Most people think of Pilates as being very serious. Well, to some extent, it is. It does require an extreme concentration to ignite body awareness with proper breathing techniques. But there is one Pilates move that I just love, purely because it’s fun, effective, and silly. You can’t help but laugh when doing it.
Joseph Pilates, the creator and founder of Pilates, designed this move in the same way he designed all moves—to rely on coordination, stretching, alignment, breath, and timing. But this is the one move in particular that he believed everyone should do everyday morning and night. Joseph called it the “Commando Exercise," but now, it's better known as “The Clock” or “Around the Clock.”
The move, which should be done in one minute, is harder than it looks. First and foremost, imagine as though you are the hands on a clock. If lying on your back, your head is at the 12 o'clock mark and your lower half begins at the 6 o’clock. As you work through the exercise, focus on moving clockwise.
1: Start lying on your back with your knees tucked into your body. Lift your head and hold onto your knees with both hands.
2: On an INHALE, extend the arms straight back behind you to 12 o’clock while simultaneously extending the legs straight in front of you to 6 o’clock. Note: Keep your back firmly planted into the floor, and pull your belly button in towards your spine. How low your legs go depends on your strength.
3: As you EXHALE, try to twist your body to 1 o’clock while bringing the knees and legs back in, tucking into your body, just as you started.
4: INHALE, extend the arms straight behind you to 1 o’clock and extend the legs down.
5: Repeat Steps 3 & 4 to continue until you've made a full round, all the way around the clock. Your arms and legs never touch the ground, and you're actually spinning your body all the way around as you move through. In other words, when you reach 6 o'clock, your head will be where your feet were at 12 o'clock.
Once you're done, REVERSE, and go counter-clockwise!
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Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.