When talking about the benefits of Pilates, the first thing that usually comes to mind is its ability to improve strength in the core (the muscles that form a loop around your waist from the base of your rib cage to the crest of your hip). Though this may be the first thing people think of, it’s just the beginning of the list for what Pilates (and other functional training) can do for your body.
One of the most underrated aspects of these types of exercises is the mind-body connection, coordination, and the control it builds. After all, the level of strength you have means nothing in real life situations unless you have control over that strength. By taking your time with each of these movements to keep proper form through each repetition, focusing on getting as full of a range of motion as you can, and focusing on how your body feels while doing these movements, you can effectively improve your ability to know where your body is in space at any given time.
Improving your proprioception (sense of self-movement and body position) improves your coordination, overall efficiency, and control in everyday life activities. This can translate to a lessened likelihood of injury, better sports performance, and in some cases, relief from bodily aches and pains.
With this specific routine, we are focusing less on the core by itself and instead focusing on how the legs and core interact together. This not only engages the core and the legs, but also the pelvic floor, one of the most important (but rarely focused on) muscle groups. This relatively small group of muscles are a massive part of your body’s ability to move and function normally. When they are injured, over toned, under toned, or have strength imbalances, they can cause all kinds of issues...ranging from hip and knee problems, lower back pain, core instability, and even things like incontinence.
In this Pilates workout, we will be performing a range of exercises that require you to not only be able to control your legs and how they are moving, but also require you to control your pelvic floor, core, diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and many more supporting muscle groups. So, go into this with the mindset that we are building foundational control and strength that will improve your ability to effectively do a multitude of other activities—from more challenging workouts, to everyday life activities.
We start into this workout with just a quick check for the way that we’re feeling and breathing, making sure to notice and release any lingering tension in muscles that we shouldn’t be firing at the moment (e.g. frowns, clenched jaws, a tight pelvic floor). Enjoy a few deep belly breaths, using the breath to fill out your torso, your lower stomach, back, and pelvic floor. Slowing down to focus on our breath - even for just a minute - can help coax our bodies into a parasympathetic state (rest, digest, and heal), helping bring more ease to both body and mind. You can use breath work like this at any point in the day, to find more calm.
- Pilates Flow: 35 Seconds Active, 5 Seconds Transition
- No equipment necessary; exercise mat optional, for hard surfaces
- Warm up and cool down not included
Printable Pilates Butt and Thigh Workout
- Deep Belly Breathing
- Side Leg Lift (L&R)
- Up and Back Side Lift
- Clam Shell
- Side Plank
- Kneeling Leg Circles Top
- Kneeling Leg Circles Bottom
- Kneeling Curtsy Lift
- Supine Raise (Alternating)
- Full Body Stretch
This Pilates routine is great as a standalone workout, or you can always add it onto the end or beginning of a strength or HIIT routine. It's great for burning out muscles after a tough workout, or just waking them up after being otherwise sedentary. I hope that you enjoy the quick invitation to take a second to check in with yourself and your breathing, and I hope that you start to work this small, short mindfulness practice into your day at random times in order to bring yourself a little peace and calm.
Thank you for working out with me!