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Here’s a beginner friendly workout to start your Pilates journey

Pilates is named after the German physical trainer Joseph Pilates, who developed the mind-body exercise in the early 20th century. Pilates advocates tout the core-strengthening benefits of the method to improve posture and balance. It targets the “powerhouse” muscles, which include the glutes, hips, pelvic floor and lower back. The Pilates Method is widely used in rehabilitation settings but is also beneficial to fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike.

However, if you are wondering how to start out with Pilates, you are at the right place. Recently, celebrity fitness instructor Yasmin Karachiwala took to Instagram to share a beginner-friendly Pilates workout. “Today, I am going to share with you some basic Pilates moves that you can start even if you have never done Pilates before. So, let’s get started,” she said in the post.

Take a look.

Further, she added, “Pilates is a form of exercise that can be done anywhere and anytime and today I’m sharing some exercises which you can do at home! Grab your mat and let’s get moving.”

Bridge

The bridge exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles. It helps strengthen the core, improves hip mobility, and enhances stability in the pelvic region, says Utsav Agrawal, Advance + Fitness Coach, FITTR. However, he noted that individuals with severe back or hip issues should avoid this exercise or modify it under the guidance of a qualified instructor.

Steps:

*Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.*Keep your arms at your sides with your palms facing down.*Lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and engaging your core.*Keep your knees and thighs parallel, and aligned with your hips.*Hold the pose for 5 full breaths and release back to the start position.

Single leg circles

Agrawal said that single leg circles primarily target the hip muscles, including the glutes, hip flexors, and inner and outer thighs. This exercise improves hip mobility, strengthens the core, and enhances stability and control. “However, individuals with hip, knee injuries or instability should be cautious with this exercise or consult with a Pilates instructor for modifications,” he added.

Steps:

*Start by lying on your back with both legs extended on the floor, arms by your side.*Extend one leg straight up in the air, keeping the other leg straight on the floor.*Circle the extended leg in a clockwise direction. Do five to eight circles in this direction, then reverse.*Switch legs and repeat.

Hundred

Pilates The hundred is a dynamic warm-up for the abdominals and lungs. (Source: Freepik)

As the name suggests, this classic Pilates exercise is all about holding the move for 100 pumps. “The hundred exercise is a core-strengthening exercise that improves abdominal strength and endurance. It also promotes controlled breathing and increases overall body circulation,” said Agrawal, adding that individuals with neck, lower back issues or those who find it difficult to maintain proper form should consult with an instructor or avoid this exercise.

Steps:

*Lie down on your back and place your arms by your side.*Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, ready to lift them off any moment.*Lift your legs above your hips and push them straight out.*Bring the top of your body up too, bringing your chin down towards your chest.*Pump your arms up and down while holding your head and legs in the air. Move your arms up and down in the air with your palms pointed towards the floor.*Breathe in and out while you pump.*Repeat the exercise 10 times.

Side leg kicks

“Side leg kicks target the hip abductor muscles, including the gluteus medius and minimus. It helps improve hip stability, strengthens the outer thighs, and enhances overall lower body control,” said Agrawal. Additionally, he mentioned that individuals with hip, knee, or lower back issues should use caution with this exercise or modify it under professional guidance.

Steps:

*Lie on your side.*Prop your head on your hand, lifting your ribs away from the mat.*Your other hands rests, palms down on the mat in front of your chest.*Lift your top leg and swing it to the front. At the full length of your kick, do a small pulse kick.*Keeping length in your leg, point your toe and sweep your top leg to the back.*Flex your foot again and kick to the front.*Repeat this exercise five to 10 times.

Swan

The swan exercise strengthens the back extensors, improves spinal mobility and enhances posture. It also stretches the chest and hip flexors, promoting balance in the muscles surrounding the spine, said Agrawal, however, he stressed that individuals with severe back issues or those experiencing acute pain in the back should avoid this exercise or consult with a Pilates instructor for modifications.

ALSO READ | Why should you do Pilates?

Steps:

*Lie down on your mat face-down with your arms close to your sides and your elbows bent at about 90 degrees.*Inhale, lifting your belly up away from the mat to support a long upward arc.*Exhale and keep your abdominals lifted as you release the arc, lengthening your spine as your torso returns to the mat in a sequential way.*Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times.

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If you’re a beginner looking to start Pilates, here are some tips to help you get started and make it easier to understand, according to the expert:

*Start with beginner-friendly classes: Seek out beginner or introductory Pilates classes or sessions specifically designed for newcomers. These classes typically focus on fundamental movements and basic exercises, gradually introducing more complex movements as you progress.*Focus on core engagement: Understanding and mastering core engagement is crucial in Pilates. Practice activating your deep abdominal muscles, known as the powerhouse or core, during exercises. This will provide stability, support, and better results.*Take it slow: Pilates is about control and precision. Start with slow and deliberate movements, focusing on form and alignment. Rushing through exercises can compromise technique and effectiveness. Quality over quantity is key.*Pay attention to breath: Breath control is an integral part of Pilates. Coordinate your breath with movements, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling fully through your mouth. This rhythmic breathing promotes relaxation and enhances body awareness.*Be consistent: Like any exercise, consistency is key. Aim for regular practice to develop strength, flexibility, and body awareness. Even short sessions a few times a week can yield significant benefits.*Listen to your body: Respect your body’s limitations and avoid pushing beyond your comfort zone. Modify exercises if needed and gradually increase intensity as you gain strength and flexibility. Always prioritize safety and avoid overexertion.*Use props and modifications: Props like Pilates balls, resistance bands, and foam rollers can assist beginners in achieving proper alignment and enhance their practice. They can provide support, stability, and added challenge as needed.

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