How to Get Started in Pilates: Know These 3 Basic Routines
Pilates is one of the most innovative methods for working out your body in a balanced and complete way. Its exercises can be adapted to all levels.
One of the most famous training routines in the world is Pilates. This is because it leads to good posture, and alleviates some ails related to the back. Many athletes have included it in their exercise program because of its effectiveness. If you are considering participating in this training system, you will need to know how to get started in Pilates.
In order for you learn how to get started in Pilates and take full advantage of this discipline, you should learn what it is and the benefits you will gain from practicing it.
What is Pilates?
The Pilates training system is very comprehensive, since it works your whole body in a very well-rounded and simple way. The exercises are low impact, very safe, and adaptable to all ages and levels. Each of the exercises integrate both upper and lower body movements, with the main objective being to develop the body and mind. The practical approach is based on:
- Correction of posture
- Abdominal strength
- Controlled breathing
- Stabilization of the spine, shoulders and pelvis
- Flexibility of the whole body
- Mobility and joint strengthening
Breathing is essential in the practice of Pilates. Only with correct breathing will you get good results, better circulation and increase your lung capacity.
When you inhale through your nose, your ribs separate. Subsequently, when you exhale, your ribs close and your internal abdominal muscle contracts. It is during exhalation that the greatest intensity of the exercise is concentrated.
Types of Pilates
There are two ways to perform Pilates:
- Pilates with machines: These machines were designed by the creator of Pilates, and include the reformer, trapeze or cadillac, chair and barrel.
- Floor Pilates: This is usually the most common. It requires a mat and uses elastic bands, rings, balls, and a barrel.
How to Get Started in Pilates: Basic Exercises
To learn how to get started in Pilates, you should learn some of its most basic exercises, whether you want to practice them at home, or be able to follow along with the basic motions when attending a class. To begin, make sure to remember that maintaining the correct pelvic position and keeping your core muscles contracted are both essential. This avoids injury while completing the movements you will perform. Additionally, only allow 10 repetitions in each exercise.
Contracting your Core
This exercise will help you to contract your core properly. So, you will need to do the following:
- Stand with your feet facing forward and separated to the width of your hips.
- Your arms can rest at the side of your body, or you can or place your hands on your waist in order to facilitate the contraction.
- Then, you must contract your pelvic floor, that is, make a movement as if you are holding in urine.
- Immediately, contract your abdomen, sucking in your belly button towards the direction of your spine.
- While you are contracting your core, you must breathe normally. You can not be in apnea at any time.
Pelvis in Neutral Position
For this exercise, you will require a mat.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent over the mat.
- Your feet should be resting on the ground.
- The position of your legs should be parallel and separated to the width of your hips.
- Rest your arms on the sides of your body and relax your shoulders.
- Press your lower back against the mat; to lie flat against the floor.
- Release a little tension, forming a small curve in your lower back.
- Relax and repeat the exercise again.
With this exercise, you will work your glutes and abdominals. First, repeat the same steps from the previous exercise until you have your pelvis in a neutral position. For this next exercise:
- Contract the pelvic floor by sucking in your belly button towards your spine and controlling your breathing.
- When you exhale, raise your pelvis in the direction of the ceiling in order to separate your back from the floor slowly, vertebra by vertebra.
- Your head and upper back should still be touching the floor.
- Form a bridge by aligning your shoulders, hips and knees.
- Inhale while maintaining the same position.
- To end this exercise, when exhaling, slowly lower yourself and gently touch down your lower back, pelvis, and shoulders.
- Keep your abdominal area contracted at all times.
You may notice that these 3 Pilates exercises are very simple. While the results may not be evident at first glance, these exercises are truly very effective for your whole body.