This Pilates Workout Will Strengthen Your Whole Body (And Mind)

tahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration, standing arabesque
via One Hot Yoga & Pilates

Concentration: it’s something we all lack from time to time. Whether we’re making dinner plans mid meeting or searching Netflix’s ‘must-watch’ list while working, there’s no denying we all have a wandering mind.

So for Week Two of our six-week Pilates Challenge, One Hot Yoga and Pilates instructor, Tahlia Ware will focus on an important Pilates principle: concentration. This workout is designed to strengthen both your body and mind. Perform it two to three times, along with your regular workout regime and notice how your focus improves. All you need is 20 minutes and a mat.

Missed Week One’s workout? Find it here.

Week Two: Concentration

“The Pilates principal Concentration promotes mind-body connection. The better connection you establish with your body, the more benefits you will gain from the exercises. As you focus and become mindful of each body movement you will enhance the body awareness and improve the body’s intelligence,” says Tahlia Ware.

Thigh Stretchtahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration

tahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears Cotton On Body

Thigh stretch is a fantastic exercise to strengthen the hips and thighs in a lengthened position whilst also challenging the stability of the core muscles. It’s perfect for people who spend a lot of time in a closed position through the hips, like sitting.

  1. Begin kneeling upright with knees slightly apart, legs parallel and arms out in front of you. Keep your spine completely erect.
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – Hinge the body backward in a straight line
  4. Inhale – Hold, making sure not to bend the spine.
  5. Exhale – Hinge the body back forward to the start position.
  6. Repeat 3 – 5 repetitions

Pro Tip: To increase the challenge, reach the arms overhead as you hinge back to challenge the stability of the torso.

Safety Tip: Keep your core active! Make sure you have your abs and glutes on for the duration of the exercise. This will provide the support your body needs to be able to ‘hinge’ without causing discomfort in the lower back.

Standing Lungetahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration

tahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears Cotton On Body

The standing lunge is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles of the legs while stabilsing the hip and knee joints, all while challenging your balance and coordination in a standing position.

  1. Start standing with your left leg forward and right leg back. Lower the hips into a lunge position allowing the front knee to bend and the back knee to straighten. Keep even weight between the front and back leg with the body in an upright position. Lower abdominals are drawing in with a slight tuck of the pelvis and arms reaching up overhead.
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – Bend the back knee and hover just off the mat. Keeping the body perfectly straight, maintaining the slight tuck of the pelvis and lower the arms forward to shoulder height.
  4. Inhale – Hold
  5. Exhale – Straighten the back knee, returning to the start position
  6. Repeat 8 repetitions on each leg.

Pro Tip: To increase the challenge, lift the front heel up off the mat when you lower into the back knee down. This will test your balance and ankle stability – be sure to concentrate!

Safety Tip: Do not allow the knee to go beyond the toes; keep the knee in line with the ankle when in a lunge position.

Standing Arabesquetahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration, standing arabesque

tahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration, standing arabesque
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears Cotton On Body

The standing arabesque will strength the glutes and hamstrings, creating long lean muscle tone, whist challenging the balance and full body coordination.

  1. Start standing with parallel legs. Reach the right leg back behind you and lean the torso forward, both arms reaching overhead. Continue to reach arms and legs in opposite directions aiming to get the body in one straight line creating a ‘T’ shape with the bottom leg.
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – Bend the right knee to a 90-degree angle, keeping the thigh at the same height flexing the foot. Simultaneously, bend the left knee slightly, and reach the arms by the side.
  4. Inhale – Hold the bend in both knees
  5. Exhale – Straighten both knees, point the right toes and reach the arms back forward to return to the starting position
  6. Repeat 8 repetitions on each leg

Pro Tip: To decrease the balance challenge hold on to a bar or the wall with both hands through out the duration of the exercise. You can then progress to having just one hand on the wall, and eventually build the strength to be able to comfortably balance without any assistance.

Safety Tip: Watch the alignment of the bottom or supporting knee, ensure the knee is pointing forward over the second toe as you bend and not rolling in or out.

Roll-Down to Planktahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration

tahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears Cotton On Body

 

Roll-down to plank strengthens the arms and abdominals while lengthening the spine and improving the flexibility of side waist muscles to keep you as square as possible through out the duration of the exercise.

  1. Start standing with feet parallel, hip-distance apart.
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – slowly roll down toward the floor one vertebrae at a time. Keeping the head heavy and relaxed and bring the hands to the floor.
  4. Inhale – slightly bend the knees as you take 4 steps forward with the hands to come to a plank position
  5. Exhale- Hold for 3-5 breaths
  6. Inhale – slightly bend the knees as you take 4 steps with the hands walking back towards your feet
  7. Exhale – Roll back up to standing
  8. Repeat 5 times

Pro Tip: To increase the challenge add 3-5 push-ups in the plank position instead of holding. Inhale to bend the elbows, exhale to straighten, ensuring to keep the core muscles strong to maintain the plank shape throughout.

Safety Tip: Be mindful not to allow the lower back to ‘sag’ in the plank. If you find you are unable to maintain the plank, or you feel discomfort in the lower back, lower the knees to the mat while you hold for 3-5 breathes. Lift the knees back off the mat before rolling back up to standing.

Side Plank With Twist tahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration

tahlia ware, one hot yoga and pilates, one hot yoga, pilates workout, pilates concentration
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears Cotton On Body

This advanced exercise is a wonderful way to work on rotation of the spine while challenging the body’s ability to weight-bear on one arm.

  1. Start in a side plank, with the top arm reaching to the ceiling.
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – Allow the hips to lift, begin to twist the spine as the upper arm “threads the needle” and passes between the supporting arm and legs.
  4. Inhale – Maintain the lifted plank position and un-twist the spine back to the side plank
  5. Repeat 5 times on each side

Pro Tip: Every time the spine ‘twists’ or ‘untwists’ the movement should start from the abdominals. This will keep your spine safe as you move in and out of rotation.

Safety Tip: Be sure to have mastered the side plank position first before attempting to add the twist. This can be modified to have the bottom knee down on the mat to decrease the load through the supporting shoulder.

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Growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with a love of the outdoors, Georgia has always led an active lifestyle. She has a passion for health, fitness and fashion, and loves to travel and try new things. Along with her position at Sporteluxe, Georgia works as a fit model for global fashion brands including Bassike and Christopher Esber, combining her interest in fashion with her dedication to healthy living. She graduated from the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Media (PR and Advertising) and initially pursued the public relations field but was always drawn to journalism due to her love of reading and writing. For Georgia, life is about balance. She leads an active and fulfilled lifestyle and nourishes her mind and body but won't shy away from a burger and wine!