A beginner's guide to Pilates classes

11th August 2017

A beginner's guide to Pilates classes
With September on the horizon, many people will be looking for new ways to keep fit and get in shape ahead of the Fall.

With the kids back in school, parents have more free time on their hands and exercise routines and fitness classes are often a popular go-to to fill the time.

Most people have heard of Pilates, but not every knows exactly what it is. So here is a little bit more detail...

Where did Pilates come from?

Joseph Pilates founded the method as a way to improve conditioning, with a specific focus on strength, flexibility and the body's core. It's a low impact form of exercise and for that reason is popular with all different age groups.

Originally known as 'Contrology', Joseph Pilates took the method from Europe and moved to the USA, where he and his wife Clara set up a Pilates Studio in New York. They spent the next 40 years teaching people their methods.

Who does Pilates?

Pilates is a popular form of exercise for all ages. Seniors enjoy it because it's low impact and helps them to improve day-to-day mobility. It's also popular with women, particularly younger women with a keen interest in fitness. It grew in popularity thanks to celebrities doing it and this is how many people came to know it.

On the other side, it's also popular with professional athletes. Many use it to recovery from injury and strengthen their body. Tennis Star Andy Murray and World #1 golfer Rory McIlroy are just a couple examples of athletes in the peak of their powers thanks to Pilates.

What is Pilates good for?

Pilates has a lot of benefits, but as said above, core strength and flexibility are the main focuses. Pilates is one of the few exercise methods that can really hit those deep core muscles, particularly in the abdominals and around the base of the spine. By having more strength in your core, posture and flexibility will both improve, making it easier to tackle day to day tasks.

Pilates also gives you a better awareness of your own body's capabilities. It'll teach you what your physical limit is and if you compete in some kind of sport, this is important. Knowing your own physiology will help you prevent injury. However, if you were to get an injury... Pilates is a great way to recover too! Pilates Instructors devise a routine that incorporates different muscle groups. This means that whilst you might be focusing on abs, for example, you are not ignoring the shoulders or back. This will improve all round strength.

Breathing exercises are also an important part of Pilates. They are particularly effective for women who are pregnant and suffer from shortness of breath. However, even for a normal person, the breathing methods help to improve the flow of blood and oxygen around the body

As a result of all of these physical changes, many people also increase in self-confidence and feel less anxious about their bodies.

What do I need for a Pilates class?

Pilates is pretty low maintenance. If you are starting out with a mat Pilates class, then investing in a mat would be the best place to begin. After than, then all you really need is some fairly tight fitting shorts or leggings (yoga pant style) that allow flexibility. Nothing too loose is advised as your instructor will need to see you body alignment during postures to help you correct your technique. Tying hair back and removing jewellery is also advised.

What type of Pilates class should I try?

There are two main forms of Pilates, reformer Pilates and matwork classes. For a beginner, the best place to start would be in a mat work class.

Mat Pilates classes for beginners are all about learning the technique and getting an understanding for your body's capabilities. Mat classes are done in groups and you follow the instructors lead as they guide you through a flowing routine of postures.

A reformer Pilates class sees the introduction of studio equipment. A reformer is a device with a sliding surface, equipped with weight-resistant pullys and strings to make for a more challenging workout. Some of the postures can be hard to master on the reformer, which is why it's recommended you learn the basics on a mat first.

How do I find a class?

Regardless of which Pilates style you want to learn, Pilates Near You can help you find a class. With Pilates Studios and Pilates Teachers all across the USA running classes, it doesn't matter if you're looking for Pilates in San Francisco or Pilates in Miami!

To start your search, download the'NearYou' App from the App Store and enter your location to find your nearest classes.

Once you've found a class that you're interested in, either book yourself a place online or leave an inquiry to speak to the Teacher. If you have specific goals you want to achieve it's best to talk to the instructors so that you can work together on creating a routine that will help you reach them.
Source: Pilates Near You