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What is Pilates? 8 Things You Should Know Before Attending Pilates Courses

The first time you attend a new fitness class can be a little intimidating. Pilates classes, however, for some reason have extra air: "Avoid this if you do not know what you are doing." Maybe it's the reformer with his belts and springs. Maybe it's the practice name you've never heard of. (What is this " Pilates Hundred " – Ding?)

If you wanted to try Pilates classes, but something has held you back, now is your time to register for your first. Pilates offers many benefits to your body, regardless of your fitness background. You will improve your posture, focus on physical alignment and get a core training .

received. Whether you're on the mat or on the machine, you can get the same benefits. A study of 201

6 found that eight weeks of Pilates instruction has improved endurance, flexibility and balance of the abdominal muscle. In addition, Pilates has regained popularity and franchises such as Club Pilates are appearing across the country.

Want to know what the hype is about? Here's everything a Pilates newbie needs to know to enjoy his first class.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that strengthens muscles while improving posture and flexibility. Pilates movements tend to target the core, though the exercises affect other areas of your body as well. You can do Pilates with or without equipment (more on that below), but you should assume that the movements involve slow, precise movements and breath control. "Pilates is a full-body exercise that lets you do better," says Sonja Herbert, a Pilates instructor and founder of Black Girl Pilates versus SELF. "It strengthens and stabilizes your core body, which is your base, so you can move efficiently while improving your posture, flexibility and mobility." A typical Pilates workout lasts 45 minutes to an hour.

. 1 There are two different types of Pilates classes: mat classes and reform classes.

You'll start a class based on either a mat that's slightly thicker than your standard yoga mat to cushion pressure points, or a machine called a reformer, a sliding platform with a stationary foot bar, springs, and rollers that resist , Know what you're getting into before you commit to your training.

Both options focus on the concept of control rather than eliciting endless repetition or muscle fatigue. In Pilates, your muscles work to lift gravity and (in the case of the reformer) the resistance of the springs or ligaments, with the ultimate goal of strengthening and isolating the right muscles. Your goal should be to spend time doing the exercises, focusing on the task at hand and connecting with your breath.

"The Reformer experience may be the most fun you can have in a Pilates class," says Heather Andersen, founder of New York Pilates . "The machine gives you extra resistance and a gliding surface that challenges your training, it often feels like you're flying or gliding."

There are also many Pilates-inspired trainings, such as SLT, Brooklyn Bodyburn, and Studio MDR, which are not considered "classic" Pilates, but offer many of the same benefits. These studios use a next-level reformer, the so-called megaformer, which is larger than a traditional reformer.

Whichever class you choose, let your teacher know that you are a beginner. In this way they can keep an eye on you throughout the lesson and offer modifications or shape adjustments.

. 2 There are a few other pieces of equipment that are unlikely to be featured on most beginner beginner courses.

Many Pilates mat seminars require no equipment other than a mat on the premise. However, other classes can use other devices in addition to the reformer. The most commonly used pieces of equipment are the Wunda, a low chair with upholstery and springs, the Cadillac (which resembles a bed with a canopy frame and used in a variety of ways for advanced users), the spine corrector and the highchair, and the Magic Circle. a ring that you often use between your legs to create resistance. "In most classes, you usually use the Reformer, the Chair, the Magic Circle, the Spine Corrector, and a smaller version of the Cadillac called the Tower Unit," says Herbert, who recommends beginners take a few private lessons, if possible Learn how to use the device safely before signing up for a group class.

. 3 You will feel your muscles burning during the lesson and you will probably be sore the next day.

Even though you might not do high-intensity exercises such as Squats or lifting heavy dumbbells, bodyweight routines that offer Pilates classes can be quite intense. Take, for example, the signature Pilates Hundred . A core-focused motion that requires less than two inches of constant motion will make your abs burn. A good teacher should give you some modifications so that you can do every move in good shape (another reason to introduce yourself as a beginner before class).

If you focus your entire attention on the smallest movements, it means that you are performing the exercise muscles that each exercise intends. This means that you have to deal with sore muscles after training. Do not fret: While the pain is at a whole new level the next day after the first week, your body gets used to the movements over time. If you hurt the next day, it just means that you are challenging your muscles in a new way, or training muscle groups that normally do not get much attention.

. 4 Pilates trains several muscle groups.

"Pilates is not limited to specific body parts," says Herbert. Yes, Pilates movements focus on your core and your torso, but that does not just mean your abs. "Although Pilates is specifically defined as an exercise for the trunk or abdominal muscles, it is important for customers to know that the core encompasses the entire trunk, namely the abdominals, the hips, the inner and outer thighs, and the back," explains Herbert. So expect a workout that affects your entire body.

. 5 Many beginner courses will include the same set of exercises in each class.

There are a number of established Pilates trains that are common in beginner's classes, says Herbert. These include:

  • The Hundred (a breathing exercise that also aims at the strength and stability of the core)
  • The roll up (a slow, precise movement that stretches the spine and back of the body and the Strengthens abdominal muscles)
  • Leg Circles (strengthen the hips and the core stabilizers)
  • Rolls like a ball (which massages the spine and opens the back)
  • Series of 5 (a group of movements involving the abdomen strengthen and back muscles)

6. Wear a figure-hugging clothing – and do not forget your socks!

Even if you usually prefer loose-fitting workout clothes, you should wear body-conscious options in Pilates lessons. "That way, the instructor can see your movements better and your clothes will not get stuck in feathers or other equipment," says Carrie Samper, National Pilates Training Manager at Equinox.

"And leave the shorts at home." Samper adds, "In Pilates, there are many exercises where you lie and your legs move over you … so you do not want the shorts to slip up." Wear capri pants or leggings instead with a tank top or a long-sleeved shirt.

As far as shoes are concerned, you can either be barefoot or wear socks for your session. Most studios have their own protocol. Find it on the studio's website or ask the front desk when you check in for your class.

If you are looking for socks, look for a pair of rubber details on the soles so you do not slip the mat or machine. A barefoot or sock approach will also help you with ease in a standard reformer inside and navigate outside the straps.

. 7 Each studio has a different language that they use in the classroom. If you are not familiar with the terms, contact the regulars.

Every training from barre to CrossFit has its own terminology, including Pilates. At Pilates, you should know that your "power plant" refers to the center of your body, from which all of your power comes to perform movements. "Exfoliation through the spine" means slow movement from vertebra to vertebra. Do not worry: you will get used to it over time.

In the meantime, look at regulars who follow the instructions quickly. The best way to do this? Sit in the middle of the room. Whether on a reformer or a mat: By planting in the middle you have an optimal overview of all activities. "The teacher is clearly visible in the middle," says Samper. "The other participants can help guide you visually through transitions as the instructor migrates to offer customizations."

. 8 Pilates should be part of a well-rounded fitness plan.

Even if a studio offers unlimited classes in the first week, you should not jump into a class every day. Your body takes a day or two to recover from fatiguing resistance exercises like Pilates.

"Pilates stretches, strengthens and straightens your body at the same time," says Samper. "It also complements any other fitness company because it prepares your body to move better in every way. If you add it to your routine, you can lift heavier weights, run faster, swim with better shape, or even achieve that elusive arm balance in yoga. "

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