Pilates Workout Program

Pilates Workout Program

pilates exercise

Pilates is a form of exercise that is similar in concept to yoga. However, when compared to yoga, Pilates tends to focus more on balance and flexibility than strength.

Like yoga, Pilates has been regarded as an ideal activity to reduce stress and refresh the body. For these reasons, millions of individuals have incorporated a Pilates workout program into their daily lifestyle.

Pilates was conceived in the 1920’s by Joseph Pilates. The original purpose of Pilates was to rehabilitate prisoners of war. After fitness experts realized that the exercises could help anyone stay fit, Pilates took off in ways indescribable.

Despite only becoming popular in the United States over the last several years, Pilates has now become one of the most talked-about types of exercise in the country. With good reason, Pilates is a solid exercise type that delivers results, can be performed across a wide variation of physical capabilities, can be inexpensive to regularly perform, and is ideal for calming and centering the mind of individuals that lead a hectic lifestyle.

What is Pilates?

Pilates focuses on developing core strength, toning muscle tissue, increasing mental awareness and improving flexibility. One of the primary reasons that Pilates has become so popular is the fact that it provides the human body with extensive muscle tone, thus allowing for a much leaner appearance. There are six primary principles associated with a Pilates fitness routine: centering, control, precision, concentration, breathing and flow. Joseph Pilates believed that if your blood began to circulate more powerfully, it would awaken all the other cells in your body and take away the squander that caused fatigue.

When participating in a Pilates exercise program, you will find that it very much mimics that of yoga and other workout programs such as tai chi. This being said, you will need to focus on performing controlled movements while regulating your breathing at the same time to gain the utmost results from each exercise routine.

One of the aspects of Pilates that makes it different from several other forms of exercise is that it does not require that a high number of repetitions be performed. However, it does require that each movement be performed in a controlled fashion. Every move in Pilates is key to a sufficient exercise. You must take every move seriously and do it properly to achieve the full range of benefits associated with Pilates.

To this end, less is more with Pilates. If you rush through the series of exercises performed in a Pilates program, you will not receive the complete benefits of the exercises. Just as with several types and styles of Yoga, Pilates is intended to be performed with precision and at a pace that specifically focuses on, and targets a specific muscle group, or set of muscle groups.

Benefits of Pilates

benefits of pilates

Regularly performing a Pilates fitness routine provides you with a multitude of benefits, including toning every muscle in your body and strengthening your spinal column. This assists in minimizing the effects of both upper and lower back pain.

Another benefit is that your stress, tension and anxiety levels, and even depression, will diminish over time when performing Pilates. There are other physical benefits as well, as your abdominal muscles will become flatter and tighter and your body will have an overall leaner appearance.

Yet another benefit of Pilates is that it doesn’t require the time and strain of other workout programs. If you simply set aside 30 to 45 minutes, 2 to 4 days a week, you will notice a difference in the appearance of your body and the calmness of your mind after only 10 to 15 sessions. This is one of the reasons that Pilates has become so popular; with work and other strenuous errands, it is hard to find the time to workout. Pilates allows you to balance your schedule while still providing you with the fitness results you desire.

Fitness facilities and private Pilates instructors offer some of the best workout programs available. Pilates requires little equipment and is normally offered at several local fitness centers. Typically, the only equipment you will need is a mat and a training ball. With over 14,000 Pilates instructors in the United States alone, it is not difficult to find a class in which to participate. Pilates DVDs are sold in fitness stores and over the Internet, and the equipment can be purchased from the same places.

Sample Poses

Provided below are several Pilates poses designed to give you an idea of the types of available exercises and the overall focus of the art.

Position 1

  • Lying flat on your back with your knees bent and pointing towards the ceiling, begin by inhaling deeply. Allow the air to enter your entire lungs from the top to the bottom. Exhale slowly, allowing the air to release from the very bottom of the lungs to the top of the chest.

