We all have that handful of exercises that either always has our back, or has transformed our bodies. I like to refer to these as my “ride or die” exercises, the ones I practice regularly, and honestly could not live without. Now before we get into these exercises, let’s just note that I still practice all of the Pilates exercises and sequences. Often times the exercises we dislike most, or the ones we need the most; however, this is another topic for another day. Without further adieu, here are my top, could not live without, must do regularly exercises.
The Roll-Up, is there actually anything that feels better than a well articulated spinal movement? No, no there is not. Not only does the roll up provide a stretch for the entire back of the body, it also strengthens the powerhouse, challenges your control and activates the whole body. There are so many ways to do the roll-up, with props and springs, however I prefer the traditional exercise in its natural form.
Single Leg Stretch and Double Leg Stretch, I mention these two together as they are like the peanut butter and jelly of my abdominal series. Without the two of them, the series would feel lackluster. Single leg stretch is a great warm up for the work ahead, focusing on the dynamic reaching of legs while engaging the entire back to switch them. Double Leg Stretch feels so good, just as it sounds! Reaching all limbs away from each other hollowing out your center, only to rejoin in a tight little ball.
Spine Twist, wringing out the body one exhale at a time. I find twisting rejuvenating, it’s a nice way to wake the body as much as it is a way to check in with your body. When practicing with proper alignment we can really feel the difference from side to side. This awareness helps me move with more purpose in my other exercises. I prefer to practice Spine Twist seated with legs extended, using either a power circle with one pad on my sternum or with hands behind my head. Those pesky arms always try to do the work for you!
Side Lying Leg series, this series is just too good to break apart, so why should I? The entire series works on stabilizing the hips, finding our two way stretch, strengthening our power house and creating long lean muscles. For those of us not familiar with the full classical series the following are practiced in sequence; Front and Back, Up and Down, Passe, Circles, Inner Thigh Lift and Circles, Scissors, Hot Potato and Bicycle. Although it seems like a long series, when practiced in a flowing pace it should take no more than 2 minutes to complete.
The Teaser, this is the last exercise on my list, but by no means is it my least favorite. I love the Teaser, I love it on the Mat, I love it on the Cadillac, I love it on the Reformer, I love it on the Chair, I love it on the Spine Corrector, I truly do love it everywhere! The Teaser is one of the most challenging exercises for the powerhouse, it requires complete control over mind and body. This exercise is always a great way for me to check in with my progress, the stronger I get, the more effortless the Teaser becomes.
Those are my five “ride or die” Pilates exercises. What exercises would you have on your list? Comment below, I would love to know!