Introduction to Pilates – Workout 6 | NHS

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

Right So let's get into a nice standing position to start Today we're gonna focus on a concept called 'control' Basically we're going to go through a series of different positions and we're going to talk about control, and how that relates to movement So, let's get into a nice standing position

We've spoken about alignment in previous classes So you want to make sure that your ankles, knees and hips are nicely aligned Soften the knees a little bit, draw your abs into the spine and find a nice neutral pelvis I'll give you the side version We're not bringing it underneath us, we're not pushing the bum away from us, it's a mid placement between and that's what we call neutral pelvis

Abs drawing in, so ribs are softened and in line with your hip bones Shoulders relaxed and we're going to take a deep breath in as we lift the shoulders to the ears, and then breathing out, drop the shoulders as you lift the arms, and big breath in and breathing out Last week we covered some breathing techniques So again try, if you've done the class, just to refresh your memory a little bit Otherwise just keep going and listen to me as we go

Last one We're going to take a deep breath in and then we're going to breathe out Keep the arms above the head, relax your shoulders and then we're going to lift up onto the toes as we circle the arms back down to the sides, and we're going to go into some calf lifts Working into those calves, working on your balance as well Very important for control

When we do the calves, we also work the arches of the feet So that helps with your balance and your core stability, and control, and let's do a couple more Five! Four! Three! Two, and last one Release back down Now, we're going to work a little bit on the balance and also just trying to go deeper into those legs

So we're going to lift up onto the toes again Make sure that the balls of your feet are connected to the floor Then, you're going to keep your spine straight as you bend your knees just to where you can feel the thighs switch on Then you're going to open the knees and close the knees Breathing in and breathing out

Abs drawing into the spine Really working into those legs Working on your balance as well You might find this is a bit tricky to balance and do this movement, and then coming up and just give those legs a good little shake Okay, stepping one foot onto the heel, hands onto the bent leg, and just sighing forward

Just stretching the leg and then coming up, changing over to the other side Stretching through and then slowly coming up Give those legs a good shake Right, let's open the legs nice and wide Big breath in, hand reaches up to the ceiling and side bending over

Opening up the side of the body, lengthening the arm above the head and then reaching up tall Tuck your abs in to your centre, big breath in and big breath out Breathing into that lovely stretch and then coming back up Okay, right Let's roll the shoulders

Let's warm them up because we're going to do some work with them in a bit and then we're gonna place the hands onto the shoulders and circle those elbows Breathing in and breathing out Two more! Lift and circle Last one! Link the hands behind the back, lift them up as you bend forward Breathing into the stretch, and then slowly coming up and just giving those arms a bit of a shake

So one of the concepts of control is learning to make sure that things are correctly placed, especially when you're talking about your joints So having your range of movements in a safe position to support the joint rather than causing strain So, obviously we have joints in the spine as well So we're going to warm up a little bit, make sure that they're nice and flexible so that we can do some of the movements I'm going to show you Feet in parallel

Big breath in to prepare We're going to go into the roll down Warm up all those joints in the spine We're going to nod the head to the chest, stretching the back of the neck Then slowly starting to roll down, one vertebra at a time

Taking note of any tightness anywhere At the bottom, we're going to roll the shoulders, circle the arms, just loosen up any tension there Then, starting from the base of the spine with your glutes, which are your bum muscles, you're going to squeeze them together Pull the tailbone down as you start to roll back up one vertebra at a time and lengthening tall So this is what we call 'sequential movements

' So it's basically one after the other, as you roll down you start to stretch the disks in the spine So we're gonna do two more like that We're going to roll through, focusing on going down your centre line as you go down At the bottom you can bend one leg and then bend the other leg, just loosening up the back of the pelvis a little bit, and then we're going to roll back up dropping the tailbone Re-stacking, and lengthening up nice and tall

Okay, let's go down into four-point kneeling We're gonna roll back down Walk your hands, bend your knees and place them on your mat So hands again, excuse me, hands-wrist-elbow-shoulder in line and knees in line with the hips Sorry I think I got a bit of dust or something in my throat

Let's go into a cat stretch now We're going to breathe in Rounding the spine, stretching through the spine then going into a threading the needle Bending one elbow, take the other arm Thread through, rest the shoulder onto the floor

Always a really good warm-up exercise to start Hands up to the ceiling on the other side and release back down Other side Scooping up and threading through Breathing into the stretch and then coming up, hand to the ceiling, and release back down

