Hi again to you! What is pilates? You will ask. Pilates is regarded as a wellness programme for body and mind and, together with yoga and Thai chi, is one of the biggest runners in the fitness sector. Joseph Pilates created Pilates almost 100 years ago for dancers. By using slow controlled movements, the core body is strengthened while lengthening and stretching at the same time. When done correctly, Pilates requires a true mind/body connection and sculpts the abs like no other exercise routine!
Pilates, a wellness program for body and mind. Together with Yoga and Thai-Chi one of the big hits in fitness and health facilities, Pilates is especially suitable for beginners who have not yet had any experience with such training methods. By simple exercises at home or in the fitness course, the musculature is gently strengthened, the mental relaxation promoted and thus the trainee remains fit to master his everyday life professionally as well as privately.
The following exercises are intended to provide a small introduction to the rich Pilates exercises and whet the appetite for more. This small selection concentrates mainly on strengthening and mobilizing the back. It is enough to build these simple exercises into the day two to three times a week to feel an effect.
The so-called “Powerhouse” is important for PILATES training. The term comes from PILATES developer Joseph Pilates. The Powerhouse comprises the pelvic floor muscles, the oblique, straight and transverse abdominal muscles as well as the deep back muscles. It forms an imaginary stabilisation belt around the body centre and thus protects the spine. As a centre of strength, it is the starting point for almost all movements.
Exercise 1 “Rolling up
Full Body Roll Ups are an exercise that strengthens your core and helps lengthen and stretch your back and hamstrings. The full range of motion used in this exercise engages more muscle fibers than many core exercises. You can do full body roll ups every single day because they are great for your core. If you learn how to do Full Body Roll Ups you will be learning one of the most standard Pilates exercises there is.
Start sitting with your legs tightened, breathe in deeply and start exhaling with the rolling movement of your spine backwards. When inhaling, straighten yourself up again. With each rolling movement you move further to the floor until you can perform the final version “Rolling up” three to five times from the supine position.
Exercise 2 “Single Leg Stretch
Single leg stretch is all about learning to move from center. Many people find it especially helpful in targeting the lower abs. Note that this exercise is different from single straight leg stretch, which stretches the hamstring muscles of the back of the thighs. Stay in the supine position and perform the “Single Leg Stretch” five times alternately, i.e. one leg change per breath. Then rest on your back in the pack position for a few minutes and swing slightly to and fro sideways.
Benefits: Single leg stretch trains the abdominals to initiate movement and to support and stabilize the trunk as the arms and legs are in motion. There is an element of coordination to this exercise as well. It is a good exercise to start a stomach series or to use as part of a warm up!
Exercise 3: “Shoulder Bridge
The basic bridge isolates and strengthens your gluteus. and hamstrings (back of the thigh). When done correctly, the move can also enhance core stability by targeting your abdominal muscles and the muscles of lower back and hip. If you have a workout routine already, it’s easy to add the bridge in or pair it with other moves to create your own full-body workout. It’s also a good warm-up exercise and a basic rehab exercise to improve core and spinal stabilization. Now set up your legs, place your arms next to your body, breathe in deeply, activate your powerhouse as you exhale and slowly lift your pelvis upwards, until shoulders, pelvis and knees form a diagonal.
If you’re looking for a move to add to your routine that works your core and your butt, the basic bridge is a great place to start.For this move, the target muscle is the erector spinae which runs the length of your back from your neck to tailbone. A basic bridge stretches the stabilizers of the posterior chain, including your hip abductors, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. Your overall strength will improve as these muscle groups get stronger. A strong core will also improve your posture and can help ease lower back pain. In fact, as long as you have good form, bridge exercises are generally safe for people with chronic back problems and can aid in pain management.
Exercise 4: “Swan Dive
In the prone position, tighten your legs firmly, place your arms next to your body and your forehead on the floor. Now practice the “Swan Dive” according to the description in three steps – three repetitions per step. After the exercise, sit back on your feet and relieve your spine.
Exercise 5: “The Saw”
Go into the upright seat, the arms next to the body. As you inhale, lift your arms to the side and turn your waist to the right. When exhaling, first activate your Powerhouse and then bend forward diagonally from the waist to the right. Let your left hand become a saw in your mind. When inhaling, straighten up your upper body again and then “saw” to the left side when exhaling.
Want more Pilates?
If you feel like doing more after these exercises, you can deepen your knowledge with appropriate training books or learning videos. The best instruction for a harmonious Pilates is given to the interested but mostly in fitness studios, where the many techniques are learned under the guidance of trained trainers.
In principle, any interested person, regardless of age, can start Pilates immediately, only pregnant women and people with severe back problems should clarify in advance whether this type of training is currently suitable for them.