A Pilates trainer’s perspective
Cat Webb, founder of Good Times Pilates shares some simple exercise to try at home.
“This approach to fitness was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Not only did he invent the movement, but he developed the equipment to go with it. First, there were mat-based exercises – then he designed the reformer machine. There are just so many things you can do with Pilates, no matter which way you choose to try.
If you’ve never tried Pilates before, here are three mat-based exercises you can do at home.
1. Swan Lie on your tummy on the ground with your hands near your shoulders. Then, push yourself up with your hands – so that side-on your body is curved like a capital letter ‘J’. Repeat 20 times. This exercise is helping to reverse the hunched shape we spend so much of our time in when we’re sitting down. By extending your spine, you’re relaxing the muscles in your back.
2. Bridge Lie on your back with your knees bent so your feet are flat on the ground. Keep your arms beside you and lift your bum up and down off the ground. This one is scalable, so you can make the motion fast or slow, or you can try straightening one knee so you’re doing it with one leg. However you want to approach it, do it 10 times with a pause at the top where you really focus on the motion. You’ll be engaging your hamstrings and glutes with every movement.
3. Side plank Again, this exercise has a lot of progressions and regressions depending on your strength level. The best way to start is lying on your forearm with your elbow in line with your feet. Then, reach your free arm up to the ceiling and push into the floor with your other forearm so you lift your body off the ground. For an added challenge, reach the free arm over your head to add a bending motion to the movement. Repeat these 10 times on each side. By doing so, you’re activating your obliques and lats, and you’re adding a nice side-stretch into the mix as well.”