Pilates offers a way to get fit and toned without gaining bulky muscles. It puts a focus on increasing strength and flexibility by doing controlled movements. Incorporating Pilates into your exercise routine offers a variety of benefits. It strengthens your core muscles, which results in better posture and coordination. Pilates can also make you less prone to injury and increases your circulation. While Pilates exercises can be done with machines. Although beginners typically start out doing mat exercises, using body weight as resistance.
If you’re interested in Pilates, I recommend that you attend a class. It’s the best way to know that you’re getting your form right. So that you can see what it’s all about, here are my five favorite beginners’ Pilates exercises.
Exercise One – The Hundred
This classic Pilates exercise is the best one to start with because it warms up both the lungs and the abdominal muscles. All you need to complete this exercise is a mat. The Hundred is named for the fact that you do it for one hundred beats. Lie on your back on the mat so that your knees are bent so that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees with your feet in the air. Your hands are at your sides, palms down, and slightly elevated. You should inhale and exhale deeply while pumping your arms up and down slightly in rhythm with the breaths. Do this in sets of 10 breaths (5 inhales and 5 exhales). This exercise is often modified to make it more challenging, which you can do by lifting your head up or by straightening out your legs so that they are just above the floor.
Exercise Two – The Bridge
For gaining torso stability, try the Pilates exercise called The Bridge. This exercise is perfect for people with an injured or weak back because is strengthens the back of the legs and the glutes while building the core stability. To do this exercise, lie with your back on your mat with knees bent and feet flat and about hip distance apart. Arms should be along your side, with palms down on the mat. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale the breath, lift your hips up off the mat by pressing with your feet and squeezing your glutes. Lift until your body makes a straight line between your knees and shoulders. Inhale and exhale while holding the position. Inhale again and as you exhale, lower your body back down to the mat. This should be done for five repetitions.

Exercise Three – Spine Stretch Forward
Give the upper back, neck and spine a good stretch with the Spine Stretch Forward exercise. For this easy Pilates move, sit up tall on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Space your legs so that they are slightly wider than your hips width. Inhale while raising your arms up, with palms down, and flex your feet. Then, exhale and round your back as you roll your head and neck forward while still reaching straight ahead. Your body should now be in s “C” shape. Inhale as your roll your body back to straighten your spine again. Exhale once you get back into the upright position. This exercise can be done in repetitions of three.
Exercise Four – Single Leg Circles
You can work the hip flexors, thighs and abdominals with the One Leg Circle exercise. For this beginner’s move, you need to get your mat out and lie on your back with your legs extended. Place your arms out to each side horizontally with the palms down. Tighten your abdominal muscles and draw your right leg into your chest and then up toward the ceiling. Inhale as you cross the leg over the opposite hip. Lower your leg a few inches and engage your inner thigh muscles as you move the leg around in a small circle. Move five times in the circle and then switch to move in the opposite direction. Repeat this process with the other leg. If you have tight hamstrings, you can start this exercise with your legs bent and feet flat on the mat.

Exercise Five – Plank, or Front Support
The Plank exercise, which is also called the Front Support Exercise in Pilates, is a pose that is often used to transition between the various exercises. It is also a good exercise to do on its own because it strengthens the core muscles and builds stability. To do the plank exercise, you can begin on your knees on the mat with your hands stretched out in front of you to hold your upper body up. From that position, you will lean forward to put your weight on your hands as you stretch our one leg and then the other. Your feet should be together and your toes should be curled. Hold the position and breathe deeply for three to five counts. As you are in this position, your body should form a straight line without dipping or arching.