In the spirit of holiday hecticness I am offering you another super quick solution to get in a little exercise, even when you “don’t” have any time to spare.
These three Pilates exercises may only take 5 minutes to complete but they will work your core from every angle and leave you standing a little taller and walking a little stronger.
The Roll Up
Each repetition of this exercise is said to equal 6 sit-ups. It works every bit of the front of your abs and encourages your spine to lengthen and stay mobile as you articulate through each vertebrae on the way up and down.
5-10 repetitions of this exercise is all you need.
Not familiar with the Pilates Roll Up? Here are two great tutorial videos.
[source] The Criss Cross is an excellent exercise to work the sides of the waist.
- go slow and steady, speed makes this exercise less effective
- think of keeping your head in line with your spine
- notice how high your legs are off of the floor, the lower they are the more challenging the exercise
- straighten and reach through your long leg, all Pilates exercises have a stretching component
- keep your elbows wide throughout the twist
- try to curl a little higher with each twist
- pull on your neck or use the muscles in your arms the create the twist (it comes from the abdominal muscles)
- worry about touching your knee with your elbow, focus instead on the deep twist in the abs
No Pilates workout would be complete, no matter how short, without at least one extension exercise for the back of the body.
One of the fabulous and healthy things about Pilates is that it focuses on working the entire core; front, side, and back, which leads to a better posture, reduced risk of injury, and improved spine health.
Tips for Swimming:
- gaze at floor
- think length from fingertips to toes rather than height
- “stay out of the low back” by drawing the low abs to the spine throughout the whole exercise
- draw the shoulder blades down the back towards the hips
- experiment with going slower and faster to see which is more challenging for you
- avoid rocking back and forth on your pelvis by staying controlled through the exercise
Here’s a video of Pilates Swimming.
It is important during all Pilates exercises to pay attention how your neck and low back feel. If there is any pain and/or strain it’s time to modify or stop the exercise. One mistake people often make when starting to practice Pilates is to try advanced moves too soon. If you cannot complete each and every repetition with excellent form and no strain than the exercise may be too advanced for you and you may need to make modifications.
Do you practice Pilates? What are your favorite go-to moves when you are short on time?
Disclaimer: While I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor, I am not your doctor or you. Please consult your doc and use common sense whenever undergoing a new exercise program.
Great selection of moves! I love all of these. We did the roll-up in an Interval Training class I took this morning, except we were holding a weight out in front of us at the same time. Added a bit more resistance! I love it when pilates-inspired moves are incorporated into other types of workouts.
Thanks for this great mini-workout! I thought I would be able to start coming to your Wednesday evening class, but it’s not looking possible for me right now… This 5-minute workout will be a great way for me to at least do a little something, until I can get to a real class!
It was nice to run into you! I hope to see you in a dance class or something soon!
I love pilates! I have a class tonight. Cannot wait. Thanks for the post.
Thanks for posting these exercises! I still haven’t tried a pilates class and with my half ironman training I’m short on time. But I know core exercises are so important. Too bad I don’t live close to you, because I would definitely try one of your classes!
Amilliontimeslove pilates. 🙂
I am going to take one of your classes one day. Just have to find myself in WV. My favorite?….I really like spinal imprinting/bridge for keeping my low back in healthy alignment…for sheer core strength, the roll up…& hundreds are always a killer.
thanks for sharing!