Practicing Pilates at home is an excellent way to enhance the benefits, increase your overall strength, and improve your Pilates practice. In fact, in an article published on Porch.com, our very own Cat Braithwaite explains, “On the Mat, it’s the perfect total-body home workout, providing strengthening, stretching, and coordinated breathwork. Small props, like the Wheel of Fitness (the Pilates Circle) and light weights, can be added to the workout for more intensity and variety.” However, just like in the studio, it’s important to do each movement properly and a safe and effective workout.
How Home Helps
Group classes at the Pilates studio are a good way to work out and cost-effectively improve your practice. Likewise, private Pilates sessions provide expert tuition that will help you achieve great results.
No matter how you use a Pilates studio, however, there are many advantages to adding a Pilates program at home.
- Increase your strength
- Maintain flexibility
- Improve concentration and focus
- Identify areas where you need guidance
- Practice consistency
At-Home Exercises to Practice
There are both Pilates exercises and basic exercises that you can do at home that will help improve your overall practice. If you’re at all unsure about how to do a particular activity, ask your Pilates instructor! At Sheppard Method Pilates, we are always available to offer expert and thoughtful advice for your level of experience to keep you healthy, safe, and enjoying Pilates.
- Proper Push-Up
To improve overall fitness and increase upper body and shoulder strength (great for Pilates!), it’s key to have a good push-up technique. You should be familiar with the Pilates push-up where you assume a stable plank position and the upper arms stay close to the body as you move up and down.
Add this simple exercise to your daily home routine and be sure to keep your body in a firm planked position, don’t pinch your shoulder blades together, and breathe! If you need to have your knees on the floor, no problem, simply keep your upper body stable. Even doing push-ups against the wall will increase your strength and improve your Pilates moves.
- Home Hundred
We know that the core is king in Pilates. The Hundred is a great, safe exercise that can easily be incorporated into a home workout to improve core muscle tone plus improve glute and back strength. This exercise offers whole-body conditioning but is also good at helping you enhance coordination of your breath with the Pilates movement, which is essential for all exercises.
Lie on your back on a mat or cushioned rug and bring knees toward your chest. As you lift your head, neck, shoulders, and upper back off the mat, stretch hands by your side with palms down. Extend legs to a 45-degree angle, keeping heels together and toes apart. Pump arms up and down while breathing in and out through your nose.
- Squat Strength
Lower body strength is another area where home exercise can offer improvement that will, in turn, help your Pilates practice. Not only do squats help build leg muscles, but they also create an environment and stimulation that promotes whole-body toning and muscle building, which improves balance and helps prevent injury. There aren’t many exercises that offer comprehensive fitness like squats!
The technique is important with squats so be sure your body weight is even on both heels with knees aligned and over your instep arches. Don’t allow your knees to overextend beyond your feet. Slightly tuck in your pelvis as you lower down with your weight on your heels. Hold up your spine and upper body (no slouching or bending over) and lift your eyes as you lower.
- Morning Meditation
Pilates is at its best when the mind and body are connected, and movement is deliberate. Improving your concentration and focus can help tune your breathing, clear your mind, and train your body to accept the positive changes Pilates can bring.
Practicing simple meditation in the morning offers a great start to each day either lying down or sitting up comfortably. Close your eyes and let your breathing come naturally. Focus your attention just on your breath and how your body moves with each inhale and exhale. Your mind will wander and, when you notice this, bring it back to the act of breathing. Meditation can also be practiced throughout the day by observing thoughts without judgment.
Are you interested in Pilates, improving your Pilates practice, or learning exercises you can try at home? You are welcome to call Sheppard Method Pilates at (310) 470-2828 or visit our studio to learn how Pilates can enhance your life!