Pilates Workout At Home

Hi guys my name is Gav, one of the AFAC Pilates instructors Our first exercise is basically going to be a lower body workout

Keeping the tummy strong and keeping the core strong We'll need no equipment – just a mat, towel and a nice little quiet area around the house Our first exercise in our lower body sequence is going to be a hip flexor stretch Kneeling out with your right foot forwards rolling the pubic bone up towards the belly button and keeping the chest nice and tall As always make sure the belly button is in

Pushing forward, reaching nice and tall, dropping that chin down and pushing the heel of the hand up to the ceiling Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth Don't be afraid to close your eyes Deep breath, little lunge forward keeping the shoulders over the hips and the chin down We're going to hold this stretch for 30 seconds per side

After we've done the other side, our next stretch is going to be the pigeon stretch, opening up through the hips Left knee is forward, our left foot is coming across to the right side, sliding the body all the way back nice and deep First proud, belly buttons in lengthen through the back of the neck making sure that the right thigh is connecting down onto the left heel On the next breath out we're going to walk the hands forward, gently lowering the head down to the earth A little bit of downward pressure on that left knee

That right thigh is still connecting to the left heel Walking across that left hand, over to the right and bringing the belly button up to the spine Going to hold the stretch for 30 seconds On the final release bring yourself forwards to release the pressure off the knee Release the foot, then the right knee forward and we're going do the same stretch on the other side

Always be aware that if you get knee pain, you come out of this stretch straightaway Deep breath in, down we go through our stretch again Belly buttons deep up to the spine Walking that hand over to the right side and hold for 30 seconds Pushing yourselves forward for the release and then release

Coming up to our next exercise, this is going to be a simple lunge Hands on the hips, roll the shoulder blades down and back As always, belly buttons in, feet are facing forwards The last thing we want to do is start to duck foot Make sure these feet are staying in, shoulder blades down and back, chest is nice and proud

Deep breath in, step it forwards and we're focusing on lowering the back knee Not bending on the front Nice deep breath out and up we come Inhale, all the way down and exhale Bringing it up nice and slow, working it through

We don't want to be coming forwards and doing a rocking motion Straight up and down just like an old horse on a carousel Keeping the shoulders over the hips, working it through We're definitely not going the bounce the knee on the ground Just a nice little gentle touch will do the job

We're going to do this exercise for one minute so work it then once you do your one minute we're coming down, hold little hip flexor stretch and then pulse – ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one Kick it over, change, reset, roll up that pubic bone again to bellybutton, dropping it down, stretch through that hip – one two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and release That whole step should take you about a minute and a half Including your pulses We're going to go into glute bridges So, working out through the booty, which is really important

You can do this one if you've got a foam roller at home, you can put your feet on the foam roller For a little bit of extra depth, if you've got a fitball at home, you can do it on a fitball as well Now, options – when we're down low we can either have our hands by the side or out to the side in the T position, or we can bring the hands up nice and tall, making sure those shoulder blades are off the earth Always Making it through the back of the neck and as always, that belly button, the T zone is turned on You're drawing that muscle contraction into that central poin

t Nice deep breath in, neutral spine position You can even work from a flat foot or from the heels I prefer the heels because it gives me more depth Deep breath in and then exhale We're coming up for the squeeze

The most important thing to remember here is to not let the knees come out to the side Make sure you're keeping that bellybutton locked in keeping those knees at hip-width apart We're inhaling down, just a gentle touch on the bottom and then exhale All the way up to the squeeze nice and strong Keeping the tummy nice and flat, were exhaling up on the move and breathing in on the way down

And for those who want a little bit more and your lower back is healthy, We're going to change the motion a little bit So it's going to start to articulate through the spine We're going to inhale up and exhale up for the squeeze, take a deep breath in, sink those abs and then exhale and roll that spine down one vertebrae at a time Deep breath in at the bottom then exhale Scoop those abdominals, push them up nice and hard

Deep breath in at the top and then exhaling down again With this exercise about a minute or a minute and a half is a good time under tension Once finished, pull the knees into the chest Lengthen through the back of the neck and just a gentle rocking motion to open up that lower lumbar a little further Coming up for a little roll

