Pilates for Beginners

pilates The Pilates improves your mental and physical well-being, increases flexibility, and strengthen muscles particularly at the abdominal area, or what they call “core muscles.” Pilates uses controlled movements in the form of mat exercises to tone and strengthen the body.

One of the basic mat exercises is called The Hundreds, which concentrates on the core muscles and strengthening your leg muscles at the same time. Here are the steps to do the perfect Hundreds.

Lie on your back, knees bent towards your chest. Breathe in deeply; as you breathe out, concentrate on feeling your chest and stomach sink towards the floor. Imagine a large weight pushing your torso onto the mat, and keep that posture for the full exercise.

Move your arms to the sides, palms towards the floor. Lift your head from the shoulders until the tips of the shoulder blades are pressing into your mat and you are looking at your belly button. Don’t strain your neck. If your neck hurts, rest your head back on the mat. Straighten your legs upward. You can keep your knees bent at the beginning if this feels comfortable to you. 

Elongate your arms, as if reaching for the far side of the room, and pump your straightened arms up and down to the count of five, inhaling for 5 and exhaling for 5. The goal is 100 strokes, but start with fewer. Keep your belly and your back flat on the floor. Focus on keeping your shoulders open. Don’t lift them so they curl inward.

After completing the necessary number of strokes, relax your head and pull your knees back to your chest.