Examples of Pilates Floor Exercises

Compared to yoga, Pilates is the new kid on the block in terms of exercise techniques. Pilates incorporates muscle control and toning, breathing and spine alignment, but whereas yoga uses the whole body to emphasize stretching and meditation, Pilates uses targeted exercises for muscle groups such as the abs and buttocks. Most Pilates floor exercises can be done right from the comfort of your own home.

Bridging

Bridging is one of the most basic and fundamental Pilates floor exercises. It focuses on strengthening the abs and stretching the lower back muscles. To perform the bridging technique, lie on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the floor as if you were to do sit-ups. Focus on contracting your ab muscles and relaxing your buttocks. Slowly lift your hips off the ground straight up into the air. Roll your lower back up in the air until only your upper back is touching the floor as you simultaneously relax your abdominal muscles. Hold this pose for three seconds, then slowly roll your lower back down onto the floor, then your buttocks. Repeat this routine slowly six times, focusing on contracting and relaxing your abs.

Teaser

For a great ab workout that also helps you focus on proper spine alignment, try an exercise known as the teaser. Lie on your back on the floor with your arms extended above your head and your feet together. Slowly raise your upper body off the floor, bending at the waist. At the same time, keep your legs straight and together and lift them off the floor as well. This should form a V shape with your entire body. Bring your arms out straight in front of you as you form the V. Once you are in position, lower your legs to the ground and then back up into the V position slowly. Repeat this eight times. Lower your back and legs to the floor as your bring your hands back up over your head. Repeat this entire exercise six times.

Hip Circles

Hip circles are a great exercise not only for toning the abs, but also for stretching muscles and as a cool down routine. To perform hip circles, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and together. Place your arms back behind you, bracing the floor for support. Sit back on your hands so your back is slightly past perpendicular to the floor. While contracting your abdominal muscles, raise your legs up in the air so your body forms a V shape, much like the teaser. Move your legs in a large circle using your hips; keep your feet together. You can perform large circles or a series of small circles. Do this for 30 seconds, then return your legs to the floor.

About this Author

James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President’s Cancer Panel, and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter, with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports, and writes relevant sports titles.