5 Pilates Exercises you can do at home

Here at Ellenbrook Physiotherapy, we offer several classes as well as individual exercise options in our Sana Vida rehab studio. With 10 reformers and a fully equipped gymnasium, we can accommodate all your exercise goals, working on aspects of mobility, stability, strength, power, energy and mindfulness.

If you’re looking to get started with some exercises independently though, or for ideas to keep things ticking over in-between classes, here are a few classic Pilates-based exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home.

  1. The Ab Scoop
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent so your feet are flat on the ground, hip width apart
  • Rest your arms by your side
  • Bring your legs up into tabletop (hips and knees 90d degrees)
  • Draw your tummy in, tilting your pelvis backwards to flatten your spine to the floor
  • Lift your head into your chest, raising your shoulders & arms so they stay in line
  • This is only a small movement, rather than a full sit up
  • Slowly lower back down & return to the starting position
  • The Hundred
  • Set up as with the ab scoop with legs in tabletop and hands by your side
  • Lift your hands to hover a couple of inches off the mat
  • Curl your neck and chest up to lift your shoulder blades from the mat and try to reach as far as you can with your fingertips
  • Pump your arms up & down in a rapid movement to further engage the abs
  • You can extend your hips to 45 degrees (as in diagram) for an extra challenge
  • Keep going as long as you can
  • One Leg Circle
  • Start on your then lengthen 1 leg up towards the ceiling. You can have the knee slightly flexed if needed
  • Bring the leg out the side, down towards the ground, across your body and back up towards the ceiling, drawing a large circle with your foot
  • Try to keep your pelvis completely still throughout the movement
  • Repeat 5-10 times then reverse the circle, moving in the opposite direction
  • Side Kick Series – do equal sets / reps on both sides
  • Start by lying on your side with 1 arm stretched overhead. You can rest your head on the arm or have a towel for extra support
  • Your other arm can rest on the ground in front of you or held towards the ceiling for an extra challenge
  1. Front / back
  • Keep your legs in line with the rest of your body and lift the top leg so that it is level with hip but no higher
  • With your foot pulled up, reach the leg forward as far as you can before pointing the toes to lengthen the leg out behind you as far as possible
  • Try to keep the pelvis stable throughout the movement
  • Up / down
  • Start on your side as previously, wit the legs in line with the rest of your body
  • Turn your feet slightly out towards the ceiling and lift the upper leg as high as you can
  • Slowly lower back down until the leg is inline with your hip, then lift again
  • Again, try to keep the pelvis stable throughout the movement, avoiding it swaying back & forth
  • Leg lifts
Lifestyle Fitness Results Personal Training - Side Double Leg Raise
  • Assume the same starting position as previously
  • Keep both legs in line with your body and, keeping your knees & feet together, lift both legs towards the ceiling
  • Slowly lower back down until the bottom foot lightly touches the floor & repeat
  • As with previous variations, try to keep the pelvis & trunk stable throughout the movement
  • Inner thigh lifts
Pilates Exercise of the Month: Side Kick Series: Inner Thigh Lifts
  • Lie on your side but this time, have your top leg flexed in front of you so the foot is flat on the floor
  • Keeping it straight, lift the bottom leg up towards the ceiling as far as you can (only a small movement is possible) before lowering back down
  • Keep the pelvis & trunk stable throughout the movement
  • Saw
  • Sit upright with your legs straight (a slight bend in your knees is OK if you have tight hamstrings) and heels to the edge of your mat
  • Lift your arms horizontally out to the side
  • Rotate your trunk round as far as you can before reaching your arm forward and down to the outside of your foot
  • Return to the upright position whilst still rotated before returning to neutral and repeating the exercise to the other side
  • Use your abs to keep your pelvis stable throughout the movement

Practising these exercises 2-4 times a week will help build your flexibility, control and would be a great introduction to Pilates exercise. A mild to moderate amount of discomfort during the exercise, which eases quickly once you’ve finished is fine but if you experience any significant pain, stop that exercise and if it persists, come in for an assessment at Ellenbrook Physiotherapy where we’ll work identifying the source of the pain and tailor a management program aimed at resolving it and getting you back to exercising asap!

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