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Pilates Strengthening Exercises – – Movement equals Happiness .

‘Pilates is not just exercise it’s a lifestyle that changes the world’

Brent Anderson, founder of Polestar Pilates

There is so much written and talked about Pilates and why we should do it for all sorts of different reasons. We want to understand it as an activity that you simply attend and we often see it defined as a core based type of exercise combined with flexibility. Thankfully Pilates is so much more than that. 

Having been a Pilates Teacher for over 16 years I have seen the method grow in popularity and throughly enjoyed seeing people begin and develop their own personal journey with Pilates. Pilates is not defined by any type of person who attends, we see people who have injuries, back pain, neurological issues, muscle in-balances and low muscle tone, posture issues, the list goes on and on. Many Pilates people would just like to be stronger and fitter for ‘life’. One of the key elements we know  as Pilates Professionals is that practice makes perfect and you can never be doing enough Pilates on a daily basis to improve your core and balance. This article concentrates on Pilates Strengthening Exercises

The Advantages of Pilates for Addressing Back Pain Issues : Pilates can both alleviate existing back problems and prevent future ones by straightening the spine and improving posture.

Holidays or some extra time is the perfect opportunity to start some Pilates strengthening exercises to do at home over the holidays, here are just a few we all know really well. Do just a few a few repetitions of each exercise and do them regularly and you will really start to feel the benefits. 
Leg floats
Lying on your back in neutral. Inhale float the leg up to table top, exhale lower the leg back down to the mat. Focus on breath and maintaining neutral position. Do alternate legs, 
Chest lifts
Hands behind the head, inhale prepare. Exhale lift head and shoulder into a small c-shape. Inhale lower back down. Be careful not to pull on the neck, feel your abdominal strength brings you up. 
Then add oblique twists – same breath pattern just twist to alternate sides of the body as you lift into chest lift.
Leg circles
Lying in neutral Knees bent. Place band around one foot, hold the end of the band (or just use a belt) in one hand place the other on your lower abdominals. Begin to circle the leg, breathe in as the comes across the body, exhale as the leg moves away from the body. Think about control, if the hips ’tilt’ then your circle is too big, the core must support the pelvis whilst the leg is in rotation. Change directions.
Roll backs 
From a seated position in neutral with your arms straight out in front of you, Inhale. Exhale slide your tailbone underneath you to create a c-curve and then slowly lower your whole body down onto your mat. Pause inhale, exhale curl forwards to return all the way way up to sitting. Lengthen the spine back to neutral as you inhale to finish.
Shoulder Bridge 
Lying on your back inhale, exhale as you begin to peel your spine up and off the mat until you reach the top of your shoulders. Pause inhale at the top. Exhale begin to lower the back down, one  vertebrae at a time until you reach neutral again. ‘Think string of beads’.
 
Book Openings
 
Lying on your side, knees bent. Your arms are straight out in front on you in line with your shoulders, inhale. Exhale as your top arm moves back and be behind you, keep looking at your hand to rotate the neck at the same time. Pause, inhale and exhale return the arm to your start position. Keep the lower body still as the arm is moving with this exercise.
 
See you soon!
 
Emily

If you need any further information just get in touch; emily@pilatespower.co.uk

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