Happy Friday everyone!
I’m back into Pilates classes at Pilates Plus Dublin this week, after almost a month away from them over the Christmas holidays. I was definitely a teensy bit nervous going into the first class back, as they’re incredibly challenging and I was feeling a little bit rusty.
Despite keeping very active everyday on holiday with regular gym sessions, water sports and swimming, Pilates requires a whole different type of strength and really engages a huge range of muscles.
I was very sore after the first class back this week, but it’s a good kind of sore! I really enjoyed this Plank to Pike combo, as it seriously works your core and abdominal muscles, as well as your upper body. Even your hamstrings get a good stretch too.
Planks and their variations are super exercises to do regularly to tighten and strengthen your core. Building and maintaining a strong core really helps with every other aspect of resistance training and everyday life, like lifting heavy shopping bags after a supermarket trip! A strong mid-section also helps to prevent back problems and can improve posture.
Even better, planks can be done absolutely everywhere and require no special equipment… just your determination!
However, if you have already mastered the plank, then why not try this challenging plank to pike combo next time? It really requires you to squeeze your abs and use your core to pull your lower body into the pike position, below, which looks a little like an inverted V.
We used the special Proformer machines in the studio for this move, but you can enjoy all of its benefits in the comfort of your own home… all you need is a small folded towel!
How to do the Pilates Plank to Pike Combo at home:
1. Choose a smooth, clear floor. Tiles or a wooden floor would work well, and ensure you have enough space to stretch out.
2. Fold a small towel, big enough to place your feet on, and one that will easily slide across the floor.
3. Get into the plank position, with your feet on the towel and elbows on the floor. You may want to use a non-slide mat or rug below them for comfort. Keep your shoulders in line with your elbows and your back as flat as possible, while pulling your tummy button in towards your spine to properly engage your core.
4. Continue to engage your core and pull your legs into the pike position, so that your body looks like an inverted V. Keep your core and abdominal muscles working, and straighten your legs as much as possible without locking your knees.
5. Return to the plank position and repeat this exercise for 30 to 60 seconds or more, depending on your level of fitness. Aim to do it up to 3-4 times a week for a noticeably strengthened core and abs.
Check out the fantastic range of subscription online tutorials at Pilates Plus Dublin for more exercises to help build your fitness at home – plus a core, bum and legs tutorial for free 😉