Pilates is great to increase flexibility in a gentle way. Even if you are dealing with injuries or you are feeling physically weak at the moment, you can do pilates to improve your flexibility. While strengthening the body, Pilates moves also stretch the body. Every exercise increase ability(strength) as well as mobility(flexibility). The fully functional body requires ability and mobility in each structure. When it comes to flexibility, it is not about a part but your whole body is exercised. From hamstrings to the lower back so that the whole body becomes subtle and flexible on a day-to-day basis.
Best exercises for flexibility
If you are looking to increase your flexibility through pilates, here are some of the flexibility-specific pilates exercises by Pilates Expert Vesna Jacob.
1. Rolling Up (Beginner to Intermediate Level)
This is one of the easiest exercises to start with. It is best for beginners and those who are ready for the advanced level shall refer to the next exercise which is the advanced levels of rolling pilates.
- Lie down on the mat keeping the body straight and relaxed.
- Slowly start to roll your body upwards vertebra by vertebra then going over the hands.
- This is great for the hamstrings and lower back.
2. Rolling Over (Intermediate to Advanced Level)
- Start in the lying down position and bring your leg towards the ceiling.
- Now, take the legs behind the head.
- This is a deeper lower back strengthening exercise.
3. The Saw
This exercise is great for the rotational mobility of the body.
- Sit with legs wide open and arms parallel to the floor.
- Try to reach the opposite toe.
- Keeping the hands behind the back, twist or move side-to-side with the legs wide open.
4. Preparation for Swan Dive
This exercise focuses on the upper and lower back. This is the beginner level of swan dive pilates exercise. The beginning of the swan drive resembles a cobra back extension and if one is comfortable, we let go of the arms in the last extension. That way, our entire body moves up and down.
- Just lie on the mat with your stomach on the ground.
- Keep hands on the side and slowly lift them to pull the upper body.
5. Swan Dive
This the immediate to advanced version and one of the best full-body Pilates exercises. This exercise works the back, glutes, thighs, and abdominals. While stretching the body, this exercise would strengthen your back and increase flexibility.
- To do swan dive, lie down on your stomach and place the hands on the sides.
- Lift your arms to lift the upper body. It should look like an arc.
- If you can, slowly release your arms in the air followed by your legs to form an arc shape.
These were the five pilates for flexibility suggested by Vesna. If you do these regularly in a directed manner, you would soon experience the changes in your body in terms of flexibility. These are easy exercises that you can do at home. If you have any serious injury, you can consult a pilates expert.
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