7 classical pilates moves you should know

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    All you Pilates enthusiasts, we’ve got something extra special for you today.

    One of our favourite instructors, Nonna Gleyzer, is taking us through seven of the OG Pilates moves that can be done on a mat. These were developed by Joseph Pilates, based on his extensive studies in anatomy and training in various modalities like martial arts and fencing.

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    And Nonna is just the person for the job. She was certified by Joseph’s world-renowned protégé Romana Kryzanowska and spent years working with her in her NYC studio.

    Ready to get back to basics? Press play to see Nonna demo the moves, and follow along with the written instructions below.

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    1. Spine Stretch Forward

    – Sit with the legs spread straight out on the floor, shoulder width apart, stretching the arms straight out in front of the shoulders.
    – Starting from the top of your head, pulling the navel to the spine, roll down and forward, exhaling and making sure to stay round, pulling the navel to the spine,
    – Roll back up initiating from the navel. This can be done three to five times.

    2. Open Leg Rocker

    – Balance on your coccyx, grabbing your ankles.
    – Stretch your legs straight up in the air, spread apart in a V shape, still holding your ankles.
    – Initiating from the navel, roll backward onto your back and then back up to the upright, balanced position with your legs in the air. Make sure you do not go back further than you can sit up with no hingeing. This exercise can be done three to five times.

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    3. Corkscrew

    – Lie flat on your back, arms extended straight down at your sides.
    – Bend your knees into your chest, and straighten your legs up towards the ceiling, keeping the heels pressed together.
    – Draw your navel to your spine, and make a small circle to the right with your legs.
    – Reverse directions, and circle your legs to the left. This can be done three to five times.

    4. Single-Leg Kick

    – Lie on your stomach, supporting yourself with your elbows beneath your shoulders, pushing away from your fists on the mat, keeping the navel to the spine, not sinking in the lower back.
    – Kick one leg into the bottom twice while the other leg stretches out on the mat, with both legs working together.
    – Switch to the other leg. Repeat three to five times, counting both legs as one set.

    5. Double-Leg Kick

    – Lie on your stomach with one cheekbone on the mat. The hands are clasped together behind the back, as high as possible with the elbows relaxed down to the sides. This creates a stretch across the upper back.
    – Both legs kick toward the bottom three times.
    – As the legs extend back down, pull your arms, shoulders, and upper back up and back towards the feet for three counts. Place the other cheek on the mat, and repeat on the opposite side. This can be done three to five times.

    6. Neck Pull

    – Lie flat on the back, legs straight out along the mat with flexed feet. Pull the navel to the spine, and place the hands behind the head.
    – Roll up and forward, keeping the elbows out and the navel to the spine the entire time, carving a letter C.
    – Initiating from the navel, roll up tall to a sitting position.
    – Pulling the navel to the spine, chin to chest, squeezing the bottom, roll back down onto the mat one vertebrae at a time, starting with the coccyx. Repeat three to five times.

    7. Shoulder Bridge

    – Lie on the mat with your feet placed flat on the mat directly underneath the knees.
    – Lift your pelvis up, and place your hands directly under your hips, elbows glued to your sides. The rib cage, hips, and knees should be in one straight line.
    – Stretch one leg straight up to the ceiling, foot pointed.
    – Flex the foot as you bring the leg back down to the floor in a straight, extended position. After completing three to five reps on one leg, switch to the other leg and repeat.

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