Many people assume that Pilates involves complex positions where you have to turn your body into a pretzel in order to achieve great results. This is simply not true. There are many advanced exercises which are a lot of fun to perform, and increase strength and tone through the body. However, you can achieve the same results through the more basic Pilates exercises. These exercises are ones which target not only your main muscle groups, but also the smaller accessory muscles, helping to create that lean, toned, and defined look which is so sought after.
Here are our top 8 simple Pilates exercises which will transform your body! These exercises are easy to learn and can be performed in the convenience of your own home or on the go!
1. Sit Ups Over the Ball
Position yourself on the ball so that your upper, middle and lower back are on the ball.
Place the hands behind your head, elbows wide. Knees should be bent at 90 degrees and feet hip distance apart.
Tuck the chin in and activate the tzone.
Exhale curl the ribs to the hips, lifting the head and shoulders. Keep the ball still.
Inhale, lower the body back down.
Perform 20 reps
Modification: If you do not have a ball at home, simply perform the same exercise on your back on a Pilates mat. Place your feet on the floor with legs bent. Perform the same sit up action.
Lie on your back on a Pilates mat. Legs are in tabletop, knees together, hands around the knees.
Imprint the spine and activate the tzone.
Exhale curl the ribs to the hips lifting the head and shoulders off the mat. Simultaneously extend and lower the legs to a 45 degree angle. Reach the hands down past the hips.
Hold this position and pulse the arms up and down, inhaling for 5 pulses and exhaling for 5 pulses
Continue until you perform 100 pulses (10 breaths)
Modification: Instead of lowering the legs to 45 degrees, try extending them straight up towards the ceiling or keep them in table top position.
Start in a plank position with thye hands directly under the shoulders. Legs should be hip distance apart and the body in one long line.
Think of drawing your shoulder blades down and back and watch you are not sagging through your spine.
Tuck the chin in and turn the eyes on the floor. Tzone tight
Hold this position as you continue breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
With every exhale, think of drawing your ribs towards your hips.
Hold for at least 20 breaths.
4. Kneeling Sidekick
Start kneeling on both knees. Place one hand on the mad about two feet from your knees and in line with your knee.
Extend the other leg out straight so that your hand, head, hips, and leg are all in one straight line.
Place the top hand on your head with the elbow pointing towards the ceiling.
Activate the tzone and squeeze into your bottom.
Exhale and raise the top leg to hip height.
Inhale and lower the leg back down, but don't let it touch the floor.
Perform 20 reps
5. Sides Over the Ball
Lie sideways over the ball so that the hips and waist are resting on the ball.
Legs should be extended out straight with the top foot in front of the back foot on the floor.
Place the hands at the side of your head with the elbows wide.
Make sure your body is square to the front, shoulders down.
Activate the tzone
Exhale draw the ribs to the hip at the side of your waist, lifting the upper body up.
Inhale slowly lower back down.
Perform 20 reps
Kneel on a mat with the knees hip distance apart.
Stretch the arms out straight in front of you at shoulder height.
Inhale activate the tzone and squeeze your bottom. Lean the whole body backwards in one long line like a falling tree, hinging from the knees.
Exhale return back up to vertical.
Perform 20 reps, taking the body back as far as you can without the back bending or arching.
Start lying on your side with your knees bent and your arm extending long underneath the head. Relax the head on the bottom arm.
Make sure your feet are back in line with your bottom and the heels are lifted up off the floor. Hips should be stacked one on top of the other.
Create a small space between your waist and the floor.
Inhale and activate the tzone.
Exhale, squeeze into the top buttock and slowly raise the top knee towards the ceiling, keeping the knees together.
Inhale return the top knee back down.
Perform 30 reps on each side
8. Clam Kickout
For this version of Clams, we are going to add in another step to really work the gluts.
Like the previous exercise, start lying on your side with your knees bent and your arm extending long underneath the head. Head resting on your arm.
Inhale activate the tzone, squeeze into your top butt cheek, and slowly lift the top knee
Exhale squeeze the bottom even harder and extend the leg out straight, in line with the body
Inhale bring the feet back together, keeping the knee high
Exhale return the top knee down onto the bottom one.