A simple and effective 5-day workout that is suitable for all levels. Do a class every day for 5 days, or repeat the series each week, for 4 weeks, to really see a difference. The classes are kept short, around 15 minutes or so, so that you can find the time to fit a workout into your busy schedule.

Around 80 mins of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 1 minute sample of the video series

Our hips have a major influence on the way we ride and the way our horse goes. Tight hips are a major cause of us bouncing in the saddle at a sitting trot, excessive movement of our lower leg, head nod (in the human) not to mention restricting forward movement in our horse. Problems in the hips aren’t just related to tightness either.  Our hips can be tight and weak at the same time not to mention be unbalanced either on the side to side or back to front planes. If our pelvis isn’t level and one hip is higher than the other, then our horse will fill the gap and lift his hip on that side, so that the hind leg on that side will lose the ability to flex properly and carry weight. If one side of our pelvis is inadvertently further forward than the other, then our horse will find it easier to do a canter depart, haunches in and half pass in that direction and may well tend to travel in a haunches-in position most of the time. If we consistently have too much weight in one seat bone, then our horse will tend to veer in that direction, as well as fall in or out on a circle in that direction. If our pelvis is always tipped forward then our horse will sooner or later mirror that position and hollow his back, whilst if our pelvis is always tilted backwards so that we sit in a chair seat, then our horse’s back will sag and his hind legs will trail out behind. Conversely we can use our hips to create the correct bend in our horse, lengthen the stride, half halt and ask for lateral movements

As riders we need our hips to be able to move from a neutral position, with our seat bones pointing down, to the desired position we require to give our horse an aid, and then back to neutral again. Therefore to become good riders we need to not only to have an awareness of what our pelvis is doing, i.e. whether our hips are level or unbalanced, we also need to have mobile hips so we can adjust our pelvis to do what we want it to do, when we want to do it. Tight hips can lead to all sorts of problems in our own body too. They are a major cause of common issues such as lower back pain, hip pain, and so much more. Therefore correcting our hips is not just about our riding it is about our own health too. So identifying and correcting any  pelvic tilt could not only radically improve your riding it could very well end any lower back pain, hip and knee problems you may experience as well!

The first step therefore is to diagnose if you have uneven hips? The chances are that your hips are uneven if you:

Carry one shoulder higher than the other.

Carry one shoulder more forward than the other.

You tend to stand with more weight on leg.

One side of your torso appears longer than the other.

One leg appears longer than the other.

Your horse drifts to the outside on a circle on one rein.

Your horse drifts to the inside on a circle on one rein.

You struggle to ride a straight centre line without using your reins to correct.

Your horse turns more easily one way

You struggle for canter leads on one rein.

It is common to develop muscle imbalances around the hip. Sitting for long periods of time, driving, sleeping on our side, slouching to one side and standing with more weight on one leg than the other can all exacerbate uneven hips. Hip exercises can be used to address the problem but before we look into what we can do let’s look a little deeper into the problem area.

There are several muscles around our hip area that need to be strengthened and/or stretched to allow our hips to move correctly,  but probably the most important of these muscles is the iliopsoas, which comprises of the iliacus and the psoas, which lie deep in the back of the abdomen. Other important hip flexor muscles include the periformis, the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), the rectus femoris (one of the four quad muscles) as well as the gluteus maximus (which is on the back of your hip or buttocks) and the gluteus medius, which is the primary muscle on the side of your hip.

Beneficial exercises include Warrior One, the Bridge, and the Boat.

Warrior One

Stand with your feet a hip’s width apart. Exhale as you step your feet wide, about 4 to 5 feet.

Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, so your toes are pointing to the top of your exercise mat.

Pivot your left foot inwards at a 45-degree angle.

Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Bring your left hip bone towards the front of your ma, to align your hips as much as you can.

Press your weight through your left heel. Then, exhale as you bend your right knee over your right ankle. Your shin should be perpendicular to the floor

Reach up with your arms. Broaden across your belly, lengthen the sides of your waist, and lift through your chest.

You can keep your arms parallel, or press your palms together.

Gently tilt your head back and gaze up at your thumbs. Keep your shoulders dropped away from your ears. Feel your shoulder blades pressing firmly inward.

Press down through the outer edge of your back foot, keeping your back leg straight.

Hold for up to one minute.

To release the pose, press your weight through your back heel and straighten your front leg. Lower your arms. Turn to the left, reversing the position of your feet, and repeat for the same length of time on the opposite side.

Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor – toes pointing forwards, a hips width apart. Your knees should be pointing straight upwards. Ensure that your feet, knees and hips are aligned.

Check that your head isn’t tilted and that shoulders are level.

Place your arms by your side, palms downwards. Feel your spine on the ground. Your spine should be in neutral with the natural arch in place. Breathe slowly and fluidly.

On an inhalation, engage your psoas, tuck your pelvis forward so that the small of your back touches the ground  and start to lift your spine, one vertebra at a time, off the floor. Leave your shoulders grounded and keep your pelvis tucked forward, as you press your belly upwards. Hold and feel the stretch for a count of 20.