Right So Again we've spoken about alignment in previous classes and we've talked a lot about concepts, such as your range of movement So what we're going to do is we're going to find our nice neutral pelvis in this position So remember, it's not extreme versions of the pelvis, it's a mid placement between

Abs are drawing in My top's hanging quite low, but my abs are drawing in and supporting my spine Now we're going to lengthen one leg out, and use your opposite hand to pop on the back of the pelvis, checking that your pelvis is level so you don't want to be twisting in that lower back Then place the hand down, flex the foot and now we're gonna work on our stability, our core control So you want to maintain the pelvis alignment as you do leg circles, working into the glute, or the bum cheek in case we're not that anatomically knowledgeable, and we're going to go into another circle in the other direction

Going six Five Four Three Two

One, and release the leg back down Now let's do the other side I want you to extend the leg Again check the alignment of your pelvis – you should be able to balance a glass of water on the back Don't try it just in case you can't, and we're going to do lovely little circles, working into the glute but maintaining control in your centre

So you're not wobbling around with the movement, you're keeping that lovely centered position Change direction Lift up into the glute without dropping and losing your abs So always keep that abdominal support, and another two more One

Two, and release back down Okay, now we're going to add a little bit of coordination okay? This is a really good way of testing your control So, brain exercise as well We're going to lift up through the chest, abs drawing in Now, keeping your leg bent, you're going to open that leg out to the side as you open your opposite arm out and then closing back, and then alternating to the other side

So, breathing out to open, breathing in to close, and I want you to think about, as you're opening out, trying to maintain a level pelvis So you're not twisting anywhere, you're keeping everything in your centre Controlling the movements, concentrating on the movements, and then release down Once more each side Breathing out

So open Keep your chest lifted Keep your head lifted and then closing back, and breathing out to open So were we working on our balance as well as into the side of the glute as you lift that leg up Let's sit back off those wrists, get a nice little stretch there

Breathing into the back of the ribcage and then slowly coming back up into four-point kneeling If you're finding it a bit much on the wrists, you're more than welcome to go into a nice tight fist or onto your forearms for this exercise Right We're going to go a little bit more now So we're going to extend opposite arm and opposite leg out

Again, check your pelvis is level You want to make sure you're not twisting in the lower back Abs drawing into the spine I'm gonna tuck it into my belt over here and then you're going to open the arm and leg out to the side Now with control, we're going to now take that lifted arm and thread it through as you bend the other elbow, keeping the arm and shoulder off the floor

So this is working into your stability and you're doing it slowly to control the movement and then coming back up, hand to the ceiling and release back down Other side Abs drawing in, neutral pelvis extending through Open out to the side, abs drawing in and this is what's gonna help control the movement You're going to bend the elbow, thread through

Think about your breath, think about controlling and drawing the abs into your centre Hand up to the ceiling and release back down Once more each side Big breath in If you're finding this is quite easy, you're more than welcome to try, by lifting your other foot off the floor, working a little bit more on that balance

Threading through I'm going to relax that foot down, and then come back up and releasing through Last one on the other side Again, if you want the challenge you can lift the other foot up Open out to the side and then threading through, and up to the ceiling

Release back down Come off the wrists and just give them a good circle So because one of the principles of Pilates is concentration, you need to concentrate and focus on the movements to actually get the control in each movement, and that's why it's really important and why I tend to do things a little bit slower so that we can really fine-tune our technique and get everything back to where it should be in the body So let's lie down onto our backs Hug the legs into the chest and get a nice little stretch there

You can open the knees and circle them around, just loosening up a little bit, and then placing the feet down onto the floor Right Let's go into some abdominal work I want you to really think about concentrating on maintaining a neutral pelvis We've talked a lot about neutral pelvis and it's a concept in Pilates that's quite unique to Pilates is this whole concept of neutral pelvis, so it should start to be sinking in to the brain a little bit

So hopefully you can maintain the neutral pelvis as you hover the head, and then slide up onto your abdominal platform I'm just gonna adjust my wire over here, and then you're going to check your pelvis is still in neutral So one of the reasons why Pilates is so effective nowadays for people – it's because we're basically just learning to be aware of what the body is doing and where the body should be to get the most out of our movements okay? So concentrating as you come into position is the best thing that you can do to increase the awareness of what's happening in the body Holding it in that ab curl, you're going to pick one leg up into tabletop, pick the other leg up to meet it Staying in that ab curl, you're going to lower the leg down, then the other leg

So you're still working your abs cos you lift it off the mat and then you're just adding some load, and then bringing a little bit more, and then lowering down and then the other leg back down Staying up there Let's do one more set Picking the leg up Breathing out

