The Pilates System

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Pilates is a system of exercising the focuses mainly on your core muscles. It was developed by a German, Joseph Pilates and is now extremely popular in the United States. It is an excellent exercise for increasing flexibility, posture, and relieves several body pains. It also improves the range of motion.

Pilates is also known to be excellent for increasing strength and building up endurance. A wide range of people with different levels of physical activity have tried and benefited from Pilates. Pilates is basically about being in tune with your entire body and the ability to control and coordinate your movements.

Pilates can also be used as a basis of recovery from an injury, or even from pregnancy. The proper posture while doing an exercise is much more important than doing several repetitions of the exercise. Pilates works on the body as a whole, not separately on different muscle groups. Another good news is that Pilates does not require complicated Adonis Golden Ratio equipment. All you need is a mat and few resistance bands.

To get you started with Pilates, here are a few basic stretches that you can practice even as a beginner:

  • Pelvic curl: This is basically a stretch for your back and abdomen muscles. Lie down on your back on the mat. Bend your knees and keep your feet firmly attached to the floor. Keep your hands to the sides and make sure your palms touch the floor. Inhale and lift your back off the floor. Keep your stomach muscles tightened. Do not lift your head or shoulders. If you are practicing the proper form, then your entire back and your thighs should be in a straight line.
  • Cat back stretch: This is also included in Yoga. You have get down on all fours for this exercise. Now, inhale and stretch your abdominal and back muscles as cats do. Your head and rear should drop to the floor.
  • Cow back stretch: This position is an extension of the cat stretch. You have to be in the same position as the cat stretch in the beginning. Instead of dropping your head down, lift it up and stretch your entire back.
  • The saw stretch: You have to sit with your back straight on a mat. Keep your legs in front of you on the mat and spread them apart. Now, raise your arms on the sides and keep them straight. Hold this stretched position for some time. You have to do about 3 repetitions of this exercise.
  • Pilates Push up: This is a lot harder than a conventional push up. Start with standing straight, and your arms stretched over your head. Slowly bring your hands to touch the floor by curving your entire body. When you have finally bent fully, push your legs backwards and get into a plank position. In this position, bend your elbows and bring yourself closer to the floor. After this movement is complete, get yourself back into the original position by reversing the entire thing. You have to perform this exercise 3-5 times.
  • Double straight leg lowers: Lie down on your back with your hands crossed under your head. Inhale and exhale slowly as you raise your feet and make them almost perpendicular to the floor.

There are many more stretches in Pilates. You can modify their sequence and form your own workout program.

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