10 Ways You Can Take Your Pilates Workout to the Next Level
Ways to take your Pilates practice to the next level!
If you want a challenging exercise to tone and strengthen muscles and increase flexibility, Pilates may be just what you are looking for. It can be done almost anywhere you have a space big enough to lay down on and doesn't require any added equipment. Doing the same exercises over and over can get boring quickly, though. That's why it's so important to learn ways to take your Pilates practice to the next level.
Most people think of Pilates as an equipment-free workout, but adding weights can really take your practice to the next level. Remember that you are toning, so stick with light hand weights under five pounds to promote that goal. Even a small amount of weight will challenge your muscles to work in new ways through familiar moves.
Pilates is much more than just stretching. It works your muscles and strengthens connective tissue to promote healthy joints. Support the recovery process between sessions with proper nutrition and supplements. If you always forget to take your vitamins, you might consider asking what is Thrive? Its transdermal delivery makes it quick and easy to use.
Use a Foam Roller
If you haven't tried a foam roller yet, now is the time to add one to your workout. They can be incorporated into your Pilates workout as well as post-workout stretching. Try adding one to your core exercises to create a greater challenge while encouraging proper form. Then, once you are through, use it to take your stretches to the next level. Foam rollers help by:
- Breaking up constrictions in soft tissue
- Promoting recovery and healing
- Reducing soreness and muscle pain
- Facilitating relaxation
Try Pilates Rings
You may have seen these little circular devices in the equipment room at your gym and wondered, "what the heck is that for?" Often called the Magic Circle, a Pilates ring is a lightweight and versatile tool that can add serious challenges to your workout. It adds a gentle resistance to a wide range of popular exercises that are usually done without equipment.
Incorporate Breathing Techniques
You need to be able to take deep, controlled breathing throughout your entire practice. Within Pilates, most breathing practices will focus on getting a full breath and then emptying the lungs as completely as possible. However, some of the positions utilized throughout a class can make that challenging. There are two main breathing techniques used in Pilates: diaphragmatic and lateral breathing. Together, they allow you to take a deep and full breath so that you maximize oxygen intake.
You don't have to spend your entire workout session on the mat. Add some cardio components to get your heart rate elevated and burn extra calories. Try a barre workout for an even bigger challenge.
Watch Your Form
Proper form is critical to safety and achieving results. You will need to monitor your movements to ensure you are using the correct form throughout the exercises. If you attend classes, talk to your instructor about what you can do to improve. If you exercise alone, use mirrors or record your sessions to check your posture.
Use Fun Music
You don't need to stick with tired instrumental mixes in Pilates. Turn up the fun with some contemporary music. A tempo of about 100 BPM will keep you pushing through exercises, and many popular songs fit the bill. You can take it up a bit for active portions and lower it down for the cool down to promote relaxation.
Try a Specialty Class
Whether you workout at home or in a fitness center, there are all sorts of specialty Pilates classes. Look for formats designed to target specific muscle groups or for certain health conditions to find the right program for your needs.
Enlist a Friend
If you struggle to stay motivated and stick with a program, try enlisting a friend to help. They will hold you accountable for attending class and working toward your goals.
Mixing up your workout routine can add dimension and depth to it. Using appropriate tools, monitoring your form and supporting recovery with proper nutrition will help elevate your Pilates workouts and make it more effective.