Pilates is a method developed by a man called Joseph Pilates who originally called it Contrology where someone would use their own body weight in controlled movements to help develop a strong core.
What are the benefits to you?
Doing a 10 minute workout with pilates every day with consistency will give you a host of benefits. These are a strong core, improves your flexibility, helps to align your body and mind for better coordination, improved posture and much more toned legs, abs and butt.
Who can do pilates?
Anyone can do pilates, you can get special equipment to do it or just use a mat there are many different variations with each instructor giving it there own little twist. But you can use it to strengthen your back if you have lower back pain, you can get a flatter stomach, improve your flexibility if you are a senior or just want to get in better shape.
Pilates Mat Exercises
Lie face up on your mat with your arms pointing up towards the ceiling. Exhale, flex your feet, curl your chin in towards your chest and then roll all the way up till you are in a sitting position with your arms reaching towards your feet. Keep your head tucked in while doing this so your ears are in line with your arms. Then your can exhale and reverse the process by rolling down. With this movement try and control your core muscles by moving in a slow smooth motions so that there is no forward lunging or jerking.
To start off lay face up on your mat. You will then want to exhale curling your chin up towards your chest lifting your shoulders completely off the mat. You will want to hold for one breath, then slowly lower your shoulders and head back down. To avoid crunching your neck up and to engage you abs effectively you will want to focus on lifting with your breastbone.
Start by laying face up on your mat. Bring the knees in towards the chest, and pick up your head and shoulder just like in the Pilates curl. Stretch out your arms down by your sides, with your palms facing the floor. Extend the legs so they’re at a 45-degree angle to the ground, put your heels together but your toes apart just like the pilates stance. Move your arms up and down in a rapid motion while breathing in for five counts then out for five counts.
Rolling like a ball
Sit on your mat with your knees drawn towards your chest and your arms holding your legs. Rock back so that the mat comes into contact with the base of your tail bone and your feet are hovering a few inches off the ground. Then you inhale, rolling back to the base of your should blades, then you exhale rolling back up to your balanced starting position.
Single leg stretch
Now you lie face up on your mat with your knees drawn towards your chest, your shins parallel to the floor. Exhale while rising the head, neck, and chest off the mat. At the same time, you need to extend your left leg to a 45-degree angle to the mat while bring the right knee closer to the chest. Grab the right knee with your left hand and your right ankle with your right hand. When your inhale you switch leg, pulse for one best and exhale while switching legs.
Lie face up on your mat while hugging your knees into your chest. Now reach out your arms directly overhead and extend both of your legs out to a high diagonal with feet in a pilates stand. Meaning a wide v shape with your heels in and your toes out. Now stretch your arms back towards your ears, then bringing them up and over your head towards your toes rolling yourself up into a seated v position. Keeping your arms and legs at a 45 degree angle to the mat. From this position lower and rise your legs for 3 to 5 reps. Now you can roll your spine down onto the mat and lower your legs down.
Double leg stretch
Bringing your knees in towards your chest with your arms hugging your shins. At the same time, lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat. From this position inhale and straighten out your legs to a 45 degree angle while at the same time extending the arms alongside the ears so that your body forms a v shape. Now exhale bringing your arms down and knee in so that you are back to the starting position. Remember to keep your shoulders off the mat the entire time and try to maintain even breathing.
Start facing up to the ceiling with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat with your arm running alongside your body. Now exhale roll your hips off the floor to the ceiling. While your are in this position , extend your right leg and push it up to the ceiling with your toes pointed. Now flex your heel and lower the leg so it is at the same level as your left knee. Repeat this movement 3 time before returning your foot to the floor. Then you switch leg and repeat everything for your left leg before your roll you hips back to the floor.
Single straight leg stretch
start by lying face up on your mat with your arms and legs straight up in the air. Now bring your right leg in as close to your face as your flexibility will allow, grabbing the lower leg with both of your hands. Pulse the leg towards your body twice while your other leg extends out and away from your body. Then do the same for your other leg.
Start off face up on your mat with your hands behind your neck and your elbows wide. Then you lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat. Now bringing your left armpit to your right knee and extend your left leg out and up high. Then twist and switch so that your right armpit meets your left knee and your right leg gets extending up high.
Pilates plank to push up
Start by standing with your feet in the pilates stance, your arms reaching towards the ceiling. While you exhale tuck your chin into the chest and roll your body down into a rag doll position. Walk your hand out so that you are in a plank position. Lower your body down to the mat with your elbows tucked tight next to your ribs. Now straighten your arms and press back up repeating this for 3-5 reps. Walk your hands back towards your feet and roll back up to your starting position.
Double straight leg stretch
Lie facing up on your mat with your palms supporting the back of your neck and your legs bent towards the chest. Now exhale bringing your upper body off the mat and extending your legs so that they are pointing straight up at the ceiling. Now lower your legs to 45 degrees for three counts and lift up again for one count.
Double leg kicks
while lying face down on your mat with your head turned to one side. Place your hands on your back by the bottom of your shoulder blades, with on hand on top of the other with your palms facing the ceiling. Lower your elbows to the mat then kick both feet towards your butt 3 times. Now straighten out your legs, stretch your clasped hands out straight out behind your back while lifting the chest up. Lower yourself back down with your head turn to the other side to repeat the movement.
Now using these 13 pilates mat exercises you can develop a strong core and build up to a more advance work routine in your own home. Doing something each and every day with compound your efforts and will take you far no matter what your goal is. Weather it is to lose weight, rebuild a muscle after injury or strengthen your muscles start small think big and work towards your goals.
Do you have some pilates work outs that I haven’t mentioned that you think would be great for other people? Let me know in the comments below I would love to hear about them