Want a flat stomach and slim waist? Then Pilates exercises are just the thing. If you've been wanting to lose a few excess pounds, increase your fitness and at the same time tone the well-known problem areas of belly, legs and buttocks, the combination of gymnastics elements, strength training and yoga is an excellent choice.
The best thing about it: Pilates can be done anywhere. All you need is a fitness or gymnastics mat and loose-fitting sportswear so that you have sufficient freedom of movement during the individual Pilates exercises. You're ready to go. Whether in good weather in the park, on vacation or in the living room at home - you can save yourself a trip to the gym with Pilates strength training - and with it a lot of time.
To ensure that the workout at home is a complete success, it is important to know the right Pilates exercises and to perform them correctly. Newcomers in particular can quickly lose track of the huge variety of different forms and positions and thus also lose motivation.
Ultimately, however, only those who train with discipline and the right intensity will increase their fitness in the long term and do something good for their health.
Stretching exercises, lying on the mat and stretching - Pilates is seen by many as not a real sport, because it doesn't demand as much in terms of endurance as, for example, a HIIT or Tabata workout. Appearances are deceiving, however, because the stress of Pilates exercises focuses more on body control. If you want to strengthen your back and aim for better control of your body, Pilates is the right choice.
You can also burn fat with the sport, but don't hope for too much - even if Pilates is suitable for weight loss, it doesn't reach the basal metabolic rate of strength training or HIIT. Therefore, the question is not so much what Pilates can do, but what you want to achieve with it.
Before we go into our top four, we don't want to deprive you of a list of all the popular exercises.
The following Pilates exercises are especially popular:
- Leg Lifts
- Plank with arms extended
- Reverse Bridge
- Knee to Elbow
There are many more - the exact number is unknown, but with a wide variety of variations, there are far more than 100 Pilates exercises.
To prepare the body for the Pilates workout and mobilize the entire spine, the so-called cat hump is one of the ideal Pilates exercises to start with.
The starting position is the quadruped stand: Slowly roll your head down so that your chin almost touches your upper chest at the final position, and at the same time push your pelvis forward. Remain in this position briefly, trying to keep the abdomen and pelvic floor under tension.
Now release the tension, roll the head back into the neck in a controlled manner and bend the spine in parallel - exhaling slowly. After holding this position for a short time, return to the starting position. Repeat the Pilates exercises a total of six to eight times.
The starting position for the Double Leg Stretch is supine. The legs form a right angle, the arms lie at the sides of the body, the feet are on the floor.
Now lift the legs closed and bring the knees towards the upper body, at the same time lift the upper body slightly forward and touch the legs between the knee and middle lower leg with the hands. Maintain this position briefly and tense the abdomen and pelvic floor.
Now fully extend the legs and at the same time extend the arms upward away from the legs, exhaling. Throughout the Pilates exercise, keep the upper body slightly elevated, thus maintaining tension on the torso. Do a total of six to eight repetitions.
The Spine Stretch is the ideal strength training exercise for the back. The starting position here is an upright sitting posture with the legs stretched out and slightly apart, the tips of the feet pointing towards the ceiling.
Now inhale deeply and, while exhaling, bend the upper body forward, vertebra by vertebra, with the arms stretched out in front. Try to bring the head between the arms and initiate the movement from the thoracic spine. The lumbar spine remains straight throughout the exercise. Now gently return to the starting position while inhaling. As with most Pilates exercises, six to eight repetitions are optimal.
The arm and leg stretch activates not only the torso and buttocks, but also the back, shoulders, arms and legs - the perfect strength training for the whole body.
We start the Pilates exercise again from the quadruped position - pay special attention to a straight back and do not position your hands and feet too close to each other, because here you also need coordination and a sense of balance.
Once you have a secure stance, extend the left arm forward and the right leg backward so that the arm and leg form a line with the upper body. Hold this position for a few seconds while tensing the abdomen and pelvic floor. It is important that the lumbar spine does not sag. When returning to the starting position, exhale and perform the exercise again with the right arm and left leg - repeat the whole exercise six to eight times.
Combined with a crisp endurance workout, such as jogging or Tabata, these Pilates exercises are the perfect fitness workout for the home and are also good for your health.
Pilates tones the body and adds variety to the workout schedule. The workout seems easy at first glance, but demands a lot from you. Just try it out for yourself and take a few minutes for a session - it's worth it!
In the FAQ below we answer the most frequently asked questions about Pilates and its exercises.
Pilates is more suitable for losing weight, while yoga aims to reduce stress and relieve tension. Yoga also requires more concentration and for the exercises you should use a special yoga mat.
The execution of the exercises remains the same regardless of age. The important thing is: The training must be fun and you have to decide for yourself which exercises are appropriate.
Well-known apps include "Pilates Anytime" or "5 Minutes Pilates Workouts." There are also many workouts for all experience levels on YouTube.