Pilates explained for beginners


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Pilates explained for beginners

Pilates, an exercise approach based on the original work of Joseph Pilates, offers participants at all fitness levels a chance to develop stronger and more flexible muscles without impact to the joints or large increases in muscle size.

Beginners will benefit under the watchful eye of a qualified instructor to focus on form and help students maximize the effectiveness of exercises. An understanding of the method helps beginners make good choices among Pilates offerings. According to Balanced Body, a manufacturer of Pilates equipment, in 2006 more than 10 million people around the world practised Pilates, a 600 percent increase from the year 2000. A great way to get into shape, anyone can practise Pilates, regardless of age, with use of a floor mat or more complicated equipment.

Pilates benefits

Pilates is meant to improve flexibility through a combination of mind and body techniques. Body awareness allows students to develop poise, good posture and ease in their body movements. The exercise builds muscles without adding bulk, creating firmer, toned bodies and firm thighs and abdomens. According to the Pilates Method Alliance, the exercise techniques can improve lung capacity and circulation and increase bone density.

Main features of Pilates

Initially, Pilates teaches students to pay attention to their breathing and spinal alignment. In the beginning, students are taught how to be aware of their body and its movements - tools that will remain with the student. Pilates movements concentrate on stretching and elongating muscles, and increasing joint mobility. Many newcomers to Pilates find relief from years of back pain after a few sessions. Emphasis on building the muscles in the abdomen help with core strengthening. The entire body receives a workout, resulting in a balanced increase in muscle tone.

Considerations before starting Pilates

Beginners need to know how different approaches and types of Pilates classes promote different styles and results from the workouts. Pilates mat work takes place on the floor with nothing but your own body for resistance. It consists of a series of exercises developed by Pilates himself, some unique to the method and some similar to traditional exercises like sit-ups and push-up. Pilates equipment lessons are a specialized form of training using specific machines invented by Joe Pilates. Teacher training for Pilates classes varies, with several accredited international programs and certifications to choose from. Not all studios offer equipment and mat work in group or private settings.


Pilates at more advanced levels provides both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, depending on the format of the class. Pilates qualifies as a body-weight training and strength-promoting exercise, but features very few explosive power movements as in weightlifting. Mind-body work, like yoga or tai chi, fall under the same category as gentler Pilates mat classes. They flow with controlled rhythm, and promote flexibility, core strength and stability. Muscle endurance and balanced functional movement are goals of a consistent Pilates practice.


According to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, the beginning level of Pilates is safe for pregnant women (at least till the first trimester) and the elderly. With the emphasis on breathing and slow, proper movement, Pilates is more like yoga than aerobics. While yoga instructs students to hold a pose, however, Pilates emphasizes slow, even movement through each phase. Pilates has the potential to reduce stress and makes a good adjunct to other aerobic exercises in a balanced exercise regimen.
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