Pilates exercise is great for building kinesthetic awareness and teaching basic movement patterns. When teaching Pilates, TRX Senior Instructor PJ O’Clair likes to add the TRX Suspension Trainer to create a dynamic workout that mimics the demands of life and sport. “My clients have tried all of these exercises,” says PJ. “I combine them with the traditional repertoire, and we have fun! Some of my clients have no idea they are doing Pilates until I tell them. They love the diversity, creativity and of course the results.”
The following TRX Pilates exercises are perfect for clients of all levels.
TRX Shoulder Bridge
Benefits: Activates posterior chain, improves lower kinetic chain mobility, and because this exercise is performed unilaterally, there is an increased challenge to avoid rotation of the pelvis which is ideal for strengthening the core stabilizers
Adjust your Suspension Trainer to mid calf position and configure into single handle mode. Lie on the ground facing the anchor point and place one heel in the foot cradles and the other flat on the ground with both knees bent. The suspended foot is directly under the anchor, arms long by sides.
Phase 1 – Inhale and press firmly into the suspended foot. Exhale and engage the glutes and hamstrings and lift the hips off the ground and then lower back to the start position. Repeat five times.
Phase 2 – Inhale and press firmly into the suspended foot. Exhale and engage the glutes and hamstrings and lift the hips off the ground. Inhale and hold the hips in the extended position. Exhale and lift the ground leg to the table top position, not allowing the pelvis to drop or rotate. Repeat five times.
Phase 3 – Inhale and press firmly into the suspended foot. Exhale and engage the glutes and hamstrings and lift the hips off the ground. Hold the hips in the extended position, inhale and bend and extend the ground leg through table top position to the fully extended position, holding the leg directly above the hip. Exhale and lower the leg straight down toward the opposite knee, only going as low as you can go without dropping or rotating the pelvis. Repeat the lowering and lifting phase three times and return back to start position. Repeat each set of three two times.
TRX Control Balance into Teaser
Benefits: Strengthens core musculature, increases spine and hip mobility, activates the entire posterior chain, improves endurance of the core, breathing and coordination
Adjust your TRX to the mid calf position. Lie on the ground facing the anchor point, with your forehead directly under the anchor point. Hands are in the foot cradles with arms extended out by the hips. Bring both legs straight up to 90 degrees, directly over hips. Activate the abs to slightly imprint the pelvis so the spine is supported in the open chain position.
Phase 1 – Inhale and press down into the cradles. Exhale and roll the spine off the floor, bringing the legs overhead. Inhale to start, rolling back down. Exhale to return to the start position. Repeat three times.
Phase 2 – Inhale and press down into the cradles. Roll the spine off the floor, bringing the legs overhead. Exhale and reach the legs up toward the ceiling, extending the hips into the jackknife position. Inhale and stay in the extended position. Exhale an d scissor the legs, maintaining the shape. Breath normally while performing the scissoring action in and out. Repeat the scissors four times, alternating the legs and then roll back to the start position.
Phase 3 – Inhale to lower legs away from the body to approximately a 45 degree angle. Exhale to articulate the spine to roll up to the V position. Inhale and start rolling back down again. Exhale to return to the start position. Combine this movement with Phase 2 and repeat three to five times.
TRX Magician Leg Series
Benefits: Strengthens spine and hip extensors, promotes ankle, knee and hip mobility, gives the sense of traction to the spine
With your TRX in the mid calf position, lie on the ground facing the anchor point. Both heels are in the foot cradles. Slide the body away from the anchor so the feet are on the down slop side of the Pendulum Principle. Lift hips up, extending t he hips and bringing the body in one long line, resting on the shoulders with the thoracic spine flexed, arms resting long by sides.
Phase 1 – Inhale to prepare, exhale to swing body in pendulum fashion, side to side first with the legs adducted. To increase the challenge to the core stabilizers, swing the legs with them abducted. Keep a normal breathing pattern throughout the movement, inhaling and exhaling as legs move through space. Repeat three to five times.
Phase 2 – When swinging the legs to each side, do a hamstring curl, flexing the knee of the same side leg, bringing it in toward the shoulder. Maintain core stability throughout the pattern without dropping the hips, laterally flexing the spine or sawing. Repeat five to 10 times in each direction and then roll back down.
Want more TRX Pilates workout ideas? Download TRX Essentials: Flexibility here.
PJ O’Clair is the owner of Clubxcel & Northeast Pilates, one of the largest STOTT PILATES Licensed Training Centers in the US. In addition to her work as a program developer and Master Instructor Trainer for STOTT PILATES, she is a TRX Senior Instructor, a published author and the recipient of the 2008 IDEA “Program Director of the Year” award.