health

The 5 Pilates exercises that are the holy grail for working out at home.

CorePlus
Thanks to our brand partner, CorePlus

I can't believe it's taken me 30-something (we don't need to go into detail) years to figure out that I don’t have to leave the house to get a quality workout.

Plus, the time saved in travel to and from, no excuses when it’s too hot or too rainy. And the fact that I can do it while the kids are watching a movie, or in and around work breaks. All from the comfort and safety of my own home. 

And I’m not the only one. Aussie online workout businesses like CorePlus Connected have seen a boom in users this year, and they're growing even after lockdown life.

CorePlus Connected offers Pilates, yoga and mindfulness classes you can stream on demand, with more than 200 classes and five new classes added each week.

Maddi Tangey, an instructor for CorePlus Connected, says "often the hardest part of fitting in workouts is the fixed studio schedule and having to be available at a certain time for a class".

"The benefit of online, on-demand classes is having the flexibility do a class whenever you are available," Maddi tells Mamamia.

"CorePlus Connected caters to whether you’re a complete beginner or if you're advanced and you’re looking to step up your fitness routine," Maddi says. "You can get the full studio experience at home."

The other thing I wish hadn’t taken me 30 something years to figure out, is that there is an exercise that promotes strength, muscle development, flexibility, increases the range of motion for the joints, all while improving your posture. And that is Pilates.

"Pilates is a great low-impact workout and is accessible for every level of fitness," Maddi says. “There is always a way to modify or advance each exercise, so you are constantly challenged.

"You often don't need equipment and it requires minimal space so is really adaptable to an at-home environment."

So, I asked Maddi to tell us the top five Pilates exercises that she considers to be the 'holy grail' for at-home workouts and here's what she said.

1. Side-lying clam.

Maddi from CorePlus shows us the side-lying clam. Image: CorePlus Connected. 

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  • Lying on one side of the body, bend your knees so your legs make a triangle, with heels in line with hips, float your feet off the ground and open and close the knees.
  • For a beginner you can start with 12 - 15 repetitions and increase it over time.
  • To advance, you can stay in this position and extend the top leg long, adding pulses on.
  • By adding variations and increasing the amount of time in this position, it will really help to challenge the glutes further, and to layer the workout.

Benefits: It's a low-impact exercise to target and strengthen the glute muscles. It's also highly effective at supporting higher impact workouts like running. Strong glute muscles help to support and stabilise the body and can also reduce lower back pain and support a good posture. 

2. Pilates crunch.

Pilates crunch. Image: Getty 

  • Lying on your back, bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor.
  • For a more advanced version you could float your legs up to a tabletop shape.
  • With fingertips at your temples, curl your upper body up off the floor, keeping a tennis ball sized gap between the chin and chest, eyes gaze over the knees and then slowly curl down.
  • For a beginner you can start with 15 – 20 repetitions and increase it over time.
  • To extend on this you can add a hold at the top, pulses, or mix it up with opposite elbow to knee for rotation to target the obliques.

Benefits: It’s a super simple and effective exercise targeting your core. You can increase the amount of time you are in the exercise, to feel “the burn” through your core, while increasing and challenging your abdominal strength and stamina.

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3. Pilates Hundred.

Maddi does the classic Pilates Hundred. Image: CorePlus Connected 

This is a classical exercise from the original repertoire Joseph Pilates created and it’s about stamina.  

  • Lying on your back, bend your knees, while keeping your feet flat on the floor.
  • Holding a crunch position with your upper body lifted.
  • Press your arms long, down the side of your body, arms hover off the floor with palms facing down.
  • Arms pump up and down with the breath almost like you’re bouncing balls on the ground.
  • Five breaths in and five breaths out for ten rounds to get to one hundred.
  • To advance the exercise you could bring your legs up to a tabletop position or even extend the legs long.

Benefits: Increased abdominal strength and stamina.

4. Plank.

Do your planks from your laptop, or cast to your TV. Image: Getty. 

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  • Hands under the shoulders, feet stepped back, making a long line with the body, head to heels.
  • For beginners you can start down on your knees and work your way up to feet.
  • Drawing the core in and up, squeezing glutes and pushing the floor away, stay in this position for 30 seconds.
  • For a more advanced workout, increase the amount of time you stay in the exercise and you can add mountain climbers, or tapping toes out the side, the variations are endless.

Benefits: It’s a full-body exercise aimed at strengthening and stabilising muscles around the shoulders and the lower back helping to improve posture, upper body, and abdominal strength.

5. Side plank.

Aaaand this is me doing side plank! Image: Annaliese Dent. 

  • Essentially the same as a regular plank, except your body is facing towards one side of the room with one arm up, and one hand under your shoulder on the floor.
  • Stack your feet on top of each other.
  • Lifting-up through your side, hips, and waist, drawing your core in, aim to hold for 30 seconds.
  • Beginner option you could drop your inside knee down, or stagger the feet one in front of the other.
  • To advance the exercise add small pulses of your hips up and down, or hover the top leg up in the air.

Benefits: It’s a core-focused exercise with an oblique and side abdominal focus. This exercise challenges balance and works the core while stabilising hips and shoulders.

As we transition back into 'normal' life, people are not only wanting to continue to get the benefits, but importantly, have the flexibility of at-home workouts. And my prediction? Home workouts are here to stay and might just be a silver lining of our 'new normal'.

Stream 200+ workouts for just $19.99 per month on CorePlus Connected. Start a seven-day free trial now.

Feature image: Getty.

CorePlus
Stream 200+ workouts for just $19.99/month. No matter what you enjoy, or what level you're at, you'll find your fit with CorePlus Connected.
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