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A Basic Pilates Routine for Beginners

With the goal of creating more flexibility and muscle tone in the hamstrings and back, this program begins with abdominal and back exercises and moves into leg stretches and exercises.  It then continues with a short upper body session to balance out the work in the entire body while keeping focus on the specific goal.  It concludes with some work using the ball for final stretching.

To begin, participants should wear comfortable clothing and practice barefoot.  A mat is ideal; use a thicker yoga mat, a Pilates mat, or even two thin mats or towels.  The optional prop is the ball.  The ball movements can be completed with or without a ball, or left out of the routine.

Abdominal and Back Exercises:

  • The Hundred: 2 sets
  • The Roll-Up: 5 reps
  • Rolling Like A Ball: 5 reps
    • These three exercises allow for easy movement between them as they all begin on the back and focus on abs, back, and balance.
  • Spine Stretch Forward: 5 reps
  • Spine Twist: 5 twists each side
  • The Saw: 5 sets
    • These three exercises will stretch the spine after curling in the previous exercises.
  • The Corkscrew: 1 set of 10 circles (5 circles in each direction)
  • The Neck Pull: 6 reps
  • Crisscross: 10 sets
    • These exercises will again engage the powerhouse, spine, neck, and abs.

Leg Exercises:

  • Hip Circles: 6 sets
  • Leg Circles: 5 rotations each leg
  • Single Leg Stretch: 10 sets
  • Single Straight Leg Stretch: 10 sets
    • These three exercises will warm up the legs.

Side Kick Series:

  • Front Back: 10 reps
  • Up Down: 10 reps
  • Small Circles: 10 reps (5 each direction)
  • Side Passe: 5 reps
  • Bicycle: 5 reps
  • Grande Romde de Jambe: 5 reps
  • Inner Thigh Lifts: 10 reps
    • These exercises will encourage joint strength and flexibility and endurance in the leg muscles. They also segue into the next set of exercises that are face-down.
  • Single Leg Kicks: 5 sets
  • Double Leg Kicks: 5 sets
  • Swimming: 2 sets (5 inhale/exhale)
    • The kicks work the legs in a different movement while swimming again engages the entire body.

Arm Exercises:

  • Push-ups: 2 sets of 5

Stretching:

  • The Seal: 6 reps
    This last mat exercise will stretch all the muscles of the body.

Ball Exercises:

  • Shell Stretch: 5 reps
  • Neck Stretch: 5 reps each side
  • Crunches: 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Camel Pose Stretch: 10 reps
  • Around the World: 5 reps (each direction)
  • The ball exercises will stretch, contract, and then fully stretch all the muscles in the powerhouse and the rest of the body.

And that’s it. That’s a basic Pilates routine to get you started. If that’s a bit much for you on your own you can always pop down to the best Pilates in Perth.

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