If you’ve always dreamt of just one exercise that would help you flatten your abs and tone the muscles of both your arms and legs, good news, it’s finally here!
Pilates Hovering Watchdog (and its variation) targets the deep stabilizers of the spine and torso, as well as shoulder girdle stabilizers. Because the knees are hovering over the ground, this exercise is quite challenging. Practicing it regularly will increase core strength and improve your balance. You’ll flatten your abs and tone the muscles of the arms and legs too! So what are you waiting for?
Let’s start with an easier version first. Get on all fours, make sure your hands are right under your shoulder joints and the knees are right under the hip joints. Make sure you are square to begin with and there’s no sway in your back: don’t let the ribs go down, instead close the ribs, pull in the ab and imagine there’s a tray of crystal glass filled with expensive champagne on your back. Also flex your feet and curl the toes under.
Inhale to prepare, on exhale press onto the hands and the feet and lift your knees a couple centimetres off the ground (max 5cm, actually, the smaller the gap between your knees and the matt, the harder it is to keep this position).
Inhale again and lift your right leg up. Make sure your knee is bent in 90°, your thigh is strictly parallel to the ground and your foot is flexed (see the picture below). Exhale and bring your leg down. Repeat with your left leg. Always come back to the hovering position without coming all the way down to all fours. Make three lifts with each leg, then relax.
If the previous exercise isn’t challenging enough for you, try classic Hovering Watchdog. I promise it takes a lot of practice to master. Repeat all the steps above until you are hovering in the air, standing on your curled feet and hands. Now inhale to prepare, exhale and reach with your left arm forward and right leg – back. Inhale to stay, exhale and come back to hovering position. Then reverse it: right arm – forward, left leg – back. Repeat three times with each side. Make sure you don’t rotate your hips while doing the lift, you shouldn’t tip over on any side (left, right, up or down) either. Concentrate on keeping the whole body levelled. It’s hard, but pretty much every muscle is going to be involved in this workout, so keep practicing and in no time you’ll be levitating.
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