Breathing in Breathing out, and then resting the head and shoulders back down Right, now keeping that neutral pelvis, we're going to go a little bit more now but we're going to keep our legs up in tabletop We're going to slide up onto our abdominal platform and then opposite arm goes to opposite knee as you lift and twist to that side Bottom shoulder off the mat and then bringing it back

Breathing out to lift and twist Breathing in to bring it back and another three more Same side Twist and back Maintaining a neutral pelvis if you can and last one! Holding it there for three! Two! One, and then hand behind the head, release back down

If you struggle doing this movement and trying to maintain a neutral pelvis, then just pop your feet down You might find it's a little bit easier because you're not holding the weight of your legs up to maintain a neutral pelvis It does take a few sessions to get used to it anyway Let's go into the other side Curling up

Check your setup, check your neutral pelvis Opposite arm to opposite knee Lift and twist across and back Breathing out Breathing in and three more

Back! Two! Three, and we're going to hold it now there For three! Two! One! Hand behind the head and release back down So our abs should be nice and warm now We're gonna go a little bit more and we're going to go into a single leg stretch exercise I'll demonstrates it for you now but I want you to, because it's a little bit more fast-paced, I want you to really concentrate on keeping the control and the alignment of the legs

So To demonstrate if you're not familiar with this movement, it looks like this One leg is forward, one leg is up in tabletop You're going to reach for the outside of your bent ankle and you're going to do this motion here Make sure you're not doing it too fast, that your legs are kind of opening out to the sides and looking all messy

You want to keep that lovely railway track alignment, as if the legs are gliding from the hip sockets okay? So let's get into position Hugging your legs in to the chest into a tight little ball Then you're going to lift your head and shoulders off the floor, extend one leg out Bring the other leg to tabletop and then pull yourself up Reach your same hand for the outside of your bent ankle, but don't worry too much about the arms

Keeping the shoulders off the mat, you're going to change the legs, and change Breathing out Breathing out and, and another five Four Keep that lovely alignment: ankle-knee-hip, and two

One, and release back down to that mat You can roll your head from one side, then to the other side and back to centre Right, let's go into some side line work Bottom hand underneath the head, facing me Lying on to your side, you want to check your alignment – so little gap underneath the waistline

Tuck your ribs into the spine, legs are bent and we're going to work into some leg circles to start Straightening the top leg, you're going to flex the foot and you're going to draw a nice big circle Thinking about controlling your range of movement Now it doesn't mean that you make the circle so big that your whole pelvis starts to go out of alignment You want to control your range of movement by maintaining your natural position that your pelvis sits in

So the minute you go too far back with the pelvis, you start to twist into the back and that's why injuries can occur because people tend to use the wrong muscles to do a specific movement If you're tilting your pelvis backward as you're doing the leg circle, that means you're using more of your back to do the movement rather than just targeting the gluts So, we're going to just do three more in that direction Keeping the pelvis still and centred, and then change direction Going round for ten

Nine Eight Seven Six Five

So generally we talk about your centre So if you can maintain a controlled foundation for a movement, that's when you're generally working the body in its correct movement pattern, and then release the leg down Give it a bit of a smack and a bit of a rub if you need to get the blood flow going again Okay, right Now we're going to go into a little bit more of a movement into the glute, but it's it's kind of like a spiralling movement that you do with your leg into your hip socket and again, this is really good for those of you who've had hip issues

This helps just to strengthen up all the muscles around the hip socket So, we're going to now take our leg about a 45 degree angle Flex the foot and now again, control your pelvis so that it's the foundation for the movement, rather than getting incorporated into the movement if that makes sense So, we're going to rotate the leg, and then release As we rotate and spiral that thigh in the hip socket, I want you to make sure you're keeping your alignment of your hips stacked on top of each other

So you're not rolling backwards, you've still got that lovely little lift of the waistline off the mat and so we're going to do another five Really good for shaping the gluts, for opening up the hips and two more Last one Hold it there in that lovely rotation, and then release back down to that mat Give it a little bit of a smack and a bit of a rub there

Okay, right Now we're going to go and we're going to incorporate the same movement, that spiralling movement, but now we're gonna increase the range and the load, okay? So we're going to straighten the leg, flex the foot and then as you're spiralling your leg, I want you to come up in an arc – so almost like a semicircle up to the ceiling, but without compromising the alignment of the pelvis So controlling that foundation for the movement and then back down the same pathway So as you're drawing a half circle in the air, your leg is spiralling and then bringing it back down You can go all the way back so you work into the glute

