T hings are moving so fast today that our ancestors may just have a shock if they could peek for a moment into our world. And even if our bodies seem to have gotten the hang of it, they still didn’t, and the fact that more people are suffering from stress, depression, and insomnia is the proof. Doctors no longer recommend taking a few weeks of vacation in a mountain area to breathe fresh air and calm the nerves because they know our lifestyle doesn’t allow it. In this case, what is it left for us to get a moment of relaxation and restore the equilibrium between the body and the mind?
The answer seems to reside in exercise routines that force us to focus on each movement and shift our concentration form our worries toward our elongating muscles. Pilates is among the most popular, and this is because it is accessible to beginners and has an energizing effect on the body that encourages people to try it again and again.
If you have minimal knowledge about this technique, you probably know that there are some famous apparatus, invented by the German Joseph Pilates, namely the cadillac and the reformer, which are ensembles of springs, strings, and handles, designed to help the body align and regain balance. But there are lots of exercises that can be executed without these machines, and which are ideal for home routines. We have selected ten of the most common, so if you don’t have the right schedule to join a class, check them out and build your own routine at home.
How to Prepare for a Home Pilates Training
The advantage of practicing Pilates at home is that you have all the space to yourself and you can arrange it exactly the way you like it. However, even if there’s no one there to see how you are dressed or what movements you chose to execute, it is still important to prepare yourself for the sessions to get the best results.
Here are some ideas:
- Clear out a space for your routine – If you can afford to turn a room into your own home gym, do it. Remove all the unnecessary objects, as rooms that are stuffed with furniture and decorative elements tend to amplify stress. On the other hand, if you are living in a rather crammed flat, there’s no tragedy. You can still do your Pilates exercises as long as you can free up enough space to do the movements.
- Get the right equipment – No one is saying to install the equipment into your living room, although if you have the space and the budget, getting the reformer or the cadillac would be a great idea. However, most people who prefer to do Pilates at home don’t use the apparatus but a mat and other accessories. Thus, the first step would be to buy yourself a Pilates mat. And, since you are a beginner, we recommend getting a thicker one that can reduce the pressure that is put on your back. Among the accessories, you can find the soft ball or the mini fitness balance ball, resistance bands, or Pilates rings. Some of them will be necessary from the beginning while others can be introduced later as you get more advanced. Furthermore, make sure to get appropriate clothing. You won’t want to get tangled into large clothes that will prevent you from getting the desired balance and precision. Get yourself a quality pair of leggings.
- Turn off your phone or put it on silence – Pilates is all about concentration so the last thing you would want to hear is somebody messaging you on Facebook or the notifications from Instagram. Plus, this is your hour of relaxation, so your boss should stay away from it, no matter how “urgent” things seem to become at your job.
- Keep the pets out of your exercising space – If you have a dog, it will definitely not leave you to do your sequence in peace. And even if the cat may seem bored and uninterested at first, it won’t take long until it feels the need to be in the center of attention. So, it is better to shut the door so you can focus all your attention on the routine.
10 Easy Workout Moves to Try at Home If You Are a Beginner
If you have organized your space and bought the right equipment, it is time to get to the thing that interests you the most, namely the routine. Designed to fortify the core muscles and boost energy, the movements have a long-term purpose as well, namely to make the body more flexible and ensure a correct posture. Nonetheless, some movement can be more difficult to perform, this is why we have selected the easiest ones, which are recommended for beginners.
It will help you increase suppleness in the hip joint, as it encourages you to use the stomach muscles to keep your hip stable while executing the movement.
- While leaving the arms along the body, lay with the back against the mat.
- Bend both your knees.
- Start by expanding one of your legs until it forms a 90 degrees angle.
- Move it far from your hip.
- Without engaging your hips, rotate the leg into a counterclockwise direction.
- Repeat the movement five times, then move to your other leg and do the same exercise.
Perfect for firming up core muscles, this movement uses bot your stomach muscles and leg muscles and tests your capacity to maintain balance.
- Rest your back on the ground while elevating your legs to an angle a bit smaller than 90 degrees.
- Use both arms to grab one of your legs and bring it to your chest.
- Control your breathing while switching legs.
- Focus on keeping balance while reiterating the movement for at least 6 times and a maximum of 10 times.
