Pilates benefits and how to get started | 5 workout plans

Doing Pilates benefits physical and mental health in lots of ways.  It has a strong mind-body element and a focus on breathing. These two aspects help with relaxation and mental health.  The main physical Pilates benefits include:

  • A strong core
  • Flexibility in muscles and joints
  • Correct posture
  • Smooth, controlled movement patterns
  • Healthy spine
  • Improved balance

What is Pilates?

It’s an exercises system that Joseph Pilates developed around 100 years ago.  Pilates based his system on various principles that he believed were important to well-being.  These include having a strong core to support all body movement, correct posture and focusing on smooth, controlled movement.

What you need to get started

Pilates exercise machines aren’t essential.  There are 34 original Pilates exercises which use no equipment. There are also many variations on these original exercises.  All you need to get started is comfortable clothing and something to lie on.  If you don’t have an exercise mat, then a folded blanket or quilt will be fine.  Just make sure your spine has enough cushioning in order to be comfortable.

The Pilates circle

This is a cheap, lightweight piece of equipment that can make a useful addition to your Pilates workout.  If you want to know more, then see the link to the Pilates circle challenge below.

Understanding neutral pelvis and core control

This is fundamental to Pilates and should therefore be your first step.  Doing Pilates without correct pelvic alignment is counter-productive.  See the link to the beginners core post below for instructions on this.

Start enjoying Pilates benefits

Try some of the workouts listed below to make a start with Pilates.

Core exercises beginners guideUnderstanding pelvic alignment should be the first step in any core training program.  This post covers the basics of finding neutral pelvis position and holding onto it while doing simple movements.

Mat Pilates 4 exercises4 exercises for a mini Pilates workout. This is a mixture of one original Pilates exercise, two adaptations and a core stabilising exercise that is often used in beginners Pilates.

Pilates circle inner thigh challengeThe Pilates circle is useful for home workouts, because it is cheap and easily stored.  This challenge combines the shoulder bridge exercise with the circle. The workout will strengthen the core and inner thighs and also loosen up the spine.

Pilates for beginners - how to do a perfect roll upA lot of beginners Pilates programs use adaptations that are suitable for beginners, but don’t actually work towards ever being able to do the full Pilates exercise. This post takes you in stages from beginner to doing a full Pilates roll up.

Dangerous Pilates exercisesSome Pilates exercises are only suitable for very fit and strong exercisers.  If you try to do these without a high level of core strength and flexibility, then they can result in injury.  Learn which exercises to avoid and what you can do as safer alternatives.

Elbow plank pyramid routineContrary to popular belief, the plank hold isn’t an original Pilates exercise.  The prone leg pull starts from a plank position, but it’s not a static hold.  Long planks holds aren’t the best way to use your workout time. However, short plank holds make a good addition to core training.

 

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Pilates benefits include a strong core, a healthy spine, improved flexibility and muscle tone, better posture and improved mental health. Everything you need to get started, including free printable workouts | #pilates #pilatesworkout #pilatesforbeginners #freeprintables