Unless you've been living under a rock that's inside of a cave with no internet service, or my tiny little hometown which is still focused on beer drinking instead of healthy living, you would have heard of pilates by now. You may be interested in giving it a try, or even dabbled a little yourself already.
Basically, over a hundred years ago, this totally dope dude named Joseph Pilates started developing the Pilates system. He had been a sick child and dedicated his entire life to improving his physical strength. By integrating techniques he had learned from martial arts like jiu-jitsu and boxing with yoga, he started creating the pilates system we know of today.
For real's pilates have so many benefits for your bod, it's ridic! It has the ability to strengthen your core like it's no-one's business and get you on the way to the Britney Spear's abs of your dreams. It'll also help improve flexibility, increase muscle strength in your hips, and sculpt that butt to make a Kardashian jelly. It'll also help with enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs.
That's all great, you're probably thinking. But how do you get started on your own Pilates journey if you don't know how? We've listed our best tips and info to get you on your way to become a Pilates Pro in no time.
See A Medical Practitioner If You're Injured
One of the totally wicked benefits of Pilates is the ability it has to help you rehabilitate from an injury. A heap of sports and other injuries, as well as chronic pain, can be improved with pilates. After an injury, participating in pilates can help the whole body, not just the injured part, to increase strength, control and coordination of movement. That way it can make you stronger than you were before the injury. It also readdresses imbalances that may have caused injury or weakness in the first place.
Either way, it's always best to speak to your medical practitioner if you do have injury concerns before starting your Pilates journey. And also informing your Pilates Instructor of the same before beginning your lesson. Safety first, you guys!
Start With A Lesson Or Two
At the beginning of your Pilates journey, we recommend investing in a professional lesson or two or three. Even though there are plenty of awesome DVD's or Youtube tutorials available, nothing can replace the guidance of a qualified instructor that's there to make sure you're doing the techniques safely. Whether you join up at your local gym, take a one on one lesson or do a group class in a pilates studio, learning how to do everything correctly from the beginning, ensures you'll get the most from your Pilates practice from day one.
Choose a Pilates discipline
There are basically two common types of Pilates. Pilates on a mat or pilates on a reformer machine. Mat Pilates borrows from disciplines such as dance, yoga and classic calisthenics and uses your own bodyweight as resistance. Pilates reformer uses a bed-like carriage instead which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame and the carriage and uses the springs on the frame as resistance.
You might want to start with mat pilates, which you can do anywhere at any time with the help of a mat, and move on to reformer pilates when you've built more confidence. Or head straight to reformers under the guide of an instructor. It’s up to you. Whatever works for you.
Dress Appropriately For Your Workout
Dressing appropriately for your pilates class will mean you get the most out of it safely. Choose simple workout wear which is form fitting and not baggy and ensure it has no metal or plastic adornments that could get caught on something. Avoid jewellery that could hang and do the same thing, and tie your hair back so it doesn't get in the way.
Pilates are normally performed with bare feet, or better yet, with non-slip grip socks that have the grip to help you hold poses and keep your balance during the routine.
*Photo supplies by Wild Pilates NZ
Don't Give Up, You've Got This!
Like any other fitness routine, it might take time to get the hang of pilates. You might feel completely uncoordinated or out of your comfort zone and think you'll never get it right, especially in equipment pilates for the first time.
One of the best things about Pilates is the variety it offers in exercises and toughness. Pilates caters for everyone, from beginner to advanced. If you are struggling in your lessons let your instructor know - you might be using the wrong weight or you may need some further direction. It may hurt at times when you are using new muscles and you may run into challenges along the way.
But whatever you do, don't give up! The long-term benefits of pilates for your health and well-being far outweigh some minor discomfort in the meantime.