Seeing that we spend many hours a day standing, we might as well understand the importance of standing strong and activating the hip and glutes. This element targets your standing muscles in your abdomen, butt and legs. Standing work addresses balance and strength. Many Pilates schools run standing strength and balance programmes, reinforcing the need to remain upright.
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Stand, Rotate, Press Away Flow
Standing still, feet and hips in neutral. (feet hip width apart) Stillness from the waistline down. Neck long, elbows and hands at shoulder height. Rotate from the waist upwards for a few flows, relaxed breath. Repeat to the other side. Breathing naturally and comfortably through the move, maintaining relaxed shoulders.
Add an elbow extension at the end of the rotation as if pointing to the far corner. Feel the chest open and between the shoulder blades connect as you twist away.
Change shape of the arms.
Bring your hands up to 90 degrees at your elbows, hands in line with ears and rotate again.
You can add an overhead lateral flexion too, reaching arm high and stretched over to the opposite side. Listen to your body. Increase the range of movement where you can.
Work to your rhythm. Listen to your steadiness. This flow is set to target spinal rotation whilst keeping the hip still, the knee still and the feet still.
Transition, release arms
Standing One Leg Circle
From neutral stance, stand on one leg, keeping hips aligned. Flex the foot and draw small circles. Focus more on what’s going on the back side of your body. Engage your glutes as you perform this movement. Check your balance.
Are you dropping down too far into your hips?
How tall can you stand on your supporting leg? Switch direction.
Before switching sides, check your set up and stand strong.
Feel the tension through the pelvic floor. Focusing on the power around the static hip. In midlife and beyond we need to look at mobility of the hips and ankles. Strong and functioning hardware.
Release tension in hips and legs
Front foot Stretch R/L
Stand Tall, rest the top of the foot and toenails on the floor to allow a stretch through the foot and ankle. Extend and float the arm from the same side upwards. Stretching at the front of the foot and ankle and the front of the shin are essential as we age.
Change angles on your mat as we will be tipping forward whilst one leg lifts. Right foot flexes. Stand tall and flex the hip. Float flexed foot forward as your starting position then draw the straight leg backwards. A pendulum swing getting bigger with each repetition. The leg is long and strong and we start to tip forward, hinge at the hips. The stretched arm reaches forwards then downwards. At the same time the heel presses upwards. Take your time with this, so focus on that straight leg and strong lines.
Transition to wide stance in the centre of your mat
Lateral Lunge to Overhead Reach alt R/L
A side step (lateral lunge) to the right side, land lightly on your foot, settle into a bent knee and push the bottom outward. The landed foot points outwards in the direction of the moving leg. Once settled reach the arm and then take it overhead. Keep flowing from your right to your left. If space doesn’t allow, repeat on one side up to 10 reps then switch.
In the lateral lunge to overhead reach is one of those moves whereupon taking a large step sideways can elevate stress and concern. The benefit behind the repetition of this move shows us that confidence increases. It is an encouraging movement to help us feel strong and confident around our functional movement.
Transition to the wall and have a cushion nearby as well.