Pilates Mat Work Got You Down? Do It Standing Up!

If you have difficulty doing Pilates mat exercises, you can try some common mat exercises while standing up. The Hundred is one of the fundamental Pilates exercises. It is normally performed lying on an exercise mat. The standing Hundred focuses on your core, shoulders and the back of your arms. To perform the standing Hundred exercise, stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Hold your arms at your sides with your palms facing toward your back. Keep your arms rigid and straight. Pump your arms up and down 10 times. Inhale on the first five pumps and exhale of the last 5 arm pumps. Lift your right leg a few inches off the floor and point your toes and repeat 10 arm pumps. Lower your left leg, lift your right leg and repeat for another 10 arm pumps.

The side lift plie works your core, quadriceps and glutes. Stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold your arms straight out from your shoulders. Turn your feet out about 45 degrees so that your toes are pointed out to the side. Bend your knees 90 degrees to lower your body but keep your back straight. Extend your left leg as you simultaneously straighten your right leg. Sweep your left leg out to the side of your body, hold for 2 seconds and then return to the plie position. Repeat with the other side. Do 8 repetitions on each side.

To do leg lifts, stand near a wall or hold onto the back of a chair if you needs balance support. Stand up straight and drop your shoulders a couple of inches to straighten your back. Place your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Once you have your balance, squeeze your abdominal muscles and lift your right leg. Bend your knee and place your hands underneath your thigh to support your right leg. Inhale and exhale twice and then lower your right leg back to the floor. Repeat with your left leg.

Leg circles help strengthen your entire leg including your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Leg circles are also good for your hip stabilizer muscles. Stand up straight and place your feet about hip-width apart. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and squeeze your thighs together. Keep your arms at your sides with your palms facing your thighs. Inhale and lift your left leg straight out to your left side with your knee facing forward. Make a small circles clockwise with your leg and then counter-clockwise. Do 8 circles in each direction. Lower your left leg and repeat with your right leg.

Do not exercise without your doctor’s permission if you are pregnant, suffer from osteoporosis or have any condition that may be aggravated by exercise.

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