Tag: Teaser

Pilates Exercise of the Month: The Hundred

One of the signature abdominal exercises of Pilates.

 Purpose: To strengthen the abdominal muscles, develop upper body stabilization and stimulate circulation to warm up the body in preparation for the mat workout.

1. Lie on your back; pull your knees into the chest and feel the entire length of your spine on the mat. Lengthen the back of the neck; slide your shoulders down and back.

2. Lift your head and shoulders off the mat bringing chin toward chest. Reach your arms long, past your hips and straighten both legs up toward the ceiling. Squeeze your buttocks and inner thighs together.

3. Begin pumping your arms straight up and down as if you were tapping water. Keep the movement slightly above the mat and your arms straight.

4. Inhale for 5 counts (pumps) and exhale for 5 counts (pumps).

5. Lower your legs to a 45 degree angle, or to the point just before your spine arches off the mat. Maintain this position, pumping your arms and breathing for 100 counts (10 full breath cycles).

6. To finish, lower your head and bring your knees into the chest.

Checklist:

  1. Shoulders are down and back while pumping the arms.
  2. Make sure you are sinking your belly into your spine throughout.
  3. Don’t bend the wrists while pumping; keep stretching through the fingertips.
  4. Keep arms synchronized while pumping.

Note:

  • If your lower back begins to hurt, bend your knees in toward your chest.
  • If you develop neck pain, lower your head.
  • A shoulder injury may prevent you from pumping your arms. Simply reach long or pump softly.

 

Visualization:    Imagine your arms beating out the tempo to a piece of music.

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Teaser 1

 

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Purpose:  Humorously referred to as “the mother of all sit-ups”, the Teaser tests your powerhouse control to the fullest.  At the peak of the exercise, momentarily hold the position, “teasing” the balance.

 

1. Lie on your back with legs extended at a 45 degree angle.  Heels are together and toes turned out slightly.  Stretch your arms overhead by your ears.  Don’t allow your back to arch or your ribs to pop out.

 

2.  Maintain the scoop; inhale; raise your arms, head and shoulders in sequence, peeling the upper body up off the mat vertebra by vertebra.  The chin is toward the chest.  The fingers reach for the toes.

 

3.  Hold the “V” position, balancing on your tailbone. Exhale; begin rolling your spine back down to the mat.

 

4. When your head has touched the mat, stretch arms overhead to the starting position and repeat 3-5 times; inhaling as you float up; exhaling as you peel down.

 

 

Visualization:  As you roll down, imagine each vertebra touching the mat the way your fingers travel on the keys of a piano.

 

Checklist:

Breathe during the exercise or you will not be using your muscles efficiently.

Don’t lower legs past the point of control. If you feel back discomfort, raise legs up to the ceiling.

Take your time, relax your mind and find your rhythm as you go.

 

Note: If you suffer from a stiff spine, perform the exercise with your feet against a wall.

 

Modified Leg Position:  If you have difficulty sitting up all the way, slightly bend the knees, keeping the toes higher than the knees, as you lift and lower the body.