Whether you go to classes or follow online workouts from home, here are seven ways to get the most from a Pilates workout

As all Pilates converts know, it’s a workout that helps you develop long, lean muscles, great posture and improved flexibility. Pilates is also one of the most effective methods for toning the abs, hips, waist and thighs.

That sounds great, but how can you get the most from a Pilates workout, especially if you’re following quick online workouts?

William Hall, founder of High Intensity Pilates and Master Pilates Trainer in Cape Town, has seven tips for getting the most out of any Pilates workout:

1. Slow down

The slower you do an exercise the harder you work the muscles involved.

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It is easy to use momentum and move the arms and neck in an oblique exercise instead of the actual obliques you want to target.

2. Hold it

Try to hold the last rep on each exercise as long as you can to improve strength and stamina.

3. Work smarter, not longer

To get more from a workout, try using the upper body when you do leg exercises to fire up more muscles, increase your heart rate and burn more calories.

No-sweat 10-minute Pilates workout 3

4. Never neglect your core

The basis of Pilates is core conditioning.  The core muscles are the muscles in the stomach and back but all the muscles work to keep your pelvis stable.  So glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors are also core muscles.

Conditioning and strengthening these muscles lead to better alignment, posture and overall stability and strength throughout the torso.

5. If in doubt, balance

Doing a lot of balance work is the best insurance policy you could take out for those golden years.

Doing so facilitates proprioception, which basically is your body’s ability to sense limb position in its environment.

6. Engage every muscle

Always engage the specific muscle group you are trying to work. Think of this as a mental exercise as much as a physical one and over time it will come naturally.

7. Breathe better to burn more

Breathe! Always inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, engaging your abs while you do so. You need oxygen to burn calories and good breathing will improve your circulation.

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