The Principles And Basic Movements Of Pilates

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Speaking of the basics, find out here the principles and movements of Pilates. It is just logical that Pilates is currently one of the most popular exercise programs.

More and more people are getting into it because of the health and physical benefits it provides.

Other than that, peer influence is also one important factor that helps make the popularity of the exercise program further rise.

Pilates involves a great deal of physical discipline.

A person needs to be properly motivated to be able to conduct the tasks involved. The activity is also very relaxing.

Many people assert that Pilates helps them achieve overall relaxation after a long day of work.

Through proper breathing techniques along with required body movements in the exercise, people could achieve physical coordination, strength training, and relaxation at the same time.

Pilates has always been noted as among the trendiest and most effective exercise programs around.

It is currently one of the most popular fitness programs not just in the United States but in many countries across all continents.

Among the best selling points of Pilates is that it works very well for a great range of people.

It is popular among dancers, athletes, women, seniors, and even expecting moms. What makes the program effective?

There are six main principles that serve as important components or factors in a good Pilates workout.

The method has always highlighted quality instead of quantity.


Pilates Principles

Thus, unlike most other exercise systems, Pilates does not require numerous repetitions for every movement.

Here are the six Pilates principles so you could better understand the philosophical foundations of the program.


In general, Pilates physically brings the focus of the entire exercise to the body’s center, which is considered as the powerhouse area. It is located in between the pubic bone and the lower ribs.

So, you may notice that the exercise movements are energetically and strategically sourced from that center. This makes the program effective in focusing at the core.


Unlike other exercise programs, Pilates methods require your full attention. The movements are not repetitive. You have to focus to be able to go on with the flow.

Experts assert that if you would bring your full attention to Pilates movements and do them with your full commitment, you surely would attain maximum value and benefits from doing the program.

Pilates could also serve as a practical test on how well you could control and target your focus.


You would notice that every movement in Pilates should be done using complete muscular control.

The methods are strategically developed to make sure no part of the body is left uncontrolled and missed out.

To be able to attain the benefits, you have to learn how to control your movements and the pacing of the routines. It is like observing proper and correct form when exercising.


Awareness is effectively sustained throughout every movement in Pilates.

Take note that there is an appropriate alignment in relation to body parts, placement, and overall trajectory for every muscle.

The key to doing the methods in Pilates is in precision. Every movement should be performed correctly.


Joseph Pilates, the physical trainer who developed Pilates methods, emphasized the use of full breath when carrying out his exercise routines.

He advised people to think of the lungs as bellows, which should be used strongly enough to pump air in and out (fully) of the body.

Thus, you would notice that most Pilates movements are coordinating with the breath. Remember that breathing properly is a very integral part of Pilates.


Do the Pilates exercise program in a seemingly flowing manner. There should be grace, fluidity, and ease when doing every movement.

If you do so, you would feel that the energy of the exercise is connecting with all the parts of the body and is flowing throughout the body in a very even way.

Indeed, Pilates helps people not just achieve physical goals. The exercise also helps them improve body balance and overall posture.

Specifically, Pilates is aimed at helping people to develop a balance between the aligning spine and proper breathing (inhalation and exhalation).

pilates for back pain

Movements of Pilates

Let us look at the basic movements when doing the exercise routines in Pilates.

The Footwork

More emphasis is given to footwork in Pilates.

That is because muscles in the legs and in the lower part of the body are the main focus and source of strength in the exercise.

Surely, you would be moving your body muscles but control and balance are dictated by the biggest muscle group, which consists of the foot and lower body muscle group.

You could choose to do a variety of Pilates footwork tasks. You could take in a combination or single exercises.

The combo exercises are naturally consisting of a set of leg exercises infused and integrated into a Pilates exercise.

An example of which is the ballet combo, which is an integration of a number of ballet movements specially modified for Pilates.

There is also the sleeper style of exercises for Pilates.

Lying Positions

Other than the footwork, you should also be aware of the different supine or lying positions when doing the exercise.

Such exercises really help the body achieve total relaxation.

Take note that while the body is in the relaxed state during supine positions, movements still are burning calories to achieve benefits similar to those from regular exercises.

Supine positions could be strategic if you would observe proper form. This is why you should be guided by a professional.

Attending a regular Pilates class is one way to learn effective and proper lying positions in the program.

Rowing Movements

If you are observing Pilates exercises, you must have noticed that there are tasks that resemble movements in rowing.

Such movements are also recommended and are required in every Pilates session because they facilitate proper coordination between breathing and different muscle groups all across the body.

Overall, you would notice that Pilates exercise routines involve a combination of footwork, supine positions, and rowing movements all rolled into one.

It could be the main reason why Pilates is very effective in extracting sweat from your body, which in turn helps burn up stored body calories.


The Top 5 Pilates Exercises to Get You Started!


