With warmer temperatures and longer days, hopefully you’re finding more time to get outside! Along with your favorite summer activities, I always recommend adding light stretching and strengthening to keep the whole body in check.
If you’re looking for a quick, balanced workout, try the “Basic Five” Pilates Mat exercises. In under ten minutes, this routine will have you feeling stronger and longer. And the best part? You can take it with you wherever your summer sweeps you…
Start lying on your back with your arms by your sides and your legs extended (Modification: knees bent, feet on the mat). Take a deep inhale.
On your exhale, lift your head and the tops of your shoulders to come into an ab curl. Simultaneously float both your legs and arms a few inches above the mat.
Pump your straight arms by your sides, inhaling for five pumps, and exhaling for five.
After ten full breaths, or 100 pumps, you are done, my friend!
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms reaching up toward the ceiling.
On an inhale, start to curl up slowly, trying to articulate each vertebra as it leaves the mat.
Exhale to finish your curl, rounding your spine over your legs while your fingers reach toward your toes.
Inhale as you tuck your tailbone underneath you and slowly lower your spine back to the mat, one vertebra at a time.
When the tips of your shoulder blades hit the mat, exhale to lower yourself back to your starting position.
Repeat five to eight times.
SINGLE LEG CIRCLE
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms down by your sides.
Extend your right leg up toward the ceiling, straightening it as much as your hamstrings will allow.
Inhale as you take the right leg across the midline of your body and then exhale as you return to your starting position. Repeat this five times and then switch the direction of your leg circle.
When you reverse the circle, inhale as your leg travels away from you, and exhale as it crosses the midline to return to your starting position. Repeat this five times.
Place your right leg down, and complete the whole series on the left leg.
ROLLING LIKE A BALL
Take a seat on the mat, floor, beach…wherever you are. Draw your heels in toward your sitting bones with your feet in a V shape. Your knees will be wide, like a frog.
Wrap your arms tightly around your legs so that each hand is on the opposite shin.
From here, “scoop” your belly to flex your spine and tilt back to float the feet off of the mat, floor or beach. Try to stabilize here for at least a moment.
Inhale as you tip back to the tips of your shoulder blades.
Exhale as you roll back up to your starting position, but don’t let your feet hit the mat.
Repeat five to eight times. And have fun!
Take a seat with your legs extended wide in front of you, toes flexed back toward your shins.
Reach your arms toward the sky. Inhale fully here.
On your exhale, start by tucking your chin to your chest, and then slowly curl yourself down toward your legs – vertebra by vertebra.
Inhale to stack yourself back up to your starting position.
Repeat five to eight times.
So how do you feel? Hopefully energized and ready to enjoy summer. If you have any questions on the Basic Five or other ways to keep your body balanced, you know where to find me – firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT: When participating in any movement practice, please remember to listen to your body and avoid exercises that don’t feel safe. If you are suffering from an injury or a medical condition, please consult your doctor before engaging in any new activities.
Allison Cherrette is a PMA-certified Pilates instructor and a graduate of the Advanced Teacher Training program through The Pilates Center of Boulder. She owns Bird On A Perch, a Marquette Pilates studio offering group and privates lessons on the Mat, Reformer, Tower and Chair.
Excerpt from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Summer 2018 Issue, copyright 2018.