Pilates with Zoe

Category Archives: Homework


For those of you wanting to practice a little from home (which I highly recommend!) here’s is a Mixed Ability 40 min lesson plan.

Mixed Ability

40 mins

You will need: towel to lie on or mat

NB: Zipping and hollowing is engaging your deep stabilising muscles before and during movement. There should be no movement in the spine when this happens. It’s the combination of zip (drawing up the pelvic floor muscles) and hollowing (drawing tummy in) and usually done on the out breath.

Start lying on your back, knees bent, hip distance apart and spine in neutral:

Ribcage closure: practising good upper body movement
Floating arms up and over the head whilst keeping spine and neutral and ribs flat to mat.

Breath in the float arms up then exhale as they reach over the head as you zip and hollow to keep ribs flat to mat and spine in neutral. Breath in again as arms float up to ceiling and out as they return to floor. Repeat 12 times.

Spine curls: increase spinal mobility
Inhale to prepare, exhale zip and hollow, rotate pelvis back pressing lower back into floor then peel the spine vertebrae by vert away from the floor. Inhale at top then exhale to lower the spine back to the floor again lengthening through to the tail. Ensure the movement is supported by the tummy scooping.

Knee folds single then double: Improve hip mobility, core strength and pelvic stability.
Start lying on back knees bent (relaxation pos). Ensure spine stays in neutral throughout. Breath in to prepare, exhale, zip and hollow, hinge one leg up to coffee table height, inhale to lower. For double knee fold, on out breath hinge one and two legs up (on same breath) inhale to hold then exhale to lower one then two (on same breath). Ensure tummy stays flat and doesn’t ‘pop’.Repeat 6 each side

Hip rolls legs up: rotate spine and work waist muscles.
Fold legs with control into a double knee fold arms in a wide V by side. Breath in to prepare, then exhale, zip and hollow and rotate through hips send knees towards the floor in one direction as head looks in other. (Keep shoulder blades on matt and knees squeezing together). Breath in to hold then exhale to return pelvis back to neutral with tummy scooped. Repeat on other side. Rep 6 each side. This can be adapted for beginners by having the feet on the floor.

Curl ups: improve spinal mobility of upper spine and core strength
Start lying on back knees bent (relaxation pos). Ensure spine stays in neutral throughout. Place hands behind head supporting neck. Inhale to prepare, exhale, zip and hollow and nod chin forward picking head off floor with hands and peeling the spine up and away from the floor vertebrae by vert. Inhale and look at pelvis, it must stay in neutral and tummy hollowing. Return on out breath. Rep 20 times.

Zip hollow and take legs into a double knee fold and squeeze together. Curl up head and shoulders maintaining a neutral pelvis (tail pointing down end of mat). Raise arms to just above the floor, lengthening through the arm and connecting the scapular. Start to beat the arms up and down without bobbing the spine around. Breathe in for 5 bobs and out for 5. Arms are pumping the blood round the body. Continue to 20 sets counting to 100 bobs. Lengthen legs to challenge lower abs,

Oyster: Improve pelvic strength and hip mobility
Start lying on side, knees bent, underneath arm lengthening out above your head, cushion between head and arm. Heels in line with your bottom. Lift waist away from floor so you are not sinking and draw tummy in to support neutral spine. Inhale to prepare then exhale and open out knee keeping hips facing forward and heels together. Return knee on in breath. Start 15 on either side then build up to 25.

Side lying lower and lifts:
Entend top leg out in line with your hip. Lift and lower leg without moving hips. Reps 15 each side

Side lying forward:
Send extended leg forward without hitching a hip or curling tail bone under. Maintain neutral spine throughout. Reps 12/15 each side.

Glute and piriformis stretch:
Lying on back rest ankle across opposite knee then draw the grounded leg in towards your chest with both hands. Hold for 12 breaths and repeat with other leg.

Mini cobra: Extend and mobilise upper spine and strengthen scapular stabilising muscles.
Lie on front place hands are on either side of mat, thumbs in line with your nose. Imagine a marble in front of your nose. Inhale prepare, exhale to scoop tummy, nudge imaginary marble forwards with nose, reach breastbone forward and shoulderblades draw down the back as you peel the breastbone away from the floor, inhale to hold and return on out breath. Focus on upper back movement only. Reps 12.

Lie in rest/prayer position to stretch out lower back.

CAT: improve spinal mobility.
Start in 4 point kneeling . Make sure you have your bottom sticking out and are lifted between shoulder blades. Mobilising spine on all fours breath in to prepare then exhale zip and hollow, curl tail bone under then allow the movement to follow all the way to the neck till your looking between your knees in a CAT stretch. Breath in to hold. Exhale and return the spine back into neutral moving again from tail to head till you are back in neutral. Reps 12.

Finish back in rest/prayer position again
If you have any more time add on a few roll downs raising the arms above your head once restacking each time.


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