Pilates – A Move That Does It All?
Ok, so I lied a little bit. There isn’t one exercise that does everything, otherwise there wouldn’t be any others and wouldn’t that be dull!?
However, the following move, the ‘Shoulder Bridge’, offers both the beginner through to the advanced practitioner, a challenge to the stability of the pelvis, an arched spine and a moving leg.
Sounds horrific doesn’t it, but when executed with perfect form and awareness, the move can offer dynamic flexibility for the hamstrings and hip flexor muscles, use the core for pelvic stability and the spine gets wonderful mobility that it cries out for when we spend so much time sitting.
The key is to maintain a stable pelvis, so when you move the leg, the stability of the hips isn’t affected. That means, keeping level hip bones as if you had a spirit level across them.
For Beginners, omit the leg lift, keep both feet on the floor, and for a challenge lift the arms off the floor or practice in with one foot on a stability ball.
*5 – 10 leg lifts on each side.
*Repeat 3 times.
Press the foot and upper arms into the floor, relax the face , jaw and toes. Eyes looking towards your knees., pull your hip bones together.
Here’s the way I would talk you through it in a class:
1. Breathe in, press feet into the mat, breathe out then lift the bottom of the pelvis to the ceiling by peeling the spine off the mat.
2. Reach through the knees as if they are touching the far wall. Lift the chest.
3. Breathe in and lift one foot off the mat. Straighten the leg towards the ceiling
4. Breathe out as you gently lower the leg towards the mat as if it was a pendulum
5. Breathe in as you lift the leg back up, repeat for 5 – 10 reps, then change legs.
Don’t forget to breathe, that’s the most important thing!
Enjoy your practice!