MarchMatness Unicorn Edition- Week 4
Who says classic needs to be boring?
The pilates unicorn is back to add a little bit of sunshine to the challenging moves ahead!
I mean why be anything else when you can be a unicorn!
For the last and final week of March Matness I wanted to give you more smiles since these advanced Pilates exercises are no joke!
When Joseph Pilates was alive, he called his method- "Contrology" or the science of controlling one's body. What separates Pilates from other forms of exercise are its guiding principles:
Pilates is a thinking unicorn's exercise- but that doesn't mean we can't have just a little fun!
Created by Benjamin Degenhardt, March MATness is a global Pilates party. It's celebrated around the world as participants share photos, videos and written word to social media.
It’s our way of paying homage to our fitness legend and pilates creator!
If you would like to warm up before diving back in, click - here for a 7 minute warm up..
Another great way to keep the muscles along your spine healthy!
When I teach this in person, my students always giggle. It is fun to lay on your belly like a toddler, but this move retrains your spine by strengthening your center.
Working: Low Back, Hamstrings, & Upper Back
- Lay face down reaching arms forward & toes back.
- Pull abs in & shoulders away from ears.
- Raise limbs a bit keeping spine neutral.
- Keeping your torso still, raise one leg and opposite arm higher.
- Then switch sides.
- Inhale for 5 strokes and exhale for 5
Or check it out in real time with some fresh beats:
The trick with lower back exercises is to keep those abs engaged and think of bracing your ab muscles tight around your spine like a corset. OG waist training:)
Leg Pull Front & Back
This series looks a lot like modern day planks! Joseph Pilates was a genius that was ahead of his time!
As Joe used to say- a healthy spine can move in all directions.
And that is why we do planks facing both directions! If you're like me, the facing up, or reverse is super tough. This is die to short or tight muscles in the chest.
Muscles Used: Butt, Hamstrings, Inner Thighs, Abs, Shoulders, and Lower Back
Watch the video to learn a few different variations if this has been tough for you too. Keeping your shoulders healthy and mobile will keep you free from pain.
The Kneeling Side Kicks
This is how you target the sides of your hips and work your whole body in alignment.
I usually get side eye when I pull this out in class, but you know it is good for you! In the video I go over a few different ways to modify so unicorns of all levels can join in.
Let's focus on toning those unicorn legs and work on balance and coordination. The variations in the video will work your hip joints in all directions. It is part side plank and part side leg sweeps.
Muscles Used: Abs, Hips, Shoulders, Obliques, Butt
Did you know that this can be modified for different levels? There are ways to make it more acccessible, even if you have injuries. Side body work is so important and this move will teach you torso stability.
Side Bend (aka Mermaid )
Mermaids and Unicorns are my favorite things!
Who says that my dreams have to stay in my dreams- Ariel, The little Mermaid
The Mermaid is stretch for your sides and a workout for your arms and buns.
Side bending is a crucial part of keeping our normal spinal range of motion, which we do not get when we sit alot.
Muscles Used: Abs, shoulder girdle, and butt
.Working in the side plank position, gives us a chance to find balance between both shoulders.
Even though it is an advanced move I offer several ways you can do it, even if you are just starting out! There are many ways you can modify to accomodate shoulder wrist and hip injuries, see the vid to be a merbabe with me:)
This is an advanced exercise that requires extreme core strength balance and coordination. It took me many years to reaaly master the combination of strength and rythym it takes to execute it.
It's a combines of the ab work of teaser, with circulating arms and adds a leg split as you balance on your shoulders.
My thighs always burn on these so much!!!
Muscles Used: Abs, Hips, Hamstrings and Butt
I will take you through each step so you can learn the natural rhythem of the leg swing and intense precise moevments.
Crab & Seal
Let's roll babes, choose one or try them both!
The Seal is an intermediate move that will not only massage your spine, but it will teach you stability and control..
The Crab is an advanced move that works spinal mobility, core strength, control, as you target those abs.
Crab takes Rolling Like a Ball, rolls it on its head, and adds an alternating leg cross. This should only be performed by advanced participants. It wasn't really comfortable on the concrete
Muscles Used: Abs & Spine
The video below takes you through each step of the way, we'll be rolling together. I added some fun music in to keep you grooving though it with a smile.
Open your heart! And chest and shoulders as well as strengthen your back muscles...
Scroll down for the video, I'm showing two variations. One with hands outside of ankle and one with hands inside of the ankles. This gives two options of stretches for that humped shoulder computer posture...
It's the classic way and stretching your shoulder capsule at different angles will help to keep your spine aligned.
Muscles Used: Low Back, Back of Thighs, Hamstrings, Chest Opener
- Think of opening from the chest.
- Keep abdominal bracing tight around your low spine.
- Try to keep neck long and avoid whipping the head around.
"Concentrate on the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value".- Joseph H Pilates
The #ControlBalance from the Pilates method is a great move showing that. Grab a mat and give it a whirl , watch out if you have neck or back issues
Muscles Used: Abs, Hips, Hamstrings
- From your shoulder stand or candlestick position.
- Slowly lengthen one leg down to the mat.
- Slowly raise it back up then alternate with the second leg.
- With the arms overhead you can try to tap the foot to hands and give it a stretch.
- Be sure to keep your neck long and still.
- I try to keep my weight off my neck bones by balancing on my shoulder blades and reaching my up leg higher as I engage my abs around my spine.
Have you heard of bear crawls and planks? Joe was ahead of his time as his push up series includes standing roll downs, plank walkouts and push-up.
After the push up we walk back on our hands, only to to come back down and do 2 push ups.
Joe would have you do that 5- 10 times!
Muscles Used: Arms, Triceps, Shoulders, Abs, Thighs
Click the video below for a serious version:)
I only had two 🦆ducks so I only did two rounds, but feel free to pike back and forth and do as many as you can with good form👍The ducks help show how long and steady your spine should be during this move.
Thanks again for having FUN & doing pilates with me!!!
Start adding these fun variations to your workout routine to see fantastic results, stay flexible, become stronger and feel better.