Unlike disciplines such as Tai Chi and Yoga that were created centuries ago, Pilates is a fitness system developed at the beginning of the 20th century by a German physical trainer, Joseph Pilates. Initially, he treated the war soldiers and some dancers with the exercises. These exercises are neither cardio nor aerobic. These are resistance exercises that increase the strength of the core muscles. The core muscles are known to strengthen the spinal alignment. The core muscular strength is increased by strengthening the muscles of abdomen, hips, pelvis, and spine. Here are a few Pilates exercises that can be performed at home:
Pilates hundred is one of the classic exercises that is recommended for beginners. You would need a floor mat for this exercise. Here is the procedure for the exercise:
- Lie on the back with knees bent and feet on the floor. The arms must be straight along the floor and lifted slightly upwards.
- Now, lift up the knees so that it forms a 90-degree angle with the hips.
- Inhale as you take your hands straight up in the air, perpendicular to the floor surface.
- Then, exhale and bring the hands back to the original position.
- Remember that the legs must be bent and in the same position (90 degrees to the hips).
- If the knees hurt in this position, one can keep the knees bent and feet on the floor, during the initial few days.
Breathing is important in these exercises. One must inhale and exhale in 5 beats. So, if there are 10 counts of this exercise, there would be 100 beats in 10 counts. This type of exercise does not need any exercise equipment and can be done at home. This is a good abdominal exercise that strengthens the abdominal muscles.
This exercise is recommended for flat abs. Here is the procedure for this exercise:
- Lie on the floor mat with the hands straight up over the head.
- Then, anchor the scapulae, with the toes pointing in the upward direction.
- Keep the chin such that it touches the chest.
- Now, roll your spine in the upward direction. Slowly curl in the forward direction and try to touch your feet with your hands straight.
- Then, slowly uncurl your body and lie down.
When you curl up your body, exhale slowly and press your belly tightly to the spine. Similarly, when you uncurl your body, you must inhale slowly. Remember that you must keep your chin tucked in your chest firmly. When you uncurl yourself, it is important that you go in the original position, slowly. This will help in strengthening the abdominal muscles and will also strengthen your spine.
One Leg Circle
This is another exercise that can be done at home. Here is a procedure for this exercise:
- Use a floor mat to lie down straight on the back.
- Keep the arms straight on the floor.
- Lift one of the legs straight up in the air, making an angle of almost 90 degrees with the body. Now, rotate this leg in a clockwise direction.
- Inhale when the leg crosses over the body, and exhale when the leg is in a downward direction and about to begin the second round.
- Perform five repetitions of this exercise and then do the same in the reverse direction.
- Perform the same exercise with the other leg and increase this count weekly.
These exercises do not require any special equipment. They are helpful in getting rid of the flab from the abdomen and hip areas, as well as in strengthening them. The aforementioned exercises when made a part of routine, might prove beneficial.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.