Active Living: 7 Tips For Pilates Classes

Pilates Classes

Want to be strong and flexible plus improve balance, posture, and endurance?

Take Pilates.

A recent study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that significant improvements in all 5 of these key indicators of overall health.

Are you ready to get started with Pilates to reap all the benefits?

Let’s get active with 7 tips to get the most of out of Pilates classes.

1. Know What You’re Signing Up For.

There are 3 basic types of Pilates classes.

  • Classical Pilates, also called Real Pilates
  • Contemporary Pilates
  • Reformer Pilates

As the names suggest, the difference between them is whether or not they adhere to the original methodology developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century.

Classical Pilates is defined by certain techniques, applied in a certain order in a very repetitious manner as developed by its creator.

Critics of classical Pilates contend that classical Pilates didn’t evolve with more modern understandings of science and anatomy. More current research shows that variation in movement and mixing up your routine get better, faster results.

But still others thrive on the repetition and swear by the results.

Contemporary Pilates is based on the original ideas. But it incorporates variety into the routine. It may borrow techniques from yoga, tai chi, strength training and even cardio to create a more comprehensive workout.

Reformer Pilates may be a part of either Classical or Contemporary Pilates or stand alone. It was part of the original technique.

Reformer Pilates includes to use of a contraption called a reformer, made up of a platform, springs and pullies.

This piece of equipment allows you to adjust resistance to get the perfect workout.

Before you sign up for classes, consider what you’re looking for and then start working on your plan.

If your goal is alignment and lengthening, go with classical.

If you get bored easily or are looking for a more comprehensive workout, go with contemporary.

2. Be Prepared.

You’ll get more out of any class if you did the “assigned reading” beforehand.

Learn what Pilates is all about. Watch some YouTube videos.

Get yourself mentally pumped. Your first class will be intimidating. But remember others in the class have likely been doing this for some time.

You might see strange equipment. But don’t worry. You’ll figure it out.

Come dressed to focus on the workout. Tight but comfortable pants or leggings, a tank top and grippy toe socks will be your standard attire.

No shorts under any circumstances. You’ll regret it.

If you’re a guy, yes Pilates is great for men too. But be prepared to be outnumbered, although that’s changing.

Pilates was invented by a guy for men and women. Both benefit. But don’t be surprised if you’re one of maybe 2-3 guys in the whole class.

Finally, Pilates is a mind over matter workout. You’ll need to stay present-focused as you think about every precise movement.

You may need to keep yourself going even though your muscles protest.

Knowing all of this before you start, sets you up for success.

3. Choose Your Instructor Wisely.

Ask around. Read online reviews. Insist on taking a class before committing.

Zayna Gold of Boston Body says you should judge 3 main characteristics in an instructor.

  1. Does the instructor speak your language? You can take this literally as in: are there any language barriers? Or a bit more loosely. Does the instructor use a lot of technical terms without explaining what they mean to the new people? Since communication is the number one key to success, make sure it’s right for you.
  2. Does the instructor teach modifications to newcomers? This is a sign of a true professional who meets people where they are before helping achieve what they want to achieve. A great instructor can lead a class of Pilates devotees, newcomers, 20 somethings, seniors and everyone in between in one class.
  3. Did you get what you wanted out of the class? If you didn’t break a sweat or feel the burn, the class may be too easy for you. If you have certain problem areas that didn’t get activated, you may try somewhere else. If you spent the whole class confused, the instructor isn’t very good at giving cues.

4. Listen to Your Body.

Take breaks when you need them. Don’t feel bad if you rest more than others when starting out.

If you can’t do an exercise, ask for a modification.

If it feels like you’re working the wrong muscles, ask the instructor for help getting it right.

5. Expect Your Muscles to Burn During the Workout.

Your muscles will burn. Keep going. Push past it. You can do it.

Even if you’re already in great shape, you’ll likely be working muscles that you didn’t know you had.

Expect some muscle pain during the workout and the next day.

6. Expect to Be Touched Without Warning.

If you cringe when people touch you unexpectedly, just know that it will likely happen in Pilates classes.

As you’re performing movements, the instructor will need to make adjustments.

The flow of the class is important. Asking “May I touch you?” or getting your attention first may not be an option.

Have confidence that your instructor is a professional. If your instructor makes you feel uncomfortable, get another instructor.

7. Pilates May Need a Supplement.

It all depends on your goals. Pilates can be a very comprehensive workout.

If you want more strength, you might want to alternate days with weight lifting or strength-training equipment.

If you want to run a marathon, you may want to run some days.

If you’re working to lose weight, don’t forget to adjust your diet.

It’s all about figuring out what’s right for you.

Get Healthy with Pilates Classes

With Pilates you can get it all: strength, flexibility, endurance, balance and posture.

With these 7 tips you can get the most out of your Pilates classes.

Do you have any tips for our readers? Would you like to share your experience with Pilates?

Hope you’ll comment below. We love to hear about what you’re doing to live active and healthy.