Although simple – If you breathe correctly, you will find it easy to relax and provide adequate oxygen to your muscles.

You will notice the difference when you breathe correctly as it will enhance your overall experience.

Breathing is a major part of all Pilates exercises. You simply breathe in through your nose for a count of five, and out through your mouth for a count of 5, with a shushing sound.

Make the breaths into short, rhythmic bursts – in,in,in,in,in and shush,shush,shush,shush,shush.

Never rush your breathing and don’t go overboard to the point that you feel light headed and fall over.

Toe Lifts

This will help you with core balance. Core balance works in harmony with the alignment of your feet supporting your whole body.

You will be amazed at how much strength your toes possess to balance your body.

This movement strengthens the muscles on the top of your feet and increases the blood flow into your toes.

Poor circulation to your feet can lead to stiff muscles and problems that affect the rest of your body.

This is a very simple exercise designed to improve circulation and enhance your awareness of balance.

Start standing with your feet together in-lign with your body. Hold your head straight and keep your arms rested at your sides.

Start simply by raising your right foot toes slowly up as far as they will go and then back down again. Do this a couple of times alternating feet.

Then, lift up the toes of both feet at the same time pressing the metatarsal bones at the base of your toes strongly and evenly into the floor.

*Remember: Do not roll your feet inward or outward while performing the exercise. And do not lean back as you lift *

You should be breathing in as you lift, and breathing out as you lower your toes.

Try closing your eyes as you exhale and lower your toes. Keep your eyes closed for five repetitions and you will notice an improvement in your sense of balance.

Finger Flicks

This exercise improves the circulation in your arms and hands.

The increased blood flow into the fingertips helps to flush out toxins and reduce arthritis or stiffness in the joints.

It’s also a good forearm workout and is excellent for relieving aching elbows.

Start standing with your feet together aligns with your body.

Hold your hands down in front of you below your waist and make loose fists by rolling up your fingers with your thumb on top.

In this exercise, your arms should always be fully extended as they move in a circular motion into six main positions.

  1. Down and in front. Hands facing inwards.
  2. Raised to shoulder height and in front. Hands facing inward
  3. Stretched straight up. Hands facing inward.
  4. Stretched out to the sides. Hands facing upwards.
  5. Lowered to 45 degrees. Hands facing down.
  6. Lowered to sides. Hands facing inward.

The idea is to strongly flick your fingers open continually throughout all the positions.

Do eight flicks while you stand in position 1 and four flicks as you move to position 2.

Do eight flicks while standing in position 2 and four flicks as you move into position 3. Continue this pattern.

* Remember – Keep your wrists still and your arms straight *

The Hundred

This is a classic Pilates exercise, named as such because it takes a count of 100 to complete.

This exercise strengthens core abdominal muscles and expands the chest and rib-cage.

This is a floor or mat exercise. It involves raising your legs to vertical and waving your arms up and down in small motions.

  1. Start by lying on the floor with knees bent as if you were doing sit-ups and have your arms resting palm down at your side.
  2. Squeeze your abdominal muscles so that your head, neck, and shoulders raise off the floor. Keep your abdominals squeezed tight throughout the whole exercise. Stretch your arms forward toward your toes and start pulsing them up and down a distance of about 15cm. Stay is this position for a count of 20.
  3. Slowly lift your legs to a 90 degree angle with your body. Continue the pumping for a further count of 20.
  4. Slowly extend your legs straight up to the ceiling and keep pumping for 20 counts.
  5. Begin to lower your legs at a 45 degree diagonal to your torso and keep pumping for 20 counts.
  6. Keep your legs straight and lower them as close to the ground as possible without lifting your spine off the floor and keep pumping for 20 counts.
  7. Lower your head to the floor. Release your arms, bend your knees, and place your feet back on the floor.

Roll-up to Diamond

This exercise works your abdominals and improves flexibility of your spine.

This is a floor or mat exercise and involves rolling up your upper body while extending your arms.

  1. Lie with your legs in the diamond position. Keep your back flat on the floor and rest your arms on the floor above your head. The diamond position is when you point your toes and bring your legs into a diamond shape with your knees out to the sides.
  2. Lift your arms toward the ceiling and slowly start rolling or peeling your upper body off the floor from your head down.
  3. Keep peeling and extend your legs forward while keeping your toes pointed.
  4. Stretch your arms and torso forward over your legs creating a C shape with your body. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and hold your arms directly around your ears.
  5. Begin to roll back down to the floor pulling your legs back into the diamond position. Your arms should start to point to the ceiling again.
  6. Finish in the starting position with your spine flat on the floor, your hands resting above your head and your legs in the diamond position.

Remember: Keep the movement fluid and constant. Work with your abdominal muscles. Don’t straighten your spine while rolling. If you feel any stress or discomfort, hold on to your thighs until you are stronger.

Overall, this gives you an idea and an overview to start Pilates.



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