How to Do the Corkscrew | Pilates Workout
How to Do the Corkscrew in Pilates
The Corkscrew is an advanced Pilates exercise. It is performed while lying on a mat on your back with your legs in the air. This high-intensity exercise is great for strengthening and balancing the whole body, especially the abdominals and hip flexors. To perform this exercise effectively you will need to get in the correct starting position, carry out the exercise, and repeat it regularly.
Getting in the Starting Position
Set up your mat.Place your mat on a flat, smooth surface. Make sure that you set up in a quiet place, and in an area with enough space for movement. If you do not have a Pilates mat, try doing the exercise on a carpeted area or use a towel.
- Use a thicker mat if you have a sensitive back.
- Try to find a well lit space with natural light.
- Wear comfortable clothing that allows movement. Shoes and socks are not needed.
Lie down on your back on your Pilates mat.Push your chin into your chest, ensuring your neck remains long. Press your back flat against the floor. Make sure it is not in a neutral position.
- A neutral back position allows you to maintain the natural curve of your spine while lying down. The flat position you want to achieve with your back is called an imprinted spinal position.
Relax your shoulders.Do not use too much force while keeping your shoulders pressed down. Pull them away from your ears, and allow your arms to rest next to your body. Place your hands palm-down on the mat, fingertips stretched towards the bottom of the mat.
Extend your legs straight in front of you.Raise your legs upwards until they are vertically above your hips, forming a 90 degree angle with your body. Keep your upper thighs and knees together. Point your toes towards the ceiling.
Performing the Corkscrew
Tighten your abdominals.Inhale and scoop your abdominals inwards, while pressing your hands into the mat. Think about pressing your navel to your spine. Use your muscles to scoop your abdominals inwards, rather than “sucking in.”
- Do not attempt this exercise alone if you have limited Pilates experience.
Lift your hips.Slowly lift your hips, placing your legs above your head, parallel to your body and the floor. Point your toes out towards the top of the mat. Do not let your legs touch your face.
Take your legs to the side.Inhale and lift your legs. Keep your legs together, and move your legs to the right side of your body. You should only take your legs slightly to the right, not too far to the ground.
- Always remember to breathe steadily while performing this exercise.
Bring your legs down.Exhale and allow your legs to come back down. Bring them down until they reach a 45 degree angle with the mat. Keep your thighs and knees pressed together as you bring your legs down.
- Bring your legs down slowly, using your muscles. Do not let them drop.
Repeat the movement.Inhale deeply once again. Lift your legs slowly, using your muscles. Bring your legs parallel to the floor, and to the left side of your head this time.
- Exhale and bring your legs back down to the 45 degree angle with the floor, and repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.
Repeating the Exercise
Complete a few sequences.Each sequence should consist of just a few repetitions. Repeat each of the exercises in a sequence three to five times. The amount of exercises you do in a sequence depends on your level of experience and health.
- Don’t push yourself. If you feel that the exercise is becoming overwhelming, stop or take a break.
Stretch out upon completion.To stretch out your abs, lie flat on your back, extend your arms above your head, and stretch your legs away from your torso. Hold as long as you feel a good stretch. Don’t force your body too much. The stretch should relieve the tightness from performing the crunches.
- You can also try child’s pose to stretch out. This consists of sitting on your heels, bringing your stomach to your thighs, and stretching your arms out in front of you.
Repeat exercise three times a week.Perform the same number of sequences each time until you feel ready to add additional sequences. To start feeling results, aim to do at least three sequences three days a week. For faster results, increase the number of times per week you do this exercise.
Consider taking Pilates classes.Traditional Pilates involves working through a sequence of moves, and the goal is to perform each move one time correctly, concisely, and with control. One great way to improve your form and to learn other complementary exercises is to attend a class or take lessons. With time and practice, you can learn how to perform the corkscrew properly using the method of Joseph Pilates.
- Concentrate on perfecting your technique rather than doing numerous repetitions.
- The benefits of these exercises are core control, shoulder stability, back and abdominal strengthening.
- Don't hurt your neck while doing the exercise. Engage your abdominals and aim your legs straight out in front of you.
- Keep a water bottle nearby. It is important to stay hydrated.
- Potential injuries may be incurred if this exercise is performed incorrectly.
- Do not perform this exercise if you are pregnant, have osteoporosis, or if you have chronic pain in the neck, torso or shoulders. Those with poor balance should not perform this exercise.
- This exercise is intended for intermediate to advanced Pilates practitioners. Use extreme caution when performing the corkscrew exercise.
Video: How to Do the Full Corkscrew | Pilates Workout
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