The Beginner’s Guide to Pilates

One of the reasons I love Pilates is because it’s for everyone. It’s a great workout for women, men, the young and the old, the injured and the healthy. It can be gentle or it can be challenging. Pilates might seem intimidating at first, but take a beginner’s class or a private session for your first time with a properly trained instructor, and you’ll find the class is both physically and mentally challenging as well as fun.
So what should I know before my first class?

  1. Listen to the cues. Your instructor will talk you through the movements and proper form. Listen. You’ll benefit more from moving slowly with precision and control.
  2. You don’t have to be flexible or have strong abs to take a Pilates class. That will come as you continue with your practice.
  3. Your teacher will cue small adjustments to your form and positions which are super important. Remember that they are small, smaller than you might be used to moving in other classes, but it’s important to be precise to achieve maximum results.
  4. If you have injuries or specific concerns or goals, tell the teacher before class. During the class, if something doesn’t feel right, hurts, or is confusing, ask your instructor. A well-trained instructor can give you modifications and cues to make the exercise as beneficial to you as possible, even in a group class setting.
  5. It’s okay if you don’t sweat. Because you’re moving slowly and focusing on small muscle groups, you can get amazing benefits from Pilates without ever breaking a sweat.
  6. Don’t worry if you don’t “feel the burn.” Many of the exercises you’ll do target small muscle groups that support and improve posture and create a long, lean physique. These small muscles probably won’t feel as intense as you may expect.
  7. Stay focused at the beginning when the teacher is explaining how to breathe. Learning and practicing proper diaphragmatic breathing is, possibly, the most important part of Pilates. By finding that breath you calm the nervous system and activate and align the core, which can benefit your overall health and wellness.
  8. The quality of your breath is more important than the timing. New students always ask,“Should I be exhaling or inhaling on this part?” For your first class, just focus on continuously breathing and practicing proper technique.
  9. Don’t wear running pants with zippers or pockets on the back. You’ll be doing tilting and rolling motions with your pelvis and zippers can get in the way (and possibly damage the reformer).
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