Some of these elementary pilates exercises offer an ideal workout, however when combined with some extent of cardio could add to the immense benefits one could reap by following them. The key to doing these exercises is laying emphasis on the breathing and sensing it in the abdominals.
1. Open leg Balance:
This pilates exercise is also commonly noted in Yoga with slight variations in the breathing patterns. This exercise works on the core and legs and demands immense pliability.
- Sitting up with a completely erect spine, spreading the legs to approximately shoulder distance across and raising them up above the ground approximately making a forty-five degree angle, and ankles are reachable with the hands. If in a position wherein one is forcing this move and there is resistance felt in the leg muscles then avoid pushing it. Simply laying emphasis on the stretch and then attempting once more.
- Grabbing the ankles using hands that would be placed on the insides of the legs. Relax the shoulders while doing these exercises to avoid the body getting too overwrought.
- Flexing the abdominal muscles, and being able to sense a variation when one is totally loosening the abdominal muscles and during breathing. The abs must be stretched during this time.
- Relaxing with the abdominal muscles constricted and then counting till 10 (5 for novices) or 15 for veterans.
- Returning to the beginning stance, legs placed back to initial posture, gradually bend at the knee and bringing back the legs down.
- Repeating this thrice or 4 times.
2. Push Up:
- This exercise is the pilates adaptation of push ups, the key variation being that in pilates one begins in the vertical posture, focussing on breathing out as one firstly bends at the waist, hands close to the floor and walking the body to the push-up posture using the hands.
- Pausing in the push-up pose, arms extending in front of you, holding oneself off the floor and then exhaling. The legs must then be straightened, however rather than stand up the body must be almost in line (parallel) to the ground.
- Inhaling as one does a push up, ensuring it resembles a grasshopper-alike manner wherein the elbows are quite near the trunk, instead of pushing outwards away from the body.
- Exhaling as one returns to the push up pose wherein arms are outstretched and supports the body off the floor.
- Inhaling as one walks oneself back with the arms in the bent over stance.
- Exhaling when returning back to initial standing pose.
- Repeating for 5 times.