Pilates: A Beginner’s Guide

A Beginners Pilates Group Working Out

Stronger core, better posture, more zen… you may know the benefits of Pilates well, but what else do you know about what is now a staple class of UK gyms?

Here’s everything you need to know about one of the most beloved fitness classes going...

A Woman Practicing Pilates to Stay Healthy

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a type of low-impact exercise that strengthens muscles while enhancing alignment and flexibility. The moves throughout a Pilates class work the core, as well as other areas of the body.

Pilates classes can be experienced both with and without equipment, which includes using the resistance of springs and pulleys.

An average Pilates class lasts for between 45 minutes to an hour.

Pilates has an impressive array of benefits, including:

  • Better posture
  • Lowered stress levels
  • Greater joint mobility
  • Greater body awareness
  • Improved performance
  • Improved flexibility
  • Greater strength and muscle tone
  • Better co-ordination
  • Fewer injuries
  • More efficient respiratory, lymphatic and circulatory system

Who Created Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise routine that was thought up by German physical trainer Joseph Pilates. As a child, Joseph Pilates suffered ongoing illnesses, which led him to take up bodybuilding during his teens, as well as becoming an expert skier and boxer in later life. As he grew older, Joseph trialled and experimented with almost every form of exercise at his disposal - ranging from classical Roman workouts to Greek exercise regimes.

Joseph used his experience and wide spanning knowledge to develop a fresh approach to exercise and body-conditioning. One of the key instruments of Pilates - the Pilates reformer - was inspired by Joseph helping the bedbound exercise using the springs from hospital beds.

Who Is Pilates Suitable For?

Absolutely everyone, and we mean everyone. From professional athletes to those who are seeking rehabilitative exercise after surgery, Pilates is perfect for every age and fitness level.

While you should always seek tailored medical advice and speak with your instructor before booking a class, Pilates is known to suit, and in some cases even help those with:

  • Low back pain
  • Shoulder problems
  • Hamstring problems
  • Postural/biomechanical problems
  • Post pregnancy
  • Weak bottom muscles
  • Sacra-iliac pain
  • Neck pain
  • Knee and hip pain
  • Hypermobility syndrome
  • Post abdominal surgery

What Is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga?

The main aim of yoga is to unify the mind, body and spirit. Those who teach yoga see the mind and body as a single structure and believe that yoga can heal both.

Pilates shares some of the same aims, and while both involve mat work, Pilates can also include machines. Pilates also differs due to its focus, as it aims to train the core of the body, allowing for free movement and ever improving strength.

How Often Should I Do Pilates?

Pilates is entirely safe, and indeed beneficial, to practice every day. However you don’t need to commit to seven days a week to enjoy its advantages. Its founder, Joseph Pilates, recommended practicing it three times a week.

Should I Apply for a Class or Look for 1-To-1 Sessions?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, as it depends on a few factors...

  • Whether you suffer from a medical condition which could benefit from personalised advice
  • How much you like and feel confident in a group class setting
  • What personal fitness goals you have and how challenging they may be

That said, every beginner could benefit from a one-to-one session as it can provide you with a chance to ask questions and find out more about how Pilates could help you as an individual.

Is Pilates Good for Weight Loss?

Pilates is excellent for helping you maintain a healthy weight, however if you’re looking to lose a significant amount of weight, you’d be better doing cardio - swimming, cycling or running.

Is Pilates Good for Muscle Building?

Pilates is a great way to build and tone muscle, however it’s worth noting that Pilates is best at developing and honing the long, lean muscles that lead to a stronger inner and outer frame. This makes it a great form of exercise for those who are looking to improve their abs and back.

Do I Need Any Special Equipment?

While some gyms provide the whole kit and caboodle for Pilates, others require that you bring along certain items. In either event, having your own kit at home can also allow you to practice beforehand to get used to working your core and using your bodyweight for balancing, moving and reclining.

There are key items that will serve you well should you choose to become a Pilates fan, here’s a little list for a solid Pilates starter kit:

  • Exercise mat
  • Pair of Pilates balls
  • Double handle Pilates ring

Can I Do Pilates at Home?

Absolutely. If you’re practicing Pilates at home, you don’t necessarily need any large equipment as there are endless blogs, videos and workout eBooks available online, for free, for the Pilates newbie that focus purely on mat work.

Speaking of mat work, for one week only you can grab a fantastic Proworks Fitness Yoga Mat and get 20% off when you use the code PILATES20 - don’t hesitate! Start your fitness journey today!

Promotion is only valid for the Proworks yoga mat (any colour).
Offer expires 23/08/2019 23:59. Limit of one use per customer.