Ah, Pilates…the ever-flowing, all-knowing, muscle-growing powerhouse of a workout. The best Pilates classes do so many things at the same time, it’s just silly: they deliver an amazing core-crushing workout, center your spirit through mindful breathing, and not to mention tone your body head to toe! If you haven’t been able to tell already, we at Studio SWEAT onDemand are absolutely enamored with Pilates. How much, you ask? Let us count the ways!
The Benefits of Pilates Classes
Pilates classes offer a plethora of amazing advantages for your mind, body, and soul. Here’s a condensed list of them:
- Increased Core Strength: The core is the central support system for your entire body, helping stabilize, strengthen, and support you during many of your daily movements. And Pilates concentrates on this area better than perhaps any other exercise!
- Better Posture: We all know we should stand up straight, and here’s why: improper posture can lead to a host of injuries and problems down the road. But Pilates is great at strengthening a lot of postural muscles that tend to go unnoticed.
- Decreased Back Pain: If you suffer from the morning grunts, the evening “ooomph’s” and the cold-weathers “ugh’s”, Pilates may be just what you need.
- Injury Prevention: Pilates is terrific at balancing the muscles of the body, making sure they’re all properly warmed and relaxed — nothing too weak and loose, or tight and strained.
- Mindfulness: The heavy focus of breathing during Pilates boosts your blood circulation, oxygen capacity, and mood-lifting hormones.
- Expanded Flexibility: You increase your body’s flexibility slowly and surely, pushing yourself ever-further at a snail’s pace. Sound like anything familiar? Yup, Pilates does that too!
- Improved Immunity: Research has shown that a good Pilates routine can actually improve your immune system activity, by increasing your blood circulation.
- Cognitive Function: Are we saying that Pilates can make you smarter? Yup! Studies have also been shown that the exercises are responsible for new neuron development, blood flow to the brain, and memory function.
Where to Find the Best Online Pilates Classes
Now that we’ve run through everything we love about Pilates, where do you find a never-ending resource of online Pilates classes? Well, right here at Studio SWEAT onDemand, of course! We offer a full Pilates Class Library, with the biggest variety you’re going to find. We’ve got straight up Pilates floor workouts, Pilates & Cardio Fusion classes, Cycling & Pilates combos, Postpartum Pilates…yeah, basically every possible variation you could imagine!
Creating Your Own At-Home Pilates Workout
One of the (many) brilliant aspects of Pilates is that it requires little-to-no equipment. Which means that it’s tailor-made to be done at home. To help you craft the perfect home Pilates class, we’ve collected some of our favorite Pilates movements. Feel free to try them out, mix them up, whatever works for you — just be prepared for lots and lots of SWEAT.
Pilates One Hundred
We start this online Pilates workout with an absolute classic. Laying on your mat, lift your legs off the mat while pressing your lower back into the ground (advanced legs will be straight, but to start, having bend at the knees is a great regression), then lift your chest to raise your head off the ground keeping your chin up, being sure not to strain your neck. Place your hands at the sides of your hips and pump them steadily up and down. Breathe in for five pumps and out for the next five. Do this pattern ten times.
The well known Criss Cross is an excellent way to aim your attention to your oblique muscles, at the sides of your core. Laying flat on your back, place your fingers gently on the back of your neck. Extend both legs in front of you, slightly raised, and bring one knee to the opposite side, getting as close as you comfortably can to your elbow. Try 10 to 20 on each side, and the slower the better.
Bird Dogs are oh so much fun, and oh so effective at blasting your core, as well as upper and lower muscle groups! Starting on all fours, lift one arm out in front of you, at the same time as extending the opposite leg behind you. Repeat for 10 to 20 times on each side, and to spice it up you can add ankle or wrist weights.
HUNDREDS OF BODY-SCULPTING CLASSES | Sign up for your 7-day free trial now!
Like the Pilates One Hundred already discussed, the Scissor Kick is an amazing Pilates movement that strengthens the core simply in the act of stabilizing yourself. Laying flat on your back, with your hands tucked underneath your tush, elevate both legs and begin to drop one as you raise the other. Repeat this kick for two sets of 20.
The Side Plank is an amazing way to target those hard-to-work, easy-to-forget abdominal muscles, not to mention improve upper body strength in general, as well as balance. Starting in a plank position, slowly shift your body weight to one side, resting your top foot on the outer corner of the lower foot. Keeping your arms straight, lift one arm directly overhead of you. Bring this back down and shift to the other side. If this is too much, you can do this with your lower arm resting on your forearm.
The V-Sit is another classic Pilates movement that is sure to get your core fired up. We’re talking the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and hip flexors at the same time. The key to doing a proper and powerful V-sit is the speed at which you do it – take it slow! From a lying position, bring your feet and arms up and in front of you, so that your torso forms the shape of a V. Hold the top position for a couple seconds and then gently come down again. Repeat five times. Note the bent-knee regression option seen in the picture above. You can start there, and as you gain strength, you can start to straighten the legs. As you progress, try to hold the position for longer each time.
Slow Mountain Climber
Next up, we’ve got one of our favorite Pilates exercises ever — the slow Mountain Climber! Normally, these bodyweight exercises give us a cardio explosion when we’re working out sans equipment. But when you slow them down to a crawl, they’re a highly effective Pilates core exercise! Keep your arms locked, and your back in a straight line, and lift one knee under your body until beneath the core/chest, then bring back to starting position and switch sides. Try this for three sets of ten on each side.
Rounding out the best online Pilates workout is the Pelvic Curl. This easy and yet not-so-easy Pilates exercise involves the glutes and core simultaneously, in a symphony of midsection magic. Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor, and lift your hips slowly upwards. You’ll want to come to about a 45-degree angle, careful to keep your back, butt, and legs in a straight line. Hold this position for ten seconds, focusing on your breathwork, and then come back down again. Try for ten repetitions.
Well we hope our home Pilates workout serves you well, and helps you get to the core of your health and fitness! And if you’re hungry for more fantastic fitness guidance, sign up for a 7-Day Free Trial with us! In addition to tons of Pilates classes, we at Studio SWEAT onDemand offer endless streaming fitness classes including Indoor Cycling, HIIT, TRX, Yoga, Kickboxing, Barre, and tons more! Sign up today and let’s get sweating!BODY-SCULPTING WORKOUTS. NON-STOP NEW RELEASES | Pick Your All Access Pass Now!