Pilates for Beginners

 What sets Pilates apart is its focus on toning the muscles with springs, bands, or your own body weight. Alycea Ungaro, author of 15 Minute Everyday Pilates, shares her routine for beginners. Some moves are shown using Pilates studio equipment, but you can do most moves at home. Check with a doctor first if you're a man over age 45 or a woman over age 55, or if you have a medical condition.

This classic move helps flatten the tummy by using your abs. Hold on behind the knees, scoop the belly in, and curl down to the floor to get into position. Now curl the head and shoulders up slightly, lower back still pressed to the floor. Pump the arms up and down in small motions at your sides. Breathe in for five and out for five until you hit 50 pumps. Sit up and repeat for a total of 100 pumps.


In a studio, you can try the Pilates hundred on a reformer, a spring-based resistance machine. Lie on your back with your legs in table-top position or extended at a 45-degree angle. Pull the straps down next to your abdomen. Curl the head and shoulders up and pulse your arms up and down. Breathe in for five and out for five until you reach 100 pulses. If any move doesn't feel right, check with a fitness professional.

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