When people hear the word “Pilates”, the first thing that they think about is a gorgeous set of ab muscles. This is thanks to the many Hollywood stars who credit this exercise modality with giving them their shapely mid sections. Yes, Pilates is indeed responsible for helping a person shape and tone their abdominal muscles. However, there is one misconceptions that needs to be cleared up first.
Pilates is about your core, not just your abdominals
If you’ve ever had to undergo physical therapy to treat lower back pain, you’re probably familiar with the concept of strengthening the core. Core muscles are found in the:
- Lower back, and
These muscles lie roughly between the rib cage and the hips. Within the core (which is called the core powerhouse) the muscles are divided into two types: the stabilisers and the movers. The stabilisers are:
- Transverse abdominis
- Internal obliques
- Lumbar multifidus
- Pelvic floor muscles
The muscles that fall into the movers category are:
- Rectus abdominis
- External obliques
- Erector spinae
- Latissimus dorsi
- Hip adductors
- Hip abductors
The strength as well as the coordination of these muscles is vital for sports and fitness routines as well for daily life activities such as reaching up to a shelf or lifting your child.
Pilates is a full-body workout
Despite what people may think about Pilates only working out your core, this type of exercise does focus on the entire body and has various sequences to help you do this.
Here is a no-nonsense Pilates sequence that hits every major muscle group of your body. You’ll be able to get the workout down pat in less than 30 minutes. Once you master each move, you can challenge yourself by picking up the pace, adding a light set of dumbbells, attempting this routine after a 20-minute cardio session.
- Start in a high plank. Ensure that your hands are right under your shoulders.
- Bring one knee into your chest at a time.
- Keep your core, buttocks and quads engaged. This is so that you avoid rocking your hips.
- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Ensure that your palms are face down.
- Bend your left knee. Put your left foot on the ground. Extend your right leg straight up so that it’s right angles to the floor.
- Move your right leg out to the side in a circular motion. Move it down towards the ground. Go back to your starting position. Ensure that the circle is as big as you can make it while still keeping the lower part of your back flat on the floor.
- Reverse the motion.
- Complete all reps one on leg. Repeat on the other.
The One Hundred
- Lie on your back.
- Lift both of your legs. Lower them halfway so that they’re at 45 degree
- Curl your head up. Reach your arms long alongside your body. Ensure that your palms are facing down.
- Move your arms up and then down, in a very slight motion, as you inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts.
- Repeat this pattern of breathing10 times while holding the position.
- Lie on your back and bring both knees in towards your chest
- Put your hands on the back of your head. Keep your elbows wide. Curl your head upwards.
- Bring your left shoulder in towards your right knee as you extend your left leg. After this, bring your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend your right leg.
- Continue alternating sides
Pilates exercises help you get healthier and fitter and, eventually, make you a happier person. Pilates challenges your physical abilities with a focus on making you healthier. With Pilates, you get well balanced body in a perfect shape to support your daily activities for many years ahead.
If you are interested in finding out more about Pilates or becoming a Pilates instructor – contact Trifocus Fitness Academy.