Sample beginner mat pilates class

Design a 55 minute Pilates class including:

  • 5 exercises with props (can be used in warm-up)
  • Reason for exercise selection
  • Principles used
  • Purpose
  • Muscles Used
  • Set-up / Alignment
  • Execution
  • Imagery / Teaching note
  • Progressions and modification

By Kaz Marsden

10th July 2011

Target Class

Beginners: newly attending a Pilates class at local gym. Intermediate fitness, mainly women aged 16 – 60 years old.

 

Welcome

Hi, I am Kaz, your Pilates instructor for today. Welcome.

Pilates is a series of exercises that strengthens our deepest muscles. It will improve your posture, shape and general movement. I want you to focus on good quality executions – smooth and controlled.

Let’s start with our breathing; it will assist your muscles as we go.

Lateral Thoracic Breathing

  • Standing. Feet hip width apart – shoulders and knees relaxed
  • Place your hand on your rib, thumb towards your back
  • Breath in through you nose, filling you lungs front, side and back
  • Exhale through pursed lips
  • Place other hand over your belly button
  • Breath in through your nose, relaxing your shoulders
  • Purse you lips, forced exhalation – as if you were blowing into a balloon
  • Repeat a few times.

We always aim to breathe in to prepare for a movement, and exhale to perform.

Neutral Pelvis Standing

  • Place the heels of your hands onto the front of both your hips bones
  • Thumbs come together and fingers point down onto public bone, forming the pelvic triangle.
  • Breath in – tilt triangle downward, arching your back
  • Forced exhalation – tilt triangle upward, scooping in your abdomen
  • Breath in – anterior tilt
  • Breath out – posterior tilt
  • Repeat a few times
  • Find the halfway point of the movement; this is your neutral pelvis. Imagine your belly button is stacked perfectly above your pubic bone, like 12 and 6 on a clock face.

Warm-Up Movements with Magic Circle (5 exercises)

  • Calf raise; magic circle from chest to roof as we rise on the foot, lowers as foot lowered. (Repeat x 8)
  • Side Squat, with ‘turning steering wheel’. Alternate sides (6 each side)
  • Warrior slides, one hand on circle, try and keep it at same height. Alternate sides (6 each side)
  • Pec squeeze, 4 pulses moving up, 4 pulses moving down. Repeat x 4
  • Kneeling Biceps (6 each side)

 

 

 

 

Body of Class

Exercise / Reason

Muscles Used

Execution

Imagery

Teaching Note

DRAW UP PELVIC FLOOR

to find and strengthen pelvic floor

Pelvic Floor

Lie supine on floor, knees bent.

Feet hip distance apart, arms beside the body.

Draw up pelvic floor.

Think of drawing your two sit bones together. OR draw you pelvic floor upwards to your head like an elevator rising from the bottom of your pelvis

PELVIC ROCKS

to find neutral pelvis supine

Pelvic Floor

Core Muscles” =

1.Transveres Abdominals

2.Internal Oblique

3. External Oblique

4. Diaphragm

5. Multifidus

Lie supine on floor, knees bent.

Feet hip distances apart, arms beside the body.

Inhale – anterior pelvic tilt

Exhale – posterior pelvic tilt

Repeat 4 – 6 times.

When in neutral activate “core muscles”.

Imagine there is a marble rolling from your belly button to pelvis as you tilt. You should be able to balance it when in neutral.

Tighten your torso as if you were pulling in a corset

Perform a cough

some people may need a chi ball under their head to get correct alignment

relax shoulders

TABLE TOP

To strengthen core muscles and introduce position

Lie supine on floor.

Arms beside the body, head and neck relaxed.

Draw up pelvic floor, tighten muscular corset.

Inhale – Float right leg up to a 90 degree angle

Exhale – Float left leg up to a 90 degree angle

Imagine a helium balloon tied to your ankle floating your leg up.

Legs look like they are creating a table

Hands to knees to check positions, if correct, arms should be straight.

TOE TAPS

Stabilize torso during movement. Hip mobility

Core Muscles

Hip Flexors

Adductors

Lie supine on floor in table top.

Inhale – Draw up through pelvic floor, activate core.

Exhale – lower one leg away and down to floor keeping the 90 degree shape

6-8 Repetitions

Imagine you are balancing a ruler across your pelvis, try not to rock or wobble the ruler.

Toes tap the floor like a kitten softly landing.

Use principle Precision – tap toes same spot each time

ARMS TO A ‘T’

Scapula placement.

Rest from table top.

Core Muscles

Deltoid

Pectorals

Latissimus Dorsi

Lie supine on floor, knees bent, hip distance apart.

Arms raised to ceiling, palms in.

Inhale – Draw up pelvic floor, activate core

Exhale – Arms open to the side and move toward the floor, making a T shape.

Inhale – arms move back to starting position

6 – 8 Repetitions

Picture the ball in your shoulder joint rolling as your arms move

Can do single arm or

alternate arms as progression

Use principle Flow – movement is smooth

SINGLE LEG STRETCH

Strengthen abdominal muscles.

Give “gym goers” a challenge

Core muscles

Rectus Abdominus

External Obliques

Hip Flexor

Quadriceps

Adductors

Lie supine on floor in table top.

Hands placed on knees. Lift trunk into forward flexion.

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core

Exhale – extend one leg out to a diagonal

Inhale – simultaneously change legs, places the hands on the bent knee.

