Workout of the Week: Power Pilates

March 24, 2014 5:35 am Last Updated: March 24, 2014 8:38 am

Once a week, I teach a class called Power Pilates, which is a 45-minute high-intensity Pilates session. I often refer to this class as relentless, but I think giving it the name “relentless Pilates” would turn people off.

Although these classes often push people far beyond their capabilities, week after week, I have regular clients turn up to be challenged and tell me—after the class is over—how much they enjoy it. No one ever mentions how much they like it at the start of the class.

So this week I’d like to share one of my favorite sequences from my Power Pilates book of tricks.

If you’re up for a great abdominal workout, this dynamic abdominal sequence is for you. Something different from doing 100 sit-ups, this sequence is designed to work all the muscles in your body rather than isolating your abdominals. Give it a go I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

The purpose of this sequence is to strengthen your core area, which includes your abdominals and lower back. It will particularly work your obliques, so think of it as a great waist-shaping exercise. It will also increase upper-body strength and improve shoulder stability.

Side Lift

Build up to holding this position for one minute on each side. (Willis Lim Brisbane Australia)

1. Start by sitting sideways on your right thigh, resting some of your weight on your right hand. Have your legs resting on top of each other, knees slightly bent in front of you. Your feet, hips, and hand should be in a straight line.
2. Inhale to prepare, engaging your abdominal area. Exhale as you lift your body up into a side-lift. Focus on lifting your hips up as high as you can and squeezing your inner thighs.
3. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. Then lower back to the floor.
4. Build up to holding this position for 1 minute on each side.

Side-Lift Twist

Reach your left hand underneath your body as you thrust your hips up into the air. (Willis Lim Brisbane Australia)

1. Start in the side-lift position.
2. Reach your left hand underneath your body as you thrust your hips up into the air.
3. Return back to the side-lift position.
4. Do six to eight repetitions on each side.

Side Lift With Leg Lift

When you are able to hold for 30 seconds, lower and lift the top leg 10 times quickly while maintaining the side-lift position. Repeat on both sides. (Willis Lim Brisbane Australia)

1. Start in the side-lift position.
2. Once you are stable in the side-lift pose, lift your top leg to hip height.
3. Hold it for 5 seconds. Eventually build up to a 30-second hold.
4. When you are able to hold for 30 seconds, lower and lift the top leg 10 times quickly while maintaining the side-lift position. Repeat on both sides.

I promise this will be a brilliant challenge for your body. If it is too difficult, decrease the number of repetitions, the time spent holding the positions, and if necessary, modify the exercise by working from your knees instead of your feet.

Keep your breath consistent and flowing throughout the exercises. Breathing will support your muscle function, strength, and control. Also be mindful to keep your abdominals engaged, as this will help keep your lower back strong.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. With nine years of industry experience, she is passionate about sharing the gift of health and well-being. Emma-Kate is based in Brisbane, Australia.