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Kick Start Your Exercise Routine with This Simple Pilates Workout

Kick Start Your Exercise Routine with This Simple Pilates Workout

Tired of your old exercise routine? Or perhaps you're not getting the results you want? Either way, it never hurts to try something new. Pilates, for example, has been around for nearly four decades. Today, it's just as popular as it was in the 80s.  

This low impact training method focuses on the core muscles. It not only builds core strength but also improves your balance and coordination, increases your range of motion, and boosts joint flexibility. Plus, it's an excellent way to lose stubborn fat and keep fit year round. The best part is that it requires little or no equipment, so you can exercise anytime, anywhere.  

In a study conducted on overweight and obese women, those who practiced Pilates for eight weeks experience a major reduction in hip, abdomen, and waist circumference as well as a decrease in their body mass index and total body fat. Research also suggests that Pilates may help relieve chronic pain and speed up injury rehab.  

Get Started with Pilates  

Like with most things, getting started is the hardest part. There are hundreds of Pilates exercises, and each has distinctive benefits. If you're new to this training method, you may not know what routines to follow, how to use proper form, or how to get the most out of your workout.  

Remember, it all comes down to your goals. Some Pilates exercises help develop core strength. Others engage your back muscles, shape your legs, or improve overall conditioning. You'll also find movements that may reduce joint pain and relieve lower back pain.  

Ready to give it a try? To help you out, we've compiled a basic Pilates routine that's perfect for newbies. If done right, it will tighten and tone your entire body while burning stubborn fat. Let's get into it!  

Rolling Like a Ball  

This simple Pilates exercise hits the deep abdominal muscles and stimulates the spine. It works your abs, core, hip flexors, and back muscles.  

To get started, sit on a map with your knees bent. Place your hands just above the ankle and lift your feet off the ground. Slightly curb your back until your spine forms a C shape.  

Contract your abs and then use these muscles to roll back up with a slow, controlled motion. Do not throw your upper body backward! Repeat five to six times.  

The Hundred  

If you had to choose just one Pilates movement for core strength, it should be The Hundred. This simple yet challenging exercise stabilizes your trunk, strengthens the deep abdominal muscles, improves breathing, and warms your body.  

Simply lie on the floor with your arms by your sides and your knees bent. Lift your legs at around 45 degrees; keep them fully extended. Slightly raise your neck and head, squeeze your abs, and begin moving your arms up and down. Inhale through your nose for a count of five and exhale through your mouth for a count of five.  

Double Straight-Leg Stretch  

Now let's work those legs! The Double Straight Leg Stretch is great for warming up your lower body and toning your quads. It also engages your hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles.  

Lie on the mat with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands behind your head. Tighten your abs, take a deep breath, and lift both legs toward the ceiling. Keep your glutes contracted throughout the movement.  

Lower your legs with a slow, controlled motion and repeat. Do it five to 10 times.  

The Plank  

This classic Pilates exercise improves shoulder stability and strengthens your abs. Your arms, legs, and glutes will get a great workout too! In the long run, the plank can boost your overall fitness and conditioning.  

Place your hands under your shoulders, with your legs fully extended and your toes grounded into the floor. Keep your back straight and your head in line with your spine. Squeeze your arms, abs, and glutes throughout the movement. Inhale and exhale. Hold this position for at least five breaths. Repeat five times or more.  

As you progress, add new exercises to your Pilates routine. Watch online videos and read how-to guides to learn proper form. The Saw, the Mermaid, the Open Leg Balance, the Ab Scoop, and the Criss-Cross are all excellent choices for beginners.

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