to now hold it in that position

Try let go of the floor if you can and you're going to balance in that beautiful side alignment So as you look down, you should be able to see your toes but you want to still keep your head and eye line view up So you're holding it there You should feel it working into the side of the body Keep the flow of breath

This helps to build up the stamina in the muscles but if you're holding your breath, it's just gonna make it a lot harder, and then slowly release back down Bend the top leg up, give it a bit of a rub and a little bit of a smack if you need to Okay Now, stay facing me We're going to go over to the other side

It's really important, you might find on this side everything feels completely different This is also a really good position to assess if you have muscle imbalances in the body So sometimes, you have a more dominant side that tends to do most of the work and these kinds of imbalances can actually affect our posture and the way we move and can also lead to injuries and aches and pains So lying on to your side again Check your ribcage is tucked in, check your pelvis is nicely aligned

Pulling the top hip away from your shoulder Then you're going to straighten the top leg, flex the foot and we're going to go into some leg circles 10 in both directions Do it slowly One of the principles of Pilates is concentration and that's why I tend to do things a little bit slower so it allows you to really connect with the exercise, so that you can really get the most out of the exercise because if you're going faster, then there's so many details in Pilates, it can be quite confusing and then you lose track and then lose the focus of the exercise, and two more in that direction

Last one Change direction, and take note of how this side of the body compares to the other side There's no such thing as, you know, anything being wrong Having a weaker side is quite normal, but just take note of it and then you can start, as time goes by, we can start improving in the weakness on one side of the body Circle that leg and last one, and then releasing back down

Give it a bit of a rub and a bit of a smack if you need to Straighten the bottom leg We're going to go into the Highland Fling So again check you've got your imaginary ice cube underneath your waistline, your hips are beautifully stacked Top knee is pointing up to the ceiling

If you have the flexibility, if it's a little bit lower that's fine You're going to toe tap forward of the bottom leg, toe tap behind the bottom leg and remember as you're doing those taps, be aware of what's happening in your pelvis You don't want to lose that little lift of the waistline off the mat You want to keep those hips nicely stacked and another four! Should really be feeling it in the glutes and legs there, and two Last one and release back down

Give it a bit of a rub I find if you just whack it a bit with the heel of your hand, it gets that lovely vibration into the muscle Okay, straightening those legs along the mat Now we're going to use the hand support if we need it, otherwise you're more than welcome to have it up to the ceiling You're going to hover your top leg up, squeeze the bottom leg to meet it

Lower the bottom leg back down So we're working that inner thigh, and breathing out and breathing in You'll probably also feel it on the top as well and another seven Six Try get the whole bottom thigh off the mat if you have the strength

Don't worry if you can't yet, this is an introduction class so are we doing as much as we can and again, try do it slowly Try relax your shoulders so you're not trying to tense to get the leg up Last, when you're going to hold the leg up and then try if you can, let go of the floor, and we're going to balance them Holding this position gives you a chance to assess what's going on in the body So it also helps to build up endurance and the muscles

If you're feeling it's out of alignment just adjust, play around See where you feel most aligned and most supported and then release back down Bend that top leg and just give it a little bit of a rub there Okay Right

Now we're going to lie down onto our backs So last week, we did a little bit of abdominal work and we talked about neutral pelvis but just to refresh your memories, neutral pelvis is just the natural position your pelvis sits in So your legs are bent, and remember to keep the alignment of the legs: hip-knee- ankle So a little fist distance gap between your knees, and then just try relax your pelvis into the floor Try not to grip in those hip flexors which are these muscles over here, and you want to have that feeling and just pop your fingers underneath your lower back

There should be a natural little gap there following the natural curve of the spine but your rib cage is still firmly anchored to the mat This is what we call 'neutral pelvis' It's not a forced release of the tailbone into the mat but it's kind of just between an imprinted back and then that extreme other version of the pushing the tailbone down It's just a mid placement between the two Now we're going to place our hands underneath our head

Just going to pull my cord out there, and it's not my umbilical cord, I am a lot older than that I don't know why I went down that road Okay, hands behind the head, big breath in We're going to now hover the head off the mat and I really want you to get the sensation of relaxing the head in the hands then curling up onto your abdominal platform

Now ideally you'd be able to get your shoulder blades right off the mat but don't worry if you can't, but I want you to really think about the alignment of the neck in relation to this movement, and then release back down You want to make sure that when you're coming up, you're not pulling and straining the neck by bringing the chin into the chest You want to think about keeping the back of the neck as long as possible so it's that beautiful length of the spine So you want to basically support it with your hands but use your abdominals to actually lift you up So we start by just gently hovering the head up

