Pilates for Core Strength

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Man on plank in class doing Pilates for core strength exercises | Spine & Sport PT Rancho Santa Margarita ClinicPilates is famous for strengthening your core. Because of this people seek to begin Pilates in order to improve core strength including when they have back pain, neck pain or generally want to get their core stronger.

Below are some Pilates exercises that you can do in your next class at Spine & Sport Physical Therapy’s Rancho Santa Margarita clinic. You can also do mat exercises at home! We demonstrate each exercise with videos and photos, as well as a step-by-step description. We also include why each exercise is beneficial to your core strength!

Chest lift – challenge abdominals with this Pilates for core strength exercise

  • Begin in a supine position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat.
  • Fingers will be interlaced behind the head and neck creating a hammock for the head to rest in (strain should not be felt in the neck during this exercise.)
  • Take an inhale to prepare, breathing into the rib cage.
  • Exhale and lift the chest up bringing the gaze toward the knees and pulling the abdominals down.
  • Inhale and lower the head and chest back to your starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times and take a break.
  • For more challenge, lift your legs into the table top position creating a 90 degree angle with the legs.

Instructor Demos a Pilates Chest Lift - First Position | Spine & Sport PT Rancho Santa Margarita Clinic Instructor Demos a Pilates Chest Lift - Second Position | Spine & Sport PT Rancho Santa Margarita Clinic Instructor Demos a Pilates Chest Lift - Final Position | Spine & Sport PT Rancho Santa Margarita Clinic

Supine Spine Twist – work your obliques with this abdominal exercise

  • Begin in a supine position.
  • Lift one leg up at a time into your table top position creating a 90-degree angle with the legs. Make sure to maintain the natural curves of the spine, or “neutral pelvis.”
  • Open the arms out to the side in a “T” or “V” position.
  • Inhale and take both knees to the right while keeping your left shoulder down.
  • Exhale and use your obliques to return the knees back to the center.
  • In this exercise it is okay to allow the opposite hip to lift, but knees should stay in line with one another and both shoulders should stay connected to the mat.
  • Repeat the exercise 5 times on each side, alternating sides.

Hundred prep on the Reformer to work your core

  • Recommended springs: 1 Red 1 Yellow or 1 Red 1Blue.
  • Begin in a supine position on your back with your feet on the foot bar and your headrest up or down depending on your comfort.
  • Bring your hands to the hand straps and lift your legs into table top position with your knees above the hips and the heels in line with the knees creating a 90 degree angle with the legs.
  • Inhale to prepare drawing the navel down to the spine and the shoulder blades down the back.
  • Exhale and press the hands down toward the hips keeping the arms parallel and shoulder-distance apart.
  • Inhale and bring the arms back up to the ceiling to your starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise 8-10 times and then take a break.
  • For more challenge, lift the head and chest and/or extend the legs as the hands press down to the hips.

Hundred – build heat in the body and increase your core strength

  • Recommended springs: 1 Red 1 Yellow or 1 Red 1 Blue.
  • Begin in a supine position on your back with your feet on the foot bar and your headrest up or down depending on your comfort.
  • Bring your hands to the hand straps and lift your legs into table top with your knees above the hips and the heels in line with the knees creating a 90 degree angle with the legs.
  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale and press the hands down toward the hips keeping the arms parallel and shoulder-distance apart.
  • Hold the hands down by the hips with options to hold the head and chest lifted and legs extended out on the diagonal for more challenge.
  • Begin to make a small pumping motion with the arms keeping the arms straight inhaling for 5 and exhaling for 5.
  • Continue inhaling for 5 and exhaling for 5 until you reach one hundred.

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