Postnatal Pilates

-Pilates is a great way to get back in shape after having a baby because it provides a total body workout. I'm Julie O'Claire with Parents TV at the Center for Movement in co-owner Donna Singer is gonna show us a post-natal Pilates routine. But remember, you should always check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. -Hi. I'm Donna Singer and you're at Center for Movement. I'm here with Doreen Bare, a two-time mom who is coming to the studio to work out in the Pilates method. We're going to tone her body and show our viewers at home some exercise that you can do just at your home with a mat on the floor. So lying flat on the mat, you're going to bend your knees do your feet are planted firmly on the ground. Your arms are reaching long down by your side and your abdominals are pulling in and up. Let's begin by lifting your legs so that your feet come off the mat and your legs are in a tabletop position. Terrific. Great. Reaching one foot to the ground, we're going to tap the toe down to the mat and lift it back up. We'll alternate opposite foot down and lift. Keep pulling your stomach in as we march through the air, gauging our abdominals, keeping our abdominals pulled in and up. How's it feeling, Doreen? A little challenging? -Absolutely. Yes. -Great. And then-- -Like I don't-- -Great. And now, you're going to rest, Doreen. We can do five of these repetitions at home and you're sure to really engage your abdominals and feel terrific. Bring your chin to your chest, hold your hands underneath your thighs, and gently roll down so that you're lying back on your back. So chin to the chest, hold the stomach in. Good. Let your feet just naturally rest on the mat, Doreen. Drop your head, chin to the chest, and roll back so that you're just lying flat on your back. Keep your abdominals engaged. Terrific. Wonderful. And then just reach your arms long down by your side. We're going to lift the knees up again so that the feet are in a tabletop position. Arms are reaching long down by your side. We're working our abdominals, getting our-- energizing our body, and the arm. Lift your head, chin comes to the chest, pull the stomach in and you're going to vigorously pump your arms up and down, inhaling, and exhale. Breathe in and exhale. Wonderful. Keep your stomach in and exhale. Last set, and exhale. Great. Why don't you drop your head, chin to the chest and lie all the way down. That was great. This exercise, as with all Pilates exercises, initiates the strength in your center. But now, we're going to incorporate some lengthening and stretching of our legs. So what we're going to go ahead and do is lift your feet off the mat in a tabletop position-- good-- reaching both hands underneath your right leg. Great. Extend the opposite leg out. If your neck is feeling strong, you can lift your head, bring your chin to the chest, looking at the abdominals. We're going to switch legs. Press the opposite leg in and change. Keep engaging your abdominals as you switch, pulling in the stomach, and switch; reaching the opposite leg out long, and switch. How's this feeling, Doreen? -Feels a lot harder than it looks. -Great. Keep going. You're doing terrific. Last one to each leg-- great-- and rest. We can do this a total of five times. Again, we're going to bring our knees into our chest and this time, we're going to lengthen our feet up to the ceiling. Wonderful. It's a great exercise to really stretch the back of the legs, engage your abdominals. Reaching with both hands underneath your left thigh, extend the right leg long like a scissor. Good. Curl the head, neck, and shoulders up off the mat, keeping your abdominals engaged; we're going to change-- great-- alternating the legs like a scissor. Wonderful. Don't forget to breathe-- good-- and change. Keep the abdominals in and change. We're really working the back of the legs, getting a terrific stretch and with all exercises in the Pilates method, we're always engaging our core. And change. Terrific. This will be the last one to each leg. -Okay. Great. -And rest. Rest your head, neck, and shoulders down. Hug the knees into the chest and gently rock side to side. So, Doreen, what we're going to do next is have you sit up. Why don't you go ahead and swing your knees to one side, bring your chin to the chest, and then just roll gently up. Great. Terrific. How are you feeling so far? -Okay. Good. Very good. -The beauty of Pilates is that it could be done anywhere. You don't necessarily need to come to a studio to gain the benefits. It could be done anywhere that you have a few free moments and just some open space to lie down on the floor and get started. What I'm going to have you do is keep your hands underneath your thighs to gently glide you down to the mat. So bring your chin to the chest, slide the shoulders down the back as you pull your stomach in and up, rolling all the way down. Exhale the air as you get all the way down. Bring your arms to the ceiling. Good. Take an inhale. Lift your head, neck and shoulders up off the mat, hold underneath the thighs, chin to the chest and roll all the way up. Start to extend your legs out long and just drop your head as you stretch forward. Great. Pulling in the stomach, you're going to roll back down again. Hands, they come underneath the thighs to gently guide you down the mat. And exhale the air, reaching your arms up. Really great, Doreen. One last time. Lift the head, neck and shoulders up, chin comes to the chest, belly pulls in and up and you round forward, getting a big stretch in your back and your legs, spine. Why don't you go ahead and roll all the way out to a nice sitting position? And we're finished. -Okay. -You can do this three to five time and it's all you need to look terrific and feel stretched out and toned. -A big thank you to everybody here at the Center for Movement in New York City for showing us how a post-natal Pilates workout lengthens and strengthens your muscles to get your body back into great shape after having a baby.