5 EXERCISES TO START PILATES

2022-06-01 0 Comments

“Pilates develops the body evenly, corrects bad postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind” Joseph Pilates. Here are 5 accessible and progressive exercises to start Pilates.

“IN 10 SESSIONS YOU WILL FEEL THE DIFFERENCE, IN 20 SESSIONS YOU WILL SEE THE DIFFERENCE, IN 30 SESSIONS YOU WILL HAVE A BRAND NEW BODY! JOSEPH PILATES

In just a few sessions, you’ll already notice the first results: a boosted mind, improved posture, awareness of your body… Then, gradually, you’ll sculpt and refine your figure, strengthen your abdominal muscles and your back.

With a little patience and diligence, your body will become supple, strong and toned.

To help you get started in the best conditions, don’t hesitate to read our “What is Pilates?” tip to discover the basic principles of Pilates that will optimize your sessions and your muscular commitment.

Let’s get started!

THE RITUAL BEFORE STARTING YOUR PILATES SESSION

WE LEARN TO BREATHE “PILATES

Thoracic Breathing

Breathe while engaging your abdominal muscles throughout your session, i.e. without ever completely releasing your belly!

  • Place one hand on your ribs and one hand on your belly.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose, opening your ribs but not inflating your belly. Feel your ribs spread out under your hands, a bit like an accordion.
  • Pull your belly button in as far as possible towards the spine, engage the pelvic floor by contracting the inside of your buttocks and thinking about the “pee stop”. Imagine that you are “peeing” and that you have to stop suddenly.
  • Exhale through your mouth with a warm breath: your throat is open as if you were trying to make a fog on a mirror. Feel your belly go in towards your spine.
  • Take several breaths in this way.

The little plus: close your eyes to concentrate on the feeling. Visualize your breathing.

WARM UP (FOR 1 MINUTE)

  • Place yourself on all fours. Hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips.
  • Self-grow by extending your back, from the coccyx to the top of the skull.
  • Inhale, tilt your pelvis upward to arch your back, your gaze going towards the ceiling.
  • Exhale, then tilt your pelvis down to round your lower back.
  • Repeat this movement several times and then decrease the amplitude to obtain a neutral position (neither arched nor rounded).
  • Place your buttocks on your heels, belly on your thighs, arms stretched far in front of you and perform the Child’s Pose (photo below).
  • Feel the stretch in your back.
  • Stand up to place your buttocks on your heels.

5 PILATES EXERCISES, LET’S GO!

EXERCISE 1: MARCHING

Marching strengthens the hip flexors and abdominals

The starting position

  • Lying on your back, legs bent and spread the width of your pelvis, feet on the ground, arms stretched along your body, palms on the ground.
  • The lower back is relatively flat on the ground, do not arch the lower back during the movements at the risk that the exercise is painful.

The movement

  • Exhale, engage the center (navel pulled in as far as possible against the spine).
  • Inhale, exhale and raise the left leg to 90° (in a tablet position).
  • Inhale, exhale and raise the right leg into a shelf position, the lower abdomen is engaged.
  • Inhale, put the tip of the right foot down, breathe in and lift the leg up.
  • Inhale and put the tip of the left foot, blow while raising the foot.

NB: Work slowly in order to control all your movements and to engage your center well.

How many times?

Between 5 and 10 repetitions.

EXERCISE 2: THE HUNDRED

The Hundred tones the abdominal muscles and activates the upper body

Emblematic of Pilates, its name comes from the breathing cycle performed during the exercise: you inhale on 5 beats and exhale on 5 beats, all repeated 10 times! 10 x 10 = “100” Cent.

The starting position

Lying on the back, arms relaxed along the body.

The movement

  • Inhale, aim to grow taller.
  • On the exhale, engage the pelvic floor (stop peeing) and pull in your belly, then raise your upper back (head, chest to the tips of the shoulder blades).
  • The arms are stretched out and parallel to the ground, then activate them by making small beats up and down by imagining that they are posed on the surface of the water and that you want to make small taps and small splashes.
  • 5 quick taps on an inhale and 5 quick taps on an exhale.

NB: To begin, perform the exercise with your feet on the ground, then progress by putting both legs, stuck together, in a shelf position (90°). Finally, perform by stretching your legs to 45%.

How many times?

10 breathing cycles x 10 repetitions

EXERCISE 3: PELVIC RAISE

The pelvic raise strengthens your glutes, hamstrings (the back of your thighs) and back muscles.

The starting position

  • – Position yourself on your back with your legs bent and your feet hip-width apart
  • – Lower your shoulders and shoulder blades.
  • – Contract your perineum while thinking of the stop-pipi.
  • – Your arms are along your body, palms towards the sky.

The movement

  • Breathe in before starting the movement (center engaged!)
  • On the exhale, gently raise your pelvis to the sky, press your heels into your mat and gradually unroll the rest, vertebra by vertebra
  • Look for alignment between the knees, hips and shoulders.
  • Inhale, lower yourself back down by rolling out your back slowly
  • Exhale and come back up

NB: Excellent exercise to relax back tensions!

How many times?

Between 10 and 15 breaths

EXERCISE 4: THE PUSH-UP

The PUSH-UP strengthens all the muscles of the upper body.

The starting position

  • Get down on all fours.
  • Align your knees with your hips.
  • Space your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and place them at your chest line.
  • Position your hands parallel to your body, fingertips facing forward.
  • Be sure to keep your pelvis neutral (not arched or rounded)

The movement

  • On the inhale, bring your head closer to the ground by bending your elbows: your elbows are close to your body and should almost touch your ribs on the way down to work the back of your arms, the triceps.
  • On the exhale, return to the initial position by pushing the ground with your hands.
  • Inhale, slowly descend, exhale and slowly come back up.

NB: Do the exercise slowly, controlling the movement and remembering to engage your core at all times. To begin, perform the exercise on all fours, lowering your chest towards your mat, then progress by lying down slightly still on your knees. Finally, perform by stretching your legs and leaning on your toes to achieve a nice plank (body aligned and straight).

How many times?

Between 5 and 10 repetitions

EXERCISE 5: LEG RAISES

The leg raise muscles your obliques and slims your waist.

The starting position

  • Lying on your right side, with your head resting on your outstretched right arm and the palm of your hand on the floor, your legs are stretched out, tight and pointing slightly forward.
  • The left hand is placed on the floor in front of you, at chest level.
  • The shoulders are one above the other, as are the hips.
  • The body is straight and perfectly aligned.

The movement

  • Exhale, engage your center
  • Lift your left leg (not too high, but enough to strengthen your waist) and your whole body should be contracted, sheathed and toned, from your toes to your skull.
  • Inhale and lower your leg slightly, without resting it on the other leg completely.
  • Repeat on the next exhale.

Note: Start with your free hand on the floor to help you balance. Progress quickly by placing your free hand along your body or on your waist while maintaining your balance. Yes, yes, you can! You will engage your deep abdominal muscles more.

How many times?

5 to 10 reps on each side

AND NOW… BACK TO NORMAL!

Your session is now (almost) over!

Now relax by doing the Child’s Pose again (5-10 breaths). You can also place your arms at your side for maximum relaxation.

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