Balance and flexibility are crucial for a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. If you’re looking to build your muscles and increase your balance, Pilates exercises can help. Pilates exercises are said to improve balance, coordination, and overall fitness. But what’s the best way to get started?
First, you’ll need to learn the proper form for each exercise. Start out by trying any one of these exercises independently. If you feel comfortable, try the next exercise or two. The more comfortable you are with the Pilates exercises, the better you’ll move forward in your workout. For Pilates in Sydney, click here.
The following exercises are designed to improve your core strength, coordination, and flexibility. Use caution as you progress, as you will need to be careful with your form. Full-body exercises are strongly recommended to strengthen your core before starting leg strengthening or weight lifting exercises.
This exercise is performed while on your back. You’ll use your hands to draw your knees into the chest, then rotate the upper body in between your legs. As you continue to move through the movement, you’ll stay upright on your palms and knees, with only your elbows touching the ground.
How to do it: lie on your back with both feet together and arms outstretched. Draw both knees into your chest, allowing them to touch each other at hip level. Bring both elbows to touch the ground. Gently bring your knees higher into your chest, bringing the hips closer together. Bring both elbows back to touch the ground. To make it easier: Keep the knees together and keep the hips in line with each other (don’t lift them up). To make it harder: Raise one knee at a time.
This exercise aims to improve sequential mobilization of the spine, especially in conjunction with the Corkscrew. It is performed sitting on the floor with hands placed on low hips. You’ll rotate your upper body between your legs, keeping both knees bent and ankles touching each other at knee level. When you’ve completed one rotation, come to rest with both feet together. Repeat for up to five repetitions per side.
How to do it: sit on the floor with your hands placed on the inner thighs. Bring your knees toward each other, placing both feet under you. Gently raise one knee at a time until the calf is parallel to the ground. For extra stretching, gently lift one leg off the floor to increase the range of motion. Repeat about 10 times per leg.
This exercise aims to strengthen relevant muscle groups in the core and develop strength in stabilizing muscles. It is performed on a horizontal plane, with your forearms and toes touching the floor. Your arms should be locked straight and your body in a straight line from head to toe. It’s important that you don’t move your hips or shoulders.
How to do it: Start in a plank position. Inhale and raise your upper body until it is parallel with the floor. Exhale and lower back down onto the elbow. Repeat this motion ten times per side.
The Single-Leg Bridge
This exercise aims to strengthen the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. It is performed on a horizontal plane with your toes touching the floor. Your legs should be straight and put together, with one leg bent at knee level. Lift your hips up until they are parallel to the ground. To make it easier, you can use your arms to help pull yourself up. To make it harder, you can hold your arms out in front of you for balance.
How to do it: lie on your stomach with your knees bent. Keeping the hips directly above the knees, straighten one leg up so that it is parallel to the floor. Keep your arms straight by your side, with the palms facing down. Pull yourself up until your hips are parallel with the ground. Then lower back down onto both elbows. Repeat this motion ten times per side.
The purpose of this exercise is to improve the strength of the back, chest, and arms. It is performed lying on your stomach with your arms by your side. Lift both arms off the floor, keeping them straight at shoulder level. Then lift your left arm up over your head. Hold for five seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat for five repetitions per side, then switch sides.
How to do it: lie face down with both hands by your sides and palms facing down. Using the arms, raise one arm up over your head, keeping it straight. Hold for five seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat this motion ten times per side, then switch sides.
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