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exercise of the month

The Star

July 2019

Aim

To learn to work with opposition (i.e. lengthening whilst strengthening).  To maintain good scapula stability and co-ordination.

Starting Position

Lie prone in a star shape with the arms and legs apart in a star shape. A small head cushion may be placed under the forehead.

Action

Inhale - To prepare

Exhale - To engage the core abdominals and stretch the right leg along the floor until it is as long as possible.  Continue exhaling and lift the leg up off the floor no more than about an inch.  Simultaneously stretch the left arm forwards and away from the body without hiking the shoulder up to the ear.  Raise the arm no more than an inch off the floor.  It is length in both limbs and not height that you are aiming for.  Try to achieve a sense of opposition here (i.e. lengthening the limbs in two opposing directions whilst maintaining a strong core centre).  In addition, also lift the head off the floor at the same time as the arm and leg lift.  The head only lifts a few inches and the eyes are looking down to the floor so the back of the neck remains long

Inhale – To lower the body back down to the floor again.  Repeat with the opposite limbs

Target Muscles

Core Abdominals, gluteals, scapula stabilisers

Watchpoints

  • Keep the waist long and even on both sides
  • Keep the distance between ear and shoulder even on both sides
  • As the limbs lift, ensure the body stays centred and does not rock over to one side
  • Do not lift the limbs too high, a couple of inches at the most.  The important thing is length

Contra Indictions

Lying prone may be uncomfortable for certain back problems.  Try putting a small cushion or rolled up towel under the abdomen to support the back.

Share this exercise

October 2019

This is one of Joseph Pilates original 34 exercises in the classic repertoire

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October 2019

This mid-back strengthening exercise is great for improving posture and preventing round shoulders

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