Train your core with Pilates basics videos for beginners

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From the outside, the Pilates mat can look like a lot of lying down movements or like a confusing series of limb movements. All that lifting, lowering, and vibration is supposed to be working?

Trainers know that most Pilates exercises, big or small, impact your muscles in not-so-obvious ways. That’s because coordinating your breath with movement is an integral part of the workout, challenging your core—and other muscle groups—with each inhalation and exhalation.

East River Pilates Pilates instructor Brian Spencer explains, “We are awakening the deep core by exhaling and inhaling it.

In this new 25-minute video, Spencer walks us through a comprehensive Pilates workout designed for beginners as well as the experienced. He starts with the foundation of the Pilates mat: the ability to find your pelvis neutral and thus engage your core. But what does that really mean?

“When we find your neutral pelvis, that means your pelvis and tailbone are stacked with a small gap under your lower back,” says Spencer. Helpfully, he adds that your pubic bone is located a few fingers away from your navel.

Once you’ve got a feel for your basic core position, if you find the key moves a bit confusing, Spencer shares some common variations that can be a useful starting point.

For example, to work with a tabletop, you can start with a heel slide. This involves lying on your back with a neutral pelvis. Then, you lift your toes, where the hamstrings work, pull your feet in and out. This simulates the movement of raising and lowering your legs at the top of the table without the extra weight needed to keep your feet off the floor.

“I like a good heel guide,” says Spencer. “It’s an extremely effective exercise for building breath-abdominal coordination.”

Spencer walks us through the same ways to do classic Pilates moves like roll up and roll down, forearm and side plank, etc. But really, once you’ve mastered neutral pelvis, the world mat Pilates is your oyster.


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