Double Leg Core
Another workout that challenges your balance and strength, this one will engage your stomach muscles even more.
- Rest your back against the mat.
- Elevate both your legs and hands to an angle of 90 degrees while drawing the belly button towards the spine. Inhale. Maintain your legs joined together and push your heels one towards the other.
- Circle your hands at once and hug your knees, elevating them to the chest. Exhale throughout this movement.
- Do this exercise for at least 6 times and for a maximum of ten times.
This is a good warm-up workout and simultaneously one of the most common. It targets directly the stomach muscles, and people use it to get amazing abs. But, in fact, it gets the whole body active and stirs up the blood, preparing you for the session.
- Back on the mat, face up.
- Elevate your legs and bend your knees. You can also do this work out with your legs stretched.
- Elevate your arms to a 45-degree angle.
- Count to five while pumping your hands up and down with slight movements. Inhale only at this step.
- Count to five and exhale while doing the same movements.
- Do this ten times.
Designed to fortify the spine and articulate it while using the stomach muscles to maintain equilibrium, this workout will help you get a perfect posture.
- Rest on the mat while preserving your back straight.
- Extend your arms over the head with the palms directed up.
- Elevate your arms while inhaling and bend your spine gradually until you reach a sitting point.
- From this posture, inhale and bring your upper side gradually into the initial point.
- Reiterate for 10 times.
Perfect for working out back muscles and posterior thigh muscles, this workout can be challenging but super fun at the same time.
- Set yourself on the mat with the stomach down.
- Elevate the hands over the head.
- While inhaling, raise your superior side and your legs from the floor just like you were swimming.
- Maintain this posture while exhaling.
- Shift your legs like a scissor and your arms the same. Breathe through the movements, counting to 5 to inhale and once again to 5 to exhale.
- Do 20 to 50 inhale-exhale sessions.
This series of movements will test your ability to maintain balance while increasing strength in the abdominal and hip muscles.
- Lay on the mat face up.
- Elevate your arms and legs, using your upper side to create a V shape. Begin with your knees in a bent position and straighten them up as you lift your torso.
- Count to 5 and then return in the initial position.
Getting a slimmer and more powerful waistline can be easily accomplished with this exercise, which works oblique muscles and thigh muscles.
- Sit up straight with the legs spread apart, leaving a distance between your heels just a bit broader than your shoulders.
- Set your arms far from the body with the palms facing the ceiling.
- Turn your upper body, shoulders, and arms to a side of your choice. One of your arms should be positioned behind you and the other one in front of you.
- Try to reach your toe with your front hand while maintaining your hips steady.
- Twist your upper side to the other direction doing the same movement.
- Do the routine 3 times for each side.
This is an easy movement and a relaxing one at the same time. Most beginners find it easy to execute. Nevertheless, it is highly efficient for working abdominal and thigh muscles.
- Position yourself on the mat.
- Elevate your legs while bending your knees.
- Let the knees fall to the right ad then to the left in slow movements, while keeping the hips steady.
It will work almost all the groups of muscles, with an accent on the abdominal and thigh muscles.
- Stay in a laying position with your face towards the ceiling.
- Elevate one of your legs and grab it with your arms, pulling it towards your face.
- Elevate your other leg just a few inches above the floor.
- Keep your head bent up and swap legs to create a scissor.
How Often Should You Do Pilates to See Results?
Joseph Pilates proposed that this routine to be repeated four times a week, but this shouldn’t be regarded as a ground-rule. Some people like to exercise every day, and it isn’t even difficult to do it, as the exercises leave you rater energized than tired. However, if you are practicing other sports or doing other types of exercises in parallel, you can do Pilates only two to three times a week and still get excellent results. Besides that, the duration of the session is important as well. Most gyms or personal trainers will recommend exercising for about an hour, but until you get yourself into shape, you can start working out for 30 minutes per session.
Learning how to do Pilates is probably one of the easiest jobs, especially as you can find materials basically everywhere today. You have YouTube videos, CDs, books, and articles, just like this one, which explains in detail the movement. However, you still need to put up something yourself, and this is determination. You need to clear an hour in your schedule and reserve a space for your routine. And, once you’ve started, keep going every day. It will take some weeks until this workout comes to be part of your life, but once you’ve managed to integrate it, you won’t want to live without it anymore.