More than 5 million Americans practice Pilates. Are you looking to join in the fun? Pilates offers benefits to your body like improving your posture, working out your core, and helping your body alignment.
Pilates can be a fun and effective way to work out, but it’s a big switch for people who are used to traditional gyms. Use this guide to pilates for beginners.
1. Two Different Types of Pilates for Beginners
You can take a mat class or one that uses machines. The mats are thicker than an average yoga mat to help cushion your pressure points. The machine is a reformer that uses a sliding platform with springs, pulleys, and foot bars for resistance.
Each class lasts 45 minutes up to an hour. Double check the type of class before you commit.
Both types of Pilates focus on your body control. Your muscles are either performing against gravity or the battle of the machines. You will focus on your task, take your time, and connect with your breathing during class.
Before class begins, you may want to introduce yourself and tell the instructor you are a beginner. She can then watch your form and help you with any adjustments or modifications if needed.
2. Wear Form-Fitting Clothes and Socks
You will like body-hugging clothes for Pilates because your instructor can see you better and your clothes won’t get in the way or caught in the equipment. Tight-fitting capris or pants are also a good idea because you will have legs above you and you don’t want shorts to riding up.
You also want to avoid tie-backs and belts because they could be uncomfortable when you lay on your back. Zippers, clasps, buttons, and other trimmings can damage Pilates equipment, so find pull-on workout gear.
As far as your feet, you won’t be wearing shoes. Some studios prefer you wear socks while others don’t care if you are barefoot; check the studio’s website or ask the front desk if you are unsure of the standards. If you are wearing socks, look for pairs that have rubber on the soles to help prevent slips.
Pull long hair back in a bun or ponytail because it can get in the way. You should also avoid makeup because it can also stain the Pilates equipment. Choose unscented products so you don’t irritate any allergies in the class, including, lotion, deodorant, and perfumes.
You should have fun with your Pilates workout attire. Find something that is comfortable for you and fits your body type. When shopping for gear, Pilates clothing and yoga clothing are pretty much the same.
3. What to Bring to a Pilates Class
Most Pilates studios have all the equipment you need for class. You may want to bring your own mat if you prefer. Ask your instructor which mat she recommends because Pilates mats are usually a little thicker than the standard yoga mat for more padding and cushioning.
You should also bring some water with you even though you won’t drink as much as you as you do during aerobics. It’s important to stay hydrated as with all exercises, so take a few sips of water before you begin class.
4. Understanding Lingo
Pilates has a bunch of its own terminology just like any other program. For example, “peel through your spine” means to move slowly and feel each vertebra as you lay down. You will learn the lingo in no time, so don’t fret it.
Look for some regulars in your class to try to catch on quickly. You can go in the middle of the room, so you can see everyone and the instructor. Other newbies will probably go for the back, so you might not get as much help.
5. You Will Feel the Burn in Class and After
Even though there are no heavy weights or squat jumps, you will feel that Pilates is still pretty intense. Your core will burn. Your instructor should provide modifications to help you build up your strength.
Focusing entirely on even small movements will work your muscles hard. Your body will build up strength with regular practice. Being sore the following day is a good thing because it means you are challenging muscles you haven’t worked before.
6. Make Pilates a Part of Your Entire Fitness Plan
You should not go to Pilates class every day. Your body will need some time to recover. Most experts recommend at least a day or two of rest before going to class again because your body is fatigued from resistance exercises.
Pilates strengthens and aligns your body, so it pairs great other fitness programs. You will move your body in different ways, and Pilates may help improve other activities you enjoy like swimming, running, or aerobic classes. Adding Pilates to any fitness program will help you move better in all ways.
7. Seeing Results
You will start seeing and feeling changes in about four to six weeks if you practice two to three times regularly each week. You will be able to tell because some of the moves will start to get easier as your core strengthens. It’s important to stay motivated.
8. Difference Between Yoga and Pilates
Yoga concentrates on stretching, and Pilates focuses on strengthening. They are similar because they both emphasize a connection with your body and mind. You also learn how to use your breathing for focus with both programs.
Joseph Pilates did practice yoga techniques before creating Pilates. He used a lot of the core poses when he created his techniques.
There are classes that do combine the two called PiYo. You combine both yoga and Pilates moves into one class.
Interested in Other Health and Fitness Information?
If you are ready to master Pilates for beginners, you probably want to learn about other fitness plans and diets to get healthy naturally. Check out African Mango Supreme’s fitness section for articles such as best exercises to burn fat.
Proper nutrition is also extremely important, so check out articles like mindful eating tips to help you live a healthier lifestyle.