Although famous for its core and abdominal workouts, the Pilates method offers a diversity of lower body sculpting workouts. Although some of the exercises resemble those performed in traditional programs, in Pilates, it’s not just what you do but how you do it that makes it so effective. You won’t be performing mindless repetitions. In Pilates, adherence to the method’s basic principles always takes priority.
The Pilates Stance
During a Pilates session, you will often engage your legs and butt muscles whilst working other muscle groups. The Pilates stance makes this happen. Similar to the first position in ballet, it involves extending your legs, externally rotating them at the hip socket, and pressing your heels and inner thighs against each other. This position, often used during the Pilates abdominal exercise series, also targets your adductors and gluteus medius.
The Magic of the Circle
Nobody knows if Joe Pilates was drunk or sober when the metal ring around a beer keg inspired him to make a new piece of exercise apparatus, but it certainly was an innovative idea. Composed of a flexible metal with pads on the inside and outside, the Pilates magic circle adds intensity to the basic lower body mat exercises. Even more important, the Pilates fitness circle teaches you how to isometrically contract and voluntarily engage your leg and glute muscles, thereby adhering to the Pilates principle of control.
The Mat Work Exercises
The Pilates mat work forms the groundwork of the Pilates exercise system. As you perform each of the leg and butt exercises, the muscles of your powerhouse stabilize yor body and maintain your postural alignment.
The Side-Lying Series
When you perform the Pilates side-lying series in mat classes, your top leg works your abductors and gluteus medius, whilst your bottom leg targets your adductors. Common Pilates side-lying exercises might involve lifting one or both of your legs, bending and straightening your legs, turning out your leg at the hip socket or performing leg circles.
The Prone Exercises
The prone exercises use hip extension movements to activate your butt and hamstrings. If lying on your stomach causes discomfort, your Clinical Pilates practitioner might have you perform these exercise whilst lying prone on a stability ball.
The Pilates apparatus adds a new dimension to lower body training. These brilliantly-designed machines will add resistance to some of the exercises, whilst assisting with those that are difficult to perform on the mat.
The Pilates Reformer
Characterized by its iconic spring and pulley system, the Pilates reformer works in concert with a gliding carriage. Resistance is controlled by adding or subtracting springs, adjusting the carriage range of motion, or both. For leg power, your instructor might add the jump board to the reformer, which facilitates a modified form of plyometrics.
Exercises on the Cadillac range from easy to advanced. The easiest exercises simply add pulley and spring resistance to the supine mat exercises. As you gain strength and skill, your clinical Pilates your instructor might teach you to perform similar exercises, with your hips lifted from the table. The Cadillac also elevates the side leg raise series to a whole new level.
The Pilates chair consists of a seat, and a pedal, with springs attached for resistance. It differs from the other apparatus, in that it allows a series of standing, weight bearing exercises, which simultaneously target the hamstrings, glutes and quads. The chair is perfect for women concerned about osteoporosis, and for athletes looking for sport-specific movements.
These are just a few ideas. Your Pilates practitioner can show you others.
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