Pilates is probably one of the most popular techniques in fitness nowadays. The Hollywood stars demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach with their own gorgeous bodies. Their photos speak better than words.
If you've ever seen a reformer that is used for Pilates you know why it might seem so frightening. With all these attachments, belts and a lot of moving parts, this simulator looks like a medieval torture tool. Although, the simulator can have real benefits thanks to strength loads and support.
In addition, to achieve the desired results you need to take few sessions in a week and it is quite an expensive hobby. To save your money and time we have prepared a set of Pilates exercises that can be done at home. They were adapted in such a way that all you need is a simple mat and a Pilates ball.
#1. One Leg Bridge
- Step inside of a tied resistance band. Separate your feet to shoulder-width. Place a slight bend in the knees while you keep your chest up.
- Slowly step to the side with the right foot. Your stance should be well outside of shoulder-width.
- Pause then step with the left foot in the same direction as the right. Keep stepping out with the right until the set is complete then switch sides.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart. Your toes should be pointing straight ahead or only slightly outward. Cross your arms in front of your body, place your hands behind your head (prisoner squat) or at the sides of your head.
- Keep your weight on your heels and bend your knees while lowering your hips towards the ground as if you are sitting down on a chair. Keep your back straight at all times.
- Continue until you feel a slight stretch in your quadriceps. Pause for a count of one. Do not let your knees extend out beyond the level of your toes.
- Return to the start position by pushing down through your heels and extending your hips forward until you are standing straight. Repeat.
- Come to the ground on your knees. Tighten your core and maintain a flat back. Position your hands on the ground in front of you, directly below your shoulders. Cross your feet in the back.
- Lower your chest towards the ground. Bend your elbows at a 60-degree angle until your chest is just above the ground. You should feel a stretch across your chest. Hold for a count of one.
- Without locking your elbows, push yourself back to the starting position by straightening your arms.
#4. Balancing the Cat
- From Box (Cakravākāsana), extend one foot towards the back, knee is straight, hips squared to the floor.
- Slowly extend the opposite arm forward, keep the hand and neck in line with the spine.
#5. Up-Down Plank
- Start in the plank position with your elbows shoulder-width apart.
- Press yourself up from the floor one arm at a time into a push-up, maintaining your body in a straight line.
- Slowly return to the starting plank position the same way, one arm at a time. Repeat the movement alternating sides.
#6. Pilates Swimming
- Lie face down on a mat, with your arms fully extended above your head and your legs fully extended behind you.
- Lift your chest, arms and legs off the floor by arching your back. Only the tops of your quads and your lower abdomen should be in contact with the floor.
- Hold for a count of 2 while squeezing your abdominals and obliques. Return to the starting position for a count of one, then repeat.
#7. Plank Jacks
- Get into a pushup position with hands under shoulders and body straight from head to toes. Engage your core and bend your elbows, keeping them in towards the body.
- Lower your body towards the floor. Straighten your arms and quickly jump the feet forward to outside of the hands.
- Jump back to starting position.
#8. Plank Knee to Elbow
- Lay face down on the ground with extended legs. Point your toes while you place your hands beneath your shoulders.
- Push yourself up into the plank position. Maintaining a tight core and flat back, bring your left knee to your right elbow.
- Pause and slowly return each to the starting point. Repeat with the other side and keep alternating.
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