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Pilates Exercises - Key Details You Need To Know

Author : Kylee Fritzpatrick

No other exercise system has gained such an immense following these days as Pilates. From Hollywood celebrities to athletes to senior citizens to regular housewives, many people are enjoying the immense benefits of increased mobility, a more flexible body and more efficient and graceful movements brought about by the constant practice of Pilates.

A strong core (and the development thereof) is the foundation of all Pilates exercises. When the back and abdominal muscles are strengthened, the entire torso gets strengthened and as a result, movement becomes more stable and common back pains are alleviated. Another effect of a stronger core is that it contributes to the development of better posture. If you want a longer, leaner look, here are a few Pilates exercises worth trying out.

1. Warm-up with the basic Imprinting exercise. Lie on the mat with your knees bent and arms at your sides. Keep your feet flat on the floor and let your spine remain neutral. Relax. Allow your shoulders and ribs to drop to the floor. Let your abdominal muscles drop down your spine as you allow your spine to lengthen and melt towards the floor. Breathe deeply. Do this for 5 minutes.

2. Do the Hundred. This is one of the most common but very important Pilates exercise. Lie on your back with your legs in a tabletop position (imagine you're propping your legs up against a low table). Keep your shins and ankles parallel to the floor. Breathe in. As you exhale, bring your head up while keeping your chin down. Curl your upper spine up off the floor using your abdominal muscles. Make sure your shoulders are engaged at the back. Inhale. Then, exhale and as you do so, extend your arms and legs as you deepen the pull of your abs. Let your legs reach forward as you keep your arms extended just a few inches off floor, with the fingertips reaching for the far wall. Hold this position and take five short breaths in and five short breaths out. As you are doing this, pump your arms up and down in a controlled manner. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed all throughout this movement, only your ab muscles are engaged for this work. Do a cycle of 10 full breaths. Each cycle is five short in-breaths and then five short out-breaths. Finish by keeping your spine curved as you bring your knees in toward your chest. Hold your knees and roll your upper spine and head back to the floor. Breathe deeply.

3. Do the Swan. Begin by lying facedown on the floor with your legs kept together and your palms on the floor. Keep your elbows at your sides. As you lift your head, chest and shoulders, press your hands into the floor and inhale. Keep your abs drawn in but ever so slightly arch your upper back. Take 2 or 3 breaths before gradually returning your head and chest down to the floor. Do the Swan for about one minute.

4. Do the Spine Stretch. Begin this exercise in a sitting with your arms and legs stretched forward. As you breathe in, sit up tall and hold for one count. When you exhale, bend forward to reach your legs, curling your head, neck, and shoulders, scooping your navel toward your spine as you do so. Inhale once again to return to start position. Repeat exercise for a couple minutes.

5. Do the Seated Spine Twist. Sit on the mat with your legs extended and feet flexed. Extend your arms at shoulder level to the sides. Breathe in and sit up tall. As you exhale, draw your abdominal muscles in and twist your waste, rib cage, arms and head to the right. Keep your hips square. Inhale and return to the front. Do the same movement to the left and continue to alternate sides for a couple of minutes.

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Tags:   pilates exercise, pilates exercises, pilates

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Submitted : 2011-01-07    Word Count : 704    Times Viewed: 362