Pilates is a body conditioning workout that helps develop and build a strong core (abdominals and back), strength and endurance in the entire body (main focus is abs and lower body), speed, agility, flexibility, balance and coordination. It also heightens body awareness, enhances body control and teaches correct muscle activation as well as proper posture and alignment. As if that wasn’t enough, pilates also improves balance, promotes relaxation and provides a path to inner harmony through movement. Wow, now that’s a lot for one workout!
Here are a few key tips to help you in Pilates:
Neutral position of the spine
Lie on your back with feet on the floor, exhale and press your lower spine into the floor creating a pelvic tuck. Inhale to release. Exhale and arch your back, pull lower spin up creating a pelvic tilt. Inhale to release.
Head is always in neutral position as well. The chin is not tucked into the chest nor lifted up high. If standing, look straight ahead with shoulders relaxed and head balanced over neck, shoulders and rib cage, this is neutral position of the head.
Now Let’s Get Started!
Here are some core pilates exercises you can do at home.
- Hundreds: Lie on your back, feet on the floor, neutral position of the spine. Lift shoulders off the ground and look through your thighs and pulse your arms. Breathing is short and fast- in 5 through the nose and out 5 through the mouth. Do this 10 times straight.
- Roll like a ball: Start in a seated position with heels to the butt. You can tuck the head between the knees if desired, grab around the ankles or legs. Inhale as you roll back, onto the upper shoulders, not the head or neck, exhale as you come up. When you come up try not to allow feet to touch the floor. And when you roll back and come up keep heels to the butt the whole time, don’t let them leave. This is all about using your core not momentum. Do 6-8 total.
- Single leg stretch– Start on your back and feet off the floor, lower legs parallel to the floor. This is a table top position. Inhale, and exhale as you lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Remember to look through your thighs. Extend the left leg to a 45 degree angle (or where you can while keeping back in neutral position) while the right knee stays in the table top position. The right hand is by the right ankle and the left hand by the knee. Inhale as you switch legs and exhale when the leg extends, all while keeping the head and shoulders lifted. Switch legs a total of 10 times.
- Roll ups: Lie on your back, legs straight and together, arms over head, keeping shoulders down away from the ears, core engaged and ribcage closed. Inhale as you lift your arms off the floor and move them towards your feet, allow your head and spine to follow. Once your torso is off the floor, exhale as you lift up and over towards your toes. Really push the air out and keep abdominals engaged. Inhale keeping abdominals engaged, and pull tailbone under as you curve the spine and roll down vertebrae by vertebrae, think pulling hips and ribs together the entire time. Exhale the remainder of the way till at start position. Make sure back is in neutral, rib cage is closed and shoulders down away from the ears. If needed you can use your hands by your lower back to help you push off the floor to come up. Repeat. Do a total of 5.
- Spines twist: Start in a seated position with legs hip distance apart. Sit up nice and tall with arms out straight to your side. Exhale for 3 as you slightly twist 3 short twists, keep sit bones on the floor and minimize any movement in the legs, inhale back to center. Repeat other side. Do 4 on each side.
Now repeat that whole sequence about four times.
By: Tracy Conner, Fabletics Master
Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor, Technical Choreographer, Nutrition and Wellness Coach
• Aerobics & Fitness Association Of America (AFAA)- Certified Group Fitness Instructor
• American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)- Certified Personal Trainer
• American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)- Certified Cycle Instructor
• American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)- Certified Level 2 Pilates Instructor
• American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)- Certified Nutrition And Wellness Consultant
• Turbo Kickboxing- Certified TKB Instructor
• CPR/AED Certified
- Wikipedia.org: Joseph Pilates
- Pilates by Rael Isacowitz: published 2006: Pages introduction xiv & xv,3,7,8,20-22
Canstockphoto.com: magic pilates ring woman aerobics sport gym: published 3-26-2011: By Lunamarina: Photo ID: csp5937742