Pilates: How To Warm Up And Cool Down
Pilates: How To Warm Up And Cool Down
This Pilates exercise is essential to anyone doing a Pilates workout. Learn a safe and effective way of preparing yourself for a Pilates workout and how to cool down afterwards with VideoJug's help.
Step 1: You will need
- 1 exercise mat or thick towel
- some comfortable clothing
- 1 small support, towel or cushion - optional
Step 2: The Warm-up
Step 3: Exercise one: Shoulder rolls
Sit down crossed legged on your exercise mat or towel and rest your hands on your knees. If this position isn't comfortable for you, either sit on a small support or towel, or have your legs bent up in front of you. Keep your back as straight as possible with your neck following its natural line.
Inhale and gently start to roll your shoulders back, then exhale to complete the circle.
Repeat this three times.
When you finish do the same thing but rolling the shoulders forwards.
Step 4: Exercise two: Feet circles and flexes
Bring your legs out straight in front of you. Again, if you're uncomfortable in this position then prop yourself up on a support.
Breathe naturally and circle both feet around one way three times, then the other way three times.
Adjust your feet back to a parallel line, then again breathing naturally, point both down to the floor then passing through the toes, soles of the feet and heels, flex them back.
Repeat this five times.
If you find pointing the feet produces cramp, stretch them back the opposite way, pull on the toes and give them a wiggle.
Step 5: Exercise three: Hip rotation
Lie down with your knees bent and your back in neutral.
Inhale and rotate one leg out, keeping your pelvis stable, then exhale, lengthen the leg along the mat and draw it back into the starting position.
Repeat this four times with one leg then change to do the other leg.
Try and maintain your pelvis stable throughout this exercise but keep the hip as free as possible.
Step 6: Exercise four: Arm opening
Turn over onto your side and draw your legs up to a 90º angle.
Have your back in neutral and reach your arms out in front of you, one on top of the other.
Rest your head on the mat but if you feel too much of a stretch in the neck put a support underneath.
Inhale to raise the arm to the ceiling, following the hand with the eyes, as you exhale, open the arm down towards the floor.
Inhale stay, exhale contract your abdominals but relax further into the stretch then as you inhale start moving back and exhale to return to the start.
Repeat this three times, being aware not to overarch the lower back, then do the same thing on the other side.
This exercise completes the warm-up.
Step 7: The Cool Down
Step 8: Exercise one: Hip flexor stretch
Start from kneeling upright with your back straight. Take a big step forward with either leg. Adjust your position until your back leg rests just above the knee, not on the actual knee itself and rest both hands on the front knee.
Keeping your back straight, inhale then as you exhale, lean from your hip further into the stretch. Maintain this for about 3 deep breaths. To increase the stretch, push your backside forward.
When you finish, repeat the same thing on the other leg.
Step 9: Exercise two: Lower back, chest and shoulder stretch
Lie down on your mat keep one leg extended and gently bring the other into your body. Using the opposite hand, slowly draw the knee across your body and towards the floor.
When you have reached the position where you feel a sufficient stretch in your shoulder and lower back, gently turn your head away from the bent knee.
Stay in this position for 3 deep breaths, increasing the stretch every time you breathe out, then return to the centre and repeat the same thing on the other side.
Step 10: Exercise three: Hip and gluteus stretch
Sit up in a crossed legged position with your hands lightly resting on your knees. If you are uncomfortable like this then sit on a small support.
Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out curl forwards do