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Pilates Tips for Beginners

Pilates Tips for Beginners

Pilates is one of the most effective ways of building a strong and healthy body, without the potential risks of damage from high-impact activities like aerobic exercise, and even circuit training. It’s a gentle but challenging exercise system that focuses on building strength through control. Originally called “Contrology,” which means “The study of control”, Pilates is an excellent choice for almost anyone wanting to develop their physical strength, health and fitness. As the word Contrology suggests, the most important focus in Pilates is control, and it is developing the ability to control your body that leads to the results.

There are a few important points to bear in mind for beginners, who are just starting out in this practice.

Probably the most important thing to remember when practicing beginning Pilates is that it is not to be done at speed. The slow, deliberate pace focusing on control is where the benefits lie. Developing and strengthening core muscles relies on the slow, deliberate controlled performance of the exercises. As you’re going through the exercises, the slower you go, the more control you need, and therefore the more you use the stabilizing muscles. Control should be your primary focus.

Keeping your chin up during the exercises will help to avoid neck tension. One of the most common mistakes made¬†when beginning Pilates¬†is performing stretches with their chin jutting out. An easy guide is to keep your chin pointing down. Imagine you’re holding a ball between your chin and chest, and that will give you a good idea of the correct position for your chin. Apart from making sure you don’t get tension in your neck, this also helps to keep your spine in the correct position. It may be difficult to hold that chin position when you first start, only because your abs haven’t strengthened yet, but the more you do it, the stronger they’ll get, and the easier it will be to keep that position.

Along with keeping your chin in position, it’s important to focus on keeping your shoulders down. Shoulders have a way of sneaking up to our ears without our realising it, so you’ll need to practice really being aware of the position of your shoulders to begin with, until you develop the new habit of keeping them down. When your shoulders are hunched, you may find, like with the jutting chin, you have neck tension, and tension in your upper body. Once you become more aware of your shoulders (not only in Pilates, but in your day-to-day life as well), you’ll be able to correct your posture by gently relaxing and lowering them. The more you do this, the sooner it will become your natural posture.

When working on your abs, make sure you’re not just addressing the surface. You need to get to the deep abs, and make those work. If you’re focused on your deep abs, and working those, the other three layers of ab muscles will work with them. A tip for engaging your deep abs is to focus on them during each exhale, pulling them right up towards your spine. This is very important to make sure you get the result you want – a flat, strong set of abs. If you don’t focus on working the deep abs, pulling them in to your spine, and you’re only working on the top layer, you run the risk of developing your abs to pull away from your spine instead.

For most beginners, one of the challenges of Pilates is keeping the lower back rounded when doing exercises that require them to lie on their back. Keeping the lower vertebrae in contact with the mat is vital for getting the most out of the exercises, and strengthening the abs effectively. And, most importantly, keeping your lower back rounded helps to protect it. While lying on your back, scoop your lower abs, as you round your back to make sure that all of your lower vertebrae are on the mat.

These tips for Pilates for beginners will help you to get the most out of your Pilates safely. Along with the physical tips, you’ll find that creating a mental picture of what is happening in your body, as you go through each exercise will make the exercises easier, as well as improve your results.

To find out more information about beginner Pilates and other Pilates related information, take a look at the Facebook – Pilatespal.com page.


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