This week’s workout comes from pilates instructor Charlotte Hulme ’14. You can attend her class Monday 7-8 in the Alumnae Ballroom.
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Remember to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth throughout the workout. Keeping your abs engaged is also important (picture your bellybutton being pulled into the spine). This workout is for you to modify depending on how much time you have available, so don’t be afraid to lengthen the workout, take exercises out or add in exercises you like!
Warm up with some calf-stretches and easy squats.
1) Leg extensions for a count of 100. For this to be effective the bellybutton must be pulled into the spine, the chin must be tucked to the chest and the lower back has to stay on the mat. Challenge yourself by lowering the legs down closer to the mat—this will really hit those lower abs as long as you keep the back on the mat the whole time.
2) Roll up (similar to a sit-up, but with legs down and extended) 20 times. Bring the arms up over the head and use just your abs to lift yourself up and then try to touch your hands to your toes or beyond. Roll back down one vertebrae at a time, and take it much more slowly than you think you should—you should be feeling it in those lower abs! If the traditional roll up is too easy, try making a ﬁst out of your hands and putting them by your ears, and roll up without the momentum your arms normally provide.
3) Single leg stretch 20 times. One knee is tucked into the chest, other leg is extended at a 45 degree angle. Put the same side hand as the knee tucked into the chest on the outside of the ankle, and the opposite side hand as the knee on the inside of the knee. Tug the knee towards you for two counts and then switch legs.
4) Double leg stretch 10 times. This time both knees are tucked into the chest at the beginning. Then extend both legs out to a 45 degree angle with the hands extended out behind the head. Try to hold for about three or four counts (as long as possible without letting your lower back/abs come off the mat). Then exhale and wrap the arms and legs back to the starting position.
5) Bridges. Start lying on your back, then lift the hips to the point where you feel your glutes are engaged. Lift and lower about five to seven times to start. Then raise one foot (either keeping the leg straight or bending at the knee) and do raises 10 times on each side.
Cool down by stretching for a few minutes, focusing on how it makes your body feel.
If any of the movement descriptions are unfamiliar to you, try searching YouTube for tutorials and explanations so you can see the movement in action.