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Ten Pilates seated exercises to restore your mobility and reduce stiffness

Seated Pilates

This blog will outline a few seated exercises that can make your core muscles stronger. Exercises you can do at your desk when at work, or if you are returning from an injury or operation to full strength

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Neck exercises

Start with some easy seated exercises that will take the pressure of your neck and all the way down your back. roll your chin gently across your chest from left to right.

Never circle the neck all the way around, this movement damages the vertebrae and its attachments.  Gently move your neck forward and up and then side to side.   You can intensify the stretch by simply pulling the opposite shoulder back as you turn the other way. Take your time with this stretch and enjoy the feeling of release that it gives your entire body.

Activity: Move your chin from side to side and then roll

Duration: Complete 5 turning side to sides move and 5 rolls across your chest

Shoulder exercises

Whilst seated and comfortable, stretch your legs forward and connect your feet with the floor. Simply place your hand on your lap and relax your body.

1. Shrug your shoulders up and down

Move down your body in stages, next work on your shoulders, shrug them up to your ears and release.

2. Fully rotate your shoulders

After a few simple moves then begin to take a full articulation through your shoulders by lifting them up to your ears, then pulling the shoulders right back so you feel that your shoulder blade, or scapula, sits firmly on your back.  You feel as if your upper back is one line, with no ‘winging’ of the shoulder blade away from your upper back.

3. Press shoulder blades back

Press your shoulders blades down your back and fully release the shoulders Feel as if you are shrugging quite forcibly and letting go.


  • Pull your shoulders up, back, down and release
  • Reverse the movement
  • Shoulders flatten to your back


  • Complete 5 rotations of shoulders one way and then the other
  • Shoulders flatten to your back 10 in quick succession.

Wrist rotations

In a comfortable seated position circle your wrists all the way round to relieve the beginning of any tension in the wrists and all the way up your arms.  Repetitive strain can be avoided by taking a few moments out of your day to rotate your wrists completely in one direction and then a full rotation in the other.

Activity:< Rotate your wrists in both directions.

Duration: 10 times in each direction.

Arm Raises

Keeping your shoulders down begin to activate your upper body by lifting your arms. In a seated position you will feel where your lower back is connected to the chair and it wants to remain there, don’t pull forward or away, pull your shoulders back and down as initiated in previous exercises, keep your shoulders down and lift your arms wide and out to your side, palms up. Move your fingertips to the back of your head bending your elbows. this movement will encourage the opening of your chest and allow you to breathe freely

Activity:  Lift arms to the side and then fingers tips to behind the back  of your head

Duration: 20 times

Leg Lifts

Strengthen your quads or front of your things is the best way to protect your knees from injury and working your thighs whilst seated in a chair is the best way to do this safely. Begin with your feet on the floor, feeling grounded. Keep your knee bent and at a right angle if you can. Keep the leg at that angle as you lift and lower the right leg. Then begin to lift and straighten the leg out in front of you.

Repeat on the other leg

Activity:  Lift your right thigh with a bent knee, then with a straight leg

Duration: 20 times on each leg

Belly Button pull ins

Draw your belly button to your spine without moving your back. Isolate your abdominal muscles, avoid using your bum or your back.  Like a belly dancer simply move your tummy in and out. As you pull in breath out and as you release breath in.

Activity:  Draw your belly button to spine

Duration: 20 times

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Pelvic floor lifting

Men lift their crown jewels and ladies think about stopping yourself from going to the toilet mid-flow. Holding your “wee” mid-flow to increase the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.


  • Draw up and release x 10 times
  • Draw up and hold for 10 times


Duration: Repeat this cycle about five times.

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Pilates is a way of life that will improve your life

Pilates is fundamentally about integration: integrating movement into a flowing whole body experience and integrating the mind and body to create clarity and purpose. By integrating your mind with your body you will rejuvenate your spirit and will be on your way to creating a life of balance.

If you are interested in a little more Pilates practice or homework  join me for a Pilates class at home

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