WORKOUT AT HOME: 5 EXERCISES TO START PILATES

“ Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. ” Joseph Pilates.  Here are 5 accessible and progressive exercises to start Pilates.
You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a completely new body in 30 sessions.” - Joseph Pilates

In a few sessions, you will already see the first results: re-boosted mind, improved posture, awareness of your body ... Then, gradually, you will sculpt and refine your figure, strengthen your abdominal and back muscles. With a little patience and diligence, your body transforms to become flexible, strong and toned.

Let's Breathe "Pilates"

Thoracic breathing

Thoracic Breathing 

Breathe while engaging your abdominal muscles throughout your session. In other words, without ever completely relaxing your belly! 

Place one hand on your ribs and one hand on your belly.

Breathe in deeply through your nose, opening the ribs but without inflating your belly. Feel your ribs spread under your hands, much like an accordion.

Bring your navel up to your spine as far as possible, engage the pelvic floor by contracting the inside of your buttocks. Imagine that you are "peeing" and that you have to stop suddenly.

Exhale through your mouth with a warm breath: your throat is open as if you wanted to fog on a mirror. Feel your belly tuck in towards the spine. When exhaling, open your mouth into a big "O" shape. 

Repeat this process as many times as you need.

A little extra: close your eyes to focus on the process. Visualize your breathing.

Cat Pose

Let's Warm Up! (for 1 minute)

Get on all fours. Hands under the shoulders, knees under the hips. Inhale.

Exhale and stretch by lengthening your back, from your lower back to the top of the skull.

Inhale, tilt your butt upwards to arch your back, your gaze goes to the ceiling. Like a cow mooing to the sky. And as such, this is known as Cow Pose.

Exhale, then tilt your pelvis down to round your lower back. While looking on the ground, push against the floor and your upper back will round too. You should look like a cat ready to attack. This pose is called Cat Pose (for obvious reasons..)

Repeat this movement several times then decrease the amplitude to obtain a neutral position (neither arched nor rounded).

Child's Pose

Streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

Put the buttocks on the heels, belly on the thighs, arms stretched far in front of you and thus achieving Child's Pose.

Feel the stretch in your back (about 30 seconds)

Sit up with your buttocks on your heels.

This pose is great if you need a break in between your exercises. So do not be afraid to go into this pose whenever you need it :) 

The 5 Exercises. You Can Do This!

EXERCISE 1: The March

Marching strengthens the hip flexors and abdominal muscles.

Starting Position:

Lying on your back, legs bent and spread across at hip-width, feet on the ground, arms are stretched along your body and palms on the ground.

Your lower back is relatively flat on the ground, do not arch the lower back during the movements, as may cause injury

Movement:

Exhale, engage your core (stomach tucked in as far as possible against the spine).

Inhale. Exhale and lift your left leg making a 90 ° angle at your knee.

Inhale. Exhale and lift your right leg. Your lower abdomen will start to get engaged. Point your toes.

Inhale, touch the floor lightly with your big toe of your right foot. Lift up your right leg.

Inhale, touch the floor lightly with your big toe of your left foot. Lift up your left leg.

That is 1 repetition.

How Many Repetitions?

Between 5 and 10.

The March
The March
The March

EXERCISE 2: THE "HUNDRED"

The Hundred tones the abdominal strap and activates the upper body

Symbolic to Pilates, its name comes from the respiratory cycle performed during exercise: we breathe in for 5 seconds  and we breathe out in 5 seconds, all repeated 10 times! 10 x 10 = 100 "Hundred"

Starting Position:

Lie on your back with your arms relaxed along your body.

Movement:

Inhale and bring both legs up to make a 90 ° angle. 

On exhaling, engage the pelvic muscles and tuck in your belly, then go up your upper back (head, bust to the tips of the shoulder blades).

Extend your arms, parallel to the ground. Activate them by making small beats from top to bottom (taps), imagining that they are placed on the surface of the water and that you want to make small splashes.

5 quick taps on an inhaling and 5 quick taps on exhaling. This is 1 repetition.

How Many Repetitions?

10 respiratory cycles x 10 repetitions

The Hundred

EXERCISE 3: THE BRIDGE

The Bridge strengthens your glutes, your hamstrings (the back of your thighs) and your back muscles.

Starting Position:

Lie down on your back, legs bent, feet hip width apart.

Lower your shoulders and shoulder blades well. 

Place your arms are along your body, palms of the hands towards the sky.

Movement:

Inhale before starting the movement (core engaged!)

On the exhale, gently raise your pelvis to the sky, press the heels into your mat and gradually straighten your back, vertebra by vertebra.

You should create a straight line with your knees, hips and shoulders.

Inhale, come back down, unrolling your back slowly.

Exhale and go back up

How Many Repetitions?

Between 10 to 15 breaths

The Bridge
The Bridge

EXERCISE 4: THE PUSH-UP

The Push-Up strengthens all the muscles of the upper body.

Starting Position:

Get on all fours.

Align the knees with your hips.

Space your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and place them at chest level.

Position your hands parallel to your body, fingertips forward. 

Make sure to keep your back neutral (neither arched nor rounded)

 

Movement:

On inhaling, bring your chest closer to the ground by bending your elbows. Keep your elbows close to your body, practically touch your ribs. This will work your triceps. 

When you exhale, return to the initial position by pushing the ground with your hands. 

Inhale, descend slowly. Exhale, slowly return.

How Many Repetitions?

Between 5 to 10 repetitions  

The Push-Up
The Push-Up

EXERCISE 5: LEG LIFT

The leg lift strengthens your obliques and refines your waist.

 Starting Position:

Lie on the right side with your head resting on your right arm stretched. Place your palm on the ground.

Legs are stretched, tight and slightly pointed forward.

Your left hand is placed on the ground in front of you, at chest level.

Your shoulders should be one above the other, as are the hips.

Your body should be straight and perfectly aligned.

 

Movement:

Exhale, engage your core.

Lift your left leg (not too high but enough to strengthen your waist). Your whole body should be contracted and engaged, from your toes to your head.

Inhale and lower your leg slightly, without resting it on the other leg completely.

Repeat on the next exhale.

How Many Repetitions?

Between 5 to 10 repetitions on each side

The Leg Lift

And Now, Relax...

You're Session Is Almost Over...

Now relax by doing Child's Pose again (5 to 10 breaths). 
You may place your arms alongside your body for maximum relaxation.

Anand Sukumar

Anand Sukumar

Sport Advisor, Decathlon Bedok

" Who says you need to run or jump around to lose weight? All you need to do is challenge your body and you'll start to feel the effects!

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