Simple Exercises You Can Do At Home

 

 

When the pilates studio is nowhere in sight, you can perform these simple exercises at home or in your hotel room. In order to reap the greatest benefits from these exercises, you should learn how to engage beyond the Kegel.

 

Here are some terms you need to know:

Pelvic Floor--the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues and nerves that support internal organs and help the pelvis function.

Kegel (exercises)- Assist the pelvic floor muscles that help stop urination in midstream.

Zipper-- The deep transverse muscles located up and in from the Kegel pelvic floor muscles.

 

Important Note:

While you may have been taught in the past to tuck your pelvis...don't do it. It is now known the natural curves in your spine act as shock absorbers to help you deal with life in an upright position under the pull of gravity. Tucking the pelvis can eventually cause pain in the SI joint or lower back. It can also lead to a weak core and poor posture.

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Exercise #1: Core 101
 
  • Lie on your back on your mat.

  • Bend your knees with feet flat on the floor.

  • Engage your inner thighs.

  • Pull in your pelvic floor.

  • Pull up your "zipper." Inhale in lungs only and not belly.

  • Lift one knee as you pick your foot about 4 incles off the floor.

  • Place your hand on your lower abdomen to feel your abs tightening.

  • Inhale lower leg a few inches. Exhale. Deepen abs as you lift. 

  • Use a small, steady range of movement to keep from working in your hips.(Think of dangling leg. The weight of your leg is giving work for your abs.)

  • Repeat 10 times before switching to other leg.

Exercise # 2: Bridge 

 

For this exercise, you need a comfortable mat.

 

  • Lie on your back on the mat and bend your knees.

  • Gently engage your inner thighs.

  • Pull in the pelvic floor. Keep a neutral spine by making sure your tail and hip bones remain on the mat, and tailbone does not "curl" up.

  • Exhale as you peel up tail bone and hips vertebrae by vertebrae to reach shoulder blades.

  • Hold. Inhale.

  • Exhale as you release back to the mat, vertebra by vertebra.

  • Repeat 6 times. Feel yourself lengthening further from ribs to hip and through spine with each lift.

 

Variation 1: Hold at the top and squeexe/pulse the buttocks 10 times.

 

Variation 2: For added resistance, place a 6"-8" inflatable child's ball between knees.

Exercise #3: Glute Stretch

 

This exercise should be performed on a stable, high-backed chair.

 

  • Sit straight on chair with legs at 90-degree angle to the floor. Your knees should be over your heels.

  • Raise one foot and place your ankle on top of your thigh.

  • Without rounding in the spine, hinge forward with your hands on top of leg.

  • Relax head and neck as you look at your hands. to keep from looking forward.

  • Inhale as you return to a straight, seated position.

  • Twist to the same side as your raised knee with your opposite arm to the outside of the top thigh.

  • Gaze over shoulder. Hold for 2 breath cycles.

  • Return to forward, straight position.

  • Repeat on other side with other leg on top.

 

Exercise #4: Back Extension/Chest Opener

 

This exercise is great for office workers. You will need a stable, high-backed chair.

 

  • Sit straight on chair far enough from the back to place the ball at your shoulder blades.

  • Chests lifts up toward the ceiling as you press on the ball.

  • Follow your gaze along the front wall and ceiling without arching back your head.

  • Inhale as you slowly return to your original position.

 

Variation 1: In starting position, turn head both ways for greater neck release. Repeat 10 times.

Variation 2: In starting positon, move chin down toward chest. Repeat 10 times.

Variation 3: Place a pillow or 6"-8" inflatable child's ball behind your back.

Variation 4: Once you push back on the ball or pillow, extend arms to sides for a greater stretch.

 

Exercise #5: Stable Hip/Quad Stretch

 

This exercise is great for tight calves and feet. Use a stable, high-backed chair.

 

  • Stand behind chair as you hold on to chair back.

  • Step one foot back, as you keep hips facing forward and shoulders square.

  • Roll up the back leg to the ball of the foot.

  • Lower heel to floor.

  • Remember to breathe, as you lengthen the spine during the movement.

  • Repeat 5 more times.

  • Switch to other side and perform 6 times.

 

Exercise #6: Hip Flexor/Quad Stretch

 

This exercise should be performed on a stable, high-backed chair. It is important to keep the proper alignment with this exercise.

 

  • Stand behind chair as you hold on to chair back.

  • Glide shoulders blades down and back.

  • Step one foot back, as you keep hips facing forward and shoulders square. Knee should align under hip. 

  • Bring back foot up to ball of foot.

  • Bend both knees.

  • Lift.

  • Remember to breathe, as you lengthen the spine during the movement.

  • Repeat 5 more times.

  • Switch to other side and perform 6 times.

 

© 2016 by Pilates Center of Baton Rouge. Created by Creative Writing and Production LLC

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