Pilates exercises

Pilates are one of the most excellent forms of exercises. This technique is developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. Pilate exercises are based on core muscle strengthening and stabilization. This technique: stretch, tone and strengthen core muscles, which constitute the, back, abdomen, hips, and pelvis. These muscles are very important and switched on passively during: sitting, walking, running or other functional activities. So, in order to keep it strong and to support the frame of the body, it is necessary to strengthen the core. The centre of the body is the powerhouse and known as core. Nowadays pilates are growing in popularity.
As, seen by me, most of the people are suffering from weakness of core muscles or pain of the postural muscle as a result of their sedentary/strenuous lifestyle. Pilates helps them to get ideal posture and strengthen them.
You can modify the exercises to meet your demand or achieve your fitness goal or rehabilitation. There are various modifications of pilates. You can perform with medicine ball or exercise ball or resistance band or dumbbells.
You should concentrate on your movement and breathing during pilates exercises. Pilates work on quality of movement rather than quantity. Your movement should be more precise.
Pilates exercise helps to coordinate with your mind, body and spirit, which bring forth intense benefits from each exercise.
Pilates provide you good body awareness and thus improves your functional fitness, as well as daily activities, such as stand or sit straight.
Pilates exercises utilises the entire body instead of isolating body parts. Pilates works on the body as an integrated whole.
You can achieve your health and fitness goal through Pilates. Pilates help to lose weight and give you a lean body shape. Pilates helps to achieve flatten tummy and slim thigh and glut.
People with arthritis can perform Pilates without limitation of movement.
There is no jarring and bouncing movement. People with arthritis or other orthopaedic condition can perform pilates very easily. It does not impact on your joints.
It improves your strength, power, flexibility and endurance, so it enhances your physical or sport performance.
Pilates helps to improve core support, pelvic stability, balance, coordination, posture, body awareness.
Pilates can be performed by everyone whether they are in the rehabilitation phase or elite athletes. But, some of the adults experience back pain, so need to take caution while performing pilates or take advice from your physician before you start. So there should be proper diagnosis to design safe pilates workout.
Pilates Principles:
Keep the principles in mind while performing pilates exercise: six principles are the foundation on which pilates exercise work. You should take into consideration while performing pilates exercise.
There are six Principles of Pilates:

  1. Concentration:
    You should concentrate while performing Pilates exercises. Also, should have intense and constant focus on your entire body movements, as well as your controlled breathing. Concentration is very essential to see whether every part of your body is moving properly. If you don’t focus on your body parts movement, it can result in loss of alignment and recruitment of the wrong muscles.
  2. Control:
    Pilates exercises should be done with complete control of muscles.
  3. Centralize:
    All pilates exercises should be started from the centre of the body and flowing outwards to the limbs. The centre of the body is known as the powerhouse and is placed, between the lower ribs and pubic bone.
  4. Flow of movement:
    Pilates is a flowing movement outward from a strong core. One Pilates exercise flows slowly and rhythmically into the next exercise. Pilates exercises are intended to flow slowly and rhythmically within and into each other to build strength and endurance.
  5. Precision:
    Our focus should be on completing one exercise perfectly, rather than many repetitions of that exercise.
  6. Breathing:
    You should use full inspiration and full expiration during pilates exercises. You should always coordinate breathing with each exercise,.

Understand basics:

Neutral spine:

Neutral spine position during Pilates sound great!
Pilates exercises are encouraged with the spine in a neutral position. And it is the fundamental part of the correctly performing the Pilates exercises.
There are 3 spinal curves in a healthy individual:

  1. The neck-curves inward
  2. The middle back-curves outward
  3. The low back – curves again inward

These three curves are the natural curves of the spine and are aligned throughout pilates exercise. This neutral spine helps with cushioning the spine from excessive stress. To maintain your spine in a neutral position, you should not flatten your back or prevent excessive hollowed of your back.
Then you might have a question, how to find your neutral spine position?

Neutral spine position:

Lie down on your back, on the mat with knees bent and feet hip width apart and flat on the floor. Place your arms at your sides with palms facing down. On exhalation, press your lower back against the floor in a pelvic tuck. On inhalation, come back to start position. Again, on exhalation, tilt your pelvic up off the floor. Inhale and come back to the starting position. Your neutral spine is between the tucked and tilts pelvis position.

Why does it bother?

Experts suggest that there are many problems associated with body position that create excessive stress or strain on the spine. Your spine alignment should be neutral to prevent the risk of injuries.

Chin tuck:

Chin tuck is the fundamental part of pilates exercise, it protect your neck and relieves stress during exercises. I have seen that many people are complaining of neck pain during pilates exercise.

Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms at your sides. Now slowly tuck your chin toward the chest and go back to start position. Repeat this 10-15 times a day.

Chin tucks during pilates, lengthen the back of neck muscles and prevent your neck from hurts and strain.
For example: any pilates exercise that requires the head and neck flexion , we always flex neck even before head off the floor, so don’t do this and just simply think about chin tuck before you lift your head and neck off the mat.