5-Minute Introduction to Pilates

If you want to be more flexible and develop your core body strength, Pilates is the perfect activity.  Pilates is essentially a system of exercise and movement that is designed to increase strength, flexibility, and balance. If you’ve never tried this wonderful exercise, I’d like to share with you a 5-minute introduction to Pilates.

The first thing to know about starting is that you are ready as soon as you choose to try Pilates. You don’t need to be any more fit, flexible, muscular, younger, or thinner than you are right now to begin Pilates!  However, to begin I would recommend using a mat for your workouts.  Now, let’s get started towards your introduction to Pilates.

The Pilates 100 (Duration – 1:30 minutes)

A great warm-up exercise that is designed to get your blood pumping.  The Pilates 100 strengthens the abdominal muscles and also the lower back while teaching your body stability. First, draw both legs into your chest, hold on to your legs, and curl your head and chest up to a tight ball.  Send your legs out to a tabletop position with your knee directly above your hip and shins parallel to the floor. Hold on behind your thighs and actively curl up, deepening and hollowing out your abs.  Now hover your arms right above your abdominal wall and start to pump your arms 6 to 8 inches up and down, taking deep breaths.  You should inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts.  Repeat this 10 times without taking a break. 

To watch an example, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5OCzl2yhB8

Single-Leg Circles (Duration – 1:00 minute)

With this simple sequence, you’ll learn how to keep your abs engaged, even when you’re moving your legs.  So for single leg circles start by bending your right knee in toward your chest and extend your right leg toward the ceiling. Your toe will be pointed and the leg is turned out, like a little V here in the foot.  From here, circle your right thigh into the left thigh, straight down, and right back up.  Circle into your left thigh and right back up.  And just continue from there. 

Watch it done correctly here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg4WRNkbnjA

Criss-Cross (Duration – 1:00 minute)

Who said Pilates had to be complex? You’ll work your entire mid-section with this simple move.  Lay on your back, knees pulled into your chest, hands supporting the base of your head.  Extend your right leg straight in front of you, the left leg remains bent. Twist towards your left leg, holding for three counts.   Switch, extending your left leg straight, pulling your right knee into your body. Spiral your chest towards the right knee, holding for three counts. Repeat twice. Then, do the move faster for four more full rotations (once on each side).

Watch it done correctly here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzaCxDVQL90

Pilates Saw (Duration: 1:30)

The Saw is a basic Pilates back and hamstrings stretch exercise that’s perfect for all workout levels.  If you tend to shy away from traditional ab workouts, this move might be your new go-to.

To begin, sit up, legs spread as wide as a yoga mat. With your arms straight out to your sides, twist to your left. Stretch your right hand towards your left foot, pulsing three times. Roll up in the twist, untwist, and return to center. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat once more on each side.  This is a great spinal rotation exercise!

For the proper move, go here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XcU-WsTcaU

Finally…

Was this a good introduction to Pilates? Now that you know these 5 basic moves you may be ready to try more Pilates exercises.  If you’re interested in learning something else new, I encourage you to read about 5 Basic Beginners Yoga Poses.  Also, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the page to receive more great blog posts straight to your inbox each Friday. 

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