Movin': Quick Pilates Warm-up
Can you carve out 5 minutes in the morning, perhaps during lunch or maybe your little one's naptime or self-play? Yes you can! Although making it to class may be preferred, every little bit counts when it comes to movement. These days, staying for a luxurious 1 hour session after every teaching day just isn't my reality. Sometimes it's squeezing in 15 minutes between or after sessions, holding a plank with a toddler pressing on my back (a good challenge I might add!), or some mat work in my living room prior to bed. Taking just a few minutes, no matter where in your day, can help re-energize the body and mind...so for me, it's a must!
Clients often ask for some "homework," so here are a few exercises you can do to warm-up that Pilates body any time of day. The idea is to "work your spine" in different directions: flex, extend, twist, side-bend, etc.
From Left to Right Above
Cat/Cow: Exhale to round your back like a Cat, curling your spine from head to tail. Feel your shoulder blades pull apart, your belly lift and envision your head meeting your tailbone. Inhale to extend, opening your chest, letting your belly drop and lifting your tailbone like a cow. Repeat 5 times.
Prone Limb Lift & Tap: Start with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. While trying to maintain a tabletop back, lift your RIGHT arm + LEFT left. Balance, then keeping everything straight, tap your fingers and toes to the mat and then lift. Repeat 8 times; repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
Half-Roll Down: Start in a seated position, stacking your spine, knees bent, feet planted. While holding the back of your legs, start by curling your tail under and round your spine into a C shape. Curl up and stack the spine. Repeat 8 times. TO AMPLIFY: reach your arms forward without holding your legs.
Bridge: Lie down with your knees bent and feet planted. Lift your hips. Repeat 8 times. TO AMPLIFY: Balance in bridge and lift 1 leg and then alternative 8 times.
Single Leg Stretch with Head Support: Lie down and bring your legs to table top. With your hands supporting your head, curl your head, neck and shoulders UP. Extend one leg forward and then alternate. Repeat for 8 sets. TO MODIFY: Keep one foot down.
Bicycle Twist: After the exercise above, continue alternating legs, but add a twist of the torso towards the bent knee. Alternative sides for 8 sets.
Forearm Plank: While facing the mat, lift onto your forearms (elbows under the shoulders) and extend your legs back to a plank position. Hold for 8 breaths...and try to hold for longer each session! TO MODIFY: drop to your knees.
Mermaid: Sit with your legs bent to your right side (stacked if you can!). Lift your left arm up and side bend your torso to the right. Hold for a few counts and repeat. Complete on both sides.
Try it and let me know how you feel after!