While you will often read about how Pilates will help you to achieve incredibly strong core muscles, it can also be extremely beneficial to other areas of your body. If you are a regular Pilates enthusiast, you might experience a bit of a plateau in progress after a while, and this might be because you are focussing too much on one area of the body or because you have not been pushing yourself into trying new moves.
One area which is commonly forgotten about is the upper body. Having a strong upper body can help to improve your Pilates workouts in a big way, giving you more stability and a greater ability to perform and hold other moves. By paying a little more attention to your upper body, you might be able to take your Pilates practice to a new level. Here are a few moves that Pilates practitioners recommend for building upper body strength:
Upper-Body Pilates Workout
This move is designed to strengthen your triceps and back muscles, improving your overall upper body strength.
- From a plank position, place your hands under your shoulders. Slowly lower your chest towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your ribcage to engage your triceps. Keep in mind that you must make sure that your abs remain engaged as you lower yourself down, hold for a second, and then slowly raise yourself back up to a plank position. (This move can also be performed on your knees)
Pilates Push Up
The Pilates push up is a bit different to the standard ones you might be used to. It allows for developing more control over your body and building overall strength alongside your upper body.
- Start standing up at one end of your mat. Slowly roll down and walk your hands forwards into a plank position.
- Lower yourself into a push-up, keeping your arms in at your sides.
- Raise yourself back up again to plank, before walking your hands back towards your feet and then slowly roll your body back up to a standing position.
Reverse Plank Tricep Dips
This position helps to strengthen your triceps and back.
- Sit on the floor. Have your legs pointing straight out in front of you.
- Keeping your thighs and ankles pressed together and toes pointed, lean back and place your hands behind you, fingers facing inwards.
- Slowly lift your hips and body upwards into a reverse plank. Keep the rest of your body straight and breathe deeply as you hold your position, before carefully lowering yourself down to starting position.
There are many other Pilates moves work with the upper body, often involving other areas of the body as well – as Pilates is a full-body workout experience. By including some of these moves into your regular workouts, you can begin to improve your upper body strength. A strong upper body will help you to perform moves that involve lifting and holding your body weight much more easily – overall improving your ability to perform a wider range of Pilates moves.
No matter what fitness level you are at, you can do Pilates and benefit from its therapeutic exercise principles. Keen to deepen your practice and become a Pilates instructor? Follow this link to find out more.