Ashley Greene’s Pilates Workout
You’ll Need: An exercise mat, water bottle.
How it Works: The Sheppard Method is a unique blending of the body, mind, and spirit combined with Pilates principles. A Pilates workout has numerous benefits, including weight loss, strength building, improved posture, increased stamina, stronger immune system, and more flexibility.
|Finding the Center|
Finding the center improves alignment of the entire body and establishes the point of power from which all movements begin.
1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your right hand on your abdominals and your left hand on your lower back. Pull your navel in toward your spine.
2. Imagine that one laser beam extends from one end of your hips to the other, and another from about an inch below your belly button to about an inch above your tailbone.
3. Now imagine that where those points meet, there is a ping-pong ball with the energy of the sun, extending itself in all directions. This is your body’s center, from which all movement flows.
|Peel-Up with Leg Extensions|
This move teaches us to extend the legs and lengthen them from the center to create a beautiful, strong line.
1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and together, feet flat on the floor. Place your fingertips on top of your knees. Peel your head and shoulders off the floor.
2. Inhale as you slowly extend your right leg straight out to a 45-degree angle, pulling your abs in toward the spine to keep your back from arching. Keep the distance between your shoulders and your ears. Keep your inner thighs squeezed together.
3. Exhale as you slowly return the leg to starting position. Use the air as resistance, like you’re moving through mud. Complete 8 reps with each leg, then do 8 more reps with both legs.
|The Sheppard Swoop|
This move facilitates rotational spinal movement, working the waist and stabilizing the upper body.
1. Go into a mermaid position on your left side: Sit tall on your hips with your left knee bent toward the front of your body and the heel in line with your pelvis. Place your right hand behind the right hip, knee bent. Extend your left arm straight up to the ceiling and place your right palm flat on the floor by your right side. Keep your hips aligned, facing forward, and think of keeping distance between your rib cage and your pelvis.
2. Begin to rotate your torso to your right, swooping your left arm across the floor and then in front of your body at chest height.
3. Place your left palm flat on the floor beside you, and swoop your right arm around toward your left side as you lift your hips off the floor, keeping your eyes focused on your right palm. Slowly reverse the movement and come back to center. Complete 3 reps, and then repeat on opposite side.
|Back Extension with Leg Lifts|
This exercise strengthens the back, the shoulders and upper body, and helps to improve posture.
1. Lie on the floor with your body long and straight, feet pointed, pelvis pressed into the floor. Stack your hands in front of your body, elbows bent out to the sides, your forehead rested on top of your hands.
2. Inhale, gently lifting your head and shoulders off the floor, as if your shoulder blades themselves are doing the lifting. Keep your neck elongated, as if your spine extends out past the top of your head. Bring your elbows toward your sides, a couple inches off and parallel to the floor.
3. Keep your legs squeezed together, lifting them slowly off the floor. Hold this pose for three counts, then slowly lower the legs and return the arms, head, and shoulders to the starting position.