Intermediate Pilates ExercisesUpdated:
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The following intermediate Pilates exercises are designed to improve your posture, core stability, flexibility and strength. You should discuss the suitability of these intermediate Pilates exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Ensure you know how to achieve neutral spine and can correctly activate your stabilising muscles prior to commencing these intermediate Pilates exercises (see Pilates – Before You Start). Generally you should begin with the beginner Pilates exercises before commencing these intermediate Pilates exercises. Once these intermediate exercises are too easy, progress to the advanced Pilates exercises.
Intermediate Pilates Exercises
To begin with, the following intermediate Pilates exercises should be performed approximately 1 – 3 times per week. As your control improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, or frequency of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Begin this Pilates exercise propped up on your elbows and toes in neutral spine as demonstrated (figure 1). Maintain activation of your transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles throughout the exercise. Try to keep your spine and pelvis still and breathe normally. Hold this position for as long as possible provided it is pain free and you are maintaining good posture. Repeat 3 times.
Figure 1 – Prone hold
Begin this Pilates exercise lying on your stomach with your arms by your side in neutral spine (figure 2). Maintain activation of your transversus abdominis and pelvic floor throughout the exercise. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slowly lift your arms and chest off the ground, keeping your neck straight as demonstrated. Hold for 2 seconds at the top of the movement. Then, slowly lower your chest back down, followed by your arms, and then finally relax your shoulder blades back to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free. This exercise may be performed with palms facing up or down.
Figure 2 – Darts
Single Leg Kicks
Begin this Pilates exercise lying on your stomach with your hands underneath your forehead and your body in neutral spine as demonstrated (figure 3). Maintain activation of your transversus abdominis and pelvic floor throughout the exercise. Slowly bend one knee until the lower leg is pointing upwards. Lift your bent knee just a few inches off the floor without moving your lower back. Slowly straighten the knee, then lower the leg back down to the floor, returning to the starting position. Keep your spine and pelvis still throughout the exercise and breathe normally. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 3 – Single Leg Kicks (right leg)
Physiotherapy Products for Intermediate Pilates Exercises
- Lumbar Supports (for sitting)
To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with Pilates exercises or back injuries click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.
- View What is Clinical Pilates?
- View Before You Start Pilates
- View Beginner Pilates Exercises
- View Advanced Pilates Exercises
- View Pilates Foam Roller Exercises
- View Pelvic Floor Exercises
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