If you have 5 minutes a day, you can do some life-changing Pilates. Sure, a full hour workout 3 times a week is ideal, but Joe’s work is so powerful even 5, 10, or 15 minutes a day can make a difference! Mr. Pilates himself said “ Make up your mind that you will perform your Contrology exercises without fail. Amazingly enough you will subconsciously lengthen your trips from ten to twenty or more minutes before you even realize it!”
Here are some basic exercises that you can do if you’re like me and only ever seem to have minutes in your day:
The Hundred: This is the quintessential Pilates exercise. It’s a great warm-up. Gets the blood pumping, the breath moving, and puts you right in your powerhouse.
- Start lying on your back. Bend your knees into your chest. Curl your upper body off the mat. Stretch your legs out 45 degrees and begin pumping your straight arms up and down, beating your wings like an angry bird. Inhale for 5 counts. Exhale for 5 counts. 10 sets of this make 100. Keep your eyes focused on your abdominals pulling your powerhouse in and up the whole time.
The Half Roll-back: Find more open-ness and flexibility in your lower back with this preparatory exercise.
- Begin seated with your feet flat on the mat, legs together, knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Place your hands behind your knee creases and tilt your tailbone under, to the back of your knees. Start to round your lowest vertebras toward the mat behind you as you straighten your arms, without moving your hands. Keep your gaze on your abdominals and pull them in and up. Round back forward keeping your tailbone tucked under and your abdominals pulled in tightly. Repeat 5 times concentrating on leading with your lower back and not your shoulders.
Rolling like a ball: Rolling is a big component in the Pilates mat work.
- Rolling stimulates the spine and strengthens the deep abdominals.After your last half roll-back, sit forward on the mat so you have plenty of room behind you. Make sure you are on a padded surface not just a skinny yoga mat. Begin just like the half-roll back, this time lifting your feet off the mat once you’ve rounded your lower spine. Dive your head between your knees and make sure you are behind your sit bones. Pulling back in your abdominals roll this ball shape back and then back up with minimum momentum. If you can’t roll with a rounded spine, practice just the balance.
Remember Pilates is about quality of movement on quantity. Focus on doing the movement correctly with and precision. Practice these exercises at least 3 times a week and you’ll be stronger and more flexible in no time!