  • Inhale once again. While exhaling, push your lower back into the floor. The front of the pelvis should feel like it is about to lift.

  • Using your feet, press into the floor and allow your pelvis to begin rising. Start with the pelvis and then extend the move all the way into the middle back.

  • Reverse the move and imagine that your spine is like a rocking chair, slowly lowering your back onto the floor.

  • This exercise should be repeated 6 or 7 times.

Position 2

  • Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.

  • As you inhale, lift and extend your arms so that they are extended out in front of you and parallel to the floor.

  • While exhaling, begin to curve your body so that your fingertips touch your toes. Your final position should look like the letter “C” from the side. Inhale.

  • Slowly return to the starting position while exhaling.

  • This exercise should be repeated 5 times.

Position 3

  • Begin this position by lying on the floor on your back with your arms on the floor along your sides.

  • While exhaling, roll your head and the upper half of your body upwards towards your mid-section. Remain in this position while inhaling.

  • While exhaling, straighten your arms so that they are along your body and parallel to the floor. Stay in this position for 10 seconds.

  • Now bring your legs up as well. Use your buttocks (the only part of your body touching the floor) to keep your body balanced on the floor. Inhale deeply and then exhale slowly.

  • This exercise should be repeated 5 times.

Position 4

  • Begin this position by lying on the floor on your back with your arms on the floor along your sides. Your knees should be bent at a 45 degree angle with your soles placed flat on the floor and your knees pointing towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath.

  • While exhaling, begin to curl your mid-section in while extending your right leg. Use your arms to pull your left knee into your chest.

  • While inhaling, switch to pulling the right knee into your chest and extending the left leg.

  • Repeat this exercise 15 times while continuing the deep breathing pattern.

Position 5

  • Begin this position by lying in a prone position (lying face down and flat on the floor) with your legs parallel to the floor behind you.

  • Without compacting your shoulders, stretch your arms out in front of you so that they are parallel to the floor.

  • Stretch your arms and legs so that they begin to lift from the floor at an acute angle.

  • Alternate between raising and lowering the left arm and left leg and the right arm and right leg while continuing to stretch them as far out in front of you as you can.

  • Keep breathing while doing this so that you inhale on the left arm and left leg and exhale on the right arm and right leg.

  • This exercise should be repeated 10 times on each side.

Position 6

  • Begin this position by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and parallel to the floor. Your arms should be fully extended out to the sides so that your body looks like the letter “T” from the front.

  • Twist at the torso so that you touch your right foot with your left hand.

  • Return to the original position and repeat by touching your left foot with your right hand.

  • This exercise should be repeated 10 times on each side.

Designing Your Own Program

Every Pilates workout program should incorporate all six of the primary principles associated with the art. Keep in mind that Pilates is more focused on balance and flexibility than other similar forms of relaxing exercise. It is important to focus on proper breathing at all times throughout the entire Pilates routine. In general, you should exhale as you move into a position and inhale as you leave it.

Pilates is one of the few exercise types that are can be performed on a daily basis as the typical poses are not overly intense and hence, the body requires little time to recover. In addition, Pilates is ideal for reducing stress, centering the mind, and relaxing and stretching the soft tissue of the body (i.e. muscles, ligaments, and tendons).

pilates exercise class

Pilates is ideal after a hectic day. If you choose to design your own Pilates program, it is best to set the time duration of your routine to an interval that will allow you to perform the routine on a daily basis.

For example, before your morning shower or immediately before you go to bed at night. As with other similar forms of exercise, remaining consistent (both in time and proper technique) is the most important part.

The overall effectiveness of Pilates is tremendous. When performed correctly, Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for reducing stress, anxiety and depression, toning the muscular frame, improving flexibility, and relieving joint and back pain.

However, it is important to remember to perform each of the exercises slowly and with precision. For additional information related to Pilates, Pilates routines, DVDs and more please visit the Pilates section of our website.

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