by Chris Freytag
If you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, an energizing Pilates routine may be just the thing to jumpstart your internal alarm clock. This workout will get you going even before you get out of bed. Or, if a harder surface is desired, use the space at the side of your bed—you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas! These five Pilates exercises will lengthen you, stretch you and help “align” your day.
Rolling like a Ball
(works the abdominals, massages the spine)
Sit on the bed or floor with your knees bent and your spine rounded into a C curve. Lightly place your hands on the knees. Inhale and rock back until the bottom of your shoulder blades touch the bed or floor, and then exhale and pull the navel to the spine and come back up to a balance. Repeat eight to 10 times.
(works the abdominals)
Lie on your back with your knees bent to the chest and toes pointed. Engage the abdominal muscles to lift your head and shoulders off the bed or floor. Relax the front of your neck as you hold yourself up with the strength of your abs and mid-back; look at your knees. Inhale and draw your left knee toward the chest as you extend your right leg about 45 degrees above the bed or floor. Switch and do eight to 10 repetitions on each side.
(works the hips, inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and abdominals)
Lie with your right leg extended to the sky (bend the knees 90 degrees if your hamstrings are tight) and your left leg flat on bed. Engage your abs and point your right foot and rotate the leg; inhale and trace a small circle on the ceiling with your toe, moving the entire leg from the hip socket. Think of your leg like a spatula scraping the sides of the bowl (the hip socket). Do eight to 10 circles and repeat on other side.
(torso twist, spine rotation)
Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your arms extended out to your sides. Keep your shoulders relaxed and on the bed or floor as you inhale. As you exhale, drop both knees to one side. Inhale again and slowly lift your legs and switch to other side.
Half Roll Back
(works the abdominals, stretches the back)
Sit tall with knees bent, hands placed lightly behind the thighs and feet on the bed or the floor. Inhale and contract your abdominals and roll halfway back—your spine should be rounded into a C curve. Hold this position and take three breaths. Then roll back up to a seated position, lengthening the spine. Repeat three to five times.
See our next article in this series, Nighttime Exercises to Wind Down.