If you’re looking to build strength and stability in your core and to improve your posture, incorporate regular bouts of Pilates exercises into your workout regimen. The most common of the Pilates exercises are performed while lying on the floor on an exercise mat. The exercises are meant to be performed slowly and deliberately, with long inhales and exhales accommodating each repetition. Do these sample Pilates exercises two to three days per week.
The swan strengthens your lower back and shoulders while also stretching your abdominals and hip flexors. Lie on your stomach on a mat with your hands flat and positioned directly underneath your shoulders. Push your hands into the floor to lift up your shoulders and chest until your arms are completely straight. Hold this position for two to three breaths and then slowly lower your torso back to the floor.
The roll-up strengthens your abdominals and hip flexors. Lie on your back on a mat with your legs fully extended. Extend your arms behind your head and hold them slightly up off the floor with your palms facing each other. To start, pull your arms forward so that they move toward vertical and then use your abdominals to lift your torso up off the floor, so that you come up to a seated position. Continue to swing your arms forward so that they finish outstretched toward your feet. Slowly lower your torso down to return to a lying position while simultaneously swinging your arms back over your head.
Bridges develop strength in your lower back and glutes. From a back-lying position, bend your knees so that you can place your feet flat on the floor. Set your arms on the floor along your torso. Drive your heels into the mat to pick up your hips, lifting them up as high as you can. Hold the top position for two to three breaths and then slowly return your hips to the mat.
You won’t find many Pilates workouts that don’t feature the hundred exercise. It’s a challenging move that targets your abdominals. Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees and feet held up off the floor. Your arms are held down by your sides. Roll your shoulders up off the floor and lift your arms up as you extend your legs straight so that you create a “v” shape with your body. Hold this position as you pump your arms up and down from the shoulders. Inhale for five pumps and then exhale for five pumps. Continue until you’ve completed 100 total pumps.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.