Pilates Exercise of the Month – Shoulder Bridge
Purpose: To work the powerhouse and strengthen the back of the legs (hamstrings).
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, hip width apart, both feet firmly planted on the mat; arms by your sides, palms down.
- Squeeze your bottom and raise your hips off the mat. The hips, knees and feet are in perfect alignment.
- Inhale, pull your navel to spine, and lift one leg out long in front of you. Then, extend it up to the ceiling, pointing toes. Exhale, flex your foot and lower your leg to your knee. (You may lower the leg further as long as the hips stay level and leg does not drop to the mat).
- Repeat 3-5 kicks on each side, Inhaling as you lift leg to ceiling and point toe, exhaling as you flex foot and lower leg. To finish, place foot on the mat and repeat kicking sequence with other leg.
- When finished slowly roll your back down to the mat.
Visualization: Imagine you are suspended from the ceiling by a sling around your hips, keeping you lifted.
Head to Toe Checklist:
- Stay lifted in the hips throughout the exercise by pressing into the standing leg to maintain balance and control.
- Kick swiftly, but not forcefully. The motion should not alter your hip height.
- Stretch the leg away from the body as it lowers.
- Navel should be pressed in and buttocks squeezed tight.
Use discretion if you have difficulty bearing weight on your shoulders.
- Lift and lower only the hips off mat.
- Lift and lower one leg at a time, as if you were marching in place, hips remain still and lifted throughout.