Contrary to popular belief, Pilates is super-effective full body workout... And although you won’t be smashing out countless reps, you’ll certainly be strengthening and isolating muscles.
But muscle strengthening isn’t all it’s good for! Pilates will also help to improve your posture, balance, joint mobility...and it can even help relieve stress and anxiety.
The exercise can be done in several ways. You can either choose a studio class, where you’ll hop onto a machine that’s fully equipped with straps and springs, or you can opt for a mat-based class, where you’ll be (for the most part) equipment-free and engaging in some yoga-esque moves.
So, how is it different to yoga? Good question!
Like yoga, Pilates has a strong mind/body focus, however the main difference is the flow of movement (rather than the static poses you use with yoga).
So, dust off your Lycra and get ready to jump on the Pilates bandwagon, because we’ve collected 4 of our favourite moves for you to try:
1.) The hundred
The hundred is a classic Pilates exercise…
Start lying on your back with your knees bent into a table top position. Now, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat and stretch your hands down by your sides (keeping your palms facing floor).
Now slowly extend your legs to a 45-degree angle and start to move your arms gently up and down. This should only be a small (but dynamic) arm movement. If you’re holding your legs up correctly, it should really get your abdominals engaged and burning. Repeat this for 45 seconds.
2.) Single-leg stretch
First things first, lie on your back and bend your knees into a table top position. Now, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat and at the same time, slowly stretch your left leg until it’s straight. As you do so, bring your right knee in super-close to your chest and place your hands tightly around the ankle/knee. Now, simply switch your legs around as you inhale, and then switch again as you exhale. Repeat this for 45 seconds.
3.) Pilates push-up
The Pilates push up takes your average push up to a whole new level, so definitely give this one a go!
Start by standing up tall and then gradually roll your body into a 'rag doll' position. Once you're here, place your hands on the floor and walk them out into a high plank. Now lower yourself down into a push up, return to that high plank and then walk your hands back towards your feet. Stand up tall & keep repeating until 45 seconds is over.
4.) Double-leg kick
This move is going to target the lower back and glutes…and although it sounds pretty easy, it takes some control to master!
First things first, lie flat on your stomach with your left cheek resting on the mat. Place your hands on your lower back with your palms facing up and then kick both heels up into a three part pulse. After three pulses, straighten your legs back out, keeping your feet off the floor. Switch so that your right cheek is on the mat and then repeat. Keeping going until 45 seconds is up.
There you have it! The ins and outs of Pilates & 4 of our favourite moves that you can master in the comfort of your own home – enjoy!