Advanced FLX Ball exercise: twist and switch

FLX Ball twist and switch

SETUP:

Begin by lying on your back and place the FLX Ball at your upper back in between your shoulder blades. Legs are bent and feet flat on the floor. Place hands behind your head and keep elbows wide.

ACTION: Lift legs to a table top position and pull the abs in.

Slowly, twist to the right as you bring left elbow to right knee with left leg reaching out on a high diagonal.

With control, twist to the left bringing right elbow to left knee.

Pull the abdominal muscles in to deepen the twist.

Repeat 20 times.  3-5 sets.

CHALLENGE:  Both legs are straight and scissor as you twist.

CUES:  Sink belly button in towards spine and with the help of the ball, feel the rib cage fold up and over the stomach.

Hug the inner thighs as you scissor the legs. Watch out from rocking side to side.

Pilates Teaser

This exercise requires coordination, balance, flexibility and control to perform correctly and successfully.  The body often compensates for some weakness to complete the movement and engages incorrect form and muscle activation. Weakness in the hip flexors or tight hamstrings and lower back can hinder the progression in this movement.

Try completing this exercise with the Flexistretcher by utilizing it’s elastic resistance to guide you through the complete movement, allowing full concentration on correct muscle activation and alignment.


Joseph Pilates named this exercise "The Teaser" because it teases gravity. So true!

Try these variations of the Pilates teaser for an added instability and challenge to the exercise.


PILATES TEASER WITH THE FLEXISTRETCHER

SET UP: Lie down supine with the foam pad around the soles of your feet and the loops in your hands, with the legs pressed long and glued together. Arms are slightly bent with palms facing you pulling the straps to small tension.

ACTION: Begin by lifting your head up, pulling the straps towards you.

  • Peel the spine off the floor as you simultaneously lift the legs to a high diagonal. Arms finish out by your sides with palms facing back, pressing into the straps.
  • Balancing on your sit bones, deepen out the abdominals, as you press into the straps to maintain a long spine. Hold for 10 counts.
  • Fold the elbows in by your sides as you begin to articulate the spine to the floor slowly lowering your legs to the starting position.

SETS: 5

LEVEL: Intermediate-Advanced

FULL TEASER 1 WITH FLX BALL

SETUP: Lying supine, hold the ball in your hands with your legs pressed together.

ACTION: Move arms over head and roll up.

  • As you roll up lift both legs (ball is touching the shins).

REPETITION: 4 times.

SETS: 3

MODIFICATIONS: Begin setup with legs bent and feet flat on the floor.

LEVEL: Advanced

FULL TEASER 2 WITH FLX BALL

SETUP: Lying supine, place the ball in between your ankles with your arms stretched long and fingers toward the sky.

ACTION:  Begin rolling torso up off the floor as your legs lift and extend to a high diagonal.

  • Fingers are reaching towards toes.
  • With control begin to lower your legs and torso at the same time to end up in your starting position.

MODIFICATION: Legs bent in a table top position.

LEVEL: Intermediate-Advanced

With stronger a strong core, flexibility and freedom of the body can improve. Stretch your limits.


Remember to apply Joseph Pilates methods of “contrology” based on the idea of muscle control. All exercises should be done with muscular control working against gravity and the resistance of the spring (on the apparatus) or other props, this activation controls the movement of the body and the apparatus. 

“Contrology is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete awareness of your body.”~Joseph Pilates

Need an Abdominal Boost? Try this Ballerina-Inspired Ab Series!

 

Repeat the entire series 3-5 times. 

  1. Press and Hold: 10 counts.
  2. Knee Walks: 10 walks.  CUE: Thighs stay pressing into the elastic center as you walk. 
  3. Hip Lifts: 5-10 reps. 

CUES FOR THIS ABDOMINAL SERIES:

  • Hold the Flexistretcher by the elastic center, shoulder width apart and pull to a tension for the duration of the series.
  • As you curl your torso up, press the center of the band into the legs and the legs into the band.
  • Up for a challenge? Repeat the series with legs straight up towards the sky.   
  • Needs to modify? Complete the series with head on the floor.

For the full length FLX Strength Workout, click here: http://bit.ly/1wlmXQv

 

Effectively Target the Hamstrings with this Exercise!

Hip Lifts are key exercises that help strengthen the hip extensors and increase mobility in leg movements to the back.  For dancers, this is crucial for executing positions such as the ballet arabesque.  

Proper activation of the gluteus maximus and hip extension motion is needed for most basic movement patterns, especially skills requiring power. Limitations in hip extension or gluteus maximus activation can also affect static postures like standing by influencing pelvic tilt, motor control activation strategies, lumbar curve, and ultimately, the body's center of gravity. If the hip extensors are this important within basic postures and movements, then they are even more important within the more complicated movement patterns that arise in today's dance choreography. 

Hip Lifts can be performed with both the Flexistretcher and the FLX Ball: 

Hip Lifts with the Flexistretcher

hip lifts with the Flexistretcher

 

SETUP:

  • Lying supine with your legs bent feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart. 

  • Place the Flexistretcher center pad around shins and grab nylon straps in each hand. 

  • Arms are long close by your sides and pulling the elastic center to a slight tension.

ACTION: 

  • With control, curl your hips off the ground, feeling your knees move towards your toes.

  • Hold the position and slowly articulate the spine to the floor, returning to your starting position.

CUES: 

  • Keep feet parallel - don't let the external rotation take over. 

  • Knees line up over toes

  • Arms stay hugged in by your sides.

  • Head stays in line.

REPETITIONS:  Repeat 10 times, 3 sets. 

Variation I

Heel lifts: Lift and lower heels 10x, roll down to your starting position, and repeat.

Variation II

Steps in place:  Lift the right leg and push out into the resistance, then place it down and do the same with the left leg, alternating step.

 

Hip Lifts with the FLX Ball

hip lifts with the FLX Ball


SETUP:

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent, and feet flat on the floor. 

  • Press both feet together on the ball. 

  • Arms are long by your side with palms pressed into the floor or for more of a challenge arms will be straight up with fingers pointing towards ceiling.

ACTION:

  • Tuck your pelvis and begin rolling the hips up off of the floor.  Send the knees over the toes to correct alignment and avoid externally rotating the legs to complete the movement

  • Articulate through the spine to roll down to the floor finishing in your starting position.

CUES:

  • Lift hips up by engaging abdominals and hamstrings.

REPETITIONS:  Repeat 10 times, 3 sets. 

Up for a challenge? Once hips are lifted and feet are pressing down into the ball you can add a challenge by circling the arms up, out to the side, and back to your starting position.

Need to modify? Perform exercise without the ball, such as in the Yoga Bridge Pose.