Get Started With Pilates

Here's a break down of the important aspects of the exercise regime and why it’s important to add this unique system of exercise to your daily fitness routine
By Vesna Pericevic Jacob
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Imagine a fitness routine that unifies elements of stretching, ballet and yoga and helps you get rid of that extra flab, apart from destressing you. Pilates can do all this and more! A unique system of exercise developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates over 90 years ago, Pilates has evolved into a philosophy and a way of life for its practitioners. It helps develop long, lean muscles, shapes the body, decreases fat and improves posture, boosts the immune system and decreases stress and tiredness. It improves the stability, balance and flexibility of the body as well.

The foundation of Pilates is based on six major principles, but ‘concentration’, ‘imagination’ and ‘precision and control’ are the most important. The exercise routine teaches us how to be aware of the movement (concentration), to use the power of our visualisation (imagination) to move deep muscles and make a perfect movement (precision and control).

 

Pilates


Hundred The first exercise that is absolutely crucial is the ‘hundred’. It is a dynamic warm-up for the abdomen and lungs, and requires you to coordinate your breath with your movement. It is challenging, but the hundred is an easy exercise to modify. It can also be performed standing up.


Rolling Up The hundred is usually followed by ‘rolling up’, a classic Pilates mat exercise. It challenges the abdominal
muscles and is a well known Pilates exercise for flat abs. It is believed that one Pilates roll up is equal to six regular sit ups, and is more effective than crunches to get great abs.

The Standing Rolling Down If your core strength is not great, ‘rolling down’ is the way to go. This exercise relieves back pain and stretches your legs. The rolling motion strengthens the abdominal muscles and helps improve blood circulation throughout the body. It also stretches and increases mobility in the back, spine, neck and hamstrings, creates space between the vertebrae and improves posture.


Teaser This abdominal exercise points out whether we are working our abs in a symmetrical manner. It requires coordination and balance and will quickly help you develop core strength. Teaser is hard, but so worth the effort. It is a quick trip to flat abs and a great core strength builder.


Plank Also known as front support, it is one of the most popular exercises for developing core strength and stability. While plank really targets abdomen and shoulder stability, you will find that it is an excellent way to get a full body challenge. In order to perform the manoeuvres correctly, there must be an integration of all the core stabilisation muscles.

Mermaid Side Stretch This exercise lengthens and opens the side body. It has an inner flow to it – a dynamic between breath and stretch, and ground and skyward reach that makes it special. Use it as a warm-up or as a more intense stretch at the end of your routine.