The sun is finally starting to shine, it’s time to shake off those winter blues and get out there again! If you missed this blog the first time – here it is again! Over the next six weeks you will get a weekly post of new exercises to try – Enjoy PART 1!
While I was learning to surf I realised that the movements you learn as a beginner are very similar to exercises that I teach in Pilates. So I thought I’d suggest a few moves here to help you improve your core connection, strength and balance. Whatever stage you are at, from beginner to surf pro the following moves will help reduce injury, build strength and stamina!
I am an internationally certified STOTT Pilates instructor but I have also completed training with Carolyne Anthony, Doreen Puglisi, Mariska Breland and Rebekah Rotstein, so if you are a Pilates teacher reading this you may find a few turns of phrase from those fabulous ladies.
I have chosen 20 exercises for balance, strength, correct posture and stretching. I have split the blog into 6 parts so you can practise all the sections individually before putting it together for a full workout, which should take you between 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Be safe! If you are doing any form of exercise, make sure you are doing it in a safe environment for example in the photos I am using a non-slip Pilates mat and I’m wearing grip socks that are also non-slip! If you have an injury, consult a doctor or physiotherapist before trying any of these exercises.
1. Balance on Stability Cushions
Standing on the stability cushions really makes you work everything. This is a balance exercise and helps you engage your bottom, thigh and abdominal muscles
- Place the cushions on the floor so they are touching (they will pull slightly apart as you stand on them).
- Step onto the cushions placing your feet as centrally as possible on each cushion.
- Stand tall and keep breathing, lift your eye-line up above the center of the room.
- Keep your knees soft (not flexed and not braced straight), shrink you bottom cheeks and tighten your thighs.
- Try taking a deep breath in through your nose and gently blow the air out through pursed lips feeling the abdominal muscle wrap around you on your out breath.
- See how still you can be and how long you can stay on the cushions (your feet will be constantly adjusting to maintain your balance).
2. Arm Circles on the Stability Cushions
Balance work with added stretching
Once you’ve got the hang of standing and breathing properly, try circling your arms out wide then over your head and down in front of you without stepping off the cushions. Try this breath pattern with the movement:
- INHALE: through the nose, circle arms wide and overhead.
- EXHALE: through pursed lips, draw arms down in front of you shoulder distance apart.
- Do at least four complete circles one way, then reverse your circle – start the circle on the inhale and finish it on the exhale – work slowly and carefully feeling the abdominal muscles wrap in around you on your exhale.
3. Squats on Stability Cushions
Balance, strengthening (bottom, thighs, abs) and endurance
- INHALE: through your nose, flex the hips, knees and ankles and raise your arms in front of you to help balance.
- EXHALE: through pursed lips, press down into your feet, shrink your bottom cheeks, tighten your thighs and stand up without fully extending or bracing into your knees – keep them a little soft.
- Keep your focus; keep your spine long and your collar bones open wide so you have stability from shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip.
- Work SLOWLY and see how many you can do before you lose your balance!
- Try holding the squat position and slowly counting to 30 before you stand up!
Working on the stability cushions is fabulous for balance and control and similar to standing on a surf board in the sea you’ve got to work at it! The exercise possibilities on the cushions are endless! Have a play around and try some gentle controlled lunges with 1 foot on the cushion and 1 foot on the floor.