Pilates For Beginners – What Is It, How To Do, And Benefits.

5 easy pilates for beginners Jun 28, 2018

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates. It is a physical fitness exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility, muscular strength and endurance movements. Pilates is a combination of approximately 50 simple, repetitive exercises to create muscular exertion. These exercises are designed to improve posture and balance.

It is designed to tone the body, strengthen the muscles, increase flexibility and agility, improve posture, and increase concentration skills. The movements require physical control, mental focus, and special breathing that are supposed to help your mind and body work together.


You need:-

  1. Space- You need a large open space and a flat surface. Living room or bedroom will work if you move lighter furniture and can make enough space for you.
  2. Exercise mat- Prefer the foamed mats (yoga mats).The foam surface provides grip, making it easier to hold poses, and preventing you from injuring yourself or pulling a muscle.
  3. Comfortable and stretchable clothes- Stretchy, breathable fabrics and comfortable clothes are preferred that allow you to move freely at the same time avoid wearing loose or too long clothes that you could get caught in or trip on.
  4. Proper breathing technique- It is important to learn controlled breathing in pilates which helps you concentrate, oxygenates the blood, and also helps you coordinate movements of muscles. Follow this-
  • Lie flat on your back with your neck straight and relaxed.
  • Place one hand on your ribs and one on your lower abs.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, pushing air into your abdomen and filling your ribcage.
  • Exhale through the mouth and push the air out by contracting your abdominal muscles.
  • Continue inhaling and exhaling in this way.

‘The 100’ is designed to get the blood pumping and warm you up; it means inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts. Do this ten times. You can start with 50 i.e. inhale five counts and exhale five counts for 5 times.



  1. Single-Leg Circles    

In this, you’ll learn how to keep your abs engaged, even when you’re moving your legs.

TIP- For first-timers: It may help to bend your non-circling leg, rather than keeping it flat on the mat. This will help you engage the core and align your hips.

How to do?

Lie down on the mat, shoulders down, ribs down, and extend your right leg straight up to the sky, with the left leg bent, foot flat on the floor

(a). Circle your right leg across your body to your left shoulder, then back around to your right shoulder, stop at your nose.

(b). Repeat five times, then reverse, and switch legs.

  1. Single-Leg Teaser

The single-leg teaser is an easy way to get the body prepared for the more advanced regular Pilates in which both legs are extended in the air. Mastering the single-leg teaser first will help you learn how to find and maintain proper form.

How to do?

Lying on your back, keep your feet in closer together, with your legs at a longer angle (not just near your hands)

(a). Extend one leg out, tightly hugging your inner thighs and knees together

(b). Reach your fingers for your toes. Start to slowly round your body up reaching for those toes

(c). Roll down only to your shoulder tips, come right back up and reach

(d). Repeat four times. Place that foot down, send the other one out, and repeat 4 times.

  1. Criss-Cross

This will help you see your abdominals and make sure they are probably engaging while in a way imitating the action of having the head and neck up.

Remember, you only want to use this modification for moves that require your head and neck to curl up, not any exercises where you’re lying flat on the ground.

How to do? 

Lay on your back, knees pulled into your chest, hands supporting the base of your head

(a). Extend your right leg straight in front of you, left leg remains bent. Twist towards your left leg, holding for three counts

(b). Switch, extending your left leg straight, pulling your right knee into your body. Spiral your chest towards the right knee, holding for three counts.

(c). Repeat twice. Then, do the move faster for four more full rotations (once on each side).

  1. Saw

If you tend to avoid traditional abs work (like crunches), this move might be your new to-do. This exercise helps you open and stretch the shoulders and upper back. This is a must-do for beginners because it establishes a proper base and form for the body. It also builds strength, while giving a good stretch.

How to do?

Sit up, legs spread as wide as a yoga mat

(a). With your arms straight out to your sides, twist to your left

(b). Stretch your right hand towards your left foot, pulsing three times

(c). Roll up in the twist, untwist, and return to center. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat once more on each side.

  1. Mermaid

This stretch gives much-needed attention to the sides of your body, it will help relieve tension and lengthen out your body.

How to do?

Rest on your right hip in a seated position, with your legs folded together to the left side (like a mermaid!)

(a). Place your left hand around your ankles, and hold your right arm straight up in the air, grazing your ear

(b). Keeping abdomen engaged, reach your right arm towards the ceiling, and then out and over to the left, making sure your arm stays straight. You should feel a stretch along the right side of your body. Repeat twice

(c). For a counter-stretch, place your right hand on the mat, bending it slightly 

(d). Lift your left arm up near your ear, and stretch to the right. Spin your legs around, and repeat on the opposite side. Top of Form


  1. Improves posture
  2. Increases flexibility
  3. Strengthen your spine
  4. Builds full body strength

Other benefits-

Inner satisfaction, the perception of physical appearance, the perception of functionality, flexibility,  and the health status may improve after 6 months of Pilates-based mat exercise.

Recent study results indicated that the Pilates training program was effective in improving abdominal strength and upper spine posture, as well as in stabilizing core posture when shoulder flexion movements were performed.

The individually designed Pilates-based exercise program is feasible for healthy older adults.

Many studies suggest that Pilates could be utilized as an alternative approach to treatment for those with chronic low back pain which helps by reducing pain.

Pilates program also helps in improvements of sit and reach, shoulder reach, curl up, low back extension, as well as reduces relative body fat and circumferences at the waist, chest, and arm.

Safety Alert!

Proper safety precautions should be taken when you do any form of exercise. If you are a beginner, you must not try to do advanced Pilates exercises that your body is not ready for.

Avoid eating before doing Pilates, and make sure that you drink plenty of water before and after your session. Keeping your body well hydrated will reduce soreness.

Take your physician’s opinion before beginning the Pilates program.

Afshan Hussain Ali

Hello! I'm Afshan, a Registered Dietitian with a postgraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Diabetes Educator residing in Nagpur. It is my endeavor to use my education,

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.