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Confessions of a Pilates Master Instructor: 3 Favorite Core Exercises

As originally published in Ace Fitness | August 2013

Pilates focuses on the development of a strong core to improve posture, enhance quality of movement and create an overall well-balanced body. With research supporting these great benefits of Pilates and many, many more, I asked world-renowned Pilates instructor and ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor P.J. O’Clair, Merrithew Health & Fitness™ Master Instructor Trainer for STOTT PILATES® and ZEN·GA™, and Senior Master Course Instructor for TRX®, to share three of her favorite Pilates-inspired exercises for challenging the muscles that make up the midsection—also known as the “powerhouse” in Pilates.

Exercise: Rolling Like a Ball (3-part Progression)

Pilates exercise Pilates exercise

Reps: 12 reps total

Starting Position: 
Sit tall with the legs pressed together in a tabletop position. Begin reaching forward with the arms, keeping them in line with shoulders; hold 1- or 2-pound hand weights, if desired.

Movement:  
Inhale: Roll all the way back, keeping the legs still as you circle the arms overhead and out to the sides. 
Exhale: Flex back up to your starting position, and repeat this movement four times.
Next: Repeat the same move, but this time lengthen the right leg out as you roll back, then switch and extend the left leg, repeating for a total of 4 reps.
Next: Lengthen the right leg and reach the right arm overhead when rolling back (leave the left arm and leg in place). Circle the right arm around and bend the right leg back to the starting position. Do the left side and repeat for a total of 4 reps.

“I love this version of rolling like a ball—it challenges students and they love the series. Plus, I love the progression and build of intensity, and its only 12 reps!”

Read the rest at AceFitness.org