Our Top 5 Pilates Exercisesby Your Baby Club
In Pilates, there is a specific breathing technique that aids movements and muscle activations for each exercise. The breath pattern is typically to inhale deeply through your nose, filling the rib cage, and exhale through pursed lips. This style of breathing is known as ‘lateral breathing’.
Start on your hands and knees - hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Whilst exhaling, reach out your opposite arm and opposite leg, and hold the position as you inhale. Breathe, reaching and stretching from fingertips to toes. Exhaling again, return your limbs back to the starting position, whilst keeping your spine neutral and body stable (neutral spine is keeping your back flat from pelvis to neck, imagining you could rest a glass of water on it, and keep it there for the duration of the exercise!) Do this 30 times, alternating sides, so 15 on each side.
Benefits: The 'Superman' exercise really tests your stability, core, and back strength, although it looks so simple - when done correctly, you should really feel everything working. This helps to give you stability, control, and proper alignment of the back of your body when moving. All of which is important when pre and postnatal.
3. Donkey Kicks
Start again on all fours. Find your neutral spine and raise your leg behind you. Keeping a 90-degree angle on your knee and hinging at the hip, flexing your foot as you do so. The sole of your foot should be facing the ceiling. On an inhale breath, return the leg back to the starting position, and repeat 15 times, then switch to the other leg.
Benefits: These are a great way of targeting your glutes and help to build core stability, strength, and tone. This exercise works your core muscles, hips, and shoulders and if you really focused on control, it works your balance and aligning your spine
4. Toe Taps (*Postnatal Only)
Laying on your back, carefully bring one leg at a time into a tabletop position, with your knees at 90 degrees and your back flat on the mat. Whilst inhaling, slowly hinge your leg down at the hip and ‘tap’ one foot down, maintaining the 90-degree angle at the knee. Exhale and return the leg back up to the starting position. Engage your core as you do this. Alternate legs and repeat 15 times, moving slowly. This can also be performed with one leg at a time if you need more stability.
Benefits: The toe taps are a great exercise to work your deep core muscles. It is these exercises that are important to help rebuild core strength post-pregnancy/birth.
5. Bridge (*Postnatal only)
Laying on your back with your hands by your side, knees bent (hip-distance apart), and your feet flat on the floor, breathe out and start to slowly lift your hips up off the ground, moving bit by bit through your spine. Hold at the top on an inhale breath and then slowly make your way back down.
Benefits: This is a great exercise for many reasons; it improves spinal mobility, strengthens core and glutes, and helps to lengthen the front of your body. All of which can help with any back pain you may be experiencing from being pregnant or holding/feeding your baby.