HOMEWORK – PILATES MAT EXERCISES Magic circle Adductor squeeze Lie on your back with the magic circle or a pillow in between your knees. Feet flat on the floor and spine in neutral. Exhale to squeeze the legs together maintaining neutral spine. Inhale to return to start position. Arm arcs Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor and arms by your side and spine in neutral. Inhale as you float arms off the floor and overhead maintaining neutral spine. Exhale to bring arms back down to the floor. Assisted roll up Start lying on your back with knees in table-top and hands behind knees. Inhale to prepare. Exhale to press feet down as you roll through head, neck and thoracic spine. Continue rolling until in the sitting position with feet on the floor. Inhale at the top. Exhale and roll down back to start position. Book Openings Lie on your side with knees bent, feet in line with your hips and hands clasped behind your head. Open your top elbow towards the ceiling, then roll your head to follow and open your chest towards the ceiling. Maintain the abdominals drawing in and connecting the ribs to the pelvis. Bridging Chest lift Lying on your back with your knees bent. Exhale to send your tailbone towards the back of your knees as you peel your back off the mat until you rest in between your shoulder blades. Inhale. Exhale to peel down. Progressions 1) Single leg lifts 2) Legs positioned in external/internal rotation 3) Pelvic shifts 4) Pelvic tilts Lie on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head. Inhale to prepare. Exhale to curl head and neck forwards. Inhale as you draw hands overhead towards your knees and exhale to curl up further reaching your hands to your knees. Inhale to place hands back behind your head keeping your trunk lifted. Exhale to lower your trunk back down to the start position. Dart Lie on your stomach with your hands by your side. Inhale to prepare. Exhale to float your hands, shoulders, head, neck and legs off the mat. Draw your navel to your spine. Inhale to lower. Regress by lifting the arms and upper trunk only keeping the feet down. Dead bugs Lying on your back with your knees bent. Keeping the knee and hip at 90 degrees inhale and float the leg to a table top position maintain a stable pelvis then exhale to lower and repeat on the other side. Hundreds Lie on your back with knees in tabletop and hands by sides palms down. Inhale to prepare. Exhale to roll head, neck and shoulders off the floor and hover the hands. The spine is no longer in neutral but should not press hard into the floor. In this position inhale for 5 counts and then exhale for 5. Palms can pulse with this breathing pattern. Repeat breathing pattern for 10 sets then rest. Inverted V – calf raises Start in a downward-dog (Inverted-V) position. Heels and palms reaching for the mat. Maintain neutral spine in this position, bending the knees slightly if necessary. Bend one knee and stretch the opposite heel towards the floor, alternate sides. Ensure stable, quiet hips and a neutral spine. Repeat 10-12 times each leg. ITB myofascial release Lie on your side with your lower leg resting on the roller at hip level. Balance on your elbow and slowly roll up and down to find tense areas within the iliotibial tract along the sides of the leg. Leg pull front Start on your hands and knees with your toes tucked under. Exhale to reach back your legs to straighten them into a push up position but try to maintain the tailbone tucking under throughout. Inhale to return to start position. Progression – reach one leg up off the floor. Lower the leg and repeat on the other side Mermaid Side sitting with knees bent to left side with one or both of your sit bones on the mat and hands to sides. Reach left arm up to your ear and then move your spine into a side bend as you press your right hand into the mat and bend the elbow. Sit with your legs crossed if this position is uncomfortable. Preswimming Lie on your front with arms outstretched overhead. Inhale to prepare and draw navel to spine. Exhale as you reach 1 leg away and the opposite arm away so they hover off the floor. Inhale to lower. Repeat on the opposite side Prone Extension Lying on your front with your palms on the floor besides your shoulders, elbows pointing up to the ceiling and forehead resting down. Exhale as you reach elbows back towards your feet as you allow your chest to lift off maintaining the lower ribs in contact with the mat and your navel drawn in towards your spine. Your gaze will walk along the floor and up the wall but avoid reaching the neck back too far. Quadruped Position yourself on your hands and knees. Arms – Maintain a stable position as you exhale and float one arm forwards towards your ear. Inhale to lower. Repeat on the other side Legs – Maintain a stable position and exhale as you lift one leg behind. Inhale to lower. Repeat on the other side Cross – Maintain a stable position as you exhale and float the arm and opposite leg up. Inhale to lower. Repeat on the other side. Roll up Lying on your back with arms reaching overhead and legs straight. Inhale then exhale to float arms to the ceiling. Inhale to roll head, neck and shoulders forwards. Exhale to roll the rest of the way up peeling the spine off the floor into a long sitting position. Inhale then exhale and roll back down to the start position. Scarecrow Lie on your stomach with arms in a capital ‘E’ position and spine with a subtle curve in it. Inhale and float the forearms off the floor keeping the elbows down. Exhale to float the whole arm off the floor keeping the forearms higher than the elbows. Inhale to lift the chest forwards and off the mat. Progression Exhale to reach hands overhead. Inhale to bring the arms back to capital ‘E’ position. Exhale to roll back down on to the mat keeping arms elevated. Lower elbows to mat then forearms to the mat. Sidelift Side lying resting on your lower elbow and legs outstretched and stacked on top of each other. The top arm can be positioned in front on the floor to help you balance. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and lift your pelvis off the floor so you balance on your elbow and the edge of your lowest foot. Inhale to lower. Repeat on other side. Sidelying Lie on your side with the bottom arm outstretched. Rest your head on your arm and bend your knees. Lift the top leg so it is at hip height. I nhale as you float it forwards bending at the hip then exhale as reach it back maintaining a stable pelvis throughout. Spine stretch Long sitting with spine in neutral. Bend knees a little if you are unable to maintain neutral spine in this position. Sit up tall with your arms raised parallel to the floor. Inhale. Exhale to lengthen spine up as you reach over keeping your pelvis steady. Don’t allow chest to collapse towards knees. Inhale then exhale to roll up initiating by drawing in through the abdominals and tucking the tailbone under. Spine twist Long sitting with legs slightly apart with a neutral spine and arms out and parallel to the floor. Grow tall from your sit bones to straighten your spine and exhale as you rotate your torso to the right as you draw in your core muscles. Inhale to return to the start position then repeat to the left. Alternatively sit with your knees crossed. Standing roll down Standing feet in parallel hip width apart. Exhale to roll down into a full forward bend moving one vertebrae at a time. You can have the knees straight or bent in the full position. Allow arms and head to relax. Exhale to roll back up initiating by drawing in the abdominals and tucking the tailbone under. Swan Lying on your front with your palms on the floor besides your shoulders and elbows pointing up to the ceiling and forehead resting down. Reach your elbows to your heels and allow the chest to peel off the mat until the pelvis is lifted from the mat. Throughout this exercise maintain abdominal activation. As you peel down start by rolling down the thighs, then abdomen then chest.