Probably the most well known exercise is The Hundred which Pilates taught with both feet pointed only 2 inches above the floor. This is a very advanced position and should only be attempted after many hours of learning and performing this exercise at modified levels. Pictured here, the Hundred is being performed at an intermediate level with the legs bent and the head lifted. The purpose and benefit of this exercise is to strengthen the abdominals (core), the legs, hips, and the shoulders and neck. The particular breathing pattern adopted will improve and enhance circulation. All in all a very effective exercise!
The Roll Up is an original Pilates exercise which again is considered an advanced exercise only to be attempted by experienced participants. However there are different levels of this exercise starting with the one pictured here which most people can perform at an early stage of their Pilates journey. The purpose and benefit of this exercise is to strengthen the abdominals (core), the muscles at the side of the body and the legs and will stabilize the spine and shoulder blades. Everyone enjoys this exercise as progress can be achieved quite quickly and visibly!
The Shoulder Bridge, a fabulous exercise to increase spinal mobility, is another favourite. There are many versions of this move and there is a level to suit everyone. Pictured here is a very advanced level where one leg is lifted and lowered whilst still in the Bridge position. The purpose and benefit of the Shoulder Bridge is to strengthen abdominals (core), legs and to stabilize the pelvis, the spine and the shoulder blades.
The Roll Down is a warm up exercise for the spine and the backs of the legs. Everyone finds this a great way of off loading stress as the breathing patterns are reasonably easy to follow. Performed correctly with concentration and care people find that each time they return to their optimum posture standing they look and feel taller. This is a good exercise to do with care if your back is feeling a bit tweaky but make sure you are warm and focused on your movement pattern.
To see The History of Joseph Pilates click here