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10 Pilates Exercises for Beginners

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10 Pilates Exercises for Beginners

So, you're ready to jump into the exciting world of Pilates? Great! But first, you need to learn the basics, and we have 10 of them to get you started.

Start off on your back. Lie down, keep your feet flat on the floor, your arms parallel to your body, your palms down, and your legs bent at a 45-degree angle.

1. Head Nod

Without even lifting your head off of the ground, inhale and tuck your chin in toward your neck, then exhale and roll it back to the start position. Repeat six times.

2. The Hundred

This a great way to get your blood flowing.

  • Pick your feet up off the ground and bring your knees to your chest.
  • Next, curl your head up so your shoulders are off the ground and you're looking at your thighs.
  • Now, straighten your legs so they're 45-degrees off of the ground and lift your hands to the same height as the top of your stomach.
  • As you take a deep breath, pump your hands up and down in short, quick movements five times, then do the same as you exhale.
  • Repeat 10 times for a total of 100 pumps.

3. The Pelvic Tilt

  • Touch the tips of your thumbs and forefingers together so that the space in between makes a triangle.
  • Keeping that position, put your hands down on your stomach.
  • Now, curl your tailbone so your buttocks are slightly off the floor, but your lower back is still on the floor.
  • Finally, uncurl your tailbone so that your buttocks are back on the floor, but your tailbone is off the floor enough for you to fit an empty roll of toilet paper under it.
  • Perform five reps.

4. The Bridge

  • Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, slowly lift your pelvis upward until you form a straight, 45-degree line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Make sure you are squeezing your buttocks together and tightening your stomach as you do the movement.
  • Take another deep breath, and as you exhale, slowly bring your buttocks back down to the ground.
  • Do 10 reps.

5. The Chest Lift

The chest lift can either be a challenging workout or a warm up.

  • Either cup your hands or interlace your fingers, then put your hands behind your head.
  • Your head should be resting comfortably on your hands and your elbows should be off of the ground.
  • When you're ready to start the motion, take a deep breath, and slowly bring your shoulders off of the ground as you exhale.
  • Once the bottoms of your shoulder blades and lower back are touching the ground, pause, then take another deep breath, and slowly lower yourself to your original position as you exhale.
  • Try 10 reps.

6. Heel Slides

Now, let's get those legs moving.

  • Suck your navel in so your back is pressing towards the mat.
  • Now, slowly straighten your leg, letting your heel drag lightly on the mat.
  • Make sure you exhale during this motion! Finally, bring your leg back up to the starting position, and do the same with the opposite leg.
  • With an easy movement like this, you can probably do 15 on each leg.

7. Single-Leg Circles

  • Extend one of your legs up and point the toes on that foot up towards the ceiling.
  • Now, while exhaling and making sure the only thing that moves is your leg, circle it inwards towards the opposite leg, move it down so that it is inches above the floor, out, and finally back to the beginning position.
  • Four sets on each leg should do the trick.

8. Flight

  • Now, roll over onto your stomach.
  • Keeping your legs straight and your toes pointing down, bend your arms to a ninety-degree angle, put one hand on top of the other, and rest your forehead on top of your hands.
  • While inhaling and keeping your forehead on your hands, roll your shoulders up and arch your back so that nothing but your stomach, pelvis, and thighs are touching the ground.
  • Make sure your legs stay straight.
  • Perform five reps.

9. Heel Taps

Here's an exercise that's a bit challenging, but still beginner friendly.

  • Lift your legs off of the ground and point your toes down.
  • Then lift your chest off the ground as much as you comfortably can and put your hands under your chest for support.
  • For the exercise, inhale and split your legs apart as far as you can comfortably go, then exhale and bring them back together.
  • Shoot for 10 reps.

10. Cat-Cow Back Stretch

  • Now, get up on all fours.
  • Make sure your wrists are under your shoulders and knees are under your hips.
  • Once in position, arch your back in toward your stomach and squeeze your shoulders together.
  • Make sure you do not swing your hips or shrug your shoulders.
  • Then as you exhale, round your back up tuck your chin in towards your neck.
  • Do six reps.

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