Joseph Pilates Exercises
Reviewing Your Exercise Program
If, after performing Sequence 1 of the exercises for a week, your body or any part of it is sore or stiff, repeat Sequence 1 of the exercises for the following week, but go down one level of difficulty in whatever exercises seem to be causing the problem. If you go all the way down to Level 1 and the problem persists, reduce the weight of your dumbbells by one pound until the problem ceases.
If your body or any part of it is not sore or stiff, and if the dumbbells you are lifting feel comfortable, learn Sequence 2 and perform it every day after you complete Sequence 1. In this case, however, instead of repeating the sequences six times, repeat each of them four times.
For Exercises 2.1 through 2.6, follow the percentages given in Table 8.2.
For example, if you determined that you were comfortable lifting 2 pounds for Exercise 1.1, then, following Table 8.2, you will lift 1 pound for Exercise 2.1, 4 pounds for Exercise 2.4, 2 pounds for Exercise 2.5, and 3 pounds for Exercise 2.6.
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2 1 Opening Wide
Into the Exercise (positive lift)
Step 1: Place two dumbbells on the floor, parallel to each other, the distance of your outstretched arms. Lie down between them so that they are at shoulder level, and take one in each hand. Inhale deeply, then tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles as you rotate your ankles and curl your toes toward your face.
Step 2: While holding your breath, lock your elbows and lift your arms straight up until they are a shoulder width apart.
Step 3: Pause and then stretch your arms further toward the ceiling.
Out of the Exercise (negative lift):
Step 4: In one continuous movement, release the stretch, return your arms to the floor, uncurl your toes, unrotate your ankles, and exhale as you release the tension in your abdominal and buttocks muscles.