I often get asked what my favorite Pilates moves are. That is not a very difficult question, because I loooove the Pilates Series of 5! This series will strengthen your entire core; say bye bye to lower back pains, and hellooooo to rock hard abs! I'm gonna show you these tummy toning moves step by step so you can practice them by yourself. Have fun!
Lie on your back on your mat. Lengthen and release your neck, bend your knees and place your feet hip-with apart on the mat. Activate your core by contracting your pelvic core muscles, lifting your belly button in and up. Keep your core muscles activated during these exercises!
Important note: if you feel pain in your neck while you do these moves, try pulling up your shoulders a bit more so you can really use those core muscles. If it doesn't feel right, gently place your hands behind your head and just use your legs until your core gets strong enough.
1. Single leg stretch
Bring your knees above your hips, hands on your knees and pull your shoulders off the floor. Point your toes. Bring your right knee in, extend the left leg forward, and switch. Breathe in as you switch the legs, and breathe out as you switch the legs: breathe in – right knee – left knee; breathe out – right knee – left knee. This is one rep; repeat 5-8 times.
2. Double leg stretch
Bring your knees above your hips, hands on your knees, shoulders off the floor. Point your toes and bring them together, your knees apart. Breathe in, extend both legs, pressing them firmly together in a 45 degree angle (if this is too difficult, straighten your legs to the ceiling); simultaneously, reach your arms overhead. Breathe out and bring the legs back in as your circle your arms, hands towards your ankles. This is one rep; repeat 5-8 times.
3. Single straight leg stretch
Extend your legs towards the ceiling, hands on your knees, shoulders off the floor. Point your toes. Breathe out as you drop your left leg towards the mat, stretching it out in line with your hip. Simultaneously, pull in your right leg towards you. Breathe in swiftly, switch legs and breathe out as you pull your left leg towards you. Breathe out in a pulse and pull your leg towards you in a controlled pulse; breathe ’out, out’. Repeat 5-8 times.
4. Double straight leg stretch
Put your hands behind your head, shoulders still off the floor, extend your legs towards the ceiling and point your toes, heels together, toes apart. Press your legs together firmly, breathe out and lower your legs in a 45 degree angle. Breathe in and return your legs. Repeat up to 10 times. If this is too difficult for you or if you feel pain or twitching in your lower back, bend your knees above your hips and tap the floor with your toes without releasing the hips (keep your core muscles activated).
5. Criss cross
Keep your hands behind your head, shoulders off the mat, bend in your knees above your hips, toes pointed. Breathe out, extend your left leg as you pull your right knee towards you; simultaneously, lift your left shoulder towards your right knee. Keep your elbows to the side, squeezing the shoulder blades slightly; your left elbow is not tapping your right knee, it’s really about lifting yourself up! Still breathing out, switch legs; so it’s breathe in – right knee – left knee, breathe out – right knee – left knee.
Super strong Core with Pilates Series of 5
Try do do these moves 3 times a week for the best result. Practice this series in a flow; so don't take a break in between, but go directly from one move to another after you've finished the reps. Have fun with these moves and don't be too hard on yourself the first few times you try them; practice makes perfect!