Intermediate Pilates exercises are meant to be practised in the context of different exercises, at a variety of levels, which function together in order to create a balanced, dynamic workout. Before you include intermediate exercises into your routine, you should have command of the beginner and exercises.
Here are three great intermediate Pilates exercises that you can do on your mat.
Roll Back with Hamstring Stretch
Sitting across a mat, place your hands on your thighs. Keep your feet flat on the ground directly below your knees and your spine long. Your knees and feet are together.
Exhale, engage your stabilisers and widen your hip bones as you roll back, tucking your tail under. Inhale and hold this position as you flex your feet. Exhale to extend your legs and curl forward, maintain flexed feet and enjoying a hamstring stretch.
Inhale to return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times.
If you would like to make things easier, rollback only holding the movement for the inhale and restacking your spine on the exhale without adding the hamstring stretch. Alternatively, if you would like to intensify the exercise, try it with your hands positioned behind your head. You can also place a rolled-up towel between your knees to activate the adductors (inner thighs) which in turn activates the pelvic floor as well as the transverse abdominus.
Lie on your right side with your knees stacked and your heels in line with your sitting bones. Exhale and open your top knee high towards the ceiling. Do not shift or move the pelvis.
Inhale as your thigh remains in this position and extend your leg, activating your deep hip rotators and glutes. Exhale, bending and returning your leg back to the clam position. Inhale and return your leg to the sporting position. Repeat between 12 and 15 times.
To simplify the exercise, omit the leg extension. To intensify it, start with both heels raised to activate your glute stabilisers underneath and on the sides of your hips.
Single Leg Kick
Lie on your stomach. Place your hands somewhat in front of your body, angling them inwards, rest your head on your hands with your knees and ankles together.
Inhale as you lift your breastbone and extend your spine to half Cobra pressing your hands and elbows int the ground. Come up only as high as you can go with your back remaining tension-free. As you exhale, ned your right knee three times, keeping your foot slightly pointed but relaxed. Maintain the alignment of your leg as you pulse your breath for three counts during this leg movement.
Inhale as you lower your leg and extend your spine slightly higher. Exhale and return to the starting position, preparing to repeat with your left leg. Repeat both movements eight times on each leg, alternative legs as you go.
To simplify this exercise keep your head resting on your hands and just pulse your legs without extending your spine to half Cobra and maintaining a lifted chest throughout the exercise will intensify the movement.
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