Advanced Pilates Exercises

These exercises are more advanced and require a higher level of strength in order to perform them with correct technique. Instructor Wayne Gordon demonstrates exercises which are probably of more benefit to most sportsmen and women.

This leg circles exercise is an advanced level exercise. It starts with the legs raised and challenges the stability of the pelvis and lumbar spine by taking the leg out to the side.

  • Start in a lying position, on your back with the feet off the floor, knees bent and shins parallel to the floor.
  • Pull the tummy in and contract the pelvic muscles.
  • Take a breath in and then as you exhale take one leg out to the side.
  • Hold the posiiton for 2-3 seconds before returning to the centre and alternating legs.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

The four point kneeling exercise is an advanced exercise as it uses both the arms and legs to challenge core stability, as well as being in a kneeling position.

  • Position yourself on all fours, with the knees in line with the hips and the hands underneath the shoulders.
  • Gently pull in with the belly button and contract the pelvic floor.
  • Breath in and as you then exhale, raise one leg and the opposite arm.
  • Hold for a few seconds, before slowly returning bck to the starting position.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

The single leg bridge is a progression from the bridge exercise which works on improving the stability of the pelvis and lumbar spine whilst using the leg and glute (buttock) muscles for power.

  • Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Bring the feet in close together, set your lumbar position and contract your core muscles.
  • Breathe in and as you exhale start to peel the back off the floor, starting with the tailbone, all the way up to the upper back.
  • Then lift one leg from the floor and extend the knee.
  • Hold for a few seconds, before slowly returning the leg to the floor and lowering your back down.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

 

This exercise is a progression of the single leg bridge exercise. It is an extremely advanced exercise as it focuses on using a single leg to support the body, whilst incorporating arm movements and maintaining core control.

  • Start in a lying position, on your back with the feet flat on the floor and knees bent.
  • Raise one leg off the floor and position the arms pointing up to the ceiling.
  • Lift the buttocks off the floor using, slowly peeling each section of the back off the floor.
  • Take the arms back over your head towards the floor.
  • Return to the start position, maintaining complete control throughout.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

The scissors exercise is an advanced exercise which promotes stability of the pelvis and lower back during lower limb movements.

  • Laying on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor, maintaining the neutral position of the spine.
  • Gently pull the belly button in and contract the pelvic floor.
  • Breathe in and as you exhale lift the toes of one foot so you are just on one heel, before lifting the leg off the floor so that the shin is parallel to the floor.
  • Do the same with the other leg.
  • From there, breathe in again and gently lower one leg towards the floor so that either the toes(easier) or the heel (harder) touches the floor.
  • Return the leg to the yop position and repeat with the other leg.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

 

This exercise is a progression of the scissors exercise, as it starts with the legs in an elevated position to make it more challenging.

  • Start in a lying position, on your back with the feet off the floor, knees bent and shins parallel to the floor.
  • Pull the tummy in and contract the pelvic muscles.
  • Take a breath in and then as you exhale lower one foot towards the floor.
  • Bring the leg back to the start position and immediately take the other foot down towards the floor.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
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