Series of 5: The Best Quick Strengthening

5 Mar

Dearest Readers,

If you aren’t already a Pilates lover thanks to my undying adoration in previous blog posts … you will be now. My best friend, the dancer scientist, is in intermediate pilates and according to her instructor the best quick strengthening exercise from Pilates is the series of 5. It’ll make your powerhouse (your core muscles) cry, which is always the goal with exercising on the go. Sorry these pictures are blurry….hahaha….and I promise I am wearing shorts as opposed to just tights.

For the entire Series of 5 try to keep your shoulders and neck off of the ground. It kills. Do it!

Single Leg Stretch: This is a pleasant beginning that doesn’t kill your abs. With Pilates, you always put your chin to your chest (as opposed to a tennis ball sized space between your chin and your chest). So lay on the ground (preferably a carpet), bring your chin to your chest and your shoulders off the ground and pull one leg into your chest. Then alternate. Hand position is critical: put your outside arm on your ankle and your inside arm on your knee. Do 8 to 10 sets.

Single leg stretchin'

Double Leg Stretch: Remember to keep your shoulders and neck off the ground. Bring your hands and both knees into your chest then extend your legs and arms so that you are stretching from one side of the room to the other. Then circle your arms around as you pull your legs back into the original ball position. Do 8-10 of these.

double leg stretch start

double leg stretch middle

double leg stretch end

Straight Leg Stretch: Keep your shoulders and neck off the ground. Keep your legs off the ground by about 6 inches. Keeping your leg straight pull one leg into your chest and pulse twice. Then lower that one as you bring the other to your chest and pulse twice. Remember when you lower your legs, only lower them to 6 inches above the ground. 8 to 10 sets.

straight leg stretch

Leg Lowers: I covered this in another blog post, but in a different way, so but put both legs up straight towards the ceiling. Lower in 3 seconds and then raise in 1. Do 8 to 10 sets.

leg lower

Bicycles: These are called the criss-cross in Pilates speak. Remember, put your elbows behind your head and bring your opposite elbow to your opposite knee. As opposed to normal bicycles, in pilates you have to make sure that when you extend your leg, you extend them to the same point (about a foot off the ground). Emphasize the twist and bringing your back elbow really far behind you.

bicycles/criss cross

Do not stop during the series of 5 and your abs will cry. CRY. So that means you are doing it right. I hope this helps your ab strength!! I only have a few posts left, so let me know what you would like to see!


The Toned Toothpick Teacher (T3)


One Response to “Series of 5: The Best Quick Strengthening”


  1. Come Together Now: THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT « FIT-ting In - March 12, 2011

    […] ab workouts on here (okay not a million but at least 4)…we’ll start with the whole Series of 5 (remember to keep your head and shoulders off the ground for this) move to the lower and upper abs, […]

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