New To Pilates? Start These 15 Moves You Can Do At Home To Kickstart!
If you’re pushing yourself to begin a gym class like Pilates but feel anxious about going in with zero experience, even if it’s a beginners’ class, boost your confidence before making the move by doing some preparation at home! Pilates is particularly great for those only starting out at sport or setting up an exercise regime as it strengthens the core, which gives you a good foundation to work with.
#1 The Hundred
Lie on your back with your knees tucked into the chest and lift the legs up high, with heels together and toes apart. Extend both arms by your side and begin pumping them vigorously while inhaling for five counts and exhaling for five until you reach one hundred.
Photo: Endurance Pilates And Yoga
#2 Single Leg Stretch
Lie on the mat with your knees drawn towards the chest and your head, neck and shoulders off the mat. Exhale and extend a left leg into a 45° angle and draw right knee towards the chest. Grab the right knee with your left hand and the right ankle with the right hand. Switch legs on the inhale, pulse for one beat, and switch legs again on exhale.
#3 Double Leg Stretch
Lie on the mat with your knees drawn towards the chest and your head, neck and shoulders off the mat, hugging your shins. Inhale and straighten legs to a 45° angle while simultaneously extending the arms. Exhale and return to the beginning position of hugging shins. Repeat, keeping the head, neck and shoulders off the mat.
Photo: Kristin McGee
#4 Double Leg Kick
Lie face down with your right cheek on the mat, hands on the lower back on top of each other, palms up. With elbows touching the mat, kick your heels towards the glutes three times. Then straighten the legs, keeping the feet off the floor, and lift your core while your gaze ahead. Lower your chest back to the mat and then turn head to the other side to repeat.
Photo: Fit Mama Love
Lying on your back with your knees against your chest, extend legs to the ceiling while simultaneously lifting your and shoulders off the mat. Place both hands beneath your right leg and pull it towards the chest in two pulse to stretch the hamstring, left leg lowered towards the mat. Switch and repeat 8-10 times per leg.
#6 Roll Up
Lie on your back with your legs together, reaching your arms up to eye level and pulling the stomach into the spine. Inhaling, lift your chin towards your chest and lift head, neck and shoulders off the mat. Exhale and extend the head so they body is in a C curve. Inhaling, lowly lower yourself back down onto the mat, each part of your spine lowering slowly. Exhale while you rest the head and neck down.
#7 Rolling Like a Ball
Sit on the mat with your legs drawn into your chest, arms wrapped around your legs. Rock back onto the tailbone and let your feet hover. Inhaling, roll back to shoulder blades and then exhale to roll back to the starting position. Pause before letting your feet return to the ground. Use your abs to balance yourself.
Lie facing down onto the mat with your forehead against it, arms extended out past the ears.lift your upper and lower body off the mat in a ‘superman’ flying position, fluttering arms and legs in turn. While you flutter the left leg, do the same with the right arm and vice versa.
Photo: Exercise & Fitness
This one will really work the mid section. Lie on the mat face up, knees into the chest and your your hands supporting your head. Extend the right leg with your left leg remaining bent. Twist towards the left leg, holding for three counts and then switch to the opposite leg and repeat. Do this six to eight times.
#10 The Clam
Lie on your left side with your legs at a 90° angle and your feet in line with your hips. Prop your head with your left hand and steady yourself with your right hand on the map. Lift your top knee, keeping the toes together. Next, lower the top knee onto the bottom one, raising the top foot. Alternate from toe to toe and knee to knee ten times and then repeat for the other leg.
#11 Push Ups
Stand, exhale and roll your chin into your chest, rolling the body down into a ‘ragdoll’ position. Walk your hands forward into a plank position then lower the body halfway to the mat, elbows turned towards the rib cage. Straighten your arms and begin press ups, lowering the body towards the mat and returning to the plan position. Repeat 15-30 times.
Photo: Kristin McGee
Lie on your back with your hands on the mat beside you, legs extended into the air. Keep your heels together and toes apart in the ‘Pilates V’ as done in previous moves. Keep your upper body and hips still, circling the legs towards the right side, down to the centre and then to the left before returning to the starting position. Repeat 8-10 times.
Photo: Harper’s Bazaar
#13 Knee to Nose
Begin in downward-facing-dog position with your feet firmly on the mat, hip width apart. Inhaling, lift the right leg towards the ceiling, keeping the hips parallel. Exhaling, bend your right knee towards your face, shoulders bent over the wrists and body in the plank position. Move from downward-facing-dog to knee to nose for 10 counts and repeat with the opposite leg.
#14 Prone Heel Beats
Lie face down with your head resting on your arms, stacked on top of each other. Press the pubic bone against the mat and engage the abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button towards the spine. Keeping legs straight, lift them both off the mat and keep your heels together while your toes apart into a V shape. Click heels together, opening and closing legs as you repeat the foot tap and repeat 15-30 times.
#15 The Mermaid
This last move is one to help tone and stretch the sides of your body, often ignored by many people. Rest in a seated position, leaning more to one side, say the left, with your legs folded to the other side, the left. Secure your legs with your left hand around your ankles and raise the right arm straight up. Keeping the arm straight, reach it over the left side making sure the arm is kept straight. You should feel a stretch along your right side. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Photo: Salt Gypsy