Introduction to Pilates – Workout 3 | NHS

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

This is our third session So all you're going to need is something comfortable to lie on so you can see your screen easily If you've got any questions during the session, just type them in Also if you need a drink of water during the session, it is quite a warm day, so you're more than welcome to keep that handy Okay let's start

Last week we explored a little bit about alignment and neutral pelvis from the week before too So I want you just to absorb that as well, as we go through the sessions and just refresh your memory if you haven't done the other sessions yet Okay so let's get into a nice standing position to start Alignment: feet underneath the hips Soften the knees a little bit, draw the abs in to the spine

You want to find that neutral pelvis again So again it's not the over extreme movements of the pelvis, it's somewhere in between Tuck your ribs in Shoulders relaxed away from the ears, and try not to push your jaw forward You want to draw it in so the back of the neck is long and in line with the rest of the spine

Right, let's start by warming ourselves up a little bit We're going to circle those shoulders Just getting some blood flow going, then going into an arm circle Looking up to the ceiling, then down to the floor Breathing in and breathing out, and three more

Two Get that lovely release Link the hands behind the back, lift the arms up and then sighing forward If you're a little tight in those hamstrings, you can bend your knees a bit Breathing into the stretch and then slowly coming back and lengthening tall

So today we're gonna be focusing quite a bit on centre, okay? It's one of the principles of Pilates, so we're really going to try ourselves in different positions and learning how to find our centre It's really important for Pilates, and any exercise that you do So in standing position, we're going to now take a step forward and I want you to think about the centring position of your pelvis Okay, if you facing forward, your hip bones should be facing forward and that applies when you're walking too So what happens is a lot of the time when people walk, and they've got the slight bit of imbalance, and they're not too sure where their centre is, they they end up kind of getting this little bit of rotation, they start twisting a bit and start getting little aches and pains in their back, okay? So what we're going to do is to try find the centre of our pelvis and a lot of people also talk about core and that kind of thing, so I'll talk to you a bit more about that in a sec

Both hips facing forward Now, a lot of the time with your centre and trying to find your centre, we also talked a lot about balance, okay? If you pop your feet like one in front of each other, you're gonna feel like you're balancing a little bit on a tightrope, okay? If you look at your legs, they don't stand in front of each other, they're actually next to each other in a parallel alignment So the same applies when you're walking or when specifically now for this exercise, you want to keep those legs still in parallel Hip distance apart Then we're going to reach the arms up to the ceiling in line with the shoulders, sorry in line with your shoulders

Shoulders away from your ears We're going to bend both of the knees and I want you to think about how you're catching the weight and those legs Make sure your centre is basically the centre line Okay? So you don't want to be shifting your weight all the way forward so you end up leaning forward You want to think about connecting into your centre

Drawing the abs in and imagine you've got a pole going through the top of your head, through the body between the legs So you're just sliding down down your centreline and then lifting back up Let's do five more like that, and shoulders relax, head drawing in, breathing out as you go down Breathing in as you lift back up, and again as you go down, careful that the back leg's hip isn't starting to twist backwards Breathing in and breathing out

Try relax your shoulders Don't worry too much about the breath Just as long as you're breathing, that's all I'm worried about, and then last one we're going to hold it there Now, check your posture of your spine You should have your shoulders over your hips

Then we're going to take the same hand as the front leg, we're going to bring it behind so that we're rotating through So you still want to have a sensation of connecting into your centre but it's a feeling of elongation So you're rotating and lengthening up through the crown of the head and then coming back to centre and bring the back leg forward Other side So

Check your pelvis is nice and centred Hips facing forward in that parallel railway track alignment of the legs Arms in line with the shoulders, lifting the back heel Big breath in to prepare We're going to slide down that imaginary pole and then lifting back up again and lowering down, lifting back up, and four more

Breathing in and breathing out Abs always drawing in In Pilates we're gonna say that a lot because it's really important to always connect into your centre when doing exercises and two more One Last one

Keeping that straight back You're now going to open the hand, same as the front leg behind you Drop your shoulders and again think about, even though you're rotating around, you're not collapsing to one side You're thinking about a spiraling length up to the ceiling and then back to centre Coming up and give those legs a good little shake

So, when also talking about centring, you want to think about your breath As a little formula that I tend to give people When you breathe out obviously your lungs empty and everything has an opportunity to connect into your centre So if you're doing, you know, ab curls and that kind of thing you want to breathe out on the efforts, breathe in on the release, because as you breathe out, all the muscles in the abdominal wall like to connect into the centre So especially when you're doing core work, which we're going to explore a little bit now, it's really important to breathe out when you're loading into the abs so that you've got a nice deep connection into your centre

So let's go down into four-point kneeling Standing at the back of your mats, feet in parallel Big breath in to prepare We're going to do a roll down to get there, so we're going to nod the head to the chest and then slowly rolling down through your centreline Breathing in as you go