I'm just going to read through my notes a little bit for a second so have a little stretch Get the hammies nice and healthy too – three, two, one We're going to go into opposite arm leg extensions, one of my faves So, going into all fours, elbows under shoulders, knees are under the hips We're in a neutral spine position

We don't want to go into this cat pose We want a neutral spine Roll out the booty a little bit, lengthen through the back of the neck and don't collapse down on the shoulders Bringing it up nice and strong, lengthening through the back of the neck The most common mistake that I see here is leaning down to one side or rounding it out through the back

Deep breath in, belly button in and then exhale all the way out for the squeeze Get that leg nice and straight, point those toes and reach that hand like Superman at full speed Then inhaling, down, soft touch and exhale, squeeze Really getting that glute, bunching it up right at the top of the pelvis and inhale and exhale Common mistakes I see here is a roll out as you're coming up

You're trying to get that extra height to roll We don't want to do that We want to come up nice and straight with nice straight legs so the gluts are isolated Do this exercise for one minute working through Then we're going to come out onto the right leg and hold

Nice strong shoulders If your wrists are going to get sore here, this is where you can come down to your elbows to take the pressure off It's perfectly okay Just maintain a nice tight core so everything's switched on still We're going to bend the knees and then a similar exercise is a horse kick with a bent knee

Strong through the shoulders, inhaling, down and exhale, squeeze So we're driving that flat foot hard up to the ceiling Inhale and exhale, squeeze I like a flat foot because it keeps the calves out and it works the glutes in the hammies nicely Doing this for one minute

So we're going to presume the one minutes passed We're kicking it all the way up nice and strong Lengthen through, then we're doing little circles So we're not going to do little funky foot movements It's from the whole hip and taking that heel over the knee joint

Don't wave the tail-end around Make sure it's nice and smooth, working it through and then after ten circles, we're going to change directions So nice circles doing Mr Squiggle proud Lengthen through the back of the neck – so three, two, one

Then we're going to hold it all the way up Lengthen through, don't lose those shoulders Don't lose the tummy – and then ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one and release Down to our knees and going into a nice stretch Lengthening through, dropping that chin down to the chest and rounding it out through the back just to open up the spine

And as always, don't forget the other side and don't forget which side you did Now, our next exercise is going into our planks Some people call them a hover I generally do, but I'm trying to be correct for you guys so you know what I'm on about So doing our planks – planks primarily work out transverse abdominus

Transverse abdominus attaches to the spine The transverse process spring loads the spine So it's really important that you get this exercise correct for our lower back health It's more important than doing crunches or anything else that you can do for the abdominals This is your go-to with the glutes to get that lower back strong

Lower back health guys – this is what it's all about People who have lower back pain, if you have a bulging disk it might be a little bit difficult for you to do the full plank or hover So you're going to come down on all fours, walking it out nice and gently Coming down to the elbows, you'll notice that my feet are off the ground and my knees are at hip-width I'm not dropping down through those shoulders

I'm pushing that rib cage onto those scapula So my serratus anterior is working on the front part of my body as well Lengthening through the back of the neck, the belly button is all the way up to the spine and we're going to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth Common mistakes that I see here is having a little holiday like this Ok, that's sort of cheating a bit

Make sure it's up nice and strong If you're lower back is even twinging a bit in this position, by all means come up to all fours Do a little Cat-Dog stretch, immobilise your back that way, or we can come down into our full plank position or hover and hold Always using this time as a chance for quietness Closing the eyes, feeling the abdominals, feeling that nice support from drawing those abs up

Hold it, don't give up guys Nice and deep and if you want a little bit more then you can bring it all the way up to a high hover If you've really had some supercharged baked beans, bring that leg up and you're going to hold So all of these are done in one minute, it just depends on which one you want to do After you've done your plank, you're releasing

Down into a little stretch and this is a little downtime just to open up that spine a little bit Just to take that pressure out of it Deep breaths, let the body do its job About a 30 second pause is always a good idea We're going to give it a red-hot shot, so we're going into a tabletop crunch

