- Criss cross – Begin by lying on your back, legs lifted in the air with your knees bent to a 90 degree angle and placed directly over your hips in table top position. Interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the sides. As you exhale, slowly lift your shoulder blades off of the floor and keep them in this lifted position. Inhale at center and as you exhale, twist to the left, and bring your right shoulder towards your left knee. Inhale as you come back to center, exhale to switch sides. For an added challenge, as you bring your right shoulder towards your left knee, extend the right leg and reach it long, at a 45 degree angle from the floor. Take care not to pull on the neck and maintain a neutral position at your lower back. Repeat for a total of 10 – 12 repetitions.
3. Swimming – Lie on your stomach, with arms reaching forward (thumbs up toward the ceiling) and your legs extended out behind you. Draw your abdominal muscles in and attempt to lift your belly button away from the floor, as if an ice cube was placed directly under your navel. Now, lift your arms and legs off of the floor so that they’re hovering just an inch or two above the floor. Continue reaching your arms and legs in opposite directions and keep your abdominal muscles engaged. Begin to drop opposite arm and leg toward the floor and then switch sides. Allow your breath to be steady, as you continue to lower and lift opposite arm and leg toward the floor. Repeat these movements for 10 breath cycles.
- Pilates Push-Ups – Slowly make your way to a standing position. On an inhale, stand very tall. As you exhale, begin to roll down one vertebra at a time, bringing your arms close to the floor. Bend your knees as much as you need to allow your hands to come all the way to the floor. On an inhale, begin to walk your hands forward into a plank position (this is the same position you would be in to start a push up). Try to do this without allowing the hips to wobble side-to-side. On an exhalation, slowly bend at the elbows, lowering your body to the height of your elbows, hovering above the floor, and then push back up. Keep your elbows in by your sides at all times; this emphasizes the triceps muscles (back of your arms) and is different from the more traditional push-ups you may have done. Take care not to allow your hips to “sway” or “dip” towards the floor and keep your shoulders away from your ears. Feel free to bring your knees to the floor at any time to decrease the intensity of the move and allow you to maintain a neutral spine. After pushing back up into a plank, inhale as you pike your hips in the air. As you exhale, draw your abdominals in deeply and begin to walk your hands back towards your feet. Slowly roll up one vertebra at a time to bring your body back to starting position. Complete 3-5 repetitions.