There are many sides of fitness we have yet to discover. One of them is the Pilates style, which methods are popping up every day, all over. Thus, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Let’s discover this new side of fitness, a relaxed and magical workout!
Just as yoga, Pilates is pretty much about the breathing and about controlling the body’s movements through the abdominal muscles. And what’s best than getting beautifully shaped and sculpted abs?
If I’ve got you curious, in this article you will find the best Pilates exercises for you to try right in the comfort of your home. Personally, Pilates is an interesting workout for abs and it is also helping you sculpt a powerful core. Furthermore, the benefits are beyond aesthetics.
I love every kind of physical fitness, but for me, Pilates is the only thing that gave me an amazing abdominal strength. OK, let’s get started!
Lie faceup and bring knees in toward chest. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat and stretch hands by sides with palms facing the floor. Extend legs to a 45-degree angle with heels together and toes apart. Pump arms up and down while breathing in and out through the nose for 5 counts each. Repeat for 10 sets.
The Roll Up
Start by lying on your back. Make sure your shoulders wide and palms facing the floor. Then, stretch your arms up overhead, reaching your legs forward with knees locked. While inhaling slowly, flex your feet, bring your arms up to the ceiling and roll your head up to bring your chin to your chest. While exhaling, slowly roll up and forward, adjusting your arm position so the arms stay extended out in front of the shoulders. Do about three or five repetitions.
Start by lying on the mat. Make sure you contract your core muscles and raise both legs to the ceiling, keeping the shoulders down on the floor. Then, squeeze the glutes and slowly lift from the hips to bring your lower back off the floor as you roll the legs back until they are parallel to the ceiling. Open the legs slightly, flex the feet and hover the toes just off the floor. Next, roll your spine back down to the mat. When your feet get a foot from the floor, squeeze the legs back together, point the toes and repeat a total of five rollovers.
The Single-Leg Stretch
Start by lying flat on the mat with the palms facedown on the floor. While inhaling, roll the chin to the chest and lift the left leg. Then, bend your right knee into your chest, forehead to the knee and shoulders rolled slightly off the ground. Take the hands to the right shin and then tug the knee slightly closer to the chest with each little exhale. Inhale as you switch legs and arms to the other side and repeat. Point the toes and use your abdominals to keep your lower trunk stable and glued to the mat. Do five repetitions on each leg.
Lie flat on the mat. While inhaling, slowly lift the head up and bring the chin to the chest. Bring the shoulders up, stretch the arms forward and lift the legs. While exhaling slowly and bring both knees to the chest, forehead to the knees, with elbows wide and fingers lightly pressing onto the shins. As you extend the legs, bring your arms overhead into a lengthening stretch. Repeat this move six times.
The Spine Stretch
While inhaling, sit up tall with your legs straight and spread. Flex your feet and lengthen through your heels to engage your leg muscles. Bring your arms out straight from the shoulders, fingertips lengthening forward. While exhaling, start from the head and roll the chin down to the chest. Repeat this move three times.
Open Leg Rocker
Sit up tall on your sit bones, bend the knees and bring one ankle in each hand. Slowly extend the legs out straight and shoulder-distance apart and contract the abdominals. Inhale as you use your abs to roll back slowly onto your shoulder blades. Roll down the center of the spine, as opposed to one side or the other. Exhale and roll up to the starting position. Repeat this movement five times!
Start by lying on your back. Lift the legs to the ceiling and roll over, bringing the legs parallel to the floor behind you. Keep the legs together and shift both legs to the right to roll back on the right side of the spine. As the legs approach the right side of the mat, continue around with the legs to the left side. End the full rotation by returning the legs into the centered rollover position. Make three complete corkscrews on each side.
Sit up tall, keeping your both legs extended straight out and feet flexed. Take your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, keeping the shoulders rolled back and down. Inhale and rotate your torso toward the left leg. Then, exhale and bend forward toward the left foot, reaching the right palm toward the outside of your left toe. As you reach forward, add a stretching pulse for three saw-like motions, reaching forward. Do three full repetitions.
Lying on your belly, come up into a sphinx-like position onto your forearms with elbows underneath the shoulders. Keep your arbs firm on the mat and kick one heel into your glute for two pulse kicks. Straighten the leg back out onto the mat and then switch legs. Do six reps on both sides.
Lying on your stomach, turn your head and place one cheek on the mat. Clasp your hands behind your back. With inner thighs and knees together, bend the knees and kick both heels to your glutes for three small pulses. As you lower the legs back down, keep the neck and head in line with the spine, lift the chest up, bring the shoulder blades together and lengthen the arms back. Hold for a few seconds. As you slowly lower down, turn the head to the other side. Repeat on the other side, doing five reps for both sides.
