20 minute Pilates workout

Work out at home in less than 30 minutes with this Pilates workout to strengthen, tone and stretch your muscles.

The following is a 20 minute workout that can be completed with just a mat.  It is an all-over workout that includes a few stretches for good measure. Make sure that each exercise is conducted slowly, under control and ensure that you concentrate on elongation through the spine and core control. Ideally it should be conducted 3 times a week.

Roll down to press-up

Stand with your feet hip distance apart, arms by your sides, elongating through the spine. Inhale to prepare, exhale and roll forward starting with the head. Place your hands on the floor. Inhale to walk your hands forwards, exhale and lower the bottom until there is a straight line from your head to your feet with your hands underneath your shoulders (a plank position). Perform 3 push-ups - Inhale and lower your body towards the floor, keeping elbows pinned to your sides, exhale to straighten the arms. Inhale and raise your bottom in the air into a pike position, exhale and stretch by pressing hands and feet into the mat. Inhale and walk hands into feet, exhale and re-stack your spine one vertebrae at a time until standing up tall. Repeat the sequence 3 times.

Roll down to press-up
Roll down to press-up

Side lying - leg kick

Lie on right side of body with arm under head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles stacked, top arm on floor in front of body to support body. Inhale to prepare, exhale and raise top leg to hip height.  Inhale and kick leg forward, exhale kick leg backwards and pulse twice. Repeat 10 times turn over and complete same move on other leg. 

Shoulder bridge

Lie supine with knees bent, feet hip distance apart. Exhale and peel the spine off the floor, from the tailbone, one vertebra at a time lengthening through the spine, inhale at the top, exhale and roll the spine back down (10 times) then hold at the top and pulse the bottom (20 times). Repeat. Progression: place feet wide apart and externally rotate at the hips to turn knees and feet out to 10 & 2 o'clock positions, peel spine off the floor as above. Raise one foot to the ceiling and continue to peel spine as above.

Shoulder bridge
Shoulder bridge

One-leg stretch

Lie supine on the mat, exhale and raise feet up to table top position. Inhale to prepare, exhale and raise head and shoulders off the mat, inhale and as exhale straighten right leg, at the same time left leg is brought into body for a stretch, inhale and bring legs back to table top exhale and swop legs. Repeat 10 times on both legs.

Leg pull prone - circle leg

Kneel on the floor with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Exhale and lengthen one leg, inhale to prepare, exhale and lengthen second leg (into a plank position). Inhale to prepare, exhale and raise right foot off the floor and circle the leg from the hip (5 circles one way, reverse for 5 circles) lower leg down and repeat on left leg.

Leg pull prone - circle leg
Leg pull prone - circle leg

Saw

In a seated position with legs apart, exhale and raise arms up to shoulder height out to the sides.  Inhale and lengthen through the spine, exhale and rotate to left leg, inhale and lean right hand to left ankle, exhale to pulse 3 times towards the foot, lengthening through the arm, left arm is behind your back, repeat on other side.  Do 5 repetitions on both sides

Roll up

Lie supine on the floor. Legs straight, feet flexed and arms overhead. Lengthen through the body.

Inhale, lift hands up to the ceiling, exhale and begin peeling the spine off the floor starting with the 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 in the hamstrings and lower back. Exhale and slightly tilt the pelvis to help begin the process of rolling the spine back down onto the mat one vertebrae at a time until the head and shoulders are back on the mat. Inhale and raise hands over your head.  

Saw
Saw

Roll over

Lie supine with legs out straight and arms by your side. Inhale and raise feet up to the ceiling, exhale and peel spine off the floor lifting legs over head.  Inhale and part legs hip distance apart, exhale and roll spine back down onto the floor. Repeat 5 times.

Swan Dive

Lie in prone position with hands under chest and elbows bent.  Inhale to prepare, exhale pressing through the hands, straighten the arms and peel front of the body off the floor, raising as high as possible.  Ensure that lower abdominals are engaged at all times.  Inhale at the top, exhale and lift the legs as the body rolls back down to the floor.  Repeat 4-6 times. 

Swan Dive
Swan Dive

End the session with a child's pose. Workout courtesy of fitness instructor Lucy Thirsk from Bootcamp Pilates.

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