Pilates Exercises London City
Living in London can be hectic.
This means that even the most committed Pilates fan can find it difficult to make it to the Pilates studio at times.
To help our time-poor fellow Londoners, we’ve put together some Pilates exercises that can be performed regularly at home to help you build your strength and flexibility.
And you don’t even have to feel like you’re missing out on the studio experience. Because we’ve used a foam roller to replicate the Pilates equipment.
To get going, all you’ll need is a foam roller, some floor space and you’re good to go.*
A side note: although we have given a guide as to how many repetitions of each exercise you should perform, as always, we would emphasise good form over doing endless repetitions. You’ll get more from the exercises this way.
Pilates Exercises 1. Bridging
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Now place your feet on the foam roller hip distance apart.
Start the movement by pressing your feet into the foam roller and by sending your tail bone to the back of your knees. At the same time, reach your knees over the foam roller as you bridge up – and remember to keep that foam roller still the whole time.
You should be feeling this in your glutes and hamstrings, not your neck. So remember to only bridge up to the point where your shoulder blades are still on the mat – and keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.
As you prepare to return to the starting positon, take a big breath in.
As you exhale fully, slowly soften your chest and allow your spine from the breastbone down come to meet the mat.
Repeat 5 – 10 times.
Foam Roller Replaces: The Reformer.
This is a bit like bridging on the Reformer. The moving surface of the roller replaces the challenge from the springs you’d get on the machine.
What is this good for: Getting those glutes working. Spine mobility. Pelvic stability.
Best avoided by: This is fine for pretty much everyone. Just make sure you don’t bridge up too high and come up on to your neck. If you are injured then it is advisable to keep your feet on the floor for this exercise.
Pilates Exercises 2. Reverse abdominals
Come on to all fours with your shins on the foam roller.
Stack your shoulders slightly behind your hands (this takes the pressure off the wrists). Hips are stacked over your knees.
Spine should be in a “neutral” position. By this we mean with the three natural curves of your spine are in alignment.
To find this position it can be helpful to remember to keep the back of your head and neck lifted up towards the ceiling. At the same time, press into the floor and lift off those wrists as much as you can. This should also help you keep your chest up between your shoulder blades – you don’t want it sinking down towards the floor.
Now, bring your knees towards your elbows by rolling the foam roller in the direction of your elbows. Roll the foam roller away to move back to the starting positon.
Keep your spine as neutral as possible throughout the exercise and just move at the hips. This isn’t a big exercise, but you should feel it in your lower abdominals.
Repeat 5 – 10 times
Foam Roller Replaces: The Reformer.
This is a great movement on the Reformer and a staple in most classes, but it is just as challenging (if not more so) on the mat with the roller.
What is this good for: Abdominal strength. Arm strength. Finding a healthier and more “neutral” spinal alignment.
Best avoided by: People with wrist or shoulder problems might find this tricky. And it is also not suitable for postnatal women or for anyone post-surgery.
This is more of an advanced exercise, so if you’re struggling with it then we suggest reducing the range of movement. You could also try working on your endurance by remaining in the starting position for a longer period of time.
Pilates Exercises 3. Thoracic Extension
Come to seated with your knees bent and the foam roller behind you. Slowly lower yourself down to the ground until the foam roller is length ways across your mid upper back.
Now, make a basket with your fingers and use this to cradle the back of your head.
Allow your spine to extend backwards over the foam roller.
Remember to keep your head heavy and your neck relaxed the whole time. Also, be mindful of your ribs and stop before they flare up towards the ceiling. It can be helpful to move the spine in this direction with a full exhale.
Pick your head up and return to the starting position.
Repeat 3 – 5 times
Foam Roller Replaces: The mini arc or barrel.
These rounded pieces of equipment help the body to move in all different ways and directions, which is amazing for the spine. However, the foam roller is a good substitute.
What is this good for: Spine mobility. Better breathing habits. Posture.
Best avoided by: Be careful if you have any problems with your spine.
Only move within a small range and make sure you’re only feeling this in your mid-upper back, not your lower back.
Remember, you can always tweet or email us at Complete Pilates if you’re unsure about this exercise (or any of the others) and need more guidance.
The Perfect Pilates Exercises for Londoners
These exercises are the perfect solution for stressed-out Londoners short on time.
Not only do they promise to improve coordination, increase overall strength and sort out bad posture – but you can also perform at home in front of the TV!
Try them in combination and see just how effective a Pilates home workout can be.
*A foam roller is a cheap and versatile piece of equipment. We think it is well worth investing in. It can really help make your mat workouts more interesting and challenging.