Article by: Megan Kennedy, PurLife Group Fitness Instructor
The Pilates method is nothing new to the fitness world yet it can be reinvented in so many unique ways to progress a given exercise. At a Purlife Pilates class, classical mat work is loaded with additional challenges such as resistance bands, stability balls, BOSU balls, gliders, TRX, and even the rowing machine to optimize energy expenditure in an hour-long circuit style class.
If you’re looking to focus in on strengthening your core and improving core stability, then Pilates is for you (no matter your age, weight, gender, or fitness level). A Pilates class is essentially all core, all the time.
The Pilates method has a long, rich history and has been utilized by a wide range of populations ranging from professional dancers to physical therapists. Joseph Pilates designed his method based on 6 principles: concentration, control, center, fluidity, breath, and precision. Pilates is about the mastery of controlled movements.
Here is one exercise you may see in a class at Purlife (and quickly become a master of!), including the original mat exercise and its progression. This is the teaser prep; this exercise will light up your abdominal muscles and prime you for a more advanced movement—the Pilates teaser.
- On the mat: Start by laying on your back with your legs and arms fully extended. From there, tuck your chin into your chest and begin peeling your back up off the mat one vertebra at a time. While doing so, keep one leg firmly planted on the mat while the other lifts up, toe pointed, to meet your torso in a half teaser position. Squeeze the quadriceps of the lifted leg to maintain a straight leg. Continue by alternating.
- Stability Ball: With your back supported by the ball, plant your feet flat on the floor and begin sitting back until your torso is parallel with the floor. Allow your arms to extend overhead. Then, curl yourself all the way to a seated position while lifting a single leg up. Continue by alternating legs. This variation challenges your balance and core stability. You may need to adjust your positioning on the ball to find where you are the most comfortable.
- Resistance Band: Place the resistance band just above the kneecaps. Perform the exercise the same way as the mat version, pushing against the resistance of the band each time a leg is lifted. This variation will challenge the strength of your core and quadriceps.
Once you’ve become a master of the teaser prep (and it’s many progressions), you’ll become a master of the full teaser! Keep an eye out for the next article that will take you through the mechanics of a teaser and the ways to challenge it further.
PurLife Group Fitness Instructor – Boca Raton