Welcome back to Week 2, I hope that you’ve tried Week 1’s Pilates exercises and are weaving them into your workouts. Believe me when I say that if you do, you will surprise yourself on how strong you become for other exercises. Yes, you have to work for it, but doesn’t anything that is worth it?
Here are your next 2 exercises, I hope you enjoy them…
- Level 2 or 3 (with toe bar)
- Use a support wedge or a pillow behind your lower back if needed.
- To modify for tight hip flexors and hamstrings sit more towards the center of the glide board
- Sit at the bottom or close to the bottom of the glide board
- Place your feet up on the toe bar in first position (heels together, toes apart)
- Place your fingers on the front of the black cushion part of the glide board with a slightly bent elbow. Please don’t put your fingers any lower, it will be dangerous.
- Round: With an elevated chest, slightly round your back starting from your lower abdominals
- Keep your shoulders back, and down with a stretched neck
- Inhale, and as you exhale, contract your lower abdominals and straighten your legs (imagine a string running from your heels to your belly button and out of your back, pulling you)
- Lower and lift your heels
- Inhale and bend your knees back and close the glide board
- Repeat 5 times
- Flat: Do the same motion, but now sit as tall as you can while pulling your lower abdominals in and up (5 times)
- Arms back: repeat motion again, but sit tall and place your arms behind you, palms down on the glide board and fingers facing the tower.
- Open your chest and pull your shoulder blades together, elbows slightly bent
- Repeat 5 times
- Arms reaching: do the same motion but this time as you sit tall, stretch both arms in front of you at shoulder level
- Twist: do the same motion, but now every time you extend your legs, exhale and twist your body to the left, opening your left arm and reaching it to the tower as your right arm reaches for the toe bar
- Bend your knees and reach both arms back to the center, then repeat for the right side.
- Perform 5 times, alternating sides
- When you are all done, place both hands on the toe bar and straighten your legs opening the glide board
- Bend forward press your heels through the bar and stretch
Please don’t get discouraged, this exercise can make you feel like you are not doing it right or that you are not able to get into the position. Keep trying. Think of always stretching your legs away from your abdominals.
- Thread the Needle (modification) level 2 or 3, needs toe bar
- Place your knees about 6 inches up from the bottom of the glide board
- Facing the toe bar turn your body to the left and place your right hand or elbow and forearm on the toe bar (you are now in a bent knee side plank)
- Extend your left leg out to the side, reaching your foot to the tower
- Shoulders, ribs and hips should be stacked and abdominals should be in and up
- Inhale, and as you exhale and open the glide board using your core and your right internal oblique and lats
- Your left arm is reaching out to the side (in a T shape)
- With the glide board open, inhale and as you exhale and start to twist your upper body to the right
- As you do this your left arm will follow and dive under your right arm (just like threading a needle)
- Inhale and untwist
- Then slowly close your glide board
- Repeat 3 to 5 times, and then switch sides
Tips: This exercise requires a lot of balance, so expect to wobble around until your stabilizers get strong and your body understands the movement. Once you have accomplished it with a bent knee try to go up into a full side plank with two straight legs. But make sure that you have successfully done it with a bent knee without lifting your shoulder.
Well there you go, I hope you try these and realize that there is so much you never thought you could do on the Total Gym. Enjoy.
Until next time.