Did you know that Pilates was initially created to help rehabilitate WWI soldiers?
Although it is sometimes portrayed as a “girly” exercise, Pilates is actually a form of intense, full-body resistance training! Ask anyone who’s attended a Pilates class, and they’ll tell you it’s no walk in the park.
Are you interested in learning Pilates? Want to practice your moves before you commit to a class?
Check out these Pilates exercises for beginners!
Easy Pilates for Beginners
Pilates is an exercise technique designed to increase strength and flexibility and improve posture. Pilates techniques align movements with the breath to sync the brain and body, aiding in mental awareness.
If you decided to read this article before teaching someone else, here’s a handy link to click for Pilates teacher training!
Remember to breathe into the ribcage and keep your navel pulled inward, a practice known as intercostal breathing. Some Pilates courses use tools to increase the challenge, but you won’t need any special equipment for these exercises. Grab a mat or lay out a beach towel and let’s get started!
Lie flat on your back with your legs together and softly point your feet and toes. Slowly reach your arms straight up and over your head, keeping your ribcage connected to the ground.
As you inhale, bring your arms forward and look down toward your toes. Engage your abs, lift your head and chest, and begin to roll your torso up while reaching toward your feet. Pause for a moment when your shoulders are over your hips, then inhale and slowly roll back down to the floor.
Start on your hands and knees with your spine and neck in a neutral, flat position. Press your shins and the tops of your feet into the ground, adding a blanket for comfort if needed.
Inhale and straighten your right leg behind you, keeping the top of your right foot pressed into the floor, then return to neutral all-fours and repeat on the left side. Once you feel warmed up, start engaging the glutes and lifting each leg behind you, keeping the toes pointed. To engage the core, reach the opposite arm forward while lifting your leg.
The hundred is one of the most challenging yet basic Pilates exercises. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the mat. Slowly straighten your knees and extend your legs at a 45-degree angle, engaging your core.
Use your core to pull your head and upper body off the floor, and extend your arms alongside your body. Holding your body in this V-shape, begin pumping your arms up and down while breathing. Inhale for five pumps, exhale for five pumps, and repeat.
Lie on your stomach with your arms reaching forward. As you inhale, engage your abdominals and lift your arms, legs, and chest off the floor. Keep your body straight and pointed as you exhale.
Begin your intercostal breathing as you lift opposite arms and legs like you’re swimming. Use a similar breathing pattern as you did with The Hundred, inhaling for five “scissors” then exhaling for five scissors. Continue for at least 20 reps.
Roll Like a Ball
This exercise is all about releasing the inner child and opening yourself up to play. Start in a seated position with your knees together and feet on the floor. Hold the back of each thigh in your hands and pick up your feet, keeping your chin tucked and spine in a C-curve.
Engage your arms, inhale, and roll back, then exhale as you roll back to your starting position. Balance for a moment, then inhale and roll again to your heart’s content!
Perfect Pilates in No Time
These five Pilates exercises will hopefully give you a good idea of what a Pilates class is like! Practicing these basic Pilates moves for a few minutes at home can increase your strength and flexibility and foster a better mind-body connection. That’s no stretch!
Are you interested in learning more tips and techniques to boost your fitness? Take a water break and check out our other healthy lifestyle articles!