Pilates Exercise of the Month: Pilates Push-Up

Purpose: Pliates Push-up concentrates on the shoulders, chest, arms and upper back. The exercise also stretches hamstrings and challenges abdominals.

  1. Stand tall with your heels against the back edge of the matt; toes turn out in the Pilates V.
  2. Keep hips over heels as you; inhale; pull your navel into your spine and roll your torso down toward mat. Place hands on mat slightly more than shoulder width apart. (Knees can be slightly bent.)
  3. Exhale; walk your hands out onto the mat until your palms are beneath your shoulders and heels over your toes. Your body will be in a Push-up position (or Plank) — a straight line from head to ankles.
  4. Perform 3 Push-Ups (bend and straighten arms) with elbows close to the sides of the body. To come out of the Push-Up, fold up in half, bring your chest toward your legs; press your palms and heels into the mat. Pull your navel in and give yourself a gentle stretch.
  5. Inhale, walk your hands back toward your feet; try to keep your legs straight.
  6. Exhale; roll your body back up to a standing position.
  7. Work up to 3 sets of 3 Push-Ups.

For an advanced challenge, perform the entire Push-Up sequence while balancing on one leg. The same steps apply for the Single Leg Push-Up, but remember to keep your leg lifted throughout the entire exercise. Don’t forget to repeat the exercise on the other leg!

Checklist: In the Plank-body should be in one line, eyes to floor; long neck, hands under shoulders, firm buttocks, heels over toes.
Maintain a firm center, with navel into spine. Don’t allow your middle to drop; that places too much weight on your shoulders.
In the Push Up- elbows into ribs, hips in line with body and legs pressed together.

Note: Omit this exercise if you have a bad wrist or shoulder.

Modification: Bend both knees and kneel on the mat.

Visualization: Imagine the body as a strong, sold bridge or ramp that will not budge under weight.

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