Pilates Push-up: From a standing position, bring your arms straight over your head. Allow your arms to follow your ears as you nod your head and begin to roll down toward the mat. As you roll down, pull your abs in and curve your spine until your hands reach the mat. You may need to bend your knees toward the end to get your hands to the mat. Inhale as you walk your hands out (four counts) until you are in a plank position. Exhale as you old your plank position. Rotate your arms are so that the inside of the elbow faces forward. Inhale as you bend your elbows straight back along your sides so that your arms brush your ribs. As you slowly lower yourself toward the mat, keep your shoulder blades settled in your back; they should not pop up or move together. This is an essential part of the exercise as it teaches you to stabilize your shoulders and torso. Exhale and keep your abs lifted and extend your elbows so that you levitate your body, in one long line, up away from the mat and back into plank position. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, walk your hands back to your original position and roll up to standing position, with your arms straight over your head. Benefits: Stronger shoulders, abs, core, back and legs for overall body strength for better movement on the court.
Hip Circles: Sit on your mat with your arms behind you shoulder width apart, palms down and fingers pointed away from your body. Your knees are bent in front of you. Shift weight into your arms and pull your tummy in tight, and bring both knees into your chest. Keeping your legs firmly together, inhale as you extend your legs straight up in front of you at about a 45 degree angle, with your arms extended behind you, firmly press the palms of your hands into the mat in a backward position. Then, starting with your feet pointing at 12 o’clock, exhale as you begin to swing your legs in a downward circle to the right without touching the floor, and inhale as you circle back up to 12 o’clock to finish the circle. Exhale to repeat the movement in a downward circle to the left and then inhale as you bring them upward to finish the left hand circle. Try to sit up straighter with each circle, and to make the circles bigger each time. Make sure your upper body stays completely still. Benefits: Stronger arms, shoulders, chest, upper thigh and lower abs for upper body stability on the court.