What you need: a Pilates mat like this one.
1. Lie on your stomach with your arms outstretched in front of you and your legs straight behind you. Imagine your belly button rising up to the lowest part of your spine. Shoulder blades are gently settling down your back.
2. Lift your arms, legs, and head a few inches off the ground. Flutter your arms and legs as though you were swimming for 30 seconds. How high you go depends on the flexibility of your spine. If you feel any pain whatsoever, stop, take a break, then try engaging your abdominal muscles more as you lift.
3. Repeat 2-3 times. Remember to breathe continuously throughout the exercise!
Target muscles: back, shoulders, abs, glutes
1. Set up as though you were about to do a push up. Make sure your butt is in line with the rest of your body and your shoulders are away from your ears. Imagine as though your hands were pushing the ground away.
2. Keep your abs engaged throughout by lifting the belly button to the spine. Imagine you are wearing a tight corset.
2. Hold this plank for at least 30 seconds. As you develop more strength, you can hold for up to a minute. Continuously breathe.
3. Repeat 2-3 times.
Target muscles: shoulders, abs, arms
1. Lie flat on your back with your arms by your ears and your legs straight and pressed firmly into the mat about hip-width apart with feet flexed.
2. As you inhale, take your chin to your chest and reach your arms forward. Exhale to scoop out your belly and continue to roll all the way up until you are on your sits bones. Reach for your toes, maintaining a round back and scooped out belly throughout.
3. Inhale as your begin rounding back and exhale to finish laying your spine down onto the mat one bone at a time.
4. Repeat 6-8 times.
Target muscles: abs, hip flexors, hamstrings
Try out these Pilates exercises and tell us what you think!