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If you are looking a for a quick pilates reference, take a look at this pilates animation. This a quick & easy, clearly explained diagram of the pilates mat exercise: Classical Pilates for Beginners:
The Double Straight Leg Lower Lift. Pilates exercises focus on breathing, alignments of the spine & build strong torso muscles.
Setup for Double Straight Leg Lower Lift:
* Lie on your back.
* Stack your hands under your head, and keep your elbows wide.
* Lengthen both legs long to the ceiling and in Pilates Point.
* Scoop your abs deeply and push you back into the mat.
* Clench your butt and glide your shoulder blades down your back.
Action for Double Straight Leg Lower Lift.
* Inhale, zip up hard and lower long legs to the wall in front of you.
* Stop before your lower back leaves the floor.
* Inhale and quickly lift! Keep your spine and sacrum glued to the mat.
Classic Pilates Cueing:
* Lower, lower, and lift!
* Scoop deep! Button your torso to the mat!
* Challenges the abdominal muscles(!!!)
* Works all the hip flexors, but especially Sartorius.
* Works the quads, but especially the Vast medial muscle (helps retrack the patella).
* Zip your whole abdomen hard, and activate the glutes and back of the inner thighs.
* Lock the knees to activate the quadriceps.
Modifications: Don't let an injury or weakness stop you! There is always a modification. Take your time and find the right one for you. If in doubt, seek advice!
* Weak and painful hip flexors (pain in the groin): Bend your knees and reduce the range of up and down movement of your legs.
* Weak neck, abs or sore back, place your hands under your buttocks, and keep the range of leg movement small!