As a Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor, I am CONSTANTLY asked for that one “quick fix” exercise.
I hate to tell you, but just one doesn’t exist. BUT these five Pilates exercises that I do every day keep me going.
#1 – Bridging. This is my favorite way to start my day and loosen up my spine after a “long” night of sleeping. Starting on my back with feet placed on the floor, I start with a couple pelvic tilts to get my lower abs firing. Then I go into 15-20 bridges, really focusing on the segmental mobility of my spine, and using my core to help.
#2 – “Dead Bugs”. Lying on my back, I stabilize my core in a neutral spine and pelvis. I then bring my legs into tabletop and extend alternating legs away from my body. The focus is on the deep lower abdominals. After about 20 on each leg with my head lowered, I do another 20 with my head, neck, and shoulders rolled up.
#3 – “Clam Shells”. From my back, I roll onto my side with my hips and knees bent to 90 degrees, and spine and pelvis in neutral. Keeping my feet glued together, I rotate my top knee up towards the ceiling while maintaining neutral spine and pelvis. This should be felt in the glutes/hip of the top leg. I go for 30 on each side.
#4 – “Swimming”. From my back, I roll onto my stomach with my arms and legs stretched out long. Keeping my abdominals tight, I raise both arms and legs and slightly extend my upper back until everything is lifted off the mat. Maintaining tight abdominal muscles, I alternate arms and legs in a “swimming” motion. I do 3 sets for 30 seconds each time, finishing with a “child’s pose” between each set.
#5 – Hip flexor stretch. From “child’s pose”, I come to a high kneeling position. I step one foot forward, tuck my tailbone slightly, and tighten my lower abdominals. Once I feel stable in my lumbopelvic region, I start to lunge forward until I feel a stretch in the front of my back leg. Hold for 30 seconds for 2-3 times on each leg.
These Pilates exercises along with a healthy breakfast will get you ready to start your day!
With Peace and Love,
Alix Terpos PT, DPT