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GET FIT: Sharon Ross Home Pilates

Our fitness guru Raif Derrazi gets on the mat with Pilats instructor Sharon Ross. Sharon shows us a simple workout routine to help keep your body fit while stuck in quarantine, or beyond!

About Raif: On his 27th birthday, Raif’s greatest fear came to life when he was diagnosed with AIDS. Realizing his ‘victim mindset’ he was determined to change and regain control of his life. Seven years later, Raif is now a pro natural competitive physique bodybuilder. And in realizing that so few role models existed for the HIV community, he now talks about his HIV status on social media in hopes of providing guidance and inspiration to others. With a growing YouTube subscribership and following on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook, he shares his life and his journey living with HIV, embracing a fitness lifestyle, personal-growth oriented and inspirationally inclined!

Video Transcript:

Raif Derrazi

I’m excited to hear about Pilates. How did you get into it?

Sharon Ross

I actually came across it by chance. A few years ago, I found a video, and I just started practicing and didn’t realize what I was really doing until I say benefits and got compliments. So I was sold, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Raif Derrazi

Tell me some of those benefits.

Sharon Ross

I felt like I sat up and walked taller so my posture really improved. My back pain disappeared. My core got stronger. I was definitely getting a lot more flexible.

Raif Derrazi

Aside from the physical benefits um how would you say that it plays in helping people with their own mental health?

Sharon Ross

So it’s a mind and body workout so as far as like you going into a workout you really have to clear your mind because when you do Pilates it’s about the movement and connection. It’s not about how many you do. It’s the quality of the movement that you’re actually doing.

Raif Derrazi

I’m actually really surprised that you say that you don’t need any equipment for Pilates.

Sharon Ross

You can absolutely do without it. I teach mat Pilates, and it’s a very challenging exercise, but you can always modify it uh for beginners to more advanced.

Raif Derrazi

This is going to be a first for me so I’m excited about it. Mom you better be watching this. It’s gonna help your back. Let’s do it!

Sharon Ross

We’re gonna focus on five exercises with one form of exercise to really focus and target, to get that nice ab workout. So we’re gonna start off on the mat. We’re gonna do something called The Hundred just to warm up to get ready to do all the exercises. So you’re gonna grab behind your thighs and have your feet about hip distance apart, and really slow you’re going to pull yourself all the way down to the mat. Head down on the mat. Arm down on the mat. And then just take a full body stretch just to prepare. Are you feeling warm or at ?

Sharon Ross

And we’re gonna go straight into The Series of Five. So we’re gonna bring our right knee to your chest, right hand goes on your right ankle, left hand goes on your right knee. You’re gonna come up into a crunch, extend your left leg out, and then slope that leg to 45 degrees. Now bring the right knee in more, and extend the left leg out more, close the ribcage, and then switch bringing your left hand to your left ankle. And then switch-

Raif Derrazi

What does that mean…

Sharon Ross

[Sharon] to the other side.

Raif Derrazi

Close the ribcage?

Sharon Ross

So you really want to keep the ribcage nice and closed. Almost feel like you have a corset around your waist. Shoulders are down, elbows are nice and wide so you have a nice alignment with your spine, and we wanna keep the chin, not too tucked into the chin, but really a nice length with the spine. So this takes us to the second. We’re gonna Double Leg Stretch. So bring your knees in close. Each hand on your ankle, loosely here. On an inhale, you’re gonna your arms over by your ears, heels together, toes apart. You’re extending the legs really nice and tall. Now come up a little bit higher in the upper body. So we’re gonna come up into a curl. Pull the abs in, and then extend both legs out towards the ceiling. We really make those legs nice and long. Make sure the chin isn’t tucked too much so you have a nice alignment with the spine, and then grab behind your hamstring, or your calf, pulling the back of the knee, wherever you’re flexible is fine, and then lower the leg about to 45, pull the abs in deeper. Now take an inhale and pulse the right leg toward you twice. Pulse, pulse. If you just keep switching, keeping that leg straight. Now we’re getting into the fourth exercise, So we’re uh-

Raif Derrazi

Okay.

Sharon Ross

This is Double Straight Leg. So again, come up into a crunch. Excellent. And this one can be done with your head done on the mat if you need to. You start off here otherwise you’re coming up and your hands are behind your head, elbows wide. You don’t want to interlace your fingers. You wanna stack the palms, and then put the weight of your head in your hands and extend both legs out.

Raif Derrazi

This is difficult!

Sharon Ross

So you can modify this with a bent knee. You can also do this with a bent knee. Lower and lift. I’m still feeling this. Lower and lift.

Raif Derrazi

Oh yeah.

Sharon Ross

Exactly!

Raif Derrazi

It’s humbling. I can tell you that. For someone who goes to the gym and is benching and squatting, you know, 225 this is very humbling.

Sharon Ross

One more exercise left. Are you with me?

Raif Derrazi

Yes!

Sharon Ross

Oh okay, good. All right, so we’ll start with the knees in hands behind your head, and again, stack the palms, and lift up. Extend your left leg out. Bring your right knee in. Try to get the shoulder blades off the mat. Now twist over towards me. Try to get that shoulder over to the opposite knee. Extend that left leg out even more and then twist over to the other side so we’re doing criss-cross. So you’re really feeling that twist from below the ribcage.

Raif Derrazi

Well thank you so much for showing us that. I’m so happy to not only have some exercises that are gonna help strengthen us, but also something that’s gonna be therapeutic.

Sharon Ross

Absolutely.

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