Chair Pilates Exercises
Into the Exercise (positive lift)
Step 1: Lie flat on your back with your arms stretched out above your head. Inhale deeply, then tighten your abdominal muscles as you rotate your ankles and curl your toes toward your face.
Steps 2 & 3: In one continuous movement, raise your arms and head off the floor, rounding your back as you lift up one vertebra at a time until you touch your toes while arching your back.
Step 4: Stretch your arms another inch or two past your toes while arching your back slightly more.
Out of the Exercise (negative lift)
Step 5: In one continuous movement, release the stretch and round your back, then return to your original position, lowering your back one vertebra at a time. As you exhale, unrotate your ankles, uncurl your toes, and release the tension in your abdominal muscles.
Timing & Repetition
The total movement should take at least
10 seconds: 2 seconds for the inhale; 2 seconds for the positive lift; 1 second for the pause; 1 second for the stretch;
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1 second for the hold; 1 second for the negative lift; and 2 seconds for the exhale. Repeat the exercise 6 times, which should take at least 60 seconds.
This exercise has two purposes. First, it will strengthen your abdominal muscles. Second, it will enhance the flexibility of your hips and back.
Levels of Difficulty
Level 1: Perform steps 1 and 3c (raise your shoulders off the floor and point your fingers toward the ceiling). Then perform step 5.
Level 2: Perform steps 1, 2, and 3b (touch your knees instead of your toes as you arch your back). Then perform step 5.
Level 3: Perform steps 1, 2, and 3a (touch your shins instead of your toes as you arch your back). Then perform step 5.
Level 4: Perform steps 1, 2, 3, and 5.
Level 5: Perform steps 1-5.