What Should I Expect from Pilates for Beginners?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Pilates can be a fun and invigorating exercise that improves strength, flexibility, and all over fitness. By using stretches and some aerobic movement, Pilates helps tone the body effectively. Although movements may seem simple, they require correct posture and practice to be truly effective. Many fitness experts recommend taking classes or watching videos that specialize in Pilates for beginners in order to assume that movement and method are correctly learned.

A woman doing pilates.
A woman doing pilates.

Pilates for beginners will often start out with an explanation of correct breathing technique. Breath is very important throughout the practice of this type of exercise, providing not only oxygen balance but actually helping improve posture and position throughout the workout. Techniques learned may include the breath of fire, which is a series of short breaths in and out that may be used with some abdominal moves. Most Pilates instructors tell users to focus on the breath to help stabilize and center the body throughout each movement.

Posture is a vital component of any Pilates for beginners class. In order to get the full benefit of a move, weight must be distributed correctly while proper alignment is maintained. Posture includes elements such as how the feet are positioned, the alignment of the hips and spine, and how to hold the head and neck. Without proper posture, undue stress can be placed on the body, causing exercise to lose its effectiveness and the possibility of injury to increase.

A Pilates for beginners class will teach basic poses and typically run through an overall body workout. In order to give new students a primer to the style, most teachers will include one or two exercises for each muscle group in the body. Most beginners classes last 30-45 minutes, and will spend some time on breath and posture before beginning the actual practice.

One thing to expect from a Pilates for beginners class that everyone will make a few mistakes. Pilates is not a discipline that can be mastered in one workout; even experienced teachers and trainers lose their balance and topple over occasionally. Look for beginner modifications to exercises; these will help build strength and allow new practitioners to work at their own level. Although the body should be pushed during a Pilates routine, it is important to stop doing any exercise that hurts. Flexibility and strength build through practice.

After taking a Pilates for beginners class, expect to be somewhat sore the next day. The first few sessions will likely stretch and work muscles rarely used, causing the unprepared body to ache afterward. Typically, soreness will dissipate after a few sessions as flexibility starts to increase. If not, consider doing only beginner-modified exercises to prevent too much strain on the body.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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