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Claire Mills is the Co-Founder of Four Sides London, a Physiotherapy led fitness and wellness space in South West London with an online Pilates Method, Four Sides @ Home. As a Pilates instructor, physiotherapist and mum, Claire is passionate about the importance of health and wellbeing. And today’s she’s featuring in our My Lockdown Workout series.
How did you get into fitness?
Being a physiotherapist led me to Pilates in 2012 and I never looked back.
Over the last 8 years I’ve not just used Pilates on every client I’ve seen, but I’ve personally used Pilates to help recover from injury, train for events, prepare my body (and pelvic floor!) for birth, aid in my post-natal recovery and rebuild my strength mentally and physically.
For me Pilates is a mind/body exercise – when I come off my mat (or reformer) I feel a better version of me!
What is one of your favourite lockdown workouts?
Currently my favourite lockdown workout is the online HIIT Pilates class we are running at Four Sides London. The thing I love about Pilates is how it brings together strength, control and mobility.
My four absolute go to Pilates lockdown workout exercises are:
Warm up: Hip flexor stretch with arm openings:
Half kneeling positon, arms out in front. Reach one hand up and over in a large circle behind you rotating your upper back. Maintain a stretch through your hip and thigh throughout. Repeat 4 circles on each side then change legs.
Activation: 4-minute high kneeling upper body and core:
High kneeling with 2 small hand weights (if you have them). Keep shoulders stacked over hips and knees, ribs connected as you do the following variations for 1 minute each:
Raise arms overhead; chest openings – bent or straight elbows; sit back on heels as you reach your arms forward then press arms back as you lift up; arms out 90 degrees at shoulders lean back keeping a long line from your shoulders/ hips/ knees.
Butt burner: 4-minute 4-point kneeling pelvic stability and glutes series:
4-point kneeling position with a neutral low back/pelvis position. Straighten out your right leg and do 30 seconds of the following variations:
Lift and lower straight leg; draw semi circles behind you with your foot from one side of your mat to the other; keeping your leg lifted bend your elbows into a tricep press sitting back into your stabilising hip; reach out your leg and the opposite arm and hold. Repeat on the left side.
Abs: Core abdominals- 40 rep ab workout:
Lying on your back, neutral position at low back/ pelvis, legs up in double table top, hands behind your head. Do 10 reps of the following variations:
Curl your upper back and shoulders off the mat; hold the curl up and toe tap alternating, curl up as you straighten one leg alternating, hold the curl up straighten both legs.
What’s your nutrition like when doing a lockdown workout?
I have to eat an hour before exercise – it’s no fun doing an ab workout on a full stomach! I tend to workout in the morning as mum or work life takes over after that. I’ll always make sure my pre-workout breakfast is slow releasing – porridge with berries, almonds and pumpkin seeds is my go to or a poached egg and avocado on wholemeal toast.
I’ll always have a bottle of water by my mat, then after the class I’ll normally make myself an energy replenishing smoothie.
My favourite recipe is 1 banana, a handful of spinach, tablespoon of nut butter, handful of frozen berries and a cup of almond or coconut milk.
Do you have any trips for those new to working out?
Pilates is for anyone: any shape, size or fitness level, so there’s no need to be afraid that you can’t do it. I’d start with a beginners class to get the basics and principles – my Four Sides @ Home Pilates Foundations video is great for Pilates newbies. Try different classes and instructors. There are so many different types of Pilates classes available – mat, equipment, HIIT.