|This week we thought we’d take a look at ‘Arabesque’ – one of the exercises in our new Find your Flow® program.
As most of you will know, Arabesque is a traditional ballet movement. It reflects the fact that Joseph Pilates worked with a lot of dancers, including ballerinas at the New York School of Ballet. But don’t worry, you don’t need a tutu to practise Arabesque!
As you’ll see from the pictures above, Arabesque clearly has its origins in the traditional ballet movement but with the benefits of the Reformer, we get a range of different challenges, or if we need it, support.
As always, we offer a range of progressions over the course of the program. We’ll all start with our feet on the floor to get a feel of the movement and get used to using our arms and standing leg as a tripod. One of the challenges with this movement is to keep our hips level (unless we’re doing the rotation in progression 4). Some of us will feel our pelvis wanting to lean into the standing leg – which is why we encourage everyone to start small!
This is also a great variation to practise at home.
On the reformer, we’ll be working much more into muscles at the back of our shoulders, core muscles and leg muscles as we work to send the carriage out and in again, while using quadriceps (muscles at the front of our legs) to hold the raised leg still.
We’ll also be challenging our balance and improving our proprioception (awareness of where our body is and how it’s moving).
Arabesque is a challenging whole body movement, but unless we’re dancers, we’ll rarely find ourselves in this position. So why do we do it?
It’s a great hip-opening movement – that’s so important for all of us sit for long periods. It helps strengthen gluteal and hamstring muscles (at the back of our legs) and our quadricep muscles). It also helps strengthen muscles at the back of our shoulders and in our lower back. By challenging our ability to stabilise our pelvis, we’ll also be improving our posture.
So, this is a lovely exercise to help keep us upright and improve how we walk or run, freeing us from lower back pain. It’s also great for any sports where you might need to find balance on one leg – football for example.
Quite apart from all of these benefits, it’s also a fun exercise to do, bringing that ‘feel good’ factor – we’d love to know what benefits it’s bringing to your everyday life!