On your next out breath – reverse the movement, one vertebra at a time. Keep your pelvis tilted and your psoas and abdominals engaged. When the small of your back touches the ground relax your pelvis into the starting position. Relax for one breath cycle and on the next inhalation, repeat.

The Boat

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat, toes pointing forward, about a hips width apart. Ensure knees are aligned with hips.

Grasp the back of your thighs, just below the knee, or the front of your calves just below the knee. Breathe into your centre. Extend upwards through your spine.

Gently rock backwards onto your seat bones. Engage your psoas and lift your feet off the ground.

Keep your shoulders relaxed. And slowly raise your legs until your lower legs are horizontal to the ground.

Stretch your arms forward, palms facing inwards. Hold for a count of 20.

Return your lower legs to the floor.

These classes cover abdominal and core strength, boosting energy, increasing flexibility, improving posture, and finally strengthening and toning the body.

The daily workouts are designed to help you:

  • build lean muscles & increase strength
  • reduce tension
  • improve flexibility & posture
  • increase your energy levels

If you make the effort, practicing Pilates for just 15 minutes a day is hugely beneficial. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, if you do these classes every day for 5 days you will start to see a difference. And if you repeated these 5 classes, every week for a month you would not only see, but feel, a remarkable difference in your body.

Around 90 mins of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 1 minute sample of the video series

A number of my students have told me how much they like the format of the 5-Day Challenges that I run periodically. It is so often really hard to justify the time you need to spend on yourself for a half an hour or more Pilates workout.  Busy lives, work, horses, husbands, dogs, children or grandchildren tend to take precedence. However research shows that we have more energy and are fitter and healthier if we can find the time to do a little Pilates every day. 

So I listened to your comments and this month sees the start of a new monthly 5-Day Workout Series. March’s Workout Series comprises of five 15 minute(ish) workouts that can be done separately on a daily basis or linked together to combine an hour plus workout.

The classes in the workout are suitable for most levels as modifications are offered. However some of the exercises are designed to challenge you and therefore increase your suppleness, strength and fitness. Although each class focuses on a specific body area as always in Pilates, all exercises provide a general body workout.

Around 70 mins of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 1 minute sample of the video series

Designed to increase your core strength, help you become suppler and to create a better body awareness, this 7 day Body Reset course is suitable for all levels – whether you are new to Pilates or an old hand. Each session is around 20 minutes long, so can easily be fitted in to a busy day. The course starts off slowly with the intensity increasing as the week goes on. If you’re new or just getting back into exercise, please know your own limits, listen to your body, take the easier modifications and remember to take a rest if you need to. I would recommend if you are new or coming back to Pilates that you repeat days 1 & 2  a few times before progressing to days 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Around 1.5 hours of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 1 minute sample of the video series

This 5-session course is a great way to re-introduce yourself to Pilates after a break, whether because of a holiday or an injury. The sessions are short (average duration 15 minutes) so you can easily fit them in to a busy day. Pilates is known for helping people develop both strength and flexibility and this course will set you up to achieve these goals. You can do each class once, or if you are really tight or unfit try doing Days 1, 2 and 3 several times before attempting Days 4 and 5.

Around 85 mins of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 1 minute sample of the video course

Pilates is for EVERYBODY. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, athletic or stiff as a board, total beginner, or an old hand at Pilates. Pilates is a gentle (yet powerful) form of exercise that allows you to improve your suppleness and fitness regardless of your starting point. 

In this 5 session course we focus on five different areas of the body that are most likely to give us “problems” at some point in our lives. However, it is important to remember that the point of pain may not be the cause of the issue. Very often issues with our knees stem from our hips, whilst problems in our back can stem from weakness in our abdominal muscles, the hip flexors or gluteal muscles.

If you are new to Pilates or returning to Pilates after some time, be patient with yourself. Some exercises and stretches in the course will be easy for you to perform, while others may be too much for you at the moment. That’s fine! Don’t worry if you can’t do the movement now, modify whenever you need to, trust the process, and just keep doing the classes.

Around 1.5 hours of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 1 minute sample of the video course

The Core, or ‘Powerhouse’ as it is frequently referred to in Pilates as our entire central unit between our lower ribs and the bottom of our pelvis. So it includes all of the muscles responsible for the stabilisation of our spine and pelvis. If our Core is weak, or our pelvis unstable we can suffer from back, hip or even knee pain, so having a strong Core is essential for our well being. In this 5 part series we look at how to best find and engage our Core muscles and what exercises we can do to help strengthen them.

Around 2 hours of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 1 minute sample of the video course

Although the Psoas is a really important muscle, it is also relatively unknown. You cannot see the Psoas and as it does not appear on surface muscles of the body charts, many people have only a vague idea of where it is located. 

If you have low back pain, hip pain, or various other tightness and stress in your body, stretching and/or strengthening the Psoas can potentially completely fix these issues. The Psoas affects our posture and helps stabilize the spine. If it is either too tight, or too weak, it can cause lower back and/or pelvic pain.

Around 42 mins of video instruction.

If you’ve already already purchased this course or have an active subscription you can access your course here

This is a short 2 minute sample of the video series