After a (hopefully) cozy winter break, it’s back to grinding and, in all likelihood, spending long periods of time sitting — which can wreak havoc on your posture. One of the many benefits of Pilates is that it is great for posture, along with being an excellent way to mobilize your joints and move freely without tension.
To wrap up our 12 Days of Christmas Workout, here’s a Pilates home workout from Lotty Somers (Opens in a new tab)She is STOTT Pilates certified (Opens in a new tab) Teacher. It should make you feel relaxed and ready to make the most of your day.
“It’s not just the physical benefits that come from improving posture,” Somers says. “When we feel able to stand upright and move without restriction, we tend to radiate more confidence. Plus, using breathing in Pilates can help reduce stress, so it’s a great way to boost our mood and improve our overall mental health and wellness.”
The routine uses eight moves. Do the movements slowly, and complete the allotted repetitions. Feel free to go through the circle of motions twice.
1 neutralizer and sink imprint
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Your hips and pelvic bones should be level and there should be a natural arch in your lower back. This is a neutral alignment. Keeping your hips still, tilt your pelvis and tighten your lower back so that it is in gentle contact with the floor. It’s a very small movement and Sommers goes into more detail at the beginning of this Pilates for pose youtube video. Continue to tilt your pelvis back and forth between these two positions.
2 abs prep
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Your spine and pelvis should be in neutral alignment and your hands should be clasped behind your head to support your neck. Inhale to prepare, then as you exhale lift your head, neck, and shoulder blades off the mat. Use your upper back muscles to stabilize your body and engage your abdominal muscles. Inhale as you go down.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. As you exhale, lift your spine one vertebra at a time, starting at the base, to bring your hips into a high bridge position and create a straight line running from your shoulders to your hips to your knees, keeping your hips hip-width apart. Apart and level the hips. Inhale as you roll down through each vertebra to return to the starting position.
4 half a turn back
Sit upright with a straight spine with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your arms outstretched in front of you. On an exhale, tilt your pelvis down and begin to roll back toward the floor, arching your spine into a “C” shape. Roll down halfway, then on an inhale, return to starting position.
5 the development of the spine
actors 5 each side
Sit upright with your legs extended in front of you. Imagine a piece of string pulling you across the crown of your head to lengthen your spine. Extend your arms out to either side, with your palms facing down. Exhale and twist your upper body to the right, without moving your hips. Inhale as you return to center. Alternate sides with each rep.
actors 8-10 per side
Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, with a neutral spine—imagine you have a cup of tea balanced on your tailbone. Keeping your shoulders and hips straight, exhale as you extend one leg back and the opposite arm forward. Inhale as you return to the starting position. Alternate sides with each rep.
time 30-90 seconds
Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders and straighten your body in one long row. You can either be on your toes or on your knees to make it easier. Do not tilt or bend your pelvis but maintain a neutral spine as you hold this position.
8 the upper extensors of the back
Lie on your forehead with your legs extended and both hands under your forehead. Exhale and lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat, using your upper back muscles to force the movement. Don’t arch in the middle or lower back, and keep looking at the floor. Inhale as you go down.