10 Pilates Exercises To Enhance Your Power House

Pilates exercises

A strong Pilates exercises is the foundation of good health because it affects your stability, balance, and posture – and facilitates everyday activities like bending down or twisting to get something. It’s even important for playing sports! Connecting with your core is important for doing most daily activities. If you don’t, it can cause a lot of discomfort, stiffness, and restrictions.

This article discusses what the powerhouse is and outlines 15 Pilates exercises that strengthen it.

What is Pilates?

Joseph Pilates founded Pilates in the early 20th century and it was originally called “Contrology”. It is a system of exercises that aims to improve the potential of one’s body by correcting muscle imbalances, finding optimal alignment, and creating an efficient movement.

Pilates is a type of exercise focused on deep, steady breathing. It concentrates more on the deeper muscles and can be felt from the inside out. Pilates lessons teach that you need a balance between your strength, mobility, and flexibility. They can be done on a mat or on equipment at home.

One study found that while Pilates might be good for you, most people’s motivation to exercise lasts less than nine months. Scientific evidence points to Pilates as a great way to reduce depression and anxiety, as well as for improvements in one’s mental wellbeing. Multiple reputable sources support Pilates as a way to reduce depression and anxiety. In addition, Pilates has been shown to have positive effects on your mental wellbeing.

What is the powerhouse?

Despite what you may have heard, your core muscles are actually located in your scapular region and even the smaller muscles of your hand. It’s the core of your body. It includes the muscles from your lower back, to your abdomen, hips, and so on. Consider wearing a posture belt or corset that stays in place during activity.

It can help to reduce pain and improve your overall health. You’ll want to make sure the powerhouse works in sync with your breath. Aim for balance here – activation and relaxation vs. gripping or bracing all of the time.

1. Breathing

Pilates exercises
  • Difficulty level: beginner
  • Muscles worked: respiratory muscles, abdominals to stabilize the pelvis
  • Reps: 2-3

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on either side of your ribcage.
  2. Breathe in deeply, breathe out slowly, and focus on the breath.
  3. You breathe with your arms stretched out in front of you and your chest sinks towards the ground.

2. Shoulder bridge preparation

  • Difficulty level: beginner
  • Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, inner thighs, pelvic floor, back muscles
  • Reps: 5

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet parallel and hip-width apart. Place a pillow, block, or mini ball between your thighs
  2. Inhale, prepare. Exhale, shift your mini ball by squeezing it and pushing your feet into the mat. Start by adjusting your hips and back and then align yourself into a straight line.
  3. Keep your lungs full and your body posture straight.
  4. Breathe out, letting your back muscles relax and lengthen to the mat.

3. Leg lifts

  • Difficulty level: beginner
  • Muscles worked: transverse abdominis (your deepest abdominal muscle, felt under the belly button), back
  • Reps: 3–5 sets

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet parallel and hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale deeply to expand your ribcage.
  3. To get tight, exhale and pull up your pelvic floor and abdominals. Imagine you are tightening a belt, then lift one leg into the tabletop position without moving your pelvis or spine.
  4. When stretching, inhale to lift the chest up and keep it lifted. If a stretch is challenging, exhale and pull your chest down to a comfortable position.
  5. Exhale as you lift your second leg up high into tabletop position, without popping or arching your back.
  6. It’s important to breathe before and after you exercise. It helps maintain a consistent oxygen level during the workout, making the session more effective and sustainable. One way to help is by doing the 5-count breathing drill where you inhale for 4 counts, then exhale for 8 counts. The movement in between the two points is called diaphragmatic breathing and is supposed to be calming.
  7. Now bring your feet back to the ground with controlled, deep breathing.

4. Single leg stretch

Pilates exercises
  • Difficulty level: beginner/intermediate
  • Muscles worked: abdominals, back, hip extensors
  • Reps: 8 on each leg

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your back with both legs on the tabletop.
  2. Exhale to curl your head, neck, and shoulders off of the floor so you’re looking at your knees. Inhale to put your hands on the sides of your knees.
  3. To stretch the back of one leg, exhale and lower to a 45-degree angle (or as close to that as you can) with your pelvis staying in the same position. Put your hands on each side of your stretched foot for balance. Keep the back and stomach flat and avoid arching them. The eye should stay between shoulder width.
  4. Repeat with the opposite leg.
  5. Inhale to bend your knee back to the 90-degree position.

5. Swan dive

Pilates exercises
  • Difficulty level: beginner/intermediate
  • Muscles worked: back extensors, abdominals, hip extensors
  • Reps: 5–8

How to perform:

  1. Kneel on the floor with your knees under your hips and feet stretched out behind you. Keep your hands flat on the floor in line with the center of your shoulders. Your elbows should be bent.
  2. Begin by engaging your abs, drawing your spinal erectors down, and elongating your lower back, as well as keeping good length through the torso. Bend your knees and engage the muscles of your butt so that you can both straighten up from this starting position.
  3. Imagine inhaling and pressing your hands into the floor. Gently lift your head, chest, and ribs to reach as high as you can without straining yourself.
  4. Exhale and lengthen your torso by pressing your tailbone towards the floor. Slowly roll yourself back down to prepare for the next pose.
  5. Repeat 5–8 times

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