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If you’re reading this, then it means you’ve made your decision to give Pilates a go but are a little bit sceptical and would like to know what to expect.
We understand this. Exercises generally tend to send a chill down people’s spine when mentioned.
Pilates, however, seem to be extra scary. The reformer alone is enough to make you run the other way, but when the instructors start mentioning those weird names that are new to your ears, you’re completely lost.
Pilates is not as scary as it sounds though. Like other exercises, it requires discipline, persistence and endurance.
But all these are stuff you can handle right?
Good. The great thing is that you won’t be making all these sacrifices for nought. Pilates offers tons and tons of benefits— proper posture, great body, muscle strength, balance and a lot more.
Now, before you get all excited and dive straight into taking Pilates classes, read this article to the end. Here, you’ll find out the important things you need to know before starting Pilates.
What is Pilates Anyway?
Pilates is simply a kind of low-impact workout that people do to strengthen their muscles and also improve their flexibility and postural alignment.
When Pilates is done, there’s often a lot of emphasis on the core, though other parts of the body get targeted as well. Even if you don’t have any equipment you can still practise Pilates.
However, whether you’re using a device or not, the Pilates workouts you’ll do will involve movements that are slow and precise. You’ll also need to support your body with full breath activation and allow your mind to take control of your body.
According to Pilate instructor Sonja Herbert, Pilates is a workout that integrates all parts of the body and helps people do things better. It also gives the core extra strength and stability.
This way, when you move, you do it efficiently because your core, which is the foundation of all your energy, is strong. As if this is not enough, you enjoy flexibility, improved posture and easy mobility. So, here are things to know.
Know which Types of Pilates Class You’ll Commit Into
Pilates classes come in two kinds: reformer classes and mat classes. Mat Pilates is done on mats. However, these mats are thicker than that of yoga. They’re generally easier to do, especially for those exercising at home.
Reformer Pilates, on the other hand, cannot happen without a Reformer. The Reformer is a bedlike platform that slides. It comes with springs pulleys and foot bars to create more resistance. So, which will it be for you–Mat or reformer?
Keep in mind that both emphasise control. The workouts are not just about doing a series of exercises, but about making each move count. The way Pilates works is that your muscles are positioned in a way that they have to lift themselves against gravity.
When you’re working with a reformer, you have extra resistance coming from the springs to make the workout more tasking. Therefore, to successfully do these routines, your body would need to gain adequate control of its breath and receive support from its core.
Heather Andersen of New York Pilates explains that the experience that one gets from working out on a reformer will perhaps be the most fun among all Pilates classes.
With its sliding surface and additional resistance, your exercises become more challenging. However, you also get that feeling of gliding or flying which is a cool feeling.
Several Pilates-inspired exercises exist. Some include Studio MDR, Brooklyn Bodyburn, SLT and Studio MDR. These are not among the classic Pilates exercises.
However, they provide just about the same results as the classic ones. Inform your instructor that you’re just starting. They’ll monitor you closely when you do
Get Familiar With other Pilates Tools
If you go for the mat class, chances are that you’ll not be using any other tool apart from the mat. However, Reformer classes use other equipment alongside the reformer machine UK. Springs, low chair, magic circle, Cadillac and Wunda are among the most popular. In a proper Pilates class setting, equipment that will be used includes the reformer, spine corrector, the chair, and tower unit which is a smaller kind of Cadillac.
We advise that before you start to attend group classes, take some private classes so you get familiar with all these tools. This is for safety.
Get Ready for Muscle Burn and Sore That Lasts till the Next Day
As a beginner, you won’t start to do high-intensity workouts such as squat jumps and heavy dumbbell lifting until much later. Even so, don’t expect the workouts you will do to be easy.
Bodyweight workouts which you will be doing are also quite intense. For example, the Pilates hundred focuses on your core, allowing you no more than 2 inches of regular movement.
Naturally, this will cause your abs to burn. The advantage of having a good trainer is that they’ll modify the moves for you to make you perform them with an ideal form.
Focus and dedication to every movement will pay off. If you do the moves well, you’ll reach the right muscle. Consequently, you’ll probably end up with soreness in the areas you targeted.
There’s nothing to worry about though, your muscles will eventually become accustomed to it and will not be as sore. The reason this has to happen the first few times is that you’re making your muscles work in ways that they haven’t worked before.
Pilates Will Affect Many of Your Muscle Groups
Though Pilates tends to focus a lot on your core and abdominal muscles, this doesn’t mean that’s the only parts they deal with. Many trainers will define Pilates as a workout for the core. However, the core is not just the abs alone but includes the thighs (both the inner part and the outer part,) the back and the hips. So, when you start Pilates, expect it to reach every single part of your body.
Expect to See the Same Exercise Groups Many Times
In Pilates, common beginner moves are already established. These exercises are what you’ll mostly be required to do. Here are some of them.
- Leg circles: This is done to stabilize the core and strengthen the hips
- The Hundred: A breathing workout that is done to targets core stability and strength
- Rolling like a ball: This is done to massage the spine and open the back
- The roll-up: It involves slow, precise movements done to strengthen abs and stretch the back and spine
- Series of 5: These are moves done to strengthen the abs and muscles of the back
Wear Clothes That Fit and Come with Your Socks Too
Pilates is not one of those exercises that can be done with loose-fitting clothes. Instead, form-fitted clothes are what instructors encourage. The reason is that your instructor would want to be able to see your form as you exercise so that if there’s a need to correct you, they will. Plus, springs and other equipment can easily catch baggy clothes. Read more: Pilates Clothes What To Wear?
But baggy clothes are not the only things to not wear to a Pilates class. Instructor Carrie Samper, Equinox training manager advises that you ditch shorts for leggings or capris. Pilates workouts involve lying down and raising legs. Shorts can ride up and expose your body. Pair your leggings with a long-sleeved fitted shirt and you’ll be fine.
As far as footwear goes, socks will do just fine—that is if you don’t prefer to go barefooted. The reason is that you’re better able to navigate the straps that all standard reformers have without shoes. However, some studios do have separate protocols which you can find out from their website. Socks that have rubber detailing around the soles help you not to slip when working out on either a machine or a mat.
Every studio Use Different Pilates Terms in class.
That’s true. Studios generally use Pilates terms and different workouts have different terminologies. When the instructor says “powerhouse” then he probably means the core or centre. You’ll hear many more terms that may seem weird to you at first.
However, you can ask the other people you’re taking the classes with to help you out. So how do you do this? position yourself strategically in the centre of the class? This will not only help you get a full view of what’s happening around you and how others are acting, but you get a clear view of the instructor as well.
Pilates Should Only Be a Part of Your Well-rounded Fitness Programme
The fact that your studio offers classes every day of the week doesn’t mean you have to attend every single one of them. It is normal to take a couple of days to rest and let your muscles recover from all the strain.
Pilates is good for you in so many ways. It can tone and strengthen your body. Despite all these, Pilates is meant to complement your other fitness plan simply because it helps your muscles to do things better. As such, by simply including Pilates workouts in your routines, you enjoy better ability to run, swim, lift weights, and do a lot more.
Now, you have what it takes to begin your Pilates classes. Just keep in mind that Pilates can be fun and fulfilling when done right.