We Love Pilates – Stretch Series

Pilates is so good! So many ways to improve strength, flexibility & co-ordination and ITS FUN!

The Pilates Stretch Series can target shoulder stability, hamstring length and hip flexor strength or all 3 at once! It’s a super quick reformer routine that can be easily adapted to your ability. We usually start you doing these as individual exercises but as you get better at Pilates, they can be combined into a flow routine.

STARTING POSITION

Many of these exercises start in the “pike” position; I suppose it’s called this because it looks a bit like the pike position of a platform diver.

A variation can be to start with a rounded back, though, depending on your flexibility.

ELEPHANT

Elephant is a great exercise to stretch the hamstrings, loosen up the lower back,strengthen the hips and wake up your mind!

From the starting position, move the bed backwards.

The challenge comes from keeping a nice pike position while drawing the back to the starting position!!

PLANK

A few years ago, “planking” was all the rage but it’s been a regular Pilates exercise for decades.

After achieving the plank position, you return to the starting position and repeat.

LONG STRETCH

This exercise is GREAT for integrating shoulder stability and core stability.

You basically maintain the Plank position above while your upper body does all the work… Easy!

Plank position 1 – with a straight line from the back of the head to the back of the heels.


Plank position 2 – note how my head is past the foot bar and shoulders are over my wrists.

My shoulders could be a little more “squared off” or “activated” but I suppose I need to do this series more often!!

Long stretch involves moving between position 1 to position 2 for 8-12 repetitions.

 UP STRETCH

This exercise sums up all the previous exercises.  You can look at it as the “pinnacle” of the reformer stretch series and goes like this!

Starting position


Plank


Plank position 2


Pike position


AND Back to the start


Rinse and repeat 8-12 times!

DOWN STRETCH

So after all that hard work, you’ll need a rest!

Down Stretch starts in a kneeling position; the aim this time is for a nice neutral spinal posture, with the back of the head in line with the back of the thighs.

The movement is driven from the arms to end with the kneeling position below.


Kneeling position 2 – requires a strong core to support the torso in this position. A longer neck line would be ideal but you get the idea.

Down Stretch involves moving from the starting position to position 2 for 8-12 repetitions.

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