As you are going to your regular classes or gym sessions, you obviously want to get the benefits that come with it. You want to lose weight or get stronger, or bigger, or healthier, or all of the above. Sometimes you fail, or even worse, you cause an injury to yourself. I am here to help you achieve your goals. It is very important to do each Pilates exercise correctly and with precision. So let’s do it right! How to do Pilates? I want to teach you how to do certain pilates exercises right here on this page. I want to highlight a few important moments and point out some mistakes which a lot of my clients made in the beginning. The following article will help you learn the right habits of positioning your body in order to get the maximum benefits from your workout and can even help to prevent injuries.
The Most Common Mat Pilates Mistakes
Let’s take a look at the basic Mat Pilates exercises and learn how to do them in a proper way.
Very simple, but even here we can mess-up. Rising your heels up, distribute your weight evenly throughout the bones of your toes. If you feel that one leg is stronger then the another, or you can see the difference in your calf muscles, do one leg at a time.
Weight should be on your heels and it is very important to hold your knees over your feet. Your knees are not supposed to move in or out, but instead should be pointing in the same direction as your toes. Make sure you can see your toes if you look down, do not send your knees forward. The spine should be in the neutral position the entire time, engage your core to help you keep it neutral. Never lean forward too much, just enough to keep your balance. Knees should be at a 90-degree angle or lower. If you begin to feel any pain in your knees do not attempt to go lower than the 90-degree angle and drop the weights (if you are using them).
Weight on your heels. Your front knee should be directly over your heel. Back is straight, spine in a neutral position. One more thing, no one ever pays attention to their hips while doing lunges. This is a huge mistake! Watch yourself in the mirror or put your hands on the hipbones, and make sure that your hips are lined up and square.
Side leg series
Even though you are on your side, you must hold your spine in a neutral position. That means that your neck is lined up with your back (put your arm, a pillow or a block under your head), shoulder over your other shoulder, your hip over another hip, and your abs are tight. Women should have a space between their waist and the mat. As for men, it is not necessary to have this space. Think about engaging your core. Imagine that you are frozen in a standing position and put you on your side. When you move your legs try to stabilize your hips.
Here it is very important to hold a neutral spine and never EVER arch your back. If you find it hard to control your hips, shift to imprinted back. Lower your legs down just until the point where you are not moving your hips. You can check yourself by holding hands on your hipbones, they should remain steady. If you are still moving your hips and it is still too hard, put your hands or pads under your gluts.
Whether you are doing an articulation bridge or just a regular bridge, the rules are the same. Never roll on your neck and keep your shoulder blades down on the mat. Do not arch your back and hold the neutral spine. If you feel any back pain, you can simply tuck-in your pelvis. Engage your core and hold your abs in. Make sure that your ribcage doesn’t stick out even at the highest point of your bridge.
I see that a lot of people are using the neck more than abs during crunches. What you actually need to do is to use your abs. Lower your ribcage down and toward your hips by contracting your rectus abdominal (long muscles where you can see the “6 pack”). Do you feel like your shoulder blades lift off of the mat? All you need to do now is just allow your shoulders to go up. As a result, your head will go up as well, but keep holding your neck on one line with your spine, don’t tuck your chin.
Start by sitting on the top of your sit bones while keeping nice posture. First move your hips, tuck your pelvis in (the same way as you would doing the bridge with articulation). After that, start to roll your torso down slowly, controlling one vertebra at a time. When your head touches the mat, inhale. Now you are ready to roll up: first engage your abs, lower your ribcage down toward your hips, let your shoulder blades and head go up and keep rolling your spine up to the starting position.
Do the plank in your spine in neutral position or flat back. No arching in your lower back! I personally prefer to do planks with flat back, I believe it helps to engage the core. Scoop your belly in and up, tuck your pelvis in and squeeze your gluts. Make sure that your shoulders are not sticking out, keep them flat with your back. Don’t drop your hips down or lift your hips too high. Keep them on one level with your spine.
Now you know how to do Pilates exercises right. Be strong and healthy! Workout anytime and everywhere. And most importantly: do it right!