Do you also want a strong, flexible and toned body but don’t want to spend hours in the gym? Well, this can be possible. For getting a strong and lean body you don’t have to lift weights and do heavy workouts.
Just a yoga mat and Pilates exercise routine can help to achieve this. Pilates is a method of exercise that involves less direct force on the body and provides flexibility to the body. Pilates not only strengthens your body but also tightens and tones your muscles.
This method consists of precise movements of the body with focused and specific breathing techniques. This also improves the posture of the body and provides core strength.
The movements primarily focus on the core to build up stronger and more flexible muscles without any extra heavy effort.
There are two different types of Pilates – one is mat-based and the other consists of a large piece of equipment that is generally found in Pilates studios. As a beginner, you can start with mat-based basic Pilates exercises.
Now when you are about to get started, here are some of the basic techniques that will help you to get more out of Pilates exercises:
Principles of Pilates
There are six main principles that you need to keep in mind before starting Pilates workouts. These are concentration, centering, precision, control, flow and breath.
Pilates exercises not only require body movements but also full concentration and presence of mind are necessary. When you are working on these principles while doing Pilates, it increases the effectiveness of the exercises.
It also enables the body to learn from each exercise that you are working on.
Basic Pilates moves
There are basic techniques like how to use your abdominal muscles, how to improve the posture of the spine and how to increase the range of emotions that are repeatedly used in the Pilates exercises.
If you understand the tricks and how they are done, this will help you in getting a maximum workout from Pilates exercises.
Finding neutral spine
When you know how to find the position of the neutral spine, it is very helpful in doing the pirates exercises correctly. Neutral spine is a position where cervical, thoracic and lumbar, all the three curves of the spine are present in alignment.
This is the point that helps the body to move and sit naturally and improves posture.
Finding your C curve
The c curve is the key of Pilates exercise that helps in getting a flexible spine and strong core. Making a C – curve involves bending the lumbar spine.
All the rolling exercises and the exercises that require you to sit and then lower down require the working of your C- curve.
Lateral breathing is the most emphasized breathing technique done in Pilates exercises. In this technique, you draw breath in the lower body and focus on redirecting your breath in the back of the body and sides of your ribcage.
Breath is the basis of Pilates movements. As you work out, you inhale and exhale, your breath coordinates the movements of the body.
Pilates is an exercise that is adaptable for different body types and fitness levels. All Pilates exercises can be modified to meet different needs. It is suitable for all age groups.
Now that you are aware of the techniques of how to do Pilates exercises, here are some of the Pilates exercises that will help in overall strength and flexibility of the body:
Here is 8 Best Recommended Pilates Exercises You can Do at Home
All day sitting on the desks leads to weak glutes and lower back problems. Working on glutes helps in improving the mobility of the hip and providing strength to the lower back.
Lie on the floor with hands on your sides. Slowly lift your glutes off the ground until your hips, knees and shoulders form a straight line just like forming a bridge.
This Pilates exercise works on your abdominal muscles and lungs. It requires coordinating the movement of your body with the breath.
This is called hundred as you do the beats of your arms a hundred times while keeping your legs extended and your head and shoulders off the floor.
This is a bit challenging exercise but develops the stability and strength of the neck as well as the back.
This is one of the best Pilates exercises for challenging your core strength and stability. This exercise provides stretching and strengthening of major muscle groups on both sides of the body and helps in the overall improvement in the functioning of the hips.
In this, you inhale and exhale while moving your legs in a circular motion.
This is a bit challenging Pilates exercise as you rotate the legs while keeping your upper body still. It works on the abdominal muscles as well as the sides of the body.
Just lie on your back and lift your legs together. Now, while keeping your upper body still, rotate your legs in a circular motion. As you get stronger, slowly start lifting your hips off the floor.
This Pilates exercise works on your core. That is why you have to focus on the strength of the core. Lie on your back with hands behind your head and one by one, and bring your knees towards your chest. now straight your one leg and twist your torso. Hold this position for a few seconds.
Spine twist focuses on strengthening your obliques and stabilizing the core. Sit up straight and straighten your legs in front of you and arms towards your sides.
Exhale and move your torso towards one side while keeping your body upright. And while being in this position, look behind you.
This is the best exercise for flexibility, balance and mobility of the spine. This involves the entire core and back. Lie down and lift your legs and upper body at the same time making a V position.
This exercise works on improving overall stability while stretching your shoulders, oblique’s and inner thighs. Sit while keeping both your legs folded insides. Stretch your arms.
Benefits of Pilates exercises
- Improves the strength of the core and provides stability.
- Enhance flexibility of the body.
- Prevent severe back pain.
- Improves posture and balance of the body.
Pilates exercises are suitable for all age groups. It does not include any lifting of heavyweights, so all people are comfortable doing it. If you are just starting it, then go slowly with easy techniques and when you are comfortable enough, go with difficult ones.
Beginners are advised to start under the supervision of an experienced instructor, not only to avoid injuries but also to maintain correct posture. Pilates is a great strength training exercise, but you have to include other aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, etc.