Getting started with pilates

Steph Prem shares three pilates-inspired moves to get you feeling strong and flexible.

Pilates roll up

Perfect for: Stomach definition and upper ab strength.

1. Lay flat on the ground with bent knees a ball rested on your belly button ( a kids ball or soccer ball will do).

2. Engage your core and draw your belly button to your spine.

3. Exhale as your roll the ball up your legs to the top of your knees.

4. Reach as high as you can take a deep breath in at the top and then exhale as you role the ball back down to your belly button.

5. Repeat 15 times.

How often? Every second day for a few weeks. You should notice improvement and definition quickly.

Bridge leg lift

Perfect for: A lower body all-rounder, this exercise works your hamstrings, quads, and glutes, with an added bonus of toning the abs too.

1. Lay flat on your back with bent knees and hip width apart.

2. Take a deep breath in draw your belly button into your spine and tuck your pelvis under, squeeze your glutes and drive your hips and pubic bone up to the ceiling into a nice bridge shape. (Be careful not to arch your back but instead squeeze and tuck you bottom under).

3. Now squeeze your right glute and lift your left leg straight up into the air.

4. Lower and repeat on the other side all the while keeping your hips straight and stable.

5. Add 5 pulses on each side if you need to make it harder.

6. Repeat 6-8 on each side.

How often? Bridges can be done daily and bridge with the lift could be added into your weekly routine 3-4 times.

Super-charged crunches

Perfect for: Working both your inner thighs and core.

1. Lie on your back with legs in table top, and toes pointed.

2. Place an exercise ball (or a cushion) between your knees and begin to squeeze the knees together. Remember to engage your core and focus on your breathing exhaling as you squeeze.

3. After 5 quality squeezes grab the ball and exhale as you extend your legs and reach with the ball to your toes into a crunch.

4. Lower back down in the exhale returning the ball to your knees and start squeezing again.

5. Repeat x 2 sets of 10.

How often? Every second day for a month.

Steph Prem is director of Premium Performance Pilates & Fitness in Melbourne. Learn more great exercises at premium-performance.com

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