Top Exercises to Improve your Pilates

Pilates is a popular form of exercise that focuses on strengthening the core muscles, improving flexibility, and promoting overall body awareness. It is a low-impact workout that is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. However, like any other form of exercise, Pilates performance can be improved with some simple tips and techniques.

Physiotherapists often recommend Pilates because it is a low-impact form of exercise that focuses on core strength, flexibility, and balance. Pilates exercises can be modified to suit the individual's specific needs and abilities, making it a great option for people with varying levels of fitness or those recovering from injury or surgery. That’s why we offer Pilates at Surrey Physio.

  1. Consistency: to see improvement in your Pilates performance, consistency is key. It is important to practice Pilates regularly to build strength, flexibility, and endurance. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Even if you can only devote a few minutes a day, regular practice will help you progress.
  2. Focus on Proper Form: Proper form is essential in Pilates. It is important to pay attention to your posture, alignment, and breathing. Correct alignment helps to activate the correct muscles, while proper breathing helps to engage the core muscles and oxygenate the body. Focus on quality over quantity and take the time to perfect your form.
  3. Challenge Yourself: To improve your Pilates performance, it is important to challenge yourself. If a particular exercise feels easy, try adding resistance or increasing the number of repetitions. Alternatively, try more advanced variations of the exercises you already know. Challenging yourself will help you to build strength and increase your endurance.
  4. Incorporate Variety: Incorporating variety into your Pilates practice can help you to see improvement in your performance. Try different types of Pilates, such as mat Pilates, reformer Pilates, or Pilates with props. Additionally, switch up your routine by adding new exercises or sequences. Variety will help to keep your practice interesting and challenging.
  5. Set Goals: Setting goals is an effective way to improve your Pilates performance. Whether your goal is to increase your flexibility, build strength, or perfect a particular exercise, having a clear objective will help to keep you motivated and focused. Set achievable goals and track your progress to stay on track.
  6. Listen to Your Body: It is important to listen to your body when practicing Pilates. If you feel pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Pushing through pain can lead to injury and setbacks. Additionally, be mindful of any limitations you may have and modify exercises accordingly. Pilates can be adapted to suit individual needs and abilities.
  7. Take Rest Days: Rest is an essential component of any exercise routine. Taking rest days allows your body time to recover and rebuild. It also helps to prevent burnout and injury. Incorporate rest days into your schedule and use them to focus on recovery, such as stretching or foam rolling.
  8. Practise Pilates with Surrey Physio, we have qualified Pilates instructors who can help you reach your potential. We run small classes to ensure you have a personalised approach. Most of our Pilates instructors are also qualified physiotherapist or osteopaths, meaning they can adapt around your needs.
  9. Try our top 5 exercises for Pilates. Read on…

Pilates Four-point kneeling

Kneel on all fours on the mat. Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, with your knees beneath your hips. Lengthen your arms, but avoid locking your elbows. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted. As you exhale, tilt your pelvis backwards allowing your lower back to round. As you inhale, lengthen your spine and tilt your pelvis forward, allowing your back to arch slightly. A neutral position is neither tucked nor arched. Do not allow your head to drop below the level of your spine.

Pilates Shoulder bridge 3

Start position is shoulder bridge level one, with a neutral pelvis and the spine rolled away from the mat. Inhale to prepare, exhale to lengthen and straighten your leg. Avoid tilting the pelvis. Inhale and fold your leg back to the mat, ready to repeat on the opposite leg. Exhale, as you roll the spine down vertebra by vertebra to finish.

Pilates Oblique roll up

Adopt the seated start position, with your feet on the floor, legs parallel and knees bent. Lift both arms upwards in front of you in line with your shoulders. Inhale to prepare, and exhale rolling off your sitting bones to curve the lower spine tilting the pelvis backwards. Then, turn your upper body to one side allowing your head and arm to follow the movement on that side. Keep the opposite arm facing forwards. Inhale and return back to the starting position, bringing the arm and head back to the midline and lengthening the spine so you roll back onto your sit bones.

Pilates Table top in four-point stance

Kneel on all fours on the mat. Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, with your knees between your hips. Exhale as you slide one leg behind you, keeping it in line with your hip and your pelvis in neutral. Keep your foot pointed and maintain contact with the floor. Inhale as you lengthen and lift your leg to hip height. At the same time raise your opposite arm forwards to shoulder height. Exhale as you lower your leg to the floor and return your arm back to the starting position.

Pilates Hundreds 2

Adopt the supine start position. Exhale as you float one leg in the air so the hip and knee are at 90 degrees. Take five deep breaths, and as you exhale for the fifth time, slowly return the leg to the start position. It is optional to lift your arms from the floor, pulsing as in level 1. As you exhale, slowly return to the start position.

Pilates: Side Bend part 1

Start position is lying on your side resting on your elbow which sits directly underneath your shoulder. You knees are bent to 90 degrees and the hips are slightly bent. Lift your underneath waist and ribcage, and make sure your hips and knees are stacked. Your neck is long and aligned with the rest of your spine with your top arm lying along the topside of the trunk. Inhale to prepare, and exhale to lift your underneath hip and pelvis from the floor forming an Oblique line from your head to your knees. At the same time, float your top arm up towards the ceiling forming an arc. Inhale to hold, and exhale as you control your outer hip and pelvis to the floor along with your top arm.

Improving your Pilates performance requires consistency, proper form, challenging yourself, incorporating variety, setting goals, listening to your body, and taking rest days. With dedication and effort, Pilates can help you to build strength, flexibility, and overall body awareness. We run Pilates classes at Surrey Physio so call us to find out more. Remember to live life and have fun!

Pilates Classes at Surrey Physio

Our therapists run Pilates classes that include one-to-one, or max 7 to-one mat pilates classes where you get the individual care in a group class. We offer Pilates at Croydon Physio, Carshalton/Sutton, Balham Physio, and Farnborough Physio. You can find our prices here. For more information and to book, please call 020 8685 6930 or email [email protected]

We also offer Reformer Pilates at Back in Shape in Croydon - find out more about this here.

(Therapists reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).