Fitness is awesome. Not only is it used to get healthy and look better, but it can also rehabilitate. There are many forms and approaches when it comes to fitness, but certain ones hold true and proven because of effectiveness which leads to the time of relevancy they possess.
Very few exercise theories and approaches have taken over the fitness world like Pilates has. Developed in the beginning of the 20th century by a man named Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a form/method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. With a systematic approach and specific exercises combined with certain breathing patterns, Pilates has shown and proven itself as something that is unlimited in scalability and can be done by virtually anyone and everyone.
Pilates is unique in many different ways, with a focus on being done primarily from the ground or on the floor (mat sequences) so strain and stress is taken off the back, it truly opens the door to a variety of different movements all while considering safety. With the combination of stretching and strengthening, there is not much Pilates will not do for one’s physical build and performance.
Some Pilates studios do utilize special machines, but for the most part the movements are done in mat sequences with just bodyweight being used for resistance. The perk of this is the ability to perform Pilates based movements at home even when or if you cannot join or attend a studio.
Some popular Pilates moves are:
- Pilates Curl
Lie face up with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at sides. Exhale, curling chin to chest and bringing shoulders completely off mat. Hold for 1 breath, then lower back down slowly. Lift from breastbone to engage abs and avoid crunching neck.
- The Hundred
Lie face up and bring knees in toward chest. Lift head, neck, and shoulders off mat and stretch hands by sides with palms facing floor. Extend legs to a 45-degree angle with heels together and toes apart (the Pilates stance). Pump arms up and down while breathing in and out through the nose for 5 counts each. Repeat for 10 sets.
Lie face up with arms extended toward ceiling. Exhale, curl chin to chest, and roll up to sitting position with arms reaching toward feet. Exhale and reverse to roll down one vertebrae at a time. Move slowly and smoothly with no forward lunging and jerking.
- Rolling Like a Ball
Sit on mat with knees drawn toward chest and arms wrapped around legs. Rock back to tailbone with feet hovering a few inches above mat. Inhale, rolling back to shoulder blades then exhale to roll forward to balance starting position. Use abs to control momentum and pause before feet touch mat.
- Single-Leg Stretch
Lie face up on mat with knees drawn toward chest, shins, parallel to floor in tabletop position. Exhale to lift head, neck, and shoulders off mat. At the same time, extend leg straight to a 45-degree angle and draw right knee toward chest. Grab right knee with left hand and right ankle with right hand. Switch legs on the inhale, pulse for 1 beat, and switch legs again on exhale, keeping shoulders off mat and core engaged throughout.