So you have decided to try something new and sign up for a Pilates class. Congratulations! If you do it right, you will ask yourself, “why did I wait so long?”. But before you jump into uncharted territory, it is important to take a few moments and prepare yourself for an amazing experience.
Here are a few tips to consider as you walk into your first Pilates class:
1. Make sure you attend a class that is lead by an instructor certified in Pilates. Instructors certified in Balanced Body, Power Pilates and Stott have gone through extensive training to get their certification and are typically more prepared to teach to individuals of all levels.
2. A good instructor will demonstrate different levels of each exercise. Listen to these variations. If you are new to Pilates, it is important to start at a level 1 on each of the exercises so as not to injure yourself. Slowly working through the different levels of each exercise ensures that the participant gradually grasps the true concepts of a Pilates class.
3. No exercise should feel like it is straining the body. You should feel like you are working the muscles, but not stressing a joint. If the exercise is causing a strain to the body, you may need help from the instructor to make sure your form is correct. Speak up and ask for help. That is what the instructor is there for.
4. It is better to do 6 strong repetitions with good control rather than do 16 repetitions with sloppy form. Pushing the repetitions can lead to injury or poor form.
5. Let the instructor know when you have an injury or illness that may require an exercise modification.
6. It can take at least 4-5 Pilates classes to appreciate the true benefits of Pilates. So don’t give up if you feel uncoordinated or weak at that first class. It can take time to rebuild your strength, flexibility and balance.
Joseph Pilates is famous for quoting, “In 10 sessions you’ll feel different. In 20 sessions you’ll look different. In 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body.”
Most importantly, have fun. Keep an open mind. And before you know it you will feel stronger, taller, better.