This Rejuvenating Pilates Home Workout Will Help Improve Your Posture

Woman rolls out exercise mat at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After a (hopefully) restful winter break, it’s back to the grind and, in all likelihood, spending significant periods of time sitting – which can wreak havoc on your posture. One of the many benefits of Pilates is that it’s great for posture, along with being an excellent way to mobilise the joints and move freely without tension. 

So to round off our 12 days of Christmas workouts, we present a Pilates home workout from Lotty Somers, a STOTT Pilates-certified instructor. It should leave you feeling great and ready to make the most of your day.

“It’s not just physical benefits which come from improved posture,” says Somers. “When we feel able to stand tall and move without constraint, we tend to radiate more confidence. In addition, the use of breath in Pilates can help reduce stress, so it’s a great way to boost our mood and improve our overall mental health and wellbeing.”

The routine uses eight movements. Go through the moves slowly, completing the allotted reps. Feel free to go through the circuit of moves twice.

1 Neutral and imprint of the pelvis

Reps 8-10

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your hips and pelvic bone should be level and there should be a natural arch in your lower back. This is neutral alignment. Keeping your hips still, tilt your pelvis and flatten your lower back so it’s in gentle contact with the floor. It’s a very small movement and Sommers goes into greater detail at the start of this Pilates for posture YouTube video. Continue tilting your pelvis back and forth between these two positions.

2 Abs prep

Woman performs ab prep exercise with help from Pilates instructor

(Image credit: Getty Images / Liam Norris)

Reps 10-12

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your spine and pelvis should be in neutral alignment, and your hands interlaced behind your head to support your neck. Inhale to prepare, then, as you exhale, lift your head, neck and shoulder blades off the mat. Use your upper-back muscles to stabilise your body and engage your abdominal muscles. Inhale as you lower. 

3 Bridge

Woman performs bridge exercise at home

(Image credit: Getty Images / Justin Paget)

Reps 6-8

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. As you exhale, lift your spine one vertebra at a time, beginning at the base, to lift your hips into an elevated bridge position and create a straight line running from your shoulders to your hips to your knees, while keeping your thighs hip-distance apart and hips level. Inhale as you roll back down through each vertebra to return to your starting position. 

4 Half roll back

Reps 8-10

Sit upright with a straight spine and your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms stretched out in front of you. On an exhale, tilt your pelvis under and begin to roll backwards towards the floor, curving your spine into a “C” shape. Roll halfway down, then on an inhale, return to your starting position. 

5 Spine twist

Reps 5 each side

Sit upright with your legs extended in front of you. Imagine a piece of string pulling you up through the crown of your head to lengthen your spine. Extend your arms to either side, with your palms facing down. Exhale and twist your upper body to the right, without moving your hips. Inhale as you return to the centre. Alternate sides with each rep.

6 Bird dog

Woman performs bird dog exercise at home with small dog on her back

(Image credit: Getty Images / Kseniya Starkova)

Reps 8-10 each side

Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders and knees under your hips, with a neutral spine – imagine you have a cup of tea balanced on your tailbone. Maintaining the position of your shoulders and hips, exhale as you extend one leg backwards and the opposite arm forwards. Inhale as you return to the starting position. Alternate sides with each rep.

7 Plank

Woman performs plank exercise at home

(Image credit: Getty Images / Justin Paget)

Time 30-90sec

Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders and hold your body in one long line. You can either be on your toes or, to make it easier, on your knees. Don’t tuck or tilt your pelvis but maintain a neutral spine as you hold this position.

8 Upper-back extensor

Woman face down on exercise mat

The starting position of the upper-back extensor exercise (Image credit: Getty Images / Tanja Ivanova)

Reps 8-10

Lie on your front with your legs extended and both hands under your forehead. Exhale and lift your head, your neck and shoulders off the mat, using your upper-back muscles to power the movement. Don’t arch into the mid or lower back, and keep looking at the floor. Inhale as you lower. 

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.