Pilates exercises are similar to yoga exercises, but they are more focused on improving your body’s core, which includes the abdomen, obliques, lower back, thighs, etc. By working on these important parts of your body, Pilates aims to improve your balance, coordination, flexibility, muscular endurance, and posture, while not putting you at risk for injuries that are common in other forms of exercises.
Unlike other exercises, Pilates focuses more on correcting your form instead of burning a lot of calories. Here are some simple Pilates exercises that are worth considering.
1. Pilates curl
A Pilates curl works by warming up the upper part of your body. Here’s how to do a Pilates curl.
- Lie faceup on a mat or floor and bend your knees.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and keep your arms at both of your sides.
- Start by inhaling, and as you exhale, curl your chin towards your chest and tiptoe your fingers along the mat.
- Hold for one second, and then lower your head, neck, and shoulders back down to the original position.
- Repeat this eight times.
2. The Hundred
In The Hundred, you’ll have to inhale for five counts and then exhale for five counts, and then do this for 10 sets, hence the name. The goal of this exercise is to give you some vigor. Here’s how to do The Hundred.
- Lie faceup on a mat or floor and bring your knees toward your chest.
- The same as with the Pilates curl, you must curl your chin towards your chest and hover your hands up just above your abdominal wall.
- Pump your arms up and down while inhaling for five counts and exhaling for five counts.
3. Roll up
The roll up works on strengthening your core while stretching your spine. Here’s how to do the roll up exercise.
- Lie faceup on a mat or floor with both your arms extended towards the ceiling.
- Start by inhaling and as you exhale, slowly curl your chin towards to your chest and roll forward toward your toes.
- Then roll down again to your original position. Repeat this exercise eight times.
4. Rolling like a ball
Rolling like a ball is a Pilates exercise that aims to massage your spine. It’s an effective method for feeling articulation throughout your back. Here’s how to do the rolling like a ball exercise.
- Sit on a mat with and draw your knees toward your chest.
- Keep your arms wrapped around your legs as if you are like a ball.
- Hover your feet above the mat just a few inches. As you inhale, roll back to the tips of your shoulder blades and then roll forward to the original position as you exhale.
- Remember to maintain your position or form as you roll back and forward, and use your abs to control the momentum.
5. Single leg stretch
The single leg stretch is a Pilates exercise that works on pelvic stability and works the back of your hamstrings as you stretch your legs. The goal of this exercise is to keep your legs straight as much as possible as you stretch them. Here’s how to perform this exercise.
- Lie face up on a mat with your legs extended straight up towards the ceiling.
- Gently lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat and bring your right leg first as close as you can to your face, while holding the right ankle, calf, or thigh with both of your hands.
- Gently pull the right leg towards your face two times before switching to the left leg.
There are still plenty of Pilates exercises to choose from. Just be sure that with every Pilates exercise you perform, you focus on the quality and not the quantity. This means that with every exercise, you must complete each movement properly, putting more focus on your position and form.
Benefits of Pilates Exercises
Pilates can really improve your health without putting too much toll on your body, and it offers plenty of benefits to everyone.
1. Pilates is a total body workout.
Even though Pilates works more on improving your core, it also helps improve your full-body strength.
- Pilates works in a way that involves all of your muscles. This prevents your muscles from becoming overdeveloped or undeveloped.
- This exercise method promotes body balance while increasing the flexibility of your muscles.
2. Pilates refreshes your mind.
Pilates is just like yoga, as it requires you to learn proper breathing.
- Learning to breathe properly while doing Pilates exercises is essential, since it helps you perform the movements better.
- Also, breathing properly helps reduce your stress.
3. Pilates develops a mind-body connection.
Learning how to perform unstable movements, which are common in Pilates exercises, coupled with learning how to breathe properly, can prove to be challenging for your body and your mind. But as you continue performing Pilates exercises, you’ll develop a mind-body connection that will allow you to perform these exercises every day with ease.
4. Pilates develops flexibility.
Unlike other exercises that are more focused on building bulky muscles, Pilates focuses on improving the elasticity and mobility of your muscles. Pilates exercises aim to give your body balanced strength and flexibility so you can reduce your chances of getting injured, especially if you’re an athlete.
5. Pilates encourages proper posture.
You will certainly achieve proper posture if you keep doing Pilates exercises. Pilates can increase your core strength and help you to achieve proper posture to support the core.
The surprising health benefits of Pilates has made it one of the most effective cross-training workouts of the modern day. The best thing about Pilates is that it is available to everyone. There are exercises that are catered especially to beginners and those that are better for advanced people. And you can perform all these exercises on your own without the help of various kinds of equipment. Try out some pilates exercises at least two to three times a week, and you’ll definitely see a lot of difference in your body after just a couple of sessions!
If you’ve been a pilate exercise enthusiast, you can definitely take advantage of several Pilates Career Opportunities that can help your overall health.
About Author Karen Hart
Karen Hart is a writer contributing to Pilates Pal. Her passion for her craft gave her this desire to write topics about Pilates Career Opportunities that aren’t just clearly explained, but are fit for her readers’ needs. She herself is a fitness enthusiast, Pilates fan and tries new workout routines to spice up her fitness journey.