I am always giving homework to my pilates clients; I find it important to enforce the practices that we learn in class. Especially if you are new to pilates, the exercises you do at home should be simple, safe and have layers (modifications and challenges) depending on how your body feels that day.
Here are 3 exercises that I give as homework to help with abs, posture and balance that can be done everyday.
Set-up: Place your hands behind your head, bend legs into your chest, curl the head and neck up and extend legs to the ceiling
Execution: Lower and lift the legs
Modification: Hands under your tailbone (fingertips should be showing) and/or bend your knees (together or diamond shape)
Challenge: When the legs are lower, hold for a second or two and then lift back up
Attention: Do not let your back arch and make sure your upper body is lifted so you do not strain your neck
Focus on using your legs to challenge your stomach
Set-up: Go onto your forearms and extend legs into a plank position
Execution: Try to press the shoulder blades together as you lower the chest to the floor and lift back up
Reps: 3-5x and do 3 sets
Modifications: Just hold your setup (plank)
Challenge: Increase reps and alternate between serratus push-ups and holding the plank position
Attention: Make sure your body is in one long line and your shoulders are down
Focus on your upper back, pulling your stomach in and working your quads
Heel Lifts (Standing Balance)
Set-up: Stand upright and heels together toes 2-3 fingers apart
Execution: Lift the heels and then lower, try to lift straight up instead of moving forward
Modification: Do not lift your heels very high
Challenge: Keep the heels lifted and together as you circle your arms, close your eyes or do both
Attention: Keep your heels together!
Focus on balance and using your back side (butt, inner thighs, calves, ankles and feet) and your core