Pilates 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Pilates

Pilates may look and sound intimidating at first—the breathing, the movements, the terminology, and using a Pilates reformer for the first time, but regardless of your fitness background, age, or physical limitations, Pilates can offer a complete fitness game-changer for your workouts, health, and well-being.

If you’ve been wanting to try Pilates but feel unsure about starting a workout you’re unfamiliar with, this post answers all your questions. Whether you want to understand how to use Pilates equipment or what to wear while you’re working through the movements, we give you all the details to ensure your first experience with Pilates is a success.

Pilates reformer

What Is Pilates?

If you’ve ever seen anyone doing Pilates, the movements look deceptively simple and easy. Pilates uses body alignment, posture, and breathing to focus on your spine and core muscle group. Working your entire body, Pilates uses a series of challenging, low-impact movements to build strength, flexibility, and mobility.

Pilates meets your needs regardless of where you’re starting from—you can start Pilates whether you’re a beginner or a fitness expert. Even if you have limited mobility, Pilates can provide a challenging way to increase your mobility and build strength and body awareness.

Of all the workouts available to you, Joseph Pilates—the man who invented Pilates in the 1920s—created these movements with longevity in mind. Pilates forms a strong foundation to improve not just your fitness level, but also everyday movements, offering a fitness program you can perform for a lifetime.

You can do Pilates on a mat or with a Pilates reformer. The versatility of Pilates means you can use your Pilates equipment at home and get a total-body workout in a comfortable setting, without a commute, and at a time that works for you.

While some beginners choose to start with mat Pilates, anyone can jump right in and start using a reformer on day one. A Pilates reformer gives you added resistance and an array of movements that challenge you while building strength and increasing your mobility.

By using the Pilates reformer by Frame Fitness, you can stream workouts directly to your machine to ensure you’re doing each movement properly. The instructor on the LCD swivel display can take you through each movement safely and properly, giving you a one-on-one studio experience right at home.

What Pilates Can Do for Your Body

Many people have visions of lean, toned dancers and models when they think of Pilates. While those images provide a picture of what Pilates can do for your body, keep in mind that people from all walks of life use Pilates and Pilates reformers for the physical benefits Pilates provides—from athletes and models to older adults and those with injuries or limited mobility.

Consider just a few of the benefits Pilates can offer:

  • Improved posture
  • Stronger core
  • Increased mobility
  • Strengthened muscles
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced back pain
  • Reduced risk of injury

You may wonder how Pilates differs from yoga since they both use movements and the mind-body connection. Different from yoga, Pilates was developed to rehabilitate. This physical practice puts greater emphasis on building strength and mobility. On the other hand, yoga primarily impacts flexibility.

Pilates isolates muscles deep in your core. You develop the ability to tune into your body’s alignment and muscles so that every movement you make is focused and controlled and strengthens your muscles. These movements offer greater mobility for everyday functions and reduce your risk of injury because you’re building a stronger core.

Pilates reformer

Pilates complements all forms of fitness, which may be why so many athletes enjoy using it for sport-specific cross-training, and physical therapists have been using Pilates to rehab their patients for decades. In fact, when you’re injured, even with limited mobility, you can use Pilates to continue working out while protecting yourself from further injury.

The Pilates reformer by Frame Fitness offers the full range of functionality you need when approaching Pilates from any fitness level. You can reap the many benefits of Pilates with a Frame reformer by taking advantage of its thoughtfully designed features:

  • Customize workouts. You can stream workouts directly to the Bluetooth-enabled display and select specific instructors or muscle groups for focus.
  • Change resistance easily. Since you want to continually increase your muscle tone, you need to continually increase the challenge. To increase your intensity and challenge, the Framer reformer offers easy, push-button resistance change, allowing you to seamlessly adjust resistance while doing your Pilates workout.
  • Track your progress. Not only can you stream workouts to your Frame reformer, but also you can track the progress you’ve made.
  • Workout consistently. To take full advantage of the benefits of Pilates, you need to work out consistently. Having Pilates equipment in your home, such as the sleek Frame reformer, means having Pilates available to you whenever you have the time. You don’t have to plan around a set class schedule or work in time to commute to the gym. Instead, your Frame reformer is ready whenever you are, making consistency with workouts a breeze.

What to Expect in a Pilates Workout

Pilates takes a holistic approach to working out. This whole-body approach addresses strength, stability, mobility, breath, and a connection with the mind and body. So your workout impacts each of these areas, but because the mind-body connection remains in focus, you can modify movements to meet your ability level.

Knowing what to expect in a Pilates workout helps you prepare to be at your best. So before you consider what the workout is like, think about what you should wear or have ready during your Pilates workout:

  • Clothes: When you work out on a Pilates reformer, or even if you’re doing mat Pilates, body-conscious clothing not only makes your workout easier but also safer. With body-hugging clothes, you can avoid having to worry about your clothes falling up or down—depending on what direction you’re moving—and the urge to tuck your shirt mid-movement or yank on your shorts. You may not care about revealing skin, but those loose-fitting clothes can be uncomfortable as they bunch up, and you risk getting them caught in your Pilates reformer as you perform the movements. You should also skip wearing clothes that have buckles, belts, and so on that can also get caught in your Pilates reformer or damage it.
  • Shoes: No shoes required! You can wear socks if you like, but you may prefer just having your naturally grippy bare feet.
  • Hair bands: Like the loose-fitting clothes, if you have longer hair, pull it up so that it won’t interfere with the movement of the Pilates reformer and get caught in it.
  • Water bottle: Pilates looks simple but looks are deceiving. Pilates makes for a challenging workout. While you don’t want to have a ton of water swirling around your stomach while you’re trying to tighten those core muscles, you will want a drink or two during your workout, and you’ll love your Pilates reformer workout so much that you won’t want to run and grab one!

Pilates reformer

The actual workout differs in some ways from many workouts you’re probably used to:

  • Movement examples: Instructors model the movements, like in many workout programs. Pay special attention to the cues that encourage you to focus on specific areas. This focus helps you get the most out of your Pilates reformer workout and keeps you safely performing the movements.
  • Breathing cues: Unlike most workout programs, Pilates instructors tell you when to breathe. Breathing coordinates with each move and offers extra control and enhances each movement, so these cues are just as important as the movement cues.
  • Whole-body workout: Pilates works your entire body even with moves that seem to look simple. You will sweat and expect to be pleasantly sore the next day.
  • Speed: So Pilates focuses on slow, controlled movements. You don’t rush through it like an aerobic workout. So take your time and pay full attention to the cues from your instructor.
  • Lingo: You may encounter some lingo, but you can trust the instructors to explain it, and you’ll have it down in no time.

Pilates truly offers a workout for everyone. Regardless of your fitness level, incorporating a Pilates reformer into your routine can help improve your stability, mobility, strength, and more, and you’ll notice a difference in your everyday movements, not just during your workouts. The holistic approach taken by Pilates complements any fitness routine or sport, and you can count on the instructors to walk you through the movements and breathing to enjoy a new fitness experience.

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