4 Pilates moves for a stronger core

Once the domain of dancers, Pilates has become popular
 with runners looking to toughen up the muscles in their 
mid-section. “When the core is stable, limbs move efficiently and you’re less likely to get injured,” says Julie Erickson, a marathoner and endurance Pilates instructor. She’s put together these key moves for you to do three times a week.

Leg pull

WHY It teaches you to engage your core and keep your legs moving when you’re tired.

HOW From the ‘up’ of a press-up position, pull your navel in, and lift one leg, foot flexed. Point the toes of your top leg, flex the opposite ankle, and return your top leg to the start. (Your arms stay straight but may move.) Alternate legs; do five lifts per leg.

Side kick

WHY This teaches you to activate your core as your legs work. It also works your hamstrings, glutes, quads and hip flexors.

HOW Lie on one side with your legs extended. Raise your top leg to hip height and swing it forward and back using a controlled pull/push motion (your torso should remain still). Repeat 10 times on each side.

Leg stretch

WHY This full-body move helps you to support your limbs 
with your core while you’re running.


HOW Lie on your back as shown, and contract your abs. While inhaling, extend your legs (your torso remains still), turn your palms to the floor and push your arms down towards your hips. As you exhale, return to the start position with control. Repeat 10 times.

The swan

WHY Practise this to fight slouching when you’re tired.

HOW Lie on your stomach
 with your hands next to your shoulders, palms down. Contract your core so your belly pulls away from the mat. Inhale while looking forward and slowly lifting your torso. Hold; slowly return to start. Repeat eight times.