So always remember tabletop crunch is 90 degrees at the hips, 90 degrees of the knees, we're pointing through the toes and we're Imprinting that spine The minute we let our legs drop down to here in our tabletop, my spine is going to arch so I lose that connection to the mat So it's imperative to have that proper positioning, otherwise the exercise is going to be flawed If you have a lower back condition, you can do this exercise just in your neutral spine So that's perfectly okay as well

Another thing we need to remember when we're doing our crunches is to not interlock our fingers Put them behind the head and do this That's an absolute no-no If you're doing this and you're seeing those elbows and you know me and my classes, you know that's really bad because all you're doing is reaching through the neck and you're not actually working your abs guys So do yourself a favour

You will either cup the hands like this and then run the thumbs down the side of the neck or you're going to do a cradle support So you're cradling the head with an open hand I'll run my thumbs just the base of my skull and then I'll just support my head through open fingers Birds nest is my favorite method of doing a crunch – tabletop position, Imprinting that spine, draw that belly button down The minute I draw my belly button down, you'll see my legs lifting

So critical, elbows come out nice and wide, lengthening through the back of the neck, so drawing the chin down, inhaling, sink those abdominals, draw that t-zone, pressure down to that little focus central point and then exhale, we're up for squeeze Inhaling, down, keeping the pressure off the neck, trying to draw those abdominals and inhaling and exhale If you have a little kiddies ball at home or a netball or a basketball, you can whack it between the knees and that's going to get the adductors at the same time and really help with those pelvic floor muscles as well Exhale, squeeze and inhale down You'll notice that I'm not losing the arch on my spine

I'm keeping that imprint nice and flat, pushing it down with my abdominals My elbows are not coming to my knees and I'm not coming up too high Just to the point where the scapula's lifts off Inhaling, down, keep the head off the ground and exhale, squeeze Do this throughout one minute or if you want a little more, a minute and a half is fine and go for the burn

Once you've completed the abdominal crunches in tabletop position, cross legs over, pull the knees into the chest and lengthen through the back of the neck Just have a little opener I find it more comfortable to cross my legs but if you prefer, as always you can open up those legs and really mobilise through those lower vertebrae and into your sacrum – three, two, one You've had your little stretch, again if you want to pop a hamstring stretch in as well that's great Don't waste time, get in there have a little stretch – five, four, three, two, one and release

Our last exercise is going to be a side hover, Or a side plank Now, traditionally a lot of side planks are performed like this, which isn't really my favorite way of doing it If you're strong and your knees are good, that's perfectly fine Makes sure belly is in, you're not letting the head collapse and you're holding it strong Otherwise, what we're going to do is bring that knee down onto the ground

So I've bent my knee to 90 degrees I'm coming up onto that knee I'm holding my head nice and straight and reaching my hand up that way It's a lot less pressure on that knee and the transverse abdominus and the externals are still working Obliques are switched on

Transverse is switched on, your shoulders switched on because you're not going to collapse down on that shoulder joint You're supported by muscle You're reaching it nice and tall, holding it there Now one minute each side guys Holding, so let's presume we're done – three, two, one and releasing

Rolling it over again go into a nice stretch Reach those hands nice and tall and then change sides Always making sure that the leg is the line with the spine and you're reaching it up So holding the head, don't let it dangle Don't let the hand dangle

Give it meaning Hold and support Holding for one minute Let's presume we're there for three, two, one and release Rolling it over back into a nice opening stretch

Drawing those scapulars off the rib cage and a good little stretch here What you can do here is walk the right hand over and then just tilt that left elbow down Throw the left hand to the right, dropping that left elbow onto the ground So just a little bit of rotation through the spine and then bring it up 30 seconds Walk the right hand over to the left and then down again

That nice little rotation is going to pull through those lats, and open up through the obliques It's a real sweet manoeuvre Belly buttons in of course for three, two, one and release That concludes my first home workout guys for our Pilates Stay tuned for more to follow You

Chris Lindstrom Jersey