Pilates Premier Exercises
Into the Exercise (positive lift)
Step 1: Lie on your belly with your head facing to one side. Place your hands just above your head. Inhale deeply.
Step 2: Keeping your elbows touching the floor, raise your upper body so that you are looking straight ahead. Pause for one second.
Step 3: Looking up toward the ceiling, raise your head another inch or two.
Out of the Exercise (negative lift)
Step 4: Lower your head to the floor, facing toward the opposite direction. Exhale and release.
Timing & Repetition
The total movement should take at least 8 seconds: 2 seconds for the inhale; 1 second for raising the body; 1 second for the pause; 1 second for the extension; 1 second for lowering the body; and 2 seconds for the exhale and release. Repeat the exercise 6 times, which should take at least 48 seconds.
This exercise has three purposes. First, it will strengthen your upper back muscles. Second, it will enhance the flexibility of your rib cage. Third, it will enhance your neck’s range of motion by stretching your trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and related muscles.
Levels of Difficulty
Level 1: Perform steps 1, 2c (looking down at the floor), and 4.
Level 2: Perform steps 1, 2b (looking at your fingertips), and 4.
Level 3: Perform steps 1, 2a (looking in front of your fingertips), and 4.
Level 4: Perform steps 1, 2, and 4.
Level 5: Perform steps 1-4.