We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
Were you co-captain of your high school softball team? Do you run marathons and play beach volleyball in your spare time? If you're still more likely to hit a home run than take a Pilates class, then you may just be missing out on the bigger picture.
"Pilates helps balance the imbalances in the body," says celebrity trainer Kit Rich, a former championship soccer player-turned-Pilates instructor. "It helps stretch areas that are too tight and works the core and postural muscles to support the spine and pelvis, which is very important for athletes since there are so many quick and fast-paced movements and impact that could cause injury."
That also means a better performance on the field (or in your regular routine!) and a faster recovery time if injury does occur. "No question, by doing Pilates, you'll feel areas of your body that may not have been activated in quite the same way," says Rich. "It brings a sense of support from your body and allows you to move with more grace and ease."
Rich recommends incorporating these three lower body moves into your regular routine twice a week to "make you feel strong like an athlete!"
Keep reading for all the moves.
Snake Twist With Push-Ups
Begin in Plank position with arms wider than your shoulders. Turn your hips to the right, bringing your right foot way out to the right and left foot way out to the left. The legs are now stretched out wide and straight, crossed in an X position (top and bottom). Inhale the right hip into the air. Exhale, dropping the right hip back down lower than your shoulder. Inhale, bending your elbows out to the side in a push-up position. Hold. Then exhale, pushing the arms back up and straight returning to your start position. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Sitting down, place your hands directly underneath your shoulders with your fingertips facing forward. Bend your knees slightly and flex your feet, keeping your heels away from your bottom. Lift your butt off the floor and open your chest into a Reverse Tabletop position. Keep your energy in your heels. Engage your core and extend your left leg straight, toes pointed up into the sky (see below). Keep your hips high. Inhale, lifting your left leg higher with pointed toes. Exhale, flexing your foot and dropping your heel hovering over the floor. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
Start by coming down to the floor and lying on your left side. You are on your left elbow, which is directly underneath your shoulder. Extend both feet forward in line with your hips and lift the feet off the floor. Lean back slightly, extending your top arm toward your top leg and open your chest (top). Inhale, lifting the leg up and out, circling the legs around (bottom). Exhale, returning to your start position. Try not to ever let the legs touch the floor. Let the arm and head follow the legs. Glue the inner thighs together and engage your side body without ever letting the upper body move. Keep the focus from the ribcage down to the toes. Repeat five times in each direction and switch sides.