There’s a very simple piece of kit you may have seen or used in one of our Pilates classes, the humble resistance band! It doesn’t look much but it’s a great way to challenge your Pilates exercises. It comes in a range of different strengths, depending on how much you’d like to challenge yourself!
We’ve put together some of our favourite Pilates exercises for doing with the resistance band.
#1 Roll Up
- Starting position: Sitting upright. Neutral lumbo-pelvic position. Legs extended in front. Legs extended in front, hips adducted, knees slightly flexed (to allow neutral spine position), ankles in mid ROM dorsiflexion. Theraband looped around the feet and held in each hand. Upper spine and back of the neck lengthened.
- Action: Inhale to prepare. Exhale, roll off the back of the sitting bones in a small range of motion to round the pelvis and the lumbar spine. The ribcage and upper quadrant should remain still. Keep the head and neck upright. Inhale, roll forwards onto the top of the sitting bones to resume the neutral spine starting position. The ribcage and upper quadrant should remain still. Keep the head and neck upright.
- Tips: Keep the feet on the floor. Do not poke the chin forward.
#2 One Leg Circle
- Starting position: On your back, knees bent, feet flat. Neutral lumbo-pelvic position. Resistance band looped around one foot. Hands holding the band. Back of the neck long.
- Action: Inhale to prepare. Exhale, float the left leg into the tabletop position then extend the knee. Inhale and hold the extended knee position keeping the band feeling taut. Exhale, circle outwards and downwards in a clockwise direction in a small, controlled range of motion. Inhale, complete the circle on this leg by circling inwards and upwards to finish where the circle started.
- Repeat circling this leg 6 – 8 times in the clockwise direction then exhale as you lower this leg to resume the neutral spine starting position.
- Repeat 6- 8 clockwise circles on right leg then repeat on 6 – 8 counter-clockwise circles on the left leg. Repeat 6 – 8 anti-clockwise circles on the right leg.
- Tips: Keep the pelvis still while doing the leg circles. Keep the knee facing the same direction through the movement to avoid hip rotation.
- If you are confused with the breathing, you can start doing the movement without focusing on the breathing..
#3 Shoulder Bridge
- Starting Position: The rest position. Neutral lumbo-pelvic position. Resistance band looped around both knees with the band feeling taut. Arms resting long beside the body. Back of the neck long.
- Inhale to prepare. Exhale, gently roll the lower back into mat, lift the tailbone upwards towards the ceiling and continue to peel your spine off the mat, bone by bone until you are resting on your shoulder blades. Maintain tautness in the band.
- Inhale and hold the shoulder bridge position. Move your knees out towards the resistance of the band and back in again 6 – 8 times while maintaining the shoulder bridge position and normal breathing.
- Inhale and hold the shoulder bridge position. Exhale, and lower the shoulder bridge by drawing the breastbone downwards towards the mat, continue to peel your spine back onto the mat bone by bone until the tailbone connects the mat and the spine returns to neutral.
- Tips: Do not extend the thoracic spine (the shoulders must never be higher than the hips). Do not put your weight through your shoulder and neck but rather on your shoulders. Use segmental motion for the lift and lowering, peeling your spinal vertebrae 1 at a time like we do in class.
#4 Lower & Lift
- Starting Position: Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked and a band between your legs, just above the ankles. Underneath arm outstretched in alignment with the trunk. Ensure your back is in neutral and your centre is engaged.
- Action: Inhale to prepare. Exhale, reach your top leg away from your body and then lift it upwards on an arc. Simultaneously point this ankle.
- Inhale, lower this leg to the starting position. Simultaneously flex this ankle.
- Tips: Imagine balancing a cup of tea on your top hip and top shoulder to avoid moving these areas. Imagine that the inner aspect of the top leg is polishing a glass tabletop to help keep this leg lifted at hip height. Imagine that the front hand is resting on a cream cake to avoid heavy pressure through this hand.
#5 Side Kick Press
- Starting position: Side lying. Underneath arm outstretched in alignment with the trunk with your head resting on this arm. Hips bent to approx. 45° and knees bent to approx. 90°. Shoulders and hips stacked. Resistance band to be looped round 1 foot and held in opposite hand.
- Action: Inhale to prepare. Exhale, lift the uppermost leg to bring the knee and ankle to hip height. Then extend the uppermost hip and the knee as far as control can be maintained. Inhale, flex the uppermost leg to the starting position.
- Tips: Keep the pelvis still while doing the leg movement.
- Starting position: Side lying. Underneath arm outstretched in alignment with the trunk. Head resting on the underneath arm. Hips bent up to approx. 45° and knees bent up to approx. 90°. Resistance band looped around the knees. Shoulders and hips stacked one on top of the other. Top hand resting on the floor.
- Action: Inhale to prepare. Exhale, lift the top knee upwards, keeping the feet together. Inhale, lower the top knee onto the bottom leg.
- Tips: Keep the pelvis still while opening the leg.
You can pick up resistance band from goPhysio in Chandlers Ford for £5 a length. Ask your instructor what colour they’d recommend you use, depending on your level and how much of a challenge you need.
If you attend our Pilates classes and would like advice or guidance on any of this exercises, please ask your Instructor, who’d be more than happy to help!
goPhysio strongly recommends that you consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional advice.