4 Genius Exercises From A Pilates Teacher That Will Get You To Touch Your Toes
“I’m so unfit, I can’t even touch my toes!” It’s a sentence you hear all the time – and, quite possibly, say all the time. Even if you are fit, it might go something like, “I’m so stiff…” or “My legs feel so tight…” but it always ends the same way. And it’s no wonder. Most of us spend the majority of the day on our bums. When we exercise, we’re doing things like running, cycling or HIT classes that shorten our muscles. And as for post-workout stretching, well…it’s getting kinda late and…I’ll do it next time. Sound familiar?
Pilates Can Help
“People always talk about touching their toes, but what you’re really trying to do is lengthen through your spine and get your chest closer to your legs,” says Pilates instructor and personal trainer, Terry Goodman. As a former dancer, as well as being a Pilates teacher, that’s something Terry can do pretty easily. As for the rest of us? These are four moves she recommends for getting your fingers to your toes…and beyond! Once you’ve stretched as far as you can go, hold for a count of ten. You may even find you sink deeper into it as the time ticks by.
Single-Leg Forward Stretch
This one isn’t even a Pilates exercise. But Terry rates it highly as a simple stretch that you can do anywhere. Sit up straight, legs together in front of you and place one foot against the inner thigh of your other leg. Breathe in. As you breathe out, walk your hands forward as far as you can, then hold.
This one is also more of a sneaky stretching hack, rather than a strict Pilates exercise. If you don’t have a theraband, you can use a towel. Again, start sitting up straight, legs together out in front of you. Your feet should be flexed and the band or towel wrapped them, while you hold onto the ends. Breathe in. As you breathe out, use the band to help you pull your chest towards your knees. Go as far as you can, then hold.
Now we’re getting into serious Pilates business. Sit up straight again, with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, feet flexed. Bring your arms to shoulder level, elbows straight, hands facing in. Breathe in. As you breathe out, roll down, one vertebra at a time, to slide your hands between your feet – or as close to your feet as they’ll go. Hold for ten counts. Breathe in. As you breathe out, roll back up, one vertebra at a time again. Do three our four of these.
This is a more advanced Pilates move that will also help with mobility in your spine. Start in that same position, sitting up straight, legs out in front and feet flexed, but this time with your feet almost as wide as a yoga mat. Raise your arms out sideways to shoulder height, palms facing forward. Breathe in. As you breathe out, twist to the right rotate your right wrist so that hand is now facing back and reach your left hand forward to your right little toe. Your head should follow your left hand. Hold for ten, then take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, return to centre. Repeat on the other side.
Looking for more? Try this easy beginners pilates workout.