“Change happens through movement and movements heals” Joseph Pilates
This quote by Joseph Pilates perfectly captures the essence of Pilates – a form of exercise that focuses on stretching, mobility, and whole-body movement. Pilates has gained immense popularity in recent years, not only for its physical benefits but also for its impact on mental well-being.
Pilates stretches and mobilises the body, working towards improving flexibility, core strength, and posture. It involves slow and controlled movements that engage both the body and mind. As you flow through each exercise, you will feel your muscles lengthening and strengthening simultaneously.
The beauty of Pilates lies in its adaptability to quote from Joseph Pilates is so true, the number of clients who tell me at the end of a class saying they feel less stiff. I’m sure we can all relate; I can feel the difference when I haven’t done a class for a few days. I always say to clients if they are struggling with a certain exercise then we can take it right back and just get them moving. I wanted to share 4 of my favourite stretch and mobility moves.
Best Pilates stretch and mobility moves for beginners
Pilates Roll Up Exercise
Start standing with feet parallel hip distance apart. Bring the arms above the head, reaching tall. Bring chin to the chest, lower the arms and let the arms hang and slowly roll down working through the spine, imagine if you are standing against the wall the top of the spine peels away from the wall first, then the middle, then bottom. Slowly roll back up stacking the vertebrae of the spine on top of each other one bone at a time, the head is the last part to come back up.
The stretch can be taken further by circling the arms at the bottom of the roll down before rolling back up.
Cat stretch, a great warm up exercise
Come into an all 4’s position on the mat with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. Start by bringing the chin to the chest and rounding through the spine, looking back between the legs. Really think about drawing the tummy and chest up away from the mat. Slowly return to the starting position.
This stretch can be taken further by coming into the cow stretch. Once back in the starting position start to dip the back and lift the head to come into a back extension then return to the starting position, keep alternating between the two.
Thread the needle – great for stretching the spine
Come into an all 4’s position on the mat with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips Lift one arm up off the floor and bring arm up towards the ceiling rotating through the spine, and follow your hand with your eye gaze. Bring the arm back down threading the arm between the opposite arm and opposite leg, and make sure you bend the supporting elbow as you thread through to really feel the benefit. Repeat for 5 and then switch to the other side.
If the rotation or lift of the arm is too much keep both hands on the floor, bend the elbow and turn the head to the side and keep alternating sides.
Open book stretch
Lying on your side on the mat with knees bent, check that knees are up in line with the hips and shins are lined up with the front of the mat, so legs are in an L shape. The arms should be straight out in front of the face with hands together. You can have a block underneath the head if you are not comfortable in the neck. As you breathe out slowly open the top arm out wide to open out through the chest, and follow the hand with your eye gaze to increase the stretch through the spine, the other arm stays on the mat. Slowly bring the hands back together.
This stretch can be taken further by circling the arm above the head instead so like you are drawing a rainbow about your hear.
Pilates with Nicola
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Pilates Stretch and Mobility Moves FAQ
Is Pilates good for joint mobility?
Yes, Pilates is excellent for joint mobility. The exercises in Pilates focus on improving flexibility, strength, and control of the joints. The movements are gentle and targeted, helping to increase the range of motion and reduce stiffness. Regular practice of Pilates can greatly improve your overall joint health and mobility.
What are the benefits of Pilates stretch and mobility?
Pilates stretch and mobility offer numerous benefits. Firstly, it helps to improve flexibility by targeting various muscle groups and increasing their range of motion. This leads to improved joint mobility and reduces the risk of injuries.
Additionally, Pilates stretch and mobility exercises enhance strength and stability in the muscles surrounding the joints. This provides better support to the joints, reducing stress and strain on them.
Moreover, Pilates promotes better body awareness and posture alignment, which contributes to improved balance and coordination. It also helps to alleviate muscle tension and promote relaxation.
Overall, incorporating Pilates stretch and mobility exercises into your routine can greatly enhance your overall physical well-being. The combination of stretching and mobility exercises helps to improve flexibility, making your body more adaptable to different movements and reducing the risk of muscle imbalances. By targeting specific muscle groups, Pilates helps to lengthen and strengthen them, providing better support to your joints.
One of the key benefits of Pilates stretch and mobility exercises is their ability to increase joint mobility. Regular practice helps to lubricate the joints, improving their range of motion and reducing stiffness. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions such as arthritis or other joint-related issues.
How often should I work out, when it comes to stretching and mobility exercises?
When it comes to stretching and mobility exercises, it is recommended to aim for at least 2-3 sessions per week. Consistency is key, so try to incorporate these exercises into your routine regularly for the best results.
Pilates is a great way to improve the flexibility of your muscles and the mobility of your joints by practicing on a regular basis.
What is flexibility?
Flexibility refers to the ability of your muscles and joints to move through a full range of motion without any restrictions or discomfort. It is an important component of overall physical fitness and plays a crucial role in maintaining good posture, preventing injuries, and performing various activities with ease. A flexible body is more adaptable to different movements and less prone to muscle imbalances or joint stiffness. By incorporating regular stretching and mobility exercises, such as those found in Pilates, you can improve your flexibility and enhance your overall physical well-being.
What is mobility?
Mobility refers to the ability of your joints to move freely and easily through their full range of motion. It involves the coordination of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other structures surrounding the joint to allow for smooth and fluid movement. Good mobility is crucial for the proper functioning of the body and for performing daily activities without pain or limitations. Regularly practicing exercises that promote mobility, like Pilates stretch and mobility exercises, can help improve joint health, increase flexibility, and enhance overall physical performance. By focusing on both flexibility and mobility, you can achieve optimal movement and support for your body.
Mobility vs Flexibility – What is the difference?
While flexibility and mobility are closely related, there are some key differences between the two. Flexibility primarily refers to the ability of muscles and joints to move through a full range of motion, while mobility encompasses the overall movement capabilities of the joints themselves.
Flexibility is about the lengthening and stretching of muscles to achieve a greater range of motion. It involves improving muscle elasticity and reducing muscle tightness or tension. By increasing flexibility, you can improve your posture, prevent muscle imbalances, and decrease the risk of injuries during physical activities.