Strengthen and tone: 5 simple Pilates moves you can do at home with no equipment

Do you want to get better strengthen in your lower back, legs, arms and core? Pilates is one of the

Do you want to get better strengthen in your lower back, legs, arms and core? Pilates is one of the best types of exercise to try, and one of the easiest to follow.

Pilates is a program of physical conditioning that involves low-impact exercises and stretches designed to strengthen muscles of the torso and can be performed with or without equipment.

It’s especially good for older men and women because it reduces the risk of injury. Pilates focuses on controlled breathing and is easy on your joints, plus it is a safe way to restart your exercise regime.

Here’s 5 super simple Pilates moves you can try at home – and you don’t need any equipment, except a towel and a soft surface (a mat or carpet will suffice)

1. The 100

This is one of the most common and well-known Pilates moves, and if you end up going to a class, you’ll likely be instructed to do it. It’s designed to get your blood pumping, as well as working your core muscles.

Do it yourself:

  1. Put your legs straight up in the air, roughly on a 45 degree angle.
  2. Curl up, pressing your abs to the floor and head forward.
  3. Hover your arms right above your abs and start to pump your arms up and down, taking deep breaths, inhaling for 5 counts, exhaling for 5 counts.
  4. Repeat 10 times, without taking a break.
  5. Rest your head flat on the floor, rather than curling it up, if the move feels too difficult.

It should look like this. Keep your chin down and be careful not to strain your neck:



2. Single-Leg Circles

This simple exercise lets you work out your abs by moving your legs.

Do it yourself:

  1. Lay down on the mat, shoulders down, abs to the floor, and extend your right leg straight up to the sky.
  2. Keep your left leg flat on the floor. If it’s hurting, it may help to bend your non-circling leg, rather than keeping it flat on the mat.
  3. Circle your right leg across your body to your left shoulder, then back around to your right shoulder. Focus on keeping abdominals pressed in by sucking in your belly button.
  4. Repeat five times, then switch legs.
via Athleta
via Athleta

3. Mermaid

This stretch focuses on the sides of your body, really lengthening and tightening.

Do it yourself:

  1. In a seated position rest on your right hip with your legs folded together to the left side (like a mermaid).
  2. Place your left hand to the side, and hold your right arm straight up in the air, grazing your ear.
  3. Make sure you’re sucking in your tummy and abs, then reach your right arm towards the ceiling, and then out and over to the left, making sure your arm stays straight. You should feel a stretch along the right side of your body. Repeat twice and repeat on the opposite side.
via pilates.about

4. Single Leg Stretch

The single leg stretch helps target the lower abs and legs.

Do it yourself:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your shins parallel to the floor. This is called tabletop position.
  2. Pull your abs in and curl your head and shoulders up to the tips of the shoulder blades. As you curl up, extend your left leg at a 45-degree angle.
  3. The right leg remains in tabletop position with the right hand grasping the right ankle and the left hand moving to the right knee.
  4. Make sure you maintain your upper-body curve throughout the exercise and keep your shoulders relaxed.
  5. Switch legs up to 10 times. Release the exercise if you are finding tension in your shoulders and neck.
via iSport

5. Swimming

“Swimming” might look easy but it is brings every part of the body into play.

Do it yourself:

  1. Lie on your stomach with the legs straight and together.
  2. Settled your shoulder blades in your back and your shoulders away from your ears, then stretch your arms straight overhead.
  3. Pull your abs in so that you lift your bellybutton up away from the floor.
  4. Reaching out from centre, extend your arms and legs so far in opposite directions that they naturally come up off the floor. At the same time, lengthen in your spine that your head moves up off the mat. Keep your face down toward the mat and don’t strain your neck.
  5. Continue to reach your arms and legs as you alternate right arm/left leg, then left arm/right leg, pumping them up and down in small pulses.
via Movebend
via Movebend

Have you ever tried Pilates before? What is your favourite move?