If you’ve been following any influencer on your favorite social media, you might be aware that pilates is the next workout obsession, especially among women. It seems that more and more influencers online are trying it out and raving about the results and transformation that they’ve seen, and you might have even been convinced to give it a try yourself.
Pilates is a full body workout that aims to improve muscle tone, flexibility and strength all at once, and there are a few types of it circulating the internet. Reformer pilates is the version of the workout that is done on a reformer machine, which is a very versatile machine that allows users to explore a wide range of motions and exercises. On the other hand, mat pilates is the more traditional side that focuses on different muscle groups, typically only using bodyweight.
Each one definitely has its advantages. Reformer pilates gives a much more intense and dynamic workout experience, whereas mat pilates is much more accessible and doesn’t require one to attend a group class or studio.
These are the more popular types of pilates, so you definitely have some options to choose from. As reformer pilates is done under the supervision of a trainer or teacher, anyone looking to try it out will definitely be able to get the most out of it, but the same can’t be said for the classical mat pilates as this is usually done as an at-home workout or alone.
If you’re interested in stepping into the world of pilates, then here are a few great tips to help you get started.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
For those of you who aren’t new to exercising, you’ve probably been raised to believe that more reps equates to better and faster results. It makes sense when you think about it because more reps will put enough stress on your muscles to stimulate their growth, but pilates takes a more unconventional approach by going the opposite direction.
While there are pilates instructors—both online and in physical classes—that encourage you to perform exercises for a certain amount of time, the goal of pilates is to focus on the muscle contractions rather than just speeding through each exercise. Anyone taking pilates knows the importance of concentrating on the movement and how controlling the muscles through each rep can actually lead to a greater burn.
As nice as it is to have a certain repetition goal in mind for an exercise, you should focus more on the quality of the movement rather than quantity, especially since pilates is meant to be done slowly and mindfully.
Take a Second to Check on Your Form
Another benefit of slowing down your movement in pilates is that it allows you to check on your form. Form is another thing that pilates focuses on because it aligns itself with the principle that the right form leads to optimal functionality and movement. Basically, it just means that ensuring that you’re following the correct form will give you the best results.
Whether you’re attending an in-person class or watching an online workout video, you’ll probably be hearing the instructor reminding you to engage your core and make sure that there’s never a gaping hole between your back and the mat, and this is why. This is also another benefit to moving slowly—it gives you the awareness to ensure that your form stays correct throughout each movement.
Less is More
Another very toxic mindset and belief when it comes to any workout in general is that you have to push yourself to the limits to see a transformation, but this is a very unhealthy misconception that can cause you to burn out or injure yourself. Needless to say, rest is incredibly important in seeing or feeling any kind of positive difference in yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, muscles