6-8 Repetitions

Push out from the toes to create “light legs”

Keep torso still through-out the movement

Use principle control – legs are controlled, not using momentum

LIFT UP SLIDE DOWN

Movement of scapulae

Return to neutral in case lost.

Core Muscles

Posterior Shoulder Girdle

Scapulae

Lie supine on floor, knees bent.

Arms raised to the ceiling

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core and elevate shoulders

Exhale – depress shoulders

6-8 Repetitions

Draw you shoulder blades in to kiss your spine then reach for the ceiling

Progression – can do in Table Top

Use principle of breathing, to support movement

KNEE DROPS

Keep pelvis in neutral during movement

(last supine exercise)

Core Muscles

Adductors

Lie supine on floor in table top.

Arms beside the body.

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core

Exhale – move knee away and lower, then return to centre

6-8 Repetitions

Imagine a glass of water balancing on stationary leg

Only lower the knee as far as can be controlled, so no rocking or lifting.

Use principle of concentration – balancing glass

*roll onto right side and come up into a seated position

C-CURVE ROLL DOWN PREP

Core strength,

Spinal mobility

Core Muscles

Rectus Abdominus

External Obliques

Deep neck Flexors

Seated, legs bent, heels on floor

Hand under thighs and sitting tall.

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core, anterior tilt

Exhale – roll back

Inhale – return to starting position

6 – 8 Repetitions

Create the letter ‘C’ with you back, scoop in abdomen.

Only go as far as core can be controlled

Use principle centring; centre yourself every time you reach the starting position.

*roll onto right side and come into a 4 point kneeling position

CAT STRETCH

Develop abdominal control

Find neutral spine kneeling

Increase lower back flexibility

Core Muscles

Serratus Anterior

Rhomboids

Trapezium

Pectoralis Minor

In 4-point kneeling. Hands under shoulder, hips over knees. Spine in neutral.

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core

Exhale – draw abdominal muscles in and arch spine into flexion.

Inhale – reverse action

6 – 8 Repetitions

Like a cat stretching

Head and pelvis to follow natural alignment of spine

Use principle of awareness, feeling the range of movement your body offers.

FRONTAL SUPPORT

Stabilize trunk and shoulders

Core Muscles

Rectus Abdominus

External Oblique

Erector Spinae

In 4 point kneeling.

Inhale – Draw up pelvic floor, activate core and extend one leg to back of the room

Exhale – Extend other leg back

Hold for 2 – 3 breathes

Inhale – Return one leg to kneeling

Exhale – Return other leg to kneeling

4 – 6 Repetitions

Picture you body strong as a plank of wood. Like the perfect push-up starting position.

Can regress to one leg.

Use principle of efficiency, working the body as a whole in one movement.

RISING SWAN

Develop thoracic mobility and strength

Shoulder stabilization

(Balance the muscles, now working the back.)

Core Muscles

Erector Spinae

Serratus Anterior

Rhomboids

Trapezium

Pectoralis Major

Lie prone, legs extended

Arms at 90 degree angle at the elbow, scapulae retracted.

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core.

Exhale – lengthen thoracic spine and neck to lift upper back and lower to starting position.

4 – 6 Repetitions

Extending up like an elegant swan.

Keep glutes relaxed.

Use principle of efficiency, only activate needed muscles.

Can progress to straight arms

CHILDS POSE

Stretch. Spinal flexion

Core Muscles

Gluteus Maximus

Piriformis

Hamstrings

In kneeling position

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core.

Exhale -bring sit bones to the heels, knees can be slightly apart, forehead rests on the floor, arms extended in front.

Hold for a few breaths

Like a child curled up

*come into side lying position

CLAMS

Develop gluteal activation

Stabilize in side lying

(Right Side)

Core Muscles

Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus Medias

Lying on side. Align hips, knees and ankles. Bottom arm out stretched and head lying on bicep. Top arm in front of floor.

Inhale – Draw up pelvic floor, activate core,

Exhale – open top leg keeping both heels together then return together

6 – 8 Repetitions

Opening like a clam, heels glued together.

Range of movement should be pain free and only as far as can be controlled.

Use principle of control, return leg with-out “dropping” down.

OYSTERS

develop gluteal activation

Core Muscles

Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus Medias

Lying on side. Align hips, knees and ankles. Bottom arm out stretched and head lying on bicep. Top arm in front of floor.

Inhale – draw up pelvic floor, activate core

Exhale – open top leg and lift knee with ankle aligned off bottom leg the return together.

6 – 8 Repetitions

Imagine a rubber band tied around you ankles that you are stretching.

Avoid any rotation

Use principle of control

*roll to other side

CLAMS

(Left side) AS ABOVE

OYSTERS

(left side) AS ABOVE

*roll onto back

BUTTERFLY OPENINGS

To re-centre and begin to relax.

Core Muscles

Shoulder Stabilizers

Adductors

Lie supine. Arms to ceiling, palms together. Knees bent and opened to the sides, ankles together.

Inhale – hands open to the side downwards to the floor while knees draw in to centre.

Exhale – Reverse the action

6 – 8 Repetitions

Like a butterfly opening and closing it wings

Range of movement only to where it is controlled.

Start to unwind.

Use principle harmony, feeling all the good work we have done.

RELAXATION

To enhance harmony and relax the body

2 – 3 minutes

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