25 Moves To Help Fitness and Flexibility with Inner Strength Pilates

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One of the fastest growing exercise techniques in the world, Pilates is unparalleled for improving both fitness and flexibility says top Australian Pilates coach Tamara Gollan. And she shows how this is easily achieved in her latest article.

Pilates and roll mat exercises

Roll Matt exercises feature heavily in Pilates

Pilates is far more than just your average exercise programme.

Titled ‘25 Pilates Moves That Help Fitness and Flexibility,’ Gollan outlines how the exercise targets the body core muscle groups which in turn increases core stability and improves posture. It achieves this through the principles of concentration, centering, control, precision, alignment, flow, and integration. Her post provides examples of a range of exercises and explains which area of the body they benefit when carried out properly.

Pilates enthusiast Gollan says: “Pilates is more than just your average exercise programme. It’s considered a “mindful” body conditioning program, which means that the workouts focus on increasing body awareness.

“This is important for increasing your body’s response to the exercises, and this increased body awareness will carry over into your everyday activities as well, helping to improve how you feel and move, outside the studio.”

She then goes on to list them in her article on moves to improve fitness and flexibility:

1. Rolling Like a Ball
A classic Pilates mat exercise this strengthens the abdominals and stimulates the spine. Great for balance and control.

2. The Hundred
A warm up exercise that creates hard breathing. It brings the shoulders and pelvis together while also strengthening the abdominals, increasing core stability, and improving breath coordination.

3. Saw
Perfect for beginners, this stretches the back and hamstrings, helping to improve pelvic stability.

4. The Roll Up
Another classic Pilates mat exercise, this is excellent for flat abs (one roll up is equivalent to six sit-ups).

5. The Roll Over
Stretching the hamstrings and back and challenging the abdominal muscles, this focuses on back mobility, and abdominal strength.

6. Single Leg Stretch
Great for working the abs, this involves moving from the centre of the body.

7. Double Leg Stretch
This exercise actually works the abs more than the legs. It leads to an excellent abdominal workout which also provides support and stability for the back.

8. Spine Stretch
An essential exercise for those just starting out, the Spine Stretch is good for the spine, neck and upper back
9. Mermaid Side Stretch
A low-intensity exercise that lengthens and stretches the side of the body. This is the perfect warm up exercise.

10. Spine Twist
Helping to improve range of motion, this exercise is good for the upper body and really helps with sports.

18. Swan
An intermediate extension exercise, the Swan is a great counter-exercise for forward flexion Pilates mat work exercises. It expands the chest and stretches the abs and quadriceps, at the same time strengthening the shoulders, back, pelvic floor, glutes, and hamstrings.

19. Jack Knife
A classical Pilates exercise, the Jack Knife is an intermediate to advanced exercise. It strengthens the abs, and the muscles in the back and arms, as well as the legs, and shoulders.

22. Seal
A fun rolling exercise, the Seal stretches and strengthens the back and increases core strength, while improving balance and control.

23. Crab
The crab provides a great advanced, abdominal workout. This exercise requires control of the core, and builds on other exercises.

24. The Scissors
The scissors is an advanced Pilates exercise. It requires a substantial amount of shoulder and pelvic stability.

25. Shoulder Bridge
Another advanced exercise, the Shoulder Bridge is excellent for increasing torso stability. This exercise targets the abs, hamstrings, and hip flexors, and strengthens the back of the legs. It also tones the bottom.

It is possible to carry each and every one of the above Pilates exercises at home using a mat. However, it’s always a good idea for those considering the exercise routine to embark on an exercise programme under the careful eyes of a qualified instructor. That way maximum benefit will be achieved.

Inner Strength Pilates offers individualised assessments and small group classes in Pilates and Barre. See the class schedule and the company information on the website. There is also information on Facebook and on their Google+ pages.

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Tamara Abdilla

Tamara Abdilla
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