Side leg lift
Starting position: Lie on your side, ensuring the body is in a straight line from head to toe. Relax your head on the bottom arm. Ensure your core is engaged and you are not sinking into the mat. Inhale.
How to: There are three easy to moderate-level variations of this exercise:
Straight up: Exhale. Slowly lift the top leg, keeping your core engaged and glutes squeezed. Inhale. Lower the leg. Go slow—it’s not as much about taking the leg higher as it is about keeping the core engaged and the glutes squeezed. Avoid falling forward or back. Do 10-20 repetitions on each leg.
Circle: Lift the top leg and make a circle in the air—take your leg forward only as much as you can take it back. Remember to breathe throughout and try not to rock the body forward and back. Do 10 repetitions each clockwise and anti-clockwise. Do the full set on the other side. Lift both legs together: Keep your feet together. Exhale. Lift both legs up. Inhale. Lower them back to the mat. Do 10-20 repetitions.
Keep in mind: The body should be in a straight line throughout. At the start, relax your head on the bottom arm and not the palm, as this changes the alignment and causes undue tension on your wrist.
Starting Position: Stand with your feet about shoulder distance apart, feet parallel or pointed outwards slightly, whichever feels more comfortable. Keep your core engaged.
How to: Inhale. Lower your body by sitting back and by pushing your glutes back, remember your kneecaps should be pointing the same direction as your toes.
Exhale. Press into your feet with a little more focus on the heels and come back up to the starting position. Keep in mind: keep your back straight, don’t round or hunch.
How to: Inhale. Go down into the squat position
Exhale. Press into your feet with a little more focus on the heels and push off into a jump, straightening the knees while you go up. Land on your toes and then put your heels back down to go back into the squat position
— The author is a celebrity Pilates instructor and founder of The Pilates Studio
Starting Position: Start standing with your feet about hip distance apart. Keep your core engaged. How to Inhale. Step out with your right leg as wide as comfortably possible with your feet pointing forward. Lower your hips down and back by bending the right knee while keeping the left leg straight. Make sure right knee is tracking over the right foot. Exhale. Press into your right foot to push yourself back to the full standing start position. Repeat 20 on each size.
Starting Position: Lie on your back on the mat. Keep knees flexed and feet hip distance apart. Rest the arms alongside the body.
How to: Inhale to prepare Exhale starting with the tailbone, pick your spine off the mat until your weight rests on your thoracic (upper) spine. Breathe in to maintain the position. Exhale and lower your spine back on the mat and into the neutral spine position. Repeat this 5-8 times. After the last rep stay up in the position and do mini pulses, a very small movement lifting your pelvis up and down.
Keep in mind: Do not rock your pelvis. Make sure you are articulating your spine while rolling up and down. Do not overextend the back.