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Stay Fit with Pilates

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Pilates workout guide

Quick tip: If you wish to be fit from head to toe, all you need to do is focus on strengthening your core. How? Add pilates in your monthly workout plan and you’re good to core. Before you know, your muffin top (courtesy, all the pie and lattes) will have disappeared for good. Want in on the most tempting bit? You can simply do it at home on a mat and once you’re done feel free to roll over and take a nap.

But, first things first, let’s explain pilates to you.

What is Pilates

Pilates is a low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen and stabilize your core body while improving your posture, balance and flexibility. It effectively syncs gentle stretching with deep breathing.

Pilates Benefit

  • Whether you’re a newbie or a pro to working out, pilates exercise can be tailored to meet individual capacities and fitness targets.
  • Pilates helps regain control of the pelvis and the entire core to restore healthy functioning of the pelvic muscles. It’s especially great for new moms dealing with urinary incontinence and chronic pelvic pain.
  • It works on your core muscles which support your posture and movements. Thus, developing core strength increases your overall body strength.
  • Dancers swear by pilates and for a good reason. Since this exercise form is all about strengthening and stretching, the payoff is lean muscles and flexible limbs.
  • If you’ve been a slave to your back aches for long, it’s time to roll down the mat and begin with pilates right away. It improves body alignment and posture which can make back pain a thing of the past.
  • The slow and controlled movements in pilates put minimal pressure on your joints. This is great for people looking to avoid high-impact exercises and the risk of injury.
  • Since pilates is a body and mind workout with focus on breathing as you move, it improves your concentration and focus. We’re signing up for the improved productivity.
  • If bulky muscles is not your idea of fitness, pilates is perfect for you as it’s associated with long, lean and toned muscles.
  • The improved blood circulation throughout your body will naturally boost your energy levels.

Pilates Workout

Here’s a lowdown on different pilates exercises to get you started.

Pilates for weight loss

1. Pelvic curl

Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Ensure your feet are hip-width apart and your arms are on the sides with the palms facing down.
Step 2: Inhale as you engage your abdominal muscles by pushing your navel toward your spine.
Step 3: Pressing on your feet, gradually curl up your tailbone, hips, lower spine and middle spine in that order. Stop when your hips and shoulder are aligned.
Step 4: Exhale and slowly release the pose to return to the original position. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings and back.

2. The hundred

Step 1: Lie with your back on the floor. Outstretch your legs and place your arms on the sides with the palms facing down.
Step 2: Keeping your feet together lift both your legs toward the ceiling. Pause midway so that you’re legs are at 45° angle to the floor.
Step 3: Now lift your head up and slowly engaging your abdominal muscles, pump your arms up and down. Inhale and exhale as you pump up and down.
Step 4: Exhale and slowly release the pose to return to the original position. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Shoulders, glutes, quadriceps, core and abs.

Pilates exercise
Pilates

3. Single leg stretch

Step 1: Lie with your back on the floor. Outstretch your legs and place your arms on the sides with the palms facing down.
Step 2: Pull both knees toward your chest while lifting your shoulders and head off the floor. Keep your lower back pressed on the floor and your core engaged.
Step 3: Now extend your right leg while placing both your hands on the shin of the left leg. Breathe in and breathe out as you keep alternating legs.
Step 4: Exhale as you release the pose. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Back, core, hamstrings and abs.

4. Teaser

Step 1: Lie on the floor with your feet off the floor and knees bent right above your hips.
Step 2: Now extend your legs as you lift your shoulder and head above the floor to reach toward the feet with your hands. Your torso and legs should create a V shape.
Step 3: Hold this pose for 5 deep breaths.
Step 4: Roll onto your back and bend your knees to return to the original position. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Glutes, shoulders, abs and back.

Pilates for weight loss- 1
Easy Pilates workout

5. Leg Circle

Step 1: Lie with your back on the floor. Place your arms by your side with the palms flat on the floor.
Step 2: Bend your left knee and place your left foot on the floor. Extend your right leg toward the ceiling until its perpendicular to the floor.
Step 3: With your palms and your lower back pressed against the floor, draw a circle in the air with your right leg. Reverse the direction and draw another circle.
Step 4: Now do the same with your left leg perpendicular to the floor. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Core, quadriceps, hamstrings, obliques, calves.

6. Criss-cross

Step 1: Lie on the floor and pull both your knees toward your chest. Place your hands behind your head with the elbows wide.
Step 2: Breathe in as you slowly lift your head up and bring your right shoulder toward your left knee while extending your right leg. Exhale.
Step 3: Now bring your left shoulder toward your right knee while you extend your left leg.
Step 4: Keep alternating legs and repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Core, abs and back.

Pilates - crisscross
Pilates workout- scissor kicks

7. Scissor kick

Step 1: Lie with your back on the floor. Outstretch your legs and raise your arms in the air at 45° angle.
Step 2: Inhale as you lift your right leg toward the ceiling and pull it closer to your face with both your hands holding the calf. Raise your left leg a few inches off the floor in the process.
Step 3: Exhale and release your right leg. Now bring your left leg toward you while letting your right leg hover above the floor.
Step 4: Keep alternating legs and repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Core, glutes, quads and adductors.

8. Pendulum

Step 1: Lie with your back on the floor. Keep your arms extended on your sides and aligned with your shoulders.
Step 2: Bend your knees over your hips with your feet off the floor.
Step 3: Now contracting your abs, inhale and push both your knees to the right. Ensure your lower back doesn’t lose contact with the floor.
Step 4: Exhale as you bring both your knees back up again. Now repeat the same on the left side. Continue this for 8 breaths.

Targets: Back, abs and waist.

Pilates exercise- pendulum
What are pilates

9. Hip dip

Step 1: Start in a side plank position with your right hand directly under your right shoulder and your left foot stacked on the right foot.
Step 2: Place your left hand behind your head with the elbow bent and facing upward.
Step 3: Inhale as you slowly sink your hips down toward the floor. Ensure the side of your right foot is in contact with the floor and your right hand doesn’t bend in the process.
Step 4: Exhale as you lift your hips back up. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Targets: Core, hip, thighs and glutes.

10. Plank leg lift

Step 1: Lie on the floor in a high plank position with both your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
Step 2: Slowly inhale as you lift your right foot off the floor upto your shoulder height.
Step 3: Breathe out as you bring your right foot back on the floor. Repeat with the left leg.
Step 4: Alternate legs and keep doing this exercise 8 times.

Targets: Back, abs and waist.

How to do pilates- plank leg lift

FAQs on Pilates

1. How good is pilates for weight loss?

Pilates can help you shed pounds but not as quick as other cardio workouts. Although, it can help you lose belly fat faster as the core muscles are engaged in pilates.

2. Do you need equipment for pilates exercise?

Pilates can be done barefoot with and without any equipment. A few of the exercises that don’t need equipment include: abdominal curl, kneeling side plank and lunge with hip hinge.

3. Is it okay to do pilates workout every day?

Yes, pilates can be done safely and effectively daily. The key is to introduce variations in your pilates workout. A muscle group that has been intensely targeted one day can be a given moderate workout the next day.

4. What is the advantage of pilates over gym?

The disadvantage of gym workout is that it focuses on single muscle groups. When you opt for pilates you give yourself a full body workout that works the major muscle groups by combining strength training, stretching, and cardiovascular conditioning.

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