Pilates Exercises for Beginners
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on developing the bodies core strength. A lot of pilates involves the use of a mat. It has a very strong emphasis on form and breathing, and in many ways bears resemblance to yoga. (Link to Pilates vs Yoga blog)
Benefits of Pilates
Pilates offers a number of benefits including:
- Develops a strong core: A lot of pilates focuses on the development of the core. (Link to core exercises and abs exercises blog) This includes things like the abdominal muscles and various muscles connected to the spine. By developing these muscles, we can improve our core body strength and use it to support the body.
- Improved flexibility: Rather than developing additional muscles mass pilates focuses on strengthening and improving the elasticity of the muscles that already exist in the body. By toning (link to toning exercises blog) the existing muscles in this way, the body is less liable to suffer injury.
- Improved posture: By improving the bodies core strength and flexibility, pilates can lead to a more stable and healthy posture. For this reason, pilates is often recommended for those suffering from back pain.
- Lie down with your back on a mat and look at the ceiling. Place your arms by your side with your palms touching the floor.
- Bend your right knee and place your right foot down flat on the mat.
- Lift your left leg up off the floor. Keep your entire back touching the mat.
- While keeping your left leg and foot straight move your leg in a circle. Imagine you’re drawing a circle with your toes and make the circle as big as you can.
- Draw another circle in the opposite direction.
- Repeat until you’ve done 5-10 circles both ways then swap legs and do 5-10 circles with that leg both ways.
Single leg stretch
- Lie down on your back on a mat.s
- Raise your chest and both of your legs up off the ground. Bend your knees and bring your legs close to your chest.
- Bring one leg as close to your chest as you can and place your hands on the shin of the leg. While doing this stretch your other leg straight and keep it off the ground.
- Hold this pose for 1 second then stretch that leg out and bring the other leg to your chest.
- Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
- Lie down on your back on a mat.
- Lift your chest and both legs off the ground.
- Straighten your legs out and bring one of your legs up as close to your face as possible. Grab your calf with your hands and pull it towards you. Keep the other leg off the ground but don’t raise it too high.
- Release and switch legs. Repeat this for another 5 minutes.
(Image needed for this)
- Lie down on your back on a mat. Spread your arms out away from your sides and place them down on the floor palms first. You should form a “T” shape.
- Raise your legs up off the ground until your knees are hovering over your hips. Relax your lower legs and keep your feet off the floor.
- Turn your hips to the right and let your legs drop. Keep your lower back on the floor.
- Return to the neutral position and repeat for the other side.
- Continue for another 5 minutes.
- Lie down on your side on a mat on the floor.
- Raise yourself up with your arm. Your upper arm should be perfectly straight and directly under your shoulder. Your leg should be straight and in line with your body. Push onto your upper arm so that all of the weight isn’t being applied to your elbow.
- Clench your abs and raise your other leg up. Keep your abs clenched and make sure you raise your leg slowly.
- Continue until you’ve done ten reps and then swap sides. Make sure you keep your abs clenched during all of your reps.
- Lie down on your floor on your stomach. Straighten your arms and legs out and move them away from the body.
- Raise your upper body and your arms, breathe in while you are doing this.
- As you exhale lower your upper body and arms, as you do this raise the lower body and legs. Clench your glutes while doing this.
- Continue with this rocking motion until you have done 20 reps.