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Try These Pilates Moves to Strengthen Your Core and Increase Flexibility

Pilates moves to strenghten your Core

Double Leg Stretch

Start by lying supine on the floor. Bring your legs to tabletop, gently pressing the lower back towards the floor. Lift your shoulders off of the mat, reaching your arms long by the sides, maintaining a long neck. Inhale while extending the arms out to the side (or overhead for more challenge) and extend your legs. Exhale to return to arms by the side and tabletop legs. Be mindful to keep the pelvis neutral and abs engaged to protect the lower back. 

Ab Variations: Single Leg Stretch + Bicycle

Inhale, drawing one knee towards the chest, hugging with a light touch and elbows wide, while the opposite leg extends long. Exhale, switching legs. Stack your palms at the back of your head with elbows wide. Bring your opposite shoulder towards the knee, then switch legs and rotate your torso to bring the opposite shoulder across. Challenge yourself by keeping the lowered shoulder hovering off the mat to keep the abs fully engaged. 

Bridge

Start by lying supine on the floor with your arms long by your sides. Bend your knees to bring feet to floor, heels hip-width apart, close to seat. Lift your hips by tucking the tailbone, lifting each vertebra off of the floor, to shoulder blades. Slowly lower your hips back to the mat, articulating through the spine. With the hips lowered, extend one leg, pointing toes towards the ceiling. Lift and lower your hips for single-leg bridge, engaging the glutes, hamstrings and back.

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