Essential, everyday strength & stability exercises

17th December 2018

This festive season, we thought we'd take some inspiration from one of our Christmas favourites and give you a set of strength and stability exercises you can try at home or in a Pilates setting. These exercises target some of your major muscle groups that are essential for general posture, pelvis and knee control when walking, running or cycling and stronger core control. 

 

Exercise: Dead Bugs using a foam roller 

This exercise can be achieved without using a foam roller. Gently draw your bellybutton in towards your spine, maintaining a neutral pelvis. Bring left leg to a tabletop position & right arm above your shoulder. Extend arm overhead as you extend leg, lowering as far as you can without allowing the back to arch. 

Targets the Transverse Abdominis, rectus abdominis, erector spinae and obliques.

Progress by bringing both legs to table top position.

 

Exercise: Hundreds

The goal of this exercise is to hold for 100 beats, however if you are a beginner start with 20 and gradually build up.

Bring legs to the tabletop position as shown, maintaining a neutral spine (small arch only in your back). Keep your ribs down to ensure abdominal engagement. Inhale deeply for 5 beats, making small pulsing movements with your arms, then exhale deeply for 5 beats, continuing the pulsing movements in the opposite direction.

Targets the transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis, as well as focusing on breathing control. 

 

Exercise: Side plank with hip abduction

Hips, knees and shoulders should all be in line. Rise up into a side plank position. Engage muscles at the side of the hip to lift your top leg, without allowing your hips to drop. Slowly lower and repeat.Targets the obliques, glute med, and shoulder stabilisers. 

Great for control and whole body stability!

Progress by rising up onto your feet rather than resting on the knee. 

 

Exercise: Bird-Dogs

Find your neutral spine position & gently draw your bellybutton in towards your spine. Reach your left arm out in front as you squeeze your right gluteals to extend the right leg behind you. Try to keep your pelvis as steady as possible and avoid rotating through your spine.

Targets the gluteals, transverse abdominis, obliques, shoulder stabilisers and encourages controlled movement.

Use a foam roller under the hands or under the knees to make this more challenging. 

 

Exercise: Clams

Start with your hips stacked on top of each other and hips and knees bent as shown. Imagine you have a grape resting underneath your waist of the bottom hip- try not to squash this! Use the muscles at the side and back of your top hip to lift the keep up a few inches whilst still keeping your heels together. Slowly lower and repeat.

Targets the deep external rotator and gluteus medius.

Important for hip- knee control and pelvic stability with running, walking and cycling.

 

Exercise: Bridges

Weight through your heels. Tilt your pelvis backwards slightly so that your back begins to flatten into the floor. Engage the muscles in your backside to lift your hips off the floor, and imagine that you are pushing your knees forwards over your feet. Slowly lower and repeat.

Targets the gluteals and hamstrings.Useful for learning pelvic positioning techniques that can be progressed to various exercises such as deadlifting or squatting.

Can be progressed by placing heels onto a bench or step, or progressing towards single leg. 

 

From here on, we are going to progress our exercises on a reformer machine to show you what can be achieved in a studio or with a clinical professional. 

Exercise: Double leg bridge

Similar to a floor based bridge, but by reducing the tension of the springs, will really challenge the hamstrings and gluteals to control the carriage (moving platform.)

Targets the hamstrings, gluteals, erector spinae and abdominal muscles.

Advance this by progressing to single leg or try something similar at home using a fitball under your heels.  

 

Exercise: Chariot Rows

Targets the rhomboids, lower trapezius and lat muscles. A great exercise for those who spend much of their day sitting. 

A substitute exercise for a gym based programme is a seated row.

 

Exercise: Squat hold scooters

Targets the glute med and deep external rotator muscles of the hip. Also encourages pelvic control whilst moving the lower limbs.

 

Exercise: Scooter

Targets the glute med and deep external rotators of the stance leg. Encourages maintenance of a “neutral” pelvis whilst the legs move- great exercise for runners and cyclists 

Beginners put hand onto the footbar for support. For intermediate to advanced, no upper limb support.

 

Exercise: Tabletop holds with Overhead arms

Targets the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and erector spinae.

Depending upon the resistance applied, can also challenge the upper body.

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