Let's do another six like that So drawing a semicircle as you do that, your leg's rotating in the hip socket without moving the whole pelvis and then bringing it back So you might not be able to get your leg as high as me, and without losing the alignment of the pelvis So work within your range Everybody's bodies are different so you need to listen to what your body can and can't do, and then progress from there

Everyone's got an area where they could improve on That's why Pilates is so wonderful because there's always room for improvement, and then last one and release the leg down Really good for working those glutes and those legs Okay Stay facing me, let's go over to the other side

Again, you might find the bodies aren't perfect, so some sides might feel a little bit more stable, a little bit stronger than others parts of the body but that's perfectly normal We're now going to have our legs bent, little lift of the waistline, tuck your ribcage in Control is all about setup If you've got the correct set up, your movements will be better and more efficient for you So let's start

Big breath in Straighten the leg, flex the foot without moving the pelvis Going into leg circles for ten Nine Controlling the movement by making sure everything that's holding the movement in place is where it should be

So no flaring of the ribcage Keep your abs engaged Keep the pelvis still and we're going to change direction Going ten All the way back so that you feel it working into your gluts, and another five

Four Three Two One, and release back down Give it a bit of a rub if it needs it

Okay, so we're going to do that lovely spiralling corkscrew kind of movement into the hip socket So again, this is controlling the movement with the pelvis, with the abs Flex the foot and we're going to rotate the leg, and release So turning the toes up to the ceiling as the leg moves in the hip socket and releasing and another eight Seven

As if you squishing something in the floor with your heel Pivoting around on that heel and another four Three Two One

Hold it there Feel the muscles working Check your pelvis is still beautifully aligned, and then release back down Give it a bit of a smack and a rub if you need to Okay, now we're going to go, same spiralling movement, but now we're going to draw a semicircle, so an arc and then come back down the same line that we drew

So, straighten the leg, flex the foot and then we're going to draw a semicircle as we're doing it The leg's spiralling in the hip socket and then bringing it back, pushing into that glute behind you So again, controlling the stability of the pelvis, controlling your range of movement You may find one side has more range than the other Don't worry about that, there's always muscle imbalances in the body, and we're just going to work to try to get as much symmetry as possible

If you're finding one side's a little stiffer than the other, it's always good to do a few little bit of extra movements to try loosen it up, and let's do another two more Lift and bring it back down Always keeping that centred, nicely connected in there, those abs Last one and release the leg down Okay, right

Let's stretch out a little bit, especially after all that leg and glute work Lying on to your backs again You're now going to take opposite ankle over opposite knee Grab the other leg and draw it into the chest Try have the sensation of flattening your lower back onto the floor and also, as if you're trying to pull your coccyx or your tailbone down towards the mat

Getting a lovely stretch in that leg closest to the chest Breathing into the stretch Again, you can control your range of movement through your stretches If you're particularly tight you might want to go a bit deeper, just to really release those tight muscles, or if it's a bit too much then ease off, and then changing legs over to the other side Opposite ankle over opposite knee and then drawing the leg into the chest

Again, you may find one side's a bit tighter than the other If you're a bit tighter on one side, you might want to release it more, so drawing a bit deeper just to get it as much in line with the other side as possible Holding it for a little bit longer to really let the muscles let go, and then releasing back down Let's do some nice hamstring stretches So straighten one leg along the mat

Other leg, you're going to hug it behind the thigh Reach up to the ceiling Try straighten your leg if you can If you struggle holding your leg, sometimes a towel – I've got one over there, you can pop it over your foot and just hold the towel instead Otherwise, walking your hands up as high as you can curling up onto your abdominal platform and then drawing the leg towards the chest

Again, control the range You should get to the point of tension, not excruciating pain Breathing into the stretch Letting the muscles slowly start to ease into that flexibility and then release back down Over to the other side

Again, every exercise you do in Pilates, there's always, there's an element of assessment going on What's happening in my body? Why is one leg tighter than the other? How can I fix that? It's this awareness that really brings about the most out of your body and your movement and then slowly releasing down and then coming up into standing Right So Shake up the legs

Get yourself nicely aligned again We're going to go into the roll down just to warm up the spine Take a deep breath in and then nod the head slowly Start to roll down one vertebra at a time Shifting the weight into those toes, notice any changes in the body

Now roll the shoulders, circle the arms and then slowly rolling back up Re-stacking the spine, shoulders sliding down the back and lengthening tall I hope it's been useful this session today Have a wonderful rest of your day and I'll see you next time

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