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Beginner Pilates: 3 Pilates exercises for beginners


Would you like to try Pilates for the first time or vary the exercises in your exercise sessions? There are many reasons to try this famous discipline. Over and above gains in muscle tone and flexibility, numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of Beginner Pilates postures.


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Your Pilates warm-up for beginners


So, where should you start practising this gentle form of gymnastics? In reality, it's sometimes difficult to classify Pilates positions as Beginner Pilates, advanced or expert. It depends on your sporting background, your body type and a whole host of other parameters. That said, we've chosen to present you with 3 basic Pilates exercises, which you can reproduce using a simple floor mat.


Are you ready to discover our list of exercises and start your impromptu Pilates class? Hep hep hep, not so fast! Before starting your Pilates sport session, you need to warm up properly. The ideal warm-up is above all a personal one. You can take inspiration from Pilates guides or YouTube videos. But the most important thing is to listen to your body. We advise you to avoid static stretching during your Pilates warm-up.


Instead, perform a few mobility movements for each muscle group. Once you've got your body going, do some dynamic stretching, jumping jacks or a bit of skipping rope. Finally, we suggest you finish by doing one or two repetitions of the exercises from your session, with the easiest variant. Remember also to concentrate on your breathing throughout your warm-up.

In fact, a systematic review by the University of Queensland in Australia suggests, for example, that Pilates exercises are useful for people suffering from chronic low-back pain. The best time to start practising Pilates is now!

1 - The Hundred: the Beginner Pilates for abs of steel

The Hundred is perfect if you're looking for a Beginner Pilates ab exercise for beginners. It's a short, toning movement that will get your abdominal muscles firing. Typically, a beginner or advanced Pilates class will give you this exercise for 10 repetitions. This is where the name ‘Hundred’ comes from.


You repeat 10 arm beats 10 times. Of course, we advise you to adapt your Pilates practice to your level and how you feel. To get maximum results from your beginners' Pilates class, try to reach this goal all the same. If necessary, consider modulating the difficulty of your Pilates session by using variations.


The starting position


For this Beginner Pilates Pilates position, start by lying on your back on your Pilates, gym or yoga mat (we recommend a fairly thick mat). Breathe out once, raising your head and upper back. Breathe out again, raising your legs to a position at right angles to your knees. Finally, place your arms at your sides.

How the exercise works

While maintaining your position and keeping your abdominal muscles engaged, you are now going to make small up and down movements with your arms. The aim is to hold your series without touching the ground or losing your position. You're going to try to do a series of 10 strokes, timing them to your breathing:


  • 5 claps as you inhale

  • 5 claps as you exhale

Variations on the ‘Hundred

Does this Pilates exercise to strengthen your abs seem too easy? Try spicing up your home exercise class by stretching your legs and pushing upwards. If you can do it without any problems, make it more complex. Try, for example, holding your legs at 45 degrees. Sensations guaranteed!

The ‘Spine Stretch’: an effective spinal stretch for beginners


The Spine Stretch is an excellent stretching position for Beginner Pilates. This Pilates exercise also serves to strengthen your abdominal muscles. In her guide Basic Challenge 10, Pilates teacher Emily Mazo-Rizzi, a member of the Fédération des Professionnels de la Méthode Pilates (FPMP), suggests between 5 and 8 repetitions. Once again, use variations to personalise your beginners' Pilates class.


The starting position


Start in a seated position on your mat. Straighten your legs and spread them out, following your pelvis. Then pull your toes towards you, as if you were trying to push against an invisible wall. Now stretch your arms out in front of you, in line with your shoulders. Keep your back straight and try to make yourself taller. Then turn the palms of your hands to face each other.


How the exercise works


Exhale as you stretch your back forward. Let your head follow your movement naturally. If you're flexible enough, try looking down at your knees during your Pilates stretch. Keep your abs contracted as you hold this position. Then inhale deeply as you slowly return your body to its original position. Then repeat this movement gently to reach your number of repetitions.


Marching : strengthening your hips gently with Pilates


Our 3rd Pilates exercise for beginners focuses on the legs, hips and abs. Depending on your level and the content of your Pilates for beginners session, this position can also be used as a warm-up for more advanced movements. We recommend between 5 and 10 repetitions, depending on how you feel and your level. Always choose quality over quantity!


The starting position


Start by lying on your back alongside your floor mat. Bend your legs, bringing them towards you. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your legs apart, in line with your pelvis. Your palms are also facing the floor, with your arms relaxed at your sides.


How the exercise works


Gently lift your head, neck and shoulders off your fitness or yoga mat. Stretch your arms alongside your body, level with your abdominal muscles. Then raise your legs, forming a right angle with your knees (90°). Keep your ankles and knees well aligned, and remember to keep your abs contracted.


Take it in turns to bend each leg, as if you were trying to touch the ground with your toes. Inhale as you descend, and exhale as you return to your starting position.


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