Noticing any tightness, anywhere in that release At the bottom, you can roll your shoulders circle your arms Walk the knees Just loosen up a little bit through the pelvis and hamstrings and then walking your hands forward, bending your knees and resting them on to the floor How we're in four-point kneeling

Hands underneath the shoulders, knees underneath the hips sS I want you to think a lot about how you connect your abdominals into the spine So imagine you've obviously got a nice heavy belly, and then you're trying to lift your belly button up off the mat and into the spine So do this as often as you can, whether you're standing or sitting That connection of drawing the abs into the spine and into your centre

It's gonna really help with your posture So In four-point kneeling, we're going to do a little bit of core stability work which is really good in trying to get those little muscles to find their centre point again So let's start with opposite arm and leg extend out Make sure you're not collapsing on the other shoulder

Still thinking about your alignment You're going to draw your abs into the spine as the arm and leg open away from your centre So it's going to add a little bit more of a challenge to that centre line, and then closing back to centre and release back down Other side and, lengthening opposite arm and leg out, abs drawing in You're going to open out

Closing back and releasing back down and two more each side Lengthening through, abs drawing into the spine Open the arm and leg out to the side Closing back and release back down, and other side Lengthening through, opening out, back to centre and release back down

Once more each side Always drawing your abs into the spine, especially as you start loading a little bit With the arms out to the sides and open, close and release back down You can come off those wrists and just get a nice little stretch there Big breath in to the back of the ribcage and just feel the whole body relaxed into those legs

Okay, right Now coming back into four-point kneeling, we're going to go into some plank work So this is gonna really help to strengthen up your powerhouse muscles, which are basically like your core muscles which a lot of people refer to as, and if you imagine that you've got your superficial muscles, which are basically the surface muscles – your big movers, and then you've got tiny little ones kind of just below that and around that help with stability Okay? This is where we're really trying to work, when we talk about our powerhouse muscles and our core stability muscles, okay? So we're going to start One way of strengthening them is by using the weight of our own legs to work those little muscles

So you'll feel them activate as we do this exercise This is one of the ways to do it You're going to spread your fingers out nice and wide, curl your toes underneath you and again think about that neutral pelvis that we spoke about in the past two sessions It's a nice, neutral pelvis, you're not pushing your sitting bones out and curving into the lower back and you're not bringing the pelvis in It's kind of a mid placement between the two

Now lift up through the chest, slide the shoulders down the back and then we're going to push into the hands, push into the toes and then just hover the knees So that feeling of lifting the knees off the floor helps to activate all those muscles in your centre So I know my top's kind of dangling and looks like I've got a little belly, but I'm actually drawing my abs into my spine as I breathe out and lift the legs and then release back down Let's do five lower and lifts We're going to breathe out to lift, breathe in to lower and four

So this is a really good way to start preparing and activating those centre muscles and then release back down Last one We're going to hold it there just for ten seconds Nine Keep breathing

So It doesn't mean because you're breathing out and using your abdominal muscles that you need to stop breathing Don't ever hold your breath Breathe into the back and side of the ribcage and then release back down Let go of those toes, walk your hands over to one side and then sitting through and getting a lovely stretch

Coming up, over to the other side and sitting back Okay, right Let's come into a sitting position Now I want to think about again the alignment of your spine and your centre line Okay, so if you think about just the spine

Imagine there's a spine on the front of the body, that's kind of where we're talking about So, in a sitting position I want you to now hold on to the knees We're going to tilt the pelvis underneath us, drawing the abs into our centre, curling a little bit there, getting a little bit of a stretch and then coming up and lengthening the spine It's really important that you grasp, not only abdominal connection, but this lengthening and elongating of the spine Two of them will really help to improve your posture once you master that, so let's do two more like that

We're curving the spine, working into the abs, stretching the spine as you're go into a nice deep curve and then slowly restacking tall, coming onto your sitting bones So when you're talking about posture, you want to think about starting from the base of the spine, so your sitting bones Lengthening up lengthening but not arching the back So keep your ribcage in line with those hips

Two more, and scooping back, stretching and connecting into the abs and then lengthening up nice and tall, and last one Scooping back and then lifting up and release those legs down Now, if you find that this is a little bit of a challenge, you're more than welcome to go as low as you can, keeping your feet bent, okay? I'll demonstrate We're going to go for the full rollback A really good exercise to practice working on your centreline

So I'll just demonstrate it, we're going to go all the way down on to the mat, arms come above the head Big breath in, hands come up, head comes up, shoulders Dive over the legs and then again lengthening tall If you don't have the strength and you kind of feel like you're having to jerk and struggling to get back up, I want you to keep your legs bent and then just holding on to the legs for support Trying to go as low as you can and then coming back up

