Intermediate Pilates Exercises

Intermediate pilates exercises which are suitable for most athletes who are comfortable doing the beginners ones. TV fitness expert Wayne Gordon demonstrates and maintaining perfect technique is the thing to aim for.

 The shoulder bridge exercise increases glute (buttock) strength and pelvic and lumbar spine control.

  • Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Start by breathing in and pulling the tummy button in.
  • Breath out and start to peel the back off the floor, starting with the tailbone and lifting up as far as comfortable.
  • Hold the shoulder bridge for a few seconds and then reverse the movement.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

The single leg tabletop is an intermediate level exercise which aims to improve pelvic and lumbar spine control and stability during leg movements.

  • Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Set your lumbar position and contract your core muscles.
  • Breathe in and as you exhale, move the weight of one leg onto the heel.
  • Lift the foot off the floor, leading with the bent knee until the knee is directly over the hip and the shin is parallel to the floor.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds before slowly returning to the start.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions

The advanced leg stretch which works the hip abductor muscles such as gluteus medius, whilst maintaining the stability at the pelvis and lumbar spine.

  • Lie on the side, position a towel between your bottom arm and your head to maintain the neutral position of the neck.
  • Bend your lower leg for stabilisation, keeping the upper leg straight.
  • Place the hand of the top arm on the floor in front of your naval.
  • Set the core muscles, breathe in and as you exhale, raise the top leg away from the bottom one.
  • Hold the top position for a few seconds, before slowly lowering back to the floor.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

The swimming exercise is an advanced exercise as it uses both the arms and legs to challenge the control and stability of the entire back and pelvis.

  • Lie on the front, position your arms on the floor above your head.
  • Have the forehead resting on a towel and pull in the belly button and contract the pelvic floor.
  • Take a deep breath in and then as you exhale, raise one leg and the opposite arm just off the floor.
  • Hold for a few seconds before slowly returning to the floor and repeating with the other leg and arm.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

The leg and arm slide exercise which is an intermediate exercise, designed to challenge and build on the stability of the pelvis, lumbar and thoracic spine with both arm and leg movement.

  • Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Find your neutral position and contract the core muscles.
  • Start with the arms pointing up to the ceiling (palms facing in).
  • Breathe in and then as you exhale, slowly slide one leg out and take the opposite arm over your head towards the floor.
  • Remember not to arch the back as you move further into the movement.
  • Move as far as comfortable, hold this position and then return to the start and repeat.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

The leg slide exercise promotes stability of the pelvis and lower back during lower limb movements.

  • Lying 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.
  • Put the weight on the heel of the foot you are using.
  • Breathe in and as you breathe out, slowly slide the heel along the floor to straighten the leg.
  • Remember to maintain control of the pelvis and lower back as you do so.
  • Once the leg is almost straight, breathe in again and as you exhale, move the leg back to the starting position.
  • Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
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