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These exercises are timeless and help build bodies, minds, and spirits to be efficient and functional. They make up the backbone of Pilates.
The original Pilates program included 34 exercises, and within all of those exercises, there is a handful considered essential.
Curious? Keep reading...
If you know you want to deepen your knowledge of these basic exercises to take your Pilates career to the next level, you can help others and yourself today through our Level 3 Pilates diploma.
Just as in life, Pilates begins with the breath. Joseph Pilates knew our bodies, and our abdominals functioned better with deeper, fuller breaths. To encourage lateral breathing, as you inhale, you will fill your belly, ribcage, and chest completely in all directions, including the sides! And as you exhale, squeeze all of the air out completely to activate the core.
The Hundred is as foundational as it gets. Here is where we really begin to use the concept of the abdominal scoop along with the breath, connecting it all together. It is also a rhythmic exercise, emphasized through the pumping of the arms, which is why it is done primarily at the beginning of a session- to get the heart rate up right away!
For a modified version, it can be performed with the feet on the floor or in tabletop position, otherwise, the full variation is with the legs angled straight out at 45 degrees. This means this exercise is accessible to all!
With the Roll-Up, the theme of spinal articulation combined with abdominal control is introduced. This is often a challenging exercise for beginners because their core is not strong enough. To prevent injury, they need to modify with the knees bent and take it slowly, or you can start this exercise from seated and layer to the floor gradually before rolling up, only going to the point that you can maintain control and keep your feet in contact with the floor
This is a preparatory exercise for the Swan-Prep and Swan Dive exercises, which are more advanced. To perform this exercise, simply lie on the belly and lift the upper half of the body off the mat. While it sounds simple, it's important to maintain core stability and breath control to remain safe and progress toward the advanced exercises.