Pilates is a type of fitness system developed by German fitness expert Joseph Pilates, a former professional boxer, circus performer, body builder, and self-defense trainer. Joseph Pilates may have worn many hats but he grew up sickly and suffered severe asthma, rheumatic fever, and rickets. He was committed to improving his physical strength and dedicated his life developing the Pilates system.
The system requires the mastery of controlled movements to build strength, improve flexibility, as well as enhance stamina and endurance.
Benefits of Pilates
Invigorates the Mind and Body
Pilates isn’t just about achieving a toner frame or losing weight; it’s a mind-body workout that keeps you in tune with your own body and controls your movement to enhance flexibility and strength. It’s not just about stretching and flexing; Pilates requires precise breathing exercises to maximize the efficiency and power of every movement.
Builds Stronger Core
If you’ve always been dreaming of getting washboard abs then you just might get it by choosing the Pilates fitness system. Pilates targets the core, the center of the body. The core is comprised of your abdominal muscles along with muscles that support the spine, the pelvis, and shoulder girdle. Toner core means rock hard abs!
Achieves a Leaner, Stronger Frame
Pilates is best for people who want to achieve a leaner, stronger frame. The program is meant to elongate the muscles, enhance strength, boost muscle elasticity, and achieve smoother joint mobility. It’s not exactly the best option if you want to pack on more muscles or develop incredibly toned muscles like those seen from bodybuilders.
4 Simple Yet Effective Pilates Exercises to Start Your Training
Below are some of the most popular basic Pilates exercises you have to master to start your training on the right note:
The Heel Slide
Lying down on the mat, slowly slide up one of your heels as you inhale deeply. Exhale slowly while you slide your heel down. Do the opposite side. Do 15 reps of this position.
The Roll Up
This position is similar to a sit up but the roll up can flatten your stomach six times faster. Lie down on the mat and slowly roll up, engaging each portion of your stomach. Roll back down slowly. The roll up position can be done with your legs bent or extended.
This is perhaps one of the most popular Pilates position. The Hundred engages both the stomach and the core. It will require extra focus on your breathing exercise to build endurance. Lie on your back on a mat and inhale as you straighten up your legs high. Slowly lift your upper body to form a “U” shape while keeping your arm slightly elevated from the mat and straight. Hold the position for several seconds to engage the core.
This position targets the back of the legs, the glutes, and the core. It also enhances hips and pelvis stability. Lie on the mat and slowly raise your hips up. Make sure you can still see the tip of your knees as you raise the hips. Slowly bring the hips down and rest. Do 12 reps.