Get your day off to the best possible start, feeling energised from top to toe and raring to go, with this beginner-friendly morning Pilates routine from the queen of Pilates, Lynne Robinson. Your core will thank you for it!

Does your morning routine currently consist of rolling out of bed and heading straight to work? Well, you could be missing a trick. By incorporating a quick, energising workout into your morning routine, your mind and body are sure to feel far more ready to take on the day. If you’re looking to start your day with a gentle full-body workout and stretch, this morning Pilates routine could be just the ticket…

Morning Pilates routine for beginners:

Start the day will this series of Pilates moves for a full-body workout and stretch…

Relaxation position

  • Begin this morning pilates routine by laying on your back on your mat with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and parallel.
  • Aim your heels towards the centre of each buttock. Your feet should be about hip-width apart.
  • If you need to, place a small, folded towel or firm, flat pillow underneath your head. The idea is for your neck to be lengthened but to maintain its natural curve. Your head should be neither tipped forward nor back.
  • If you are going to ‘remain’ in relaxation position, place your hands on the lower abdomen to allow the shoulders to widen and open. You could pop a pillow under each elbow to help with tension release.
  • If you are using the relaxation position as a starting position, have your arms relaxed by your sides, palms facing the floor.
  • When coming out of this position, please roll onto your
    side and rest a moment before coming up

morning pilates routine

Spine curls

  • In relaxation position, breathe in to prepare.
  • Next, breathe out as you curl your tailbone under, and then peel your spine off the mat one vertebra at a time, lengthening your knees away from your hips.
  • Breathe in and hold your body in a straight line.
  • Breathe out as you raise your arms above your head, keeping your ribcage “closed” i.e. down towards your hips and not arching your upper back.
  • Then, breathe in and hold.
  • Breathe out and slowly roll your spine back down.
  • Breathe in, holding your arms where they are, then exhale and lower them up and over to the mat.
  • Repeat up to ten times

morning pilates routine

Curl ups with knee fold and extension

  • Start in the relaxation position (see left), hands clasped lightly behind your head.
  • First, breathe in to prepare.
  • Breathe out as you nod your head forward.
  • Then, breathe in and fold one knee up, without disturbing the pelvis.
  • Breathe out as you extend that leg to about 45 degrees, keeping it in line with your hip.
  • Next, breathe in and bend the knee in again, then breathe out and replace the foot on the floor.
  • Breathe in as you curl back down sequentially, with control, to the mat.
  • Repeat the Curl Up, moving the other leg.
  • Repeat up to four times with each leg

morning pilates routine

Knee rolls with opening leg

  • Lie on your back, with your legs straight.
  • Breathe in to prepare and as you do, draw your left foot along the floor towards your buttock.
  • Breathe out as you roll your left knee out from the hip joint. Your foot will be on the outer edge on the floor. Maintain a steady pelvis so your hips don’t rock over to the left side.
  • Still while exhaling, push your left foot down and round to join the right foot, so both legs are back
  • On one full circle of the knee take one inhale and exhale.
  • Repeat on the same side six times.
  • Swap to do the same thing with the right leg.

morning pilates routine

Hundred: stage 3

  • Begin in relaxation position.
  • Fold your legs up, one at a time, maintaining a level pelvis i.e. not letting it come off the floor.
  • Connect your inner thighs so that the legs are together in parallel.
  • Breathe out as you nod your head and curl up through the spine, raising the arms slightly.
  • Staying in curl up, beat your arms, breathing in for a count of five, out for a count of five. Do this for up to ten times (100 beats).
  • Then, “still” the arms and breathe out as you lower your arms to the ground.
  • Slowly roll back down through each vertebra, and return the feet, one at a time, to the mat.

morning pilates routine

Cobra prep

  • Start lying on your front, resting your forehead on the mat, legs straight, slightly wider than hip-width and turned out from the hips. Bend your elbows and position your hands slightly wider than, and just above, shoulder-height. Breathe in.
  • Breathe out as you lengthen and lift your head and then your chest off the mat. Your lower ribs remain in contact with the mat, open your chest and focus on directing it forwards.
  • Breathe in and slide one hand forwards along the floor.
  • Then, breathe out, slide the arm back.
  • Breathe in and slide the other hand forwards.
  • Breathe out and slide it back.
  • Next, breathe in as you lower your chest and head sequentially.
  • Breathe out as you bend one knee to do two small, brisk pulsing ‘kicks’, pointing your foot towards your buttock.
  • Then, breathe in as you straighten the leg.
  • Finally, breathe out as you repeat two small pulsing kicks while this time flexing your ankle. Repeat with the other leg.

morning pilates routine

Rocking cat

  • Kneel on all fours, hands underneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips.
  • Breathe in and lengthen your spine.
  • Breathe out as you roll your pelvis under you and sequentially round the spine into a C-shaped curve.
  • Inhale as you move your body backward towards your heels, folding at the hips and maintaining your curve.
  • Exhale and move forwards again, still in a curve.
  • Breathe in as you unravel the spine, sending the tailbone away from the crown of your head.
  • Then, breathe out and gently extend your upper spine, lengthening through your head, then neck and opening your collarbones wide and open, into reverse C-Curve.
  • Breathe in and, folding at the hips again, move your spine and pelvis back to your heels, keeping as much of the spinal extension as you can.
  • Exhale and move forward again, maintaining the reverse C-Curve.
  • Inhale and lengthen back into neutral.
  • Repeat up to six times.

morning pilates routine

Long frog mermaid

  • Sit in long frog position with your feet together and knees apart. Your feet should be quite a distance from your body to allow a feeling of space in the hip joints.
  • Place your hands on your shins, with your arms lengthened but elbows are slightly bent.
  • Have your head balanced centrally over your ribcage, with your ribcage over your pelvis.
  • You may be more comfortable sitting on a rolled-up towel or cushion as this helps you into a neutral spine position.
  • Now, breathe in as you float your left arm up.
  • Breathe out as you reach up and over to the right. Your right arm will slide further along the mat.
  • Breathe into your open side.
  • Breathe out as you straighten the right arm and return to upright. Lower your left arm and return it to the mat.
  • Repeat to the other side.
  • Do three lots of stretches on each side, then swap your pelvis and legs across to the other side and repeat the sequence.

morning pilates routine

Side-lying bow and arrow

  • Side-lying on the left. Place a substantial cushion underneath your head to ensure that your head and neck are in line with your spine.
  • Bend both knees in front of you, so your hips and knees are bent to a right-angle.
  • Place another pillow between your knees, if you wish.
  • Lengthen both arms out in front of your body at shoulder height.
  • Breathe in to prepare.
  • Breathe out as you bend your right elbow, drawing the arm towards your body and right hand towards the shoulder.
  • Simultaneously, rotate your head, neck and upper spine (in that order) to the right.
  • Breathe in as you straighten the arm while continuing to lengthen the spine and encouraging a little more rotation.
  • Breathe out as you rotate your spine back to the starting position, keeping the arm straight.
  • Repeat up to five times to each side.

Walking on the spot squat

  • Stand on a firm, level surface, arms lengthened by your sides, palms facing inwards.
  • Inhale and bend your hips, knees and ankles into a small squat position.
  •  Stay squatted and breathe normally as you raise both heels.
  • Then lower one heel to establish a walking on the spot action.
  • Walk in the squat before stopping walking.
  • Straighten back up tall.
  • Repeat up to four times.

This morning Pilates routine was extracted from Pilates Express by Lynne Robinson (£20, Kyle Books), which is available to buy now. Photography by Claire Pepper.

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