Into the Exercise (positive lift)
Step 1: Take a dumbbell in both hands and raise it over and behind your head, with the lower end of the dumbbell at shoulder height, holding it between your thumbs. Lift your chest, take a deep breath, and then curl up your toes and tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles.
Step 2: While holding your breath, lift your hands straight up, lock your elbows, and pause.
Step 3: Shift your weight back onto your heels, simultaneously stretching your arms further toward the ceiling. Hold your balance for two seconds.
Out of the Exercise (negative lift):
Step 4: In one continuous motion, release the stretch, return your feet to their normal position, lower your hands to the starting position, and exhale as you uncurl your toes and release the tension in your abdominal and buttocks muscles.
Pilates Exercises Photo Gallery
Timing & Repetition
The total movement should take at least 11 seconds: 2 seconds for the inhale; 1 second for the positive lift; 1 second for the pause;
1 second for the stretch; 2 seconds for the hold; 2 seconds for the negative lift; and 2 seconds for the exhale and release. Repeat the exercise 6 times, which should take at least 66 seconds.
This exercise has four purposes. First, it will strengthen your tricep muscles. Second, it will improve the posture of your upper body by enhancing the flexibility of the shoulder blades and decompressing the thoracic spine and rib cage. Third, it will improve your balance by shifting your weight totally onto your heels. Fourth, it will improve the flexibility of your wrists.
Levels of Difficulty
Level 1: Holding the dumbbell horizontally, but lying on your back, perform step 1a (inhale deeply, then tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles and rotate your ankles and curl your toes toward your face). Perform step 1b (lift the dumbbell until your arms are pointed straight up). Perform step 1c (stretch your arms further toward the ceiling). Perform step 1d (in one continuous motion, lower your hands to the starting position and exhale as you uncurl your toes, unrotate your ankles, and release the tension in your abdominal and buttock muscles).
Level 2: Holding the dumbbell horizontally, perform steps 1, 2, and 4.
Level 3: Holding the dumbbell vertically, perform steps 1, 2, and 4.
Level 4: Holding the dumbbell horizontally instead of vertically, perform steps 1-4. Level 5: Perform steps 1-4.