Think about relaxing the shoulders, then sliding up through your centre line, coming into your abdominal platform Again, check the head is relaxed in the hands, elbows wide Then you're going to lower back down just an inch and then curl back up So we're just doing some gentle ab curls Breathing in to go back, breathing out to come back up and as you're doing this movement, and I've said this in other positions as well, be aware of what's happening in your pelvis

You want to maintain that neutral pelvis so you're not causing strain in the back each time you come up, you're not imprinting as you come up, you're keeping that release down and we're going to do another three more Breathing out to come up, breathing in to lower back down, and two Check that head Make sure it's not being pulled by those hands and then releasing back down Now we're going to go into those obliques which are basically the muscles that wrap around the ribcage and help with rotation, and of course breathing, okay? So we're going to take a deep breath in

Keeping that neutral pelvis, we're going to hover up and then twist to one side Now hold this position Check your bottom shoulder is off the floor if you can get it off, otherwise we'll work towards getting there, and then back to centre and down to the floor Other side Lifting up and twisting across, and then release back down

Now, think about your pelvis again as you're lifting and twisting to one side, make sure the other half of your glute isn't lifting off the floor You want to keep it in the centre Again, your pelvis is once again the anchor point for this exercise and release back down Let's just do three more each side Breathing out to lift and twist across

Breathing in to lower to the floor, and other side Twist and back, and again, not only are we working the abs and the oblique muscles, but we're also assessing the body as we do the exercise Do you find one side's a little bit stronger than the other? Take note of this, and last one on the other side and releasing back down Now we're going to go into tabletop okay? So this is a 90 degree angle of the legs Again think about your alignment

Knee is in line with the hip joint and ankle is in line with the knee joint but at a horizontal angle So big breath in to prepare You can glue your legs together Now we're going to hover the head then slide up, keeping a neutral pelvis if you can, and then we're going to do a little toe tap and lift Breathing out, breathing in

Keeping the lift off the mat Toe tap and lift Toe tap and lift If you don't have the strength and stamina yet, in the abs, you're more than welcome to do one set, and then release back down, and then come back up and then do the next set Otherwise we're going to do two more each side

Breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in once more Toe tap Lift Toe tap Lift and then lower the legs down

Lower the head and chest and then just bring your arms down to your sides Roll your head from one side then to the other side Just releasing that neck a little bit, in case it was straining, and then coming back to centre Now we're going to do some nice stretches So we're going to cross opposite ankle over opposite knee

Again think about keeping the pelvis as close to the mat as you can Reach your hands through the little hole between your legs onto the other leg and then drawing the leg towards the chest Breathing into that lovely stretch Your lower back this time will be flat on the floor, and then slowly release the leg down Other side

Cross ankle on to knee, through the hole between the legs, grabbing the other leg and drawing it into the chest Have a really nice deep stretch there, and then releasing back down Straighten one leg along the mat Now we're going to, we stretch little bits into the gluts and to the bit of the thigh there We're going to go specifically now into the backs of the legs

So Lifting one leg up to the ceiling, hands behind the thigh Curling up onto your abdominal platform and then walking as high, even if you can only go up a centimetre that's fine, but walking up as high as you can Trying to keep the legs straight and watch that knee isn't rolling in or too far out – you want it in line with your hip Breathing into that lovely stretch and then slowly bend the leg, release it back down to the mat

Take a moment, just feel the difference in the legs that you've just stretched and then bring the other leg in hand behind the thigh, curling up onto your abdominal platform and then walking the hands as high as you can Try relax your shoulders, check your alignment of the knee, careful it's not rolling in Big breath into that stretch and then slowly releasing back down Okay now, we're going to finish up I'm just going to tie my hair so I look vaguely decent haha

So coming up, in however is the easiest way to do that for you, I'll teach you some transition movements in later classes, but just coming up onto your feet Again think about the alignment of those legs, and a nice parallel alignment If you're not sure how to get there, you bring your feet together, open your toes, open your heels and that's what we call parallel We're going to take a big breath in and as we breathe out we're going to nod the head again, rolling down one vertebra at a time Again you want to assess what's happening in the body

Go slowly, use that concentration and focus At the bottom, roll the shoulders Circle the arms, walk the knees Hopefully you feel a little bit looser than you did when we first did this, and then dropping the tailbone, re-stacking the spine using your abs, bringing the pelvis forward and then lengthening up nice and tall Thanks very much for joining me today

I hope you had a wonderful session and I'll see you next time

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