Our Simple Pilates Strength Training for Beginners
Want to add something different to your tired, old, boring resistance training workout? Try this Pilates strength training workout for beginners. This popular, little-to-no-impact workout can help you strengthen and tone, improve posture, reduce stress, and even lose weight when done regularly.
What is Pilates?
You may have heard of Pilates and thought it was similar to yoga, which is a common belief. It was actually developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates in the early 1900s to combine movements that would strengthen the mind, body, and spirit. Originally called “Contrology,” Pilates focuses mainly on developing your core strength while fostering a better mind-body connection.
Different Types of Pilates
There are several different types of Pilates, and they’re all great, depending on your needs, preferences, and budget.
You have your regular Pilates that is done on a mat. This is very popular because it can be done virtually anywhere, including in the privacy of your own home. You don’t need any extra equipment, other than a Pilates mat, and even that is optional!
Next, you have Pilates on the reformer. This piece of equipment allows you to stretch and do many different exercises. Typically, these are seen in Pilates studios and are usually either private or semi-private lessons. It can, however, get quite costly over time.
You also have what’s called clinical Pilates, which is designed to help rehabilitate injuries and is customized around specific areas of the body to strengthen and aid in recovery.
Next up, hybrid types of Pilates classes may combine Pilates with other forms of movement, such as yoga, banded workouts, abdominal workouts, and more.
Lastly, you have Stott Pilates and Winsor Pilates. Stott focuses on keeping the natural curvature of the spine throughout your movements (typical Pilates uses more of a flat-back position). And the Winsor variation combines Pilates movements with breathing exercises.
Try These Pilates Strength Training Moves for Beginners
Are you ready to try some Pilates for yourself? Here are some Pilates strength training for beginners exercises to get you started!
1. Neutral Spine/Rest Position
Start by lying on your back, arms by your sides and knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Breathe in a deep breath and then exhale fully, allowing your belly to empty of air as you push your lower back into the floor. Next, roll your tailbone upward slightly, contracting your abs and lifting your lower hips slightly off the floor. Return to the neutral position and rest.
2. Angel Arms
Start by lying on your back in a neutral spine position. Place your arms down by your sides. Next, lift them slightly so they are hovering a few inches off the ground. Move them out to your sides (staying close to the floor) and all the way around until they are over your head. Bring them back to the start and repeat.
3. Windshield Wipers
This tough abdominal exercise is a keeper and will help tone those lower abs. Start on your back with your arms out to your sides for support. Next, bring your knees up to your chest. Next, slowly drop them completely over to your right side, bring them back up to center, and then drop them to the left side, returning to the center to complete one repetition. To make these even harder, do them with straight legs instead of bent knees!
4. The Hundred
Start on your back in a neutral spine position with your feet flat on the ground and your arms by your sides. Bring your legs up, keeping your knees bent and over your hips with your lower legs parallel with the ground. Keep your spine neutral (not flat on the floor). Raise your arms slightly off the ground and tighten your abdominals to curl slightly forward. Next, while in this position, quickly pump your arms up and down in small motions. The trick is to breathe in for a count of five arm pumps and then out for a count of five arm pumps. Do this ten times.
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Yes, this movement simulates the motion you might make while swimming. Start by lying face down on your mat with your legs straight, and your arms stretched out over your head. Next, lift your arms and legs off the ground a few inches. You’ll have to contract the muscles in your back to do this. Then, simultaneously lift your right arm and your left leg a bit higher. Bring them back to start while lifting your left arm and your right leg higher. Repeat one after the other to simulate a swimming motion.
6. Open Leg V Balance
This great exercise is wonderful for your core. Start by sitting on the mat and bringing your heels to your center. Keep your chest high and grab your ankles while straightening your legs until they are in a V shape. You’ll be balanced at about a 45-degree angle. Hold this position while taking several deep breaths, and then return to the start.
7. Pilates Push-Ups
Last, but not least, are the Pilates push-ups. Start by standing with your feet about hip-width apart and lift your arms over your head. Get a good stretch and then bring your arms down to the ground in front of you. “Walk out” on your palms until you are in a push-up position. Do a push-up and then walk your hands backward toward your feet again until you are able to stand up.
Even if you love your usual “routine” weight workouts, a change of pace can be good for the body and the mind. With these Pilates strength training, you can switch up your workout with movements you can do almost anywhere and still push your muscles to get stronger and more toned.