Since your core muscles serve to strengthen and support your spine and pelvis, establishing a strong core is the first step toward making your entire body stronger. Begin with strengthening your core with these simple Pilates-based exercises, which will provide a solid foundation for all subsequent movements. Most days of the week, perform 15 repetitions of each exercise.
Lie flat on your back, knees bent and feet clutching the floor, arms at your sides. Raise your right hipbone as far as you can toward the ceiling. Hold for a moment. Shift slowly and lift your left hipbone. Sway softly from right to left, as if you are shaking a cup of soup between your hip bones without spilling it. Perform 15 repetitions, counting right and left as 1 rep.
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling in a bridge posture, and place your thumbs on your ribs and your middle fingers on your hipbones. Tilt the pelvis toward the ground, increasing the space between your fingers and thumbs. Then, lift your pelvis upward, reducing the gap between your fingers and thumbs. One breath cycle should be completed by the two motions from below to upward. Repeat 15 times.
Sit up straight, arms outstretched in front of your shoulders, elbows slightly bent. Softly round your back and gently roll backward, imprinting your lower back (lumbar spine), then your mid-back (thoracic spine), and finally your upper back (cervical spine) into the cushioned mat. Once you have rounded all the way down and your head and neck are resting on the mat, reach behind your hamstrings to help yourself back to an upright sitting position. Make 15 repetitions.
Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and your knees bent to 90 degrees, with your knees exactly above your hips and your shins parallel to the ground. Lift the head, neck, and shoulders off the floor using your abs. Raise your arms, compress your shoulders away from your ears, and reach your fingertips away from you. Begin by pumping your arms down and up. Perform 5 pulses on an inhale and 5 pulses on an exhale. Carry out three breath cycles in this manner.