15 minutes daily Pilates

Tiptoe Pilates everyday 15-minute Routine 
Lots of my lovely clients ask me how often they should be doing Pilates to feel and see the benefits, the answer is any Pilates is better than none and I definitely notice a marked difference in people’s posture and overall strength in just a few months. However, in an ideal world it would be great to try and do some every day, but in response to that people tell me they have no time to exercise? But my answer is – No problem! As just doing my 15-Minute Everyday Pilates programme will give you all the tools you need to squeeze regular exercise into your life and complement your weekly class you already do with me.

Please Note: The exercises included here have all been practiced with my class members in the studio already. However, if you have not already attended my classes or your new to Pilates, then before beginning any exercise program or changing your physical activity patterns, you should always consult with your doctor first.

The Ab wake up

Lie on your back with your knees bent – place your hand on your belly – take a full inhale filling your belly with air – exhale fully emptying the air – inhale again and on your next exhale – feel the tightening and connection in your lower belly. Try to take 5 – 10 full inhales and exhales maintaining that connection in your lower the belly.

Be aware of the parts of the body that are in connection with the matt and encourage them to feel heavy – release your thighs and soften your bum and hips. Focus on openness across your chest with a strong connection to your ribs and releasing them. Finally ensure your pelvis is in neutral allowing your curve in your lumbar to sit in its natural position.

Double Knee Folds: 

Keeping in mind all of the above, breath in preparing your body to move and whilst maintaining the connection in your lower tummy (remember your corset) raise one leg into your single Knee Fold, then raise your second leg up to meet the first. You should feel your tummy working hard in this position. Then lower one leg to the floor imagining it’s as light as a feather while your hips are heavy and then float the second leg down.

Do this move 8 times, slowly, focused and with precision.

Watch points: do not allowed your tummy to bulge, or let your ribs flair and stay in neutral through the entire move.

The Curl up:

Align yourself in correct position – as above – take an inhale and (with your hands interlocked behind your neck keeping your elbows open and in sight just in front of your ears) – on an exhale begin to lift your shoulders and upper body off the floor – imagine your lifting up through your chest bone and not your neck – remember no squashed oranges!! Take an inhale at the top and exhale as you return back to the floor and repeat 8 times.

If you want to make this slightly harder when you are curled up, then lift and straighten one leg off the floor (sending it straight out and in line with the knee of the leg which is still on the floor) as you curl up – lower the leg and head together as one. Breath out as you curl up and extend leg – inhale at top and breath out as you lower back to the mat.

 Spine curl:

Breath in to prepare, on your out breath, tilt your pelvis up towards you – when its fully tilted so your back is flat against the matt, then squeeze through your glutes (bum) and lift your spine off the mat – one vertebrae at a time until you reach the tip of your shoulder blades. Breath in here and hold your position stable – then on your next exhale – move your spine back down again through each vertebra until you are back into your neutral position. Repeat 8 -10 times.

The hundred:

Align yourself correctly as above then move into your Double Knee fold – take an inhale on your next exhale – curl up off the matt as above – reach your arms long and beat your arms a hundred times – or however many you are able to do whilst still maintaining a strong connection in your lower tummy and not using your lower back.

Watch Points: Keep the neck long, relaxed and still – but if it’s too much – then lower your head to the mat.

Keep the movement of the arms from the shoulders.

Remain in neutral throughout.

Single leg circles:

On an exhale lift one leg into a single knee fold and extend straight up – keeping the pelvis stable and still, circle the extended leg across your body – across, down around and back up.

Breath out as the leg circles away – breath in as it circles aback up to the top.

Only make the circle as big as you can without any movement in the hips.

And think of length, length and more length through the extended leg that is circling.

Do 8 circles in each direction, then with control lower leg to the floor.

Repeat on other leg.

Single leg stretch prep/ or full version:

Prep version – Come into a double knee fold and curl up holding onto your knees, on an exhale lower one leg to the floor let the foot slide away, then slide the foot back into its starting position, then alternate and do the same on the other leg. Repeat 10 times in total.

Watch Points: Move legs independently from your pelvis and spine

Allow the legs to come into you rather than pulling your spine up to meet your legs

Keep your neck long and head still.

Keeping the shoulders relaxed.

Maintain your neutral spine throughout – especially as you are sending the leg away.

Full version – Come into a double knee fold and curl up holding onto your knees, on an exhale extend one leg away from your body – hold the knee with both hands that is closest to you – the bent leg is slightly closer to the chest that in a normal double knee fold position – however the shin remains parallel to the floor.

Inhale – let go of the knee and simultaneously change legs, keeping the feet on the same horizontal plane and the legs close to the centre line of the body as you do so. – continue to alternate each leg straight out.

Watch points – don’t let the leg that is strengthening drop low to the floor – keep both feet at roughly eye level as they alternate in and out.

Keep the truck still throughout the movement

Keep the neck relaxed and long and don’t drop your chin to your chest – keep openness here – no squashed oranges.

 Double leg stretch – prep and full version

Prep version- Lie on your back with your knees bent – come up into curl up position (see above)

Remain curled up and on an exhale simultaneously slide your legs straight out across the mat whilst also sending your arms straight up and away to your ears on your next inhale bring your arms and legs back to their starting position remaining curled up throughout. Repeat up to ten times or as many as you can do without losing your core connection.

Watch points:

Keep pelvis in neutral and without any movement throughout exercise.

Both legs and arms should move at the same time

You should remain in curl up until you’ve completed all your reputations (however if your neck does get tired – lower your head to the mat and continue the exercise here)

Keep your neck long and relaxed – focus on your abdominals doing the work.

Full version:

Come into your double knee fold (as above) and then curl up and touch your fingertips off your knees – on your next exhale send both the arms and legs away from your truck simultaneously. Inhale as you circle the arms wide and back towards your knees and at the same time drawn the knees back into their starting position. – repeat up to 10 times

Watch points:

Keep the pelvis in neutral with no movement throughout.

Move your legs independently from your pelvis and spine

Keep your neck relaxed and long throughout.

Keep all the movement controlled, smooth and with flow.

Cobra:

Lying on your tummy – check that your pelvis and spine are in neutral and rest your forehead onto the mat. Place your legs slightly wider than hip weight apart and ensure your legs are straight and long. Bend your elbows and place your hands slightly wider than above your shoulders. Ensure that before you begin that your shoulders are relaxed.

Take an inhale – then as you exhale begin to peel your body up and off the mat. Working sequentially through lifting your forehead, chin, upper chest, ribs, abdominal area, and finally your pelvis on off the mat.

As you begin the movement – keep your bum switched off and think of lifting yourself off the mat with the muscles in-between your shoulder blades – once your chest comes off the floor your glute (bum) muscles will switch on.

Once at the top you can come back down on an inhale – this time through the pelvis, abdominals, ribcage, chest, chin and finally lowering your forehead back onto the mat.

Repeat 5-8 times.

Watch points: Do not use your arms to push yourself up – you are engaging the muscles in your back to lift you up.

Don’t lead with your neck, keep your eye line down and let your head and neck move with the flow through your back.

Keep your abdominals engaged throughout.

If you are unable to come all the way up – then just come up as far as you are able to with control.

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