The Core Dynamics Workout – Week 1



Pilates is a great workout, infusing strength, flexibility and control into each exercise, allowing for an efficient and effective workout. It’s also a full body workout, whose modifications and progressions can accommodate varying fitness levels and goals. Despite these great benefits, Pilates often has the misconception of being a complex stretching routine. The below routine is designed from the GRAVITY Core Dynamics workout, and combines traditional strength and Pilates based movements into a fun and efficient workout. Pilates has lots of cuing to help create the most optimal form to achieve the most effective results, and as a result can be overwhelming. The good news is that many of the cues are used multiple times for various exercises, and many of the exercises are variations on each other making learning a little less overwhelming.

Seated Forward Series: Incline middle to lower 1/3 of tower. Reps 8-12

Incline Chest Press

Sit tall and lean slightly back to ensure the hips and ears remain aligned.

Focus on keeping wide through the collar bones and shoulders pulling away from the ears.

Optional variation: Alternating arms.

To modify: Use your feet on the floor to self-spot.

To progress: Sit upright with legs straight. Increase incline.

 

Seated or Kneeling Backward Series. Incline middle to lower 1/3 of tower. Reps 8-12

Back Extension

Lean slightly forward to help maintain shoulder and knee alignment.

Keep width in the collarbones and the sternum slightly lifted.

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears to avoid the shoulders rolling forward or drawing upward.

To modify: Use your feet on the floor to self-spot.

To progress: Increase the incline.

 

Surfer Lat Pull

When lifting the spine up, hinge upward focusing on the low back or roll slowly up to upright focusing on mobility of the spine.

Keep your shoulders pulling away from the ears.

Place of pillow between the buttocks and heels to help decrease the amount of bend of the knees.

To modify: Perform while sitting

To progress: Increase the incline.

 

Kneeling Triceps Kickback

Maintain a straight spine

Keep your shoulders and ensure they’re pulling away from the ears.

The pillow between the buttocks and heels help decrease the amount of bend of the knees.

To modify: Perform sitting.

To progress: Increase the incline.

 

Kneeling Upright Rows

Keep your wrists strong. Avoid curling up or downward too much.

When pulling the arms back, think of bringing the hands to the breast line or armpits.

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears.

The pillow should be under the buttocks and heels to help decrease the amount of bend of the knees.

To modify: Perform while sitting.

To progress: Increase the incline.

 

Kneeling Biceps Curl

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears.

Keep the chest open with collar bones widening and sternum gently lifting.

Maintain the elbows aligned with the shoulders. Visualize making and arc with the hands when bending the elbows.

To modify: Perform sitting.

To progress: Keep the arms lifted to 90 degrees with hands, elbows and wrists in a straight line.

 

Seated Forward Series Incline: Middle to lower 1/3 of tower. Reps 8-12

Chest Press

Sit tall and lean slightly back, to ensure the hips and ears remain aligned.

Focus on keeping your shoulders wide through apart – the collar bones and shoulders should be pulling away from the ears.

Optional variation: Alternating arms.

To modify: Use the feet on the floor to self-spot.

To progress: Sit upright with legs straight. Increase incline.

Scooping

Sit tall and lean slightly back to ensure the hips and ears remain aligned.

Focus on keeping your shoulders wide through the collar bones and ensure your shoulders are pulling away from the ears.

Optional variation: Alternating arms.

To modify: Use the feet on the floor to self-spot.

To progress: Sit upright with legs straight. Increase incline.

Offering

Sit tall and lean slightly back to ensure the hips and ears remain aligned.

Focus on keeping your shoulders wide through the collar bones and ensure your shoulders are pulling away from the ears.

Optional variation: Alternating arms.

To modify: Use the feet on the floor to self-spot.

To progress: Sit upright with legs straight. Increase incline.

 

Supine with Arm Pulleys Incline middle to lower 1/3 of tower. Reps 8-12

Pullover Crunch with feet down

Focus on ensuring your shoulders are pulling away from the ears.

Maintain a straight arm. Avoid bending the elbows.

Focus on the movement being generated from the core. Think of pressing gently into the glideboard with the feet.

To keep tension on the abdominals, end the movement at mid-thigh.

Keep the ribs resting on the glideboard, especially as the arms reach overhead.

To modify: Perform a Lat Pulldown by bending the elbows into the sides bringing the hands to the shoulders.

To progress: Add Marching when pulling over by alternating bringing a knee to your chest when pulling over.

 

Hundred

Ensure your shoulders are pulling away from the ears.

Maintain control noted by having minimal movement of the glideboard.

Keep the navel close to spine. If the belly button moves outward, then core stabilization is lost. Reset if needed.

To modify: Keep the feet on the glideboard.

To progress: Add lower body movement, like single leg or double leg bicycles.

 

Pullover Crunch feet up

Focus on ensuring your shoulders are pulling away from the ears.

Maintain a straight arm. Avoid bending the elbows.

Focus on the movement being generated from the core.

To keep tension on the abdominals, end the movement at mid-thigh.

Keep the ribs resting on the glideboard, especially as the arms reach overhead.

To modify: Perform a Lat Pulldown by bending the elbows into the sides bringing the hands to the shoulders.

To progress: Add bicycle legs.

 

Intense Hundred

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears.

Maintain control noted by having minimal movement of the glideboard.

Keep the navel close to spine. If the belly button moves outward, then core stabilization is lost. Reset if needed.

To modify: Keep the feet on the glideboard.

To progress: Add lower body movement, like single leg or double leg bicycles.

 

Teaser

Preps:

  1. Begin with feet in table-top position and allow momentum to help roll up into sitting.
  2. Maintain your feet on the glideboard when rolling up and down. The closer the feet are on the glideboard the harder the exercise.

Cues:

Focus on rolling the spine up off the glideboard one vertebrae at a time.

Slide the shoulders away from the ears. Reach through the arms as if reaching the towards your feet.

When rolled up, lengthen through the spine and lift the sternum gently up.

To modify: Decrease the range of motion of rolling up. For some, increasing the incline height assists with rolling up.

To progress: Once in a rolled up position, add scooping of the arms. In other words, lift the arms up and down while maintaining balance.

Elizabeth Leeds, DPT

Elizabeth Leeds, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training, and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues.Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

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