Pilates: general concepts about a set of exercises

Pilates general concepts about a set of exercises

Nowadays, everyone who wants to preserve beauty, youth and health, try to find these qualities in the process of training in gyms and fitness centers. Beginners, choosing suitable training programs for themselves, are faced with information about one of the new areas – Pilates. The recently appeared system combines elements of yoga, fitness and gymnastics. The set of exercises quickly gained recognition in many countries due to the effectiveness of training, the comfort of their conduct, which does not require special conditions and simulators, and the safety of performance.

Pilates – what is it

As a result of systematic training on this system, as with other types of training:

  • joint healing occurs;
  • muscles are strengthened;
  • soreness and tension are relieved;
  • weight is adjusted;
  • posture is normalized;
  • sleep is getting better;
  • overall well-being is getting better.

Purpose of the training system and historical background

Pilates classes with a trainer

The physical training system created by Joseph Pilates about a hundred years ago with the aim of recovering the wounded during the First World War was based on the use of a system of belts that serve to rehabilitate injured people. Having emigrated to America, he improved his technique, adapting it to restore the injured dancers and athletes.

Later, the Pilates method gained worldwide recognition. Now in many countries their own studios are organized, slightly differing in methodological techniques. The complex was named after the author, although he himself called it countervailing, formulating it as an absolute regulation between the body, mind and soul.

The Pilates system is a set of exercises performed in slow motion. Proponents of this type of fitness believe that the technique is appropriate for training not only in the gym, but also for independent training at home. It suits any age category of citizens with different levels of preparedness. Most importantly, the risk of injury during the training process is practically zero, however, to begin classes should be led by an experienced fitness trainer.

There are special simulators that make it possible to prevent injuries, and they are recommended to perform voluntary exercises on mats only for experienced athletes with a third level of preparedness.

Pilates for beginners is based on dynamic loads without excessive efforts and excessive tension. Unlike yoga, in which stretching of muscles and ligaments is used, in Pilates, the entire body is stabilized through a leisurely power load by working out each muscle for stretching and for strength.

Benefits of classes

Muscle development during Pilates exercises

Using a special complex helps to directionally correct the figure. Those who perform the exercises, noticeable overall improvement in well-being, mood and even the effect of rejuvenation. An additional bonus can be the stimulation of brain activity, logic, memory and insight.

Experts say Pilates exercises at home:

  • contribute to strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, shoulder girdle, hips;
  • improve balance and coordination (however, this fact was not confirmed during the experiments);
  • reduce stress sensitivity.

Advantages over other physical activities:

  • increase in body power;
  • muscle development;
  • damage prevention;
  • muscle recovery after injuries and prevention of their tightening by connective tissues;
  • improved blood circulation;
  • breath improvement;
  • training of meaningfulness of movements.

They also help get rid of stress and sleep disturbances.

After Pilates, sleep normalizes

Unlike other complexes, the Pilates system consists in simultaneously affecting the entire body instead of working out individual muscle groups. All movements are consistent with each other, requiring absolute attention and concentration. The follower of this system perfectly feels his body and purposefully directs the received energy to the rehabilitation of the body.

Who is contraindicated in training

In case of scoliosis and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, a doctor should be consulted to perform Pilates training. It is undesirable to conduct classes during pregnancy. There are few contraindications, but they must be treated carefully and not neglected by the advice of trainers.

Pilates exercises are not recommended:

  • overweight owners;
  • older than 40 years of age;
  • patients with mental disorders;
  • diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia;
  • with an acute form of an infectious disease;
  • at high temperature.
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Pilates for beginners will be useful only if all the instructions are followed correctly.

Basic Rules

Despite the seeming lightness, Pilates is a rather complicated technique, and they should start their classes by studying the key provisions of the system under the supervision of a qualified mentor.

Beginners need to consistently comply with the basic principles of Pilates.

These include:

  1. Centering, in which the main concern is the formation of a muscular corset, tightening the muscles of the press and straightening the back.
  2. Concentration – focusing on one’s own torso during training and absolute dedication from each movement.
  3. Controlling – a conscious check of the accuracy of the exercises.
  4. Pedantry – the thoroughness of all movements, the symmetrical position of the body, when all the main parts of the body are located along one mental line, as if along a pole.
  5. Breathing – classes are performed in a rhythm of breaths and exhalations.
  6. Stretching – the dimensionality and slowness of each movement while maintaining the required posture (lowered shoulders, flattened shoulder blades), leading to spinal distension.

Pilates principles must be strictly observed, otherwise all efforts will be in vain. Like yoga movements, when conducting exercises in Pilates, emphasis is placed on the cooperation of the mind and body.

