Core exercises are an important part of a good fitness program but are often neglected. Want to improve your posture, tighten your midsection, prevent the dreaded low back injury? Give pilates a try. Basic pilates exercises can be completed without equipment in the comfort of your home.
If you've been practicing the exercises from the first two newsletters, you should be feeling stronger in the mid-section and a bit stronger in the buttocks. Now it's time to take on the third exercise in our three part series, The Hundred.
1. Lie on your back with knees bent and up in the air, hips and knees at 90 degree angles. (This is the "table top" position).
2. Inhale and reach your arms to the ceiling.
3. Exhale. Lower your arms toward the floor, lift your head (as in the Chest lift exercise), focus your gaze on your belly. Abdominals engaged, "tummy tight."
4. Keeping your arms straight, gently move your arms in small up/down movements as if splashing in water. Keep a rhythm.
5. Inhale for 5 beats (keeping the rhythm with your "splashing" arms). Exhale for 5 beats.
6. Hold the position and progress in sets of 10 beats...working up to...you guessed it, one hundred beats.
7. Remember that it takes time to build up strength in both your neck and your abdominals. Take breaks. Lower your head down as needed but keep that tummy engaged!
There you have it, the three best beginning pilates exercises to increase core strength. Give them a consistent place in your fitness routine and you'll notice a nice improvement in your posture, strength, and power while helping to prevent low back injuries.