You gradually progress down Everybody won't necessarily get this first time but for those of you who can, let's give it a go Big breath in Starting with a nice straight spine Point your toes, glue your legs together

You can see an imaginary line coming between the legs up and then scooping through Going down, one vertebra at a time Stretching the discs of the spine Arms come above the head Big breath in, hands come to the ceiling

Breathing out Lift the head, lift the shoulders Slowly coming up, folding over the legs and then lifting and lengthening tall Let's do three more like that Breathing out as you go back one vertebra at a time

Following your centreline, arms come above the head Big breath in, hands come up Breath out, head, shoulders So as you can see, we're doing a very, what we call sequential movement of the spine, okay? So sequential just means one after each other So you're going to go down one vertebra at a time, following your centreline

You don't want to skip sections of that pathway and it's the same when you start to think about your posture in the way that you move, coming up one vertebra at a time Diving over those legs and lifting up nice and tall Right, let's go all the way down onto the mats, hugging the legs into the chest Getting a really nice stretch there Okay, now we're going to roll onto one side and I want you to hold onto each knee so you get kind of in a fetal position and we're going to take the top knee, we're going to open it out as wide as you can

Trying to resist with the bottom knee for as long as possible and you're going to gently roll, roll, roll, roll, roll and then slowly over to the other side So what I want you to think about is as you're opening that top knee, what's happening with your spine okay? I want you to, as you start approaching your centre So imagine your centres, that's us lying on our back looking at the ceiling I want you to think about trying to pull your sitting bone, sitting bones down towards the mat before you roll over to the other side So again, you're thinking about elongating the spine while opening up into the side planes, okay? So this will be your front and these will be your sides, okay? So let's try that

We're going to roll onto one side, we're going to open Resist, resist, it should feel quite nice for those inner thighs too, and as you get to the centre, try flatten your lower back onto the floor and then slowly roll over to the other side, and last one Opening out, lengthen as if there's a little tail that you've got between your legs and someone's pulling it away from the skull or the head Skull seems really dramatic, it's just a head, and then coming back to centre and then release back down Now if you think of your centre as your powerhouse of movement, okay, and one of the reasons why Pilates is so good, is because you're basically training an awareness of your centre through Pilates practice, but also it helps to just get everything back to where it should be

So if your leg moves like this okay, comes into the centre and away from the centre, that's the way the leg is designed to move So what we do in Pilates, we basically try to get everything to move from the centre in its best and most natural movement pattern, okay? Hope that's not too complicated You'll see what I mean when we start to go into the abs So, hands come underneath the head Shoulders relaxed away from the ears, elbows up into your side line view

Now we've talked about neutral pelvis in the past couple of sessions So it's that neutral relaxed position with the natural gap under the natural curve of the spine Then you're going to curl up onto your abdominal platform So you're looking at the little gap between your legs, so use that as a marker for where your centre line will be It's basically the torso

Okay picking one leg up to tabletop Pick your other leg up to meet it Now we're going to play around with the strength and the centre line So when we're working our abs, you want to think about how you're loading your abs in a way that's not going to compromise the position of your centre So as you do a little toe tap down to the floor, notice which muscles are working, and then bringing it back

So we're going to breathe out to toe tap, breathing in to bring it back So we're working our abdominal muscles as we lower the leg, we're adding load to our centre, okay? So we're going to breathe out and breathing in Let's do two more each side, and as you lower the leg down, you want to think about how you're holding your posture and that's spine, okay? So as you're doing this movement, when you're lowering the leg, careful that you're not losing that connection of the abdominals into your centre by flaring and lifting the ribcage off the mat You want to keep your ribs locked to the floor so that when you do the little toe tap or add load onto your abdominal muscles, you're not straining in the back Okay listen to your body

Pilates teaches a lot of awareness in the body So if your body feels like you're working your abs but you're feeling it in your back, something's not right there You should be feeling it in the abs okay? So once more on the other side and then releasing back down So as a little rule, I also say when you do your abdominal curls, you need to maintain your neutral pelvis and when you come up, the higher you come up from the top half – so if you can get your shoulders off the floor, you're less likely to compensate in the neck and shoulders You always want to keep your ribcage locked onto the floor because if I'm sitting in this position, my spine isn't completely flat okay? It's got natural curves

One of the curves that you'll notice that I'm talking a lot about is your lower back curve okay? So when you're lying on the floor, your ribs should be connected into the floor and then that natural little gap in that lower back should be off the floor because that's just the way the spine is designed So that when you're working in your ab exercises, you want to always maintain that so that you're keeping all the postural muscles that control the centre and movement, and load with the legs That's where we're going to need to really focus on So let's go a little bit more Lots of talking, but it's really important to understand this concept of centre

We're going to just do some more abdominal exercises and just really thinking about how we're setting our spine up when doing these ab curls So we're going to curl up onto our abdominal platform Now we're going to straighten one leg and we going to do little leg circles Going around for five Four

Three What is your pelvis doing? Keep it level Change direction Going five, four Shoulders off the mat

Keep breathing One Bring the leg in, release back down So you may have felt that more of one side of the abs was working a little bit harder because it's having to work harder because it's only holding a heavy load on one side So let's go over to the other side and see if there's any changes

Straighten the other leg and leg circles Moving from your hip So you want to think about the anchor point for that load What is that? Your centre, so make sure that it's stable Change direction

Five, four, three, two, one Bring it back and release back down So when talking about your centre, you're also talking about the anchor, the foundation for all movement So it needs to not only be stable, it needs to be correctly aligned in the best possible position to get the most out of your movement Right, let's go onto the side of the body now

A really good position to practice using your centre So we're gonna do some stability exercises So these are here to challenge your foundation, to make sure that they're holding load well in all positions So Let's start by actually straightening the legs

As you look down you should be able to see your toes Top hand comes up to the ceiling Now this is just to add a little bit of a challenge If you're finding it's too much, just rest your hand onto the floor for support Otherwise I'm going to pop it to the ceiling, I'm going to lift one leg hovering up to hip height

Breathing out Squeezing the bottom leg to meet it so I'm working the inner thighs and then release back down I'm going to do ten of those, and now as you're squeezing up, you want to think about drawing the abs into the spine So anytime you do any kind of movement in whatever position in Pilates, always think about your foundation, your centre You need to be connected, you need to be aligned so that you're getting the most safe movement pattern as possible, and another three

Two If you're feeling you're quite wobbly, it's just your body trying to find that centre line So even though we've been talking a lot about the front of the body, we also have side lines okay? So this is now trying to find a centre line but from a completely different part of the body Your side parts of the body but you're still using your abs So it's a strange concept if you're not used to it but just bear with me

We're going to now keep both legs hovering off the mat and we're gonna challenge that stability a little bit more by bringing one leg forward, one leg back If you can't hold yourself up and need the hand support, please use it but we're going to change, and change So as you can see our legs are our weights and they're moving around, so we need a nice strong foundation to anchor that movement and that all comes from your centre So let's do another four Three

Straight legs! Two One You're going to hold the legs apart, top hand onto the top thigh, sliding up into the waistline and release back down Just four more like that Breathing up! So this helps just to strengthen up that side centre line, if that makes sense, and another two more

One and back Two and release back down Give it a bit of a smack and a bit of a rub if you need to Right, because we're not a one-dimensional person, we need to make sure that we're also working the other side of the body So just quickly, because we got a few minutes left of the class, legs are straight, hand to the ceiling if you need it, otherwise onto the floor

Sorry the reverse – onto the floor if you need it, hand up to the ceiling Top leg hovers up, squeeze the bottom leg and release back down So again, take note of what's happening in the body You might find one side's a little bit more stable than the other Take note of that

Sometimes we have one side a little bit weaker than the other So you always do a few extra repetitions on your weaker side Let's do another four Three Two

Abs drawing into the spine, especially as we add a little bit more complexity to the exercise One leg forward, one leg back and change Change Make sure as those legs aren't moving, everything else isn't moving We're not jellybeans

Jellybeans? Um I don't, jellyfish! That's the word I was looking for, and another four Three Two One Keep the legs apart, top hand onto the top thigh, slide up into the waistline, back down

Breathing out and breathing in Don't worry if you can't get all the way off the floor like I am If you can only go up a centimetre, that's fine Let's do one last one Breathing out and releasing back down

Bend that top leg, give it a bit of a rub and a smack just to get that blood flow back into the leg and waistline Okay coming up into a sitting position I'm just going to quickly tie my hair as I finish up So when you're talking about centre, you're also talking about the side of the body, and one way to make sure that we trying to keep a nice posture in our centre line is to make sure that we're strong on the sides as well as flexible So let's finish up with a nice big stretch on each side

One hand comes up, other hand on the floor and then lovely little side bend over Breathing into the side of that waistline and then lifting up and over to the other side Noticing if one side's a bit tighter than the other, and once more each side It's really important to make sure the body's both flexible and strong and we'll explore a little bit about that next week and last little stretch, and then slowly coming up into standing So it's always good to get ourselves re-centred at the end of the class as well as at the beginning of the class

So let's get into our nice parallel alignment Soften the knees a little bit Draw the abs in, nice neutral pelvis Tuck your ribcage down, open up the collarbones, relax the shoulders and draw the chin in Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, you're going to nod the head

Roll the shoulders again following your centreline, which means using your abs to guide that movement Big breath in Roll the shoulders Circle the arms Walk the knees and then slowly rolling back up

Use your bum muscles as well as those ab muscles, guiding the spine one vertebrae at a time into standing Thank you very much for having this session with me today and I'll hope to see you next week

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