In need of an energy boost over the hectic festive period? A Pilates session could be the answer
WORKING out until you’re collapsed into a heap of sweat on the floor can feel pretty satisfying at times. But during during the holidays, we don’t always have the energy or motivation to push ourselves to the max every time we hit the gym.
Bootcamp Pilates instructor Lucy Thirsk, who devised this workout, reckons that’s where Pilates comes in. The slower-paced workout focuses on breath and control, and can work wonders not only to boost energy (yes please!) but lift mood, too. With the stress that comes attached to the festive season, it’s certainly just what the doctor ordered.
“An essential way to increase energy is to use the full capacity of the lungs,” she explains. “One of the principles of Pilates is breathing – the more oxygen available to the body, the higher your energy levels.”
This, in conjunction with the endorphins that working out produces, will ensure you have a happy, healthy and high-energy holiday. Win!
HOW TO DO IT:
Perform each move one after the other at a comfortable pace, following the recommended sets and reps for each.
Areas trained: HIPS, GLUTES
- Lie on your left side with your left arm under your head and legs out straight. The right hand should be positioned in front of you for support.
- Lengthen through your top leg and bottom arm. Inhale to prepare, exhale and push down into the floor with your bottom leg while raising the top leg up to hip height.
- Inhale and kick your top leg forward, exhale and draw the top leg back behind your body.
- Repeat 10 times then place both feet together and raise and hold feet off the ground for 30 seconds. Lower your legs down and repeat sequence on the other side.
SAFETY TIP: Brace your core to keep your lower back from overarching
Areas trained: HAMSTRINGS, GLUTES, HIPS, BACK, CORE
- Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides.
- Inhale to prepare, exhale and start to raise your hips, peeling your spine off the mat one vertebra at a time. The top position is the alignment of your knees, hips and shoulders.
- Inhale at the top, exhale and place the spine back onto the mat one vertebra at a time.
- Repeat five times.
SAFETY TIP: Use your core rather than your lower back
Areas trained: CHEST, TRICEPS, CORE
- Place your hands on the floor so there is a straight line from your head to your feet with your hands underneath your shoulders.
- Inhale and lower your body towards the floor, keeping elbows pinned to your sides.
- Exhale to straighten your arms.
- Repeat the sequence three times.
HOT TIP: Place your knees down on the floor for a regression
Areas trained: STOMACH, HIPS, HAMSTRINGS, LOWER BACK
- Lie on your back with legs straight, feet flexed and arms overhead. Lengthen through your body.
- Inhale, lift hands up to the ceiling, exhale and begin peeling your spine off the floor, starting with your head and shoulders. Imagine pivoting over the top of the hip joint and flex forwards trying to touch your toes. Inhale and enjoy the stretch.
- Exhale and slightly tilt your pelvis to help begin the process of rolling the spine back down to the mat one vertebra at a time.
- Repeat three times.
SAFETY TIP: Do this move gently and slowly, so you don’t strain your neck
Areas trained: HIPS, STOMACH, SIDES
- Sit on the mat with legs bent, feet together and arms straight out behind you with your hands on the floor. Lengthen through the spine.
- Inhale to prepare, exhale and slowly lift your feet and straighten legs into a V position.
- Inhale and start arcing your legs down to the right.
- Exhale and then raise your legs up and to the left, then back to the V position.
- Repeat three times in both directions.
SAFETY TIP: If you feel too much pressure on your lower back, keep a bend in your knees
Areas trained: HAMSTRINGS, GLUTES, SHOULDERS
- Lie face down with your forehead on the mat, legs straight, arms overhead. Lengthen through your body, engage your glutes and pull your navel towards your spine.
- Inhale to prepare, exhale and raise arms and legs off the mat, ensure that your head and neck stay in alignment with the rest of your spine.
- Inhale and lower left arm and right leg simultaneously.
- Exhale and switch arm and leg, and continue with this motion.
- Once comfortable in the position, inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts. Repeat for five whole breaths.
- Lower down and then sit back onto your heels to stretch it off.
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