Standing Pilates - 5 Moves to Tighten Your Tummy and Improve Your Posture
Everyone wants a few must-do moves to keep their muscles toned, lean and long. Experts agree that Pilates can deliver those results. With moves that focus on lengthening the spine and controlled breathing, Pilates is known for improving your posture and whittling the waistline. Standing Pilates can do the same thing, but adds the challenge of balance. Try these five moves to start.
All exercises should be done standing with heels together and toes slightly wide keeping weight balanced in feet. Tuck tailbone slightly under and keep abs drawn into the spine.
1) Shoulder "T" Squeeze - Arms out to the side at shoulder height with palms facing down. Keep arms straight and pulse arms backwards 30 repetitions while exhaling on the squeeze.
2) Arm Raise Lift - Start with arms at side palms facing the body, inhale to prepare. Lift arms up over head as you raise heels off the floor and exhale. Swing arms downward and squeeze shoulder blades when arms are at side. Repeat 20-25 repetitions.
3) Roll Down & Up - Raise arms over head and stretch through fingertips as you inhale. Exhale slowly as you roll chin to chest and follow the forward bending towards floor with knees slightly bend. Inhale and pause as the bottom, stretching the back of your thighs. Next exhale and slowly roll up one vertebra at a time to return to hands over head. Take a deep breath in and repeat the movement 10 times.
4) Side Bend Reaches - Start with arms at your side and slide right hand down the side of your body as your left hand reaches overhead. Keeping arms extended, pulse three times with the top arm to the side and ceiling as the lower arm reaches down the leg. Repeat this move 8-10 times and change sides. Think of squeezing the rib cage towards the hip bone during this move to engage the core. Exhale on the reaches and inhale on the rest.
5) Twisties - Start with palms together in front of the body at shoulder height and inhale. Keep one arm forward and reach other arm to the back as you turn the waistline and squeeze the abs as you exhale. Return to center and repeat 8-12 times then to the other side.
Pilates breathing is important to each of these moves. Remember while exhaling, to pull abdominals in towards the spine.