Lie on the mat with arms lengthened along your sides and bring your knees to your chest. Take the legs back over your head. Bend the knees so the shins come to vertical and bring the hands in to prop the lower back up under the hips. While exhaling, extend the legs up straight to the ceiling, keeping the inner thighs glued together. Slowly begin to scissor the legs, taking one leg toward the face and one leg toward the mat. Repeat each side six times.
Lie down on the floor and keep your legs together and toes pointed. Bring your hands toward the tailbone, keeping your elbows on the mat to prop yourself up. Bend your knees and take your legs straight up toward the ceiling, and then open them into a full scissor. Begin to bicycle the legs and bend the forward leg down, dropping the toe so it reaches for the mat. As that leg comes back up and unfolds to extend overhead, the opposite leg will come forward, bend and reach down into the same motion. Continue to cycle through this motion of reaching the toes to the mat for five repetitions.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the mat, hip-distance apart, and arms down along your sides with palms pressing into the mat. Slowly tilt the tailbone off the floor and peel the spine one vertebrae at a time up into a bridge. Bend the right knee into the chest and extend it toward the ceiling. Flex the foot and return the leg back up to the ceiling, keeping the pelvis stable throughout the movement. Repeat for three repetitions.
Start on the mat with your legs extended out on the floor and toes pointed. With your head up, keep your arms along your sides, palms flat on the mat, fingers pointing forward. Firm your abdomen in as you roll back onto your spine. Lie down on the floor as you lift your legs to a 45-degree angle and float your arms up until they are parallel with the legs. Next, take the chin to the chest and roll the torso up while lifting your straight legs up to a 45-degree angle. Inhale at the top, then on exhale, contract the abdominals and slowly roll the spine back down, returning the arms to parallel with the legs. Repeat three times.
Lie flat on the mat on your stomach. Squeeze your inner thighs together. Inhale and exhale normally as you pull the belly button to the spine and slowly lift the arms, chest, neck, and legs off the floor. Point the toes and extend through the legs. As you breathe, alternate arm and leg movements up and down. Count from one to 10, starting with the right arm movement. Keep your entire body rigid, moving only the arms and legs.
Kneel on your right knee and place the right hand on the mat directly under the right shoulder. Support the body with your abdominal strength and the right arm. Lift the left leg up so it is straight and parallel to the floor and the left knee and foot are aligned. Make sure that your right thigh stays in line with your right hip. Bring the left hand behind the head, adding extra length to that side of the body. Push the head into the hand and lengthen through the crown of the head, eliciting help from the core. Inhale quickly as you swing the free leg as far forward as possible without swiveling the pelvis forward or back. Exhale quickly as you swing the leg as far behind the body as possible without losing balance or stability. Keep the abdominals tucked in tight and the body rigid. Do five repetitions, and then switch sides and repeat.
Sit on your mat with both knees bent and off to the left side. Lean onto your right hip and prop your torso up with your right arm, keeping it in line with the right shoulder. Place your buttocks, trunk, and hand on the floor in a line toward the back edge of the mat. Keep the body rigid, the head up, the chest out and the abs engaged. On a slow inhale, turn the head left and try to rest the chin on left shoulder, lowering the body until the right calf touches the floor. Exhale slowly and return to side plank, bringing the left arm slowly overhead and alongside the left ear, lengthening through the fingertips. Come back to starting position, knees stacked and bent. Repeat three times before switching sides.
The Pilates Push Up
Standing at the foot of the mat with feet hip-distance apart, roll the chin down to the chest and roll down an imaginary wall. Once your hands reach the floor, walk out the hands in four steps into a plank position. Use your abdominals to support the spine as you hold your plank, squeezing the glutes and inner thighs and keeping the head and neck in line with the spine. Slowly lower down, taking your chest toward the floor until the chin touches the floor for three push-ups. After your third push-up, use the abs to lift the waist up toward the ceiling into a pike and reverse the motion back to standing. Repeat the entire exercise three times.
Sit in the center of your mat, knees bent, feet hip-distance apart. Bend your elbows and make a fist with each hand. Stack your fists on top of one another in front of your chest. Begin circling your fists around each other. Inhale and curl your tailbone under, scooping the abdominals in, and roll down towards the mat. Stop before touching the mat. Exhale as you round back up, winding arms in the opposite direction. Repeat four more times.