Breathing technique

Exercise Breathing

Oriental practices, based on the coordination of breathing and movements, had a strong influence on the author of the system. Respiration is an urgent need of any organism, without which normal vital functions cannot be carried out. However, most people do not know how to breathe fully, exploiting only the upper part of the lungs.

Pilates allows you to learn to breathe evenly and thoroughly, improving the flow of oxygen and nutrients into the blood, accelerating metabolic processes.

Pilates principles suggest two types of breathing:

  • rhythmic;
  • costal (lateral).

In the second method, respiration occurs in the upper lobe of the lungs, while the central muscles maintain tension, without interfering with proper breathing.

This model is required during training to preserve the stability of the lumbar spine.

The goal of breathing training is to regulate the spinal muscles, which helps to enlarge the chest.

When performing exercises, preference is given to chest breathing, which, in contrast to diaphragmatic, makes it possible to independently stabilize the lumbar spine. In the process of training, you should focus on balanced breathing. The rhythm of all stages of the training depends on him. The completion of the exercise corresponds to the end of the respiratory cycle – expiration.

Pilates exercise

When performing most workouts, recommendations for regulating respiration are as follows:

  • at the initial stage, you need to take a deep breath;
  • during exhalation, draw in the stomach;
  • on the next breath, return the back or limb to its previous position.

Pilates Varieties

Nowadays, the training system has undergone major changes, adapting to the requirements of various groups of the population.

Pilates classes are divided into two main areas that have common goals:

  • standard species developed by Joseph Pilates;
  • modern training options.

The traditional types include:

Work on the mat, which includes:

  • quiet exercises on a rug with own weight;
  • sophisticated training with small equipment (balls, ring, roller, small dumbbells), designed for more experienced athletes.
Pilates exercise on a gymnastic mat

Classes on simulators using special equipment (reformer, spinal corrector, etc.).

Modern varieties include:

  • aquapilates – trainings conducted in water after mastering the exercises on the mat;
  • yogalates that combines the elements of two systems – the energy of one of them and the deep study of the muscles of the other;
  • cardiolates – exercises in a dynamic mode, recommended for weight loss;
  • Piloxing, combining the components of Pilates and kickboxing, taking place at an energetic pace in a fighting stance.

On the classic basic types of classes suitable for beginners, exercises are performed in which minimal loads and simple equipment are used.

Intensive power pilates involves the use of heavy equipment to develop the largest number of muscles.

In stretch pilates training, the emphasis is on the formation of a beautiful posture and deep stretching, elasticity and flexibility, it is well suited for girls.

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Home Pilates is considered an independent variety that allows you to find time to workout at home in front of the monitor screen with a demonstration of video lessons shown by a qualified specialist.

Clothing for classes

Comfortable workout clothes

Beginners are usually interested in what you need for Pilates exercises. For the most part, fitness centers are equipped with everything necessary for training, however, many prefer to use their own accessories.

In terms of equipment, the Pilates program is one of the most demanding types of training in connection with the focus on stretching the muscles of the whole body.

The usual sports uniform is not always suitable for training: it should not only be comfortable, but also give the coach the opportunity to observe the movements, leading the correct execution and correcting mistakes, so that too loose form does not fit.

In order to choose the right thing in which to do Pilates, you need to consider:

  • convenience of clothes;
  • tight fit;
  • lack of unnecessary details and deep cut;
  • material quality.

The Pilates exercise form at home should be made of breathable elastic fabric that does not constrain movements. The best option would be special clothing for yoga. In addition, weight is attached to underwear without metal fasteners and pits.

But there are no requirements for shoes: most often classes are conducted barefoot, in socks, on a public rug. It is not recommended to wear jewelry that can interfere with training during training.

List of core exercises

The complex is characterized not by the abundance of classes, but by the quality of their implementation in a clearly established manner. Each basic exercise smoothly alternates with the next, without causing exhaustion. In this case, the muscles work measured and rhythmically, ensuring the effectiveness of training. It is not in vain that the system is equally used by both beginners and professional athletes.

To master the Pilates training technique, it is enough for beginners to learn how to do a dozen elementary exercises corresponding to the initial training. As with all complexes, you do not need to figure out where to start the lesson. Usually they start training by warming up the muscles with the help of a warm-up. The most simple and effective exercises for beginners are performed in stages.

A hundred

Fitness exercise got its name from the number of necessary phases of breathing for 10 approaches. During it, there is a study and muscle control of the abdominal press, cervical and shoulder girdle and gluteal region.

Training is carried out in the initial position, lying with your back on the rug, with arms extended along the length of the body and straightened, brought together lower limbs. Pilates is characterized by shallow breathing and intense pressure. During the exercise, they raise their heads and arms, making smooth swings in the vertical direction with minimal deviation, accompanying them with fivefold shallow inspirations and exhalations, so that in total it turns out 100 times.

A boat

Boat exercise

To perform this strength training, working on the muscles, you must follow all the principles of Pilates for beginners.

During the lesson you need, sitting on the floor:

  • bend your legs at the knees;
  • place them on the width of the pelvis;
  • hug your hips with your hands;
  • to straighten the spine, pulling up;
  • transfer the center of gravity to the tailbone;
  • tear off the legs from the floor and lift them parallel to the floor;
  • inhale thoroughly;
  • lock in that position for 10 seconds;
  • as you exhale, retract the press and straighten your back.

At the next breath, repeat the Pilates exercise for beginners from the very beginning.

Alternate leg stretching

Alternate leg stretching

Exercise helps stretch the spine and work out the gluteal and spinal muscles.

In a horizontal position, legs brought together by half a meter are torn off the floor with the simultaneous raising of the upper body, pulling the lower limb with your hands to the chest, fixing the position for 10 seconds.

Restoring the pose with legs on weight and a tense abs, repeat the movement of the second limb. Distributing the load evenly, the lesson is duplicated 5 to 10 times.

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Stretching hands at the same time

In the initial position, lying with your back on the rug, press the legs bent at the knees, hugging them with your hands, and straighten them at an angle of 45 degrees with simultaneous extension of the arms to the sides, striving for maximum stretching of the spine. 10 repetitions recommended.

Plank with a smooth transition into a dolphin

Take the starting position of Pilates gymnastics – the bar on the elbows, the body should be a straight line.

Take a deep breath while lifting your buttocks, while exhaling, lowering your head. The correct posture is fixed for 5-10 seconds, then a smooth transition to the next respiratory cycle.

Plank with a smooth transition into a dolphin


A set of exercises is performed in a sitting position with emphasis on the left thigh and a straightened left hand.

Raise the torso up to the maximum height, lingering in this position for 7-8 seconds, simultaneously stretching the toes to yourself, looking straight to the right. Duplicate 8 to 10 times for each side.

Wall Squats

Pilates for beginners at home can be carried out both in the morning and at other convenient times.

This exercise is performed while standing against the wall with the spine and lower back resting on its surface. You should sit down, not separating the back from the support, with saturated breathing. The number of repetitions, as with most Pilates exercises for beginners, is within 10 times.

Swing sideways

The technique of the exercise and the starting position are the same as with the Mermaid, however, they rely on the elbow and knee joint. Much attention should be paid to the tension of the press in the process of lifting the legs up. In the event of a change of side, beginners must observe proper breathing and the required number of repetitions.

Swing sideways

Shoulder bridge

This Pilates beginner training helps:

  • spinal stretching;
  • posture correction;
  • prevention of scoliosis;
  • the study of important muscle groups.

To perform a more complex exercise, you should lie with your back on the mat and bring your heels closer to the buttocks area. With your hands in the area of ​​your feet, raise your pelvis to the maximum so that your chin is next to your chest. In the upper position, they are delayed for 7-8 seconds. When exhaling, they return to their original position. Repetition occurs as usual.

The effectiveness of the training depends on the degree of tension of the press and proper respiration. It is recommended to supplement gymnastics with other strength exercises.

Tips for beginners

Pilates classes include thoughtful exercises that have passed the test of time and work out all muscle groups.

The training is a smooth movement, affecting the deep inner layers of the muscles, which are the support for the spine, on which the state of the whole organism depends. Exercises for the abdomen are considered the best option for tightening the abs due to the focus of the gymnastics on certain muscle groups, regardless of physique. The system helps to get rid of extra pounds, of course, not at a time, but with regular classes. Effective for weight loss work on major muscle groups in conjunction with a healthy diet.

Pilates exercises for health

Young mothers, who are contraindicated in serious loads, can quickly put in order a stomach stretched after childbirth, having lost their elasticity and building up a fat layer with the help of Pilates. Gentle workout of deep muscles with breathing regulation helps to get rid of the problem.

In addition, the gymnastic complex allows you to balance the muscles, reducing the excessive load on the joints.

Pilates exercises improve muscular balance, allowing you to keep your joints intact. Special exercises have been developed for the joints of the feet, as well as the knee and hip. Restoring their mobility improves well-being and quality of life.

It is necessary to follow the rules of the exercises, focus, keep the abdominal tension at all times and control breathing.

After mastering the initial level, they begin serious training.

The system is distinguished by well-designed exercises that develop a lot of superficial and deep muscles, allowing you to improve your figure and health.

Author: Christopher Harris