Pilates Beginner Techniques

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Grab a mat and hit the floor! Heather shows you how to do 4 basic moves at your home. Follow right along with the video!




“The Hundred”

  • Begin lying flat on your back, arms straight up toward the ceiling.
  • Bring your legs into table top (create a 90 degree angle between your shin and your thigh).
  • Curl up leaving enough room for a tangerine under your chin.
  • Reach your legs out long to about a 45 degree angle. The straighter and lower your legs are the greater challenge will be to your low abs
  • Take a deep inhale to prepare.
  • On an exhale (this can be one long exhale or percussive exhales) begin to raise and lower your arms as if you are moving them up and down through thick mud or peanut butter. Do this for 5 counts
  • Inhale for 5 counts, continuing the movement
  • Repeat until you reach 100 or you can no longer hold the position without straining your back. 

Basic Breathing

Imagine that you are wearing a corset. On a deep inhale expand your lungs but do not allow your chest to lift up and open. You should feel your core muscles working to keep your rib cage closed. You may notice that your ribs are expanding to the sides rather than to the front.

On an exhale and release all of the air from your lungs, imagining that you are tightening the corset and bringing not only your belly button to your spine, but also your sides and back to the center of your body.

Criss Cross

  • Begin lying flat on your back, fingers interlocked under your head and elbows out to the sides. Bring your legs into table top (create a 90 degree angle between your shin and your thigh).
  • Lift your head neck and top of your shoulders off the floor leaving room for a tangerine between your chin and your chest.
  • On an exhale, rotate your torso so that the right side of your chest comes toward your left knee while reaching your right leg out and away from you at about a 45 degree angle.
  • On an inhale, come back to center bringing your right leg back to tabletop. Rotate the left side of your chest toward your right knee while reaching your left leg out and away from you at about a 45 degree angle.
  • Repeat.
  • Try not to lower your head, neck and shoulders back onto the mat between rotations.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side for a total of 20
  • (On your exhale imagine you are wearing a corset and the corset is getting tighter, on the inhale imagine the corset is still and you are not allowing your rib cage to expand up toward the ceiling)

Modifications – you can rest your head between sides, allowing your neck to rest and reducing the challenge to your abdominal muscles slightly.

Modified Chest Lift with Rotation (inTabletop)

  • Begin lying flat on your back, fingers interlocked under your head and elbows out to the sides. Bring your legs into table top (create a 90 degree angle between your shin and your thigh).
  • On an inhale, lift your head neck and top of your shoulders off the floor leaving room for a tangerine under your chin.
  • On an exhale, rotate your torso so that the right side of your chest comes toward your left knee (knees do not move).
  • On and inhale, come back to center, neck and shoulders back onto the mat
  • Oh an exhale, rotate the left side of your chest toward your right knee.
  • Alternate between right and left sides, 10 times on each side for a total of 20.
  • (On your exhale imagine you are wearing a corset and the corset is getting tighter, on the inhale imagine the corset is still and you are not allowing your rib cage to expand up toward the ceiling)

Modification – you can rest your head between sides, allowing your neck to rest and reducing the challenge to your abdominal muscles slightly

About Heather Neff

About Heather Neff
Heather received her Pilates certification from Body Arts and Science International in March of 2006. When she was first introduced to Pilates she was so inspired by its restorative and transformational powers that she decided to devote her career to teaching it. All it took was a mat class for her to see the changes in her own body in a matter of weeks. She began teaching in 2003 and received a Personal Training Certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in 2004. In her classes, Heather incorporates exercises from various teaching styles to create a program tailored to her individual clients needs. Her experience ranges from rehabilitation to athletic workouts for clients of all ages. She sees her clients as unique individuals and her focus is giving each client the well rounded workout they need and deserve.

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