5 Pilates Exercises for your daily practice

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I’m often asked to recommend a few ‘essential’ pilates exercises for when you are time short or want to tag on some pilates to your run or gym session. Doing these exercises daily will leave you feeling strong, toned and energised.

So here are a few of my faves!

Pilates Now - Hip Roll


Lying on your back, knees bent, feet hip-distance apart.

Inhale to roll your pelvis back.

Exhale to slowly pick your spine off the floor, one vertebra at a time.

Inhale hold.

Exhale slowly place your spine back down and return to neutral.

To modify, add a single leg hip roll and 10 pulses at the top.

Repeat for 8-10 reps.

Pilates Now - Oblique Leg Stretch


Lie on your back in tabletop with your hands behind head and elbows wide.

Exhale and lift your head neck and shoulders off the mat, keeping your chin off your chest.

Inhale to prepare.

Exhale rotate your left shoulder towards your right bent knee, while reaching your left leg down the mat.

Continue by rotating from one side to the other while switching legs, and keeping an eye on the approaching knee.

Repeat for 12-16 reps.

Pilates Now - Swimming


Lie on your tummy with your arms reaching overhead, your feet wide apart and legs tuned out. Draw your tummy gently away from the mat.

Exhale and float your arms and legs off the mat bringing your spine into extension.

Keep your gaze towards the top of your mat.

Alternate opposite arm and leg to move towards the floor while keeping the centre of the body stable. No splashing!

We can use a long slow inhale and exhale here for 5 pulses or mix it up with a staccato breath, 5 sniffs in, 5 blows out.

Repeat for 8-10 reps.

Pilates Now - Side Bend


Start seated on your right hip, with your knees bent and your right foot locked in front of your left, feet flat on the floor.

Inhale to reach over head pushing off your lower arm and feet, squeezing your inner thigs together, and creating a banana shape with your body.

Exhale to lower with control

Repeat 5 reps each side.

Pilates Now - Shell


Sit your bum back towards your heels, drawing in your tummy to create flexion in the spine – a lovely c-curve on the back.

Bring your head as close to the floor as you are able, you could use a block or cushion here if you have trouble getting to the floor.

Optional to relax the arms back by the side

Hold this position for 8 – 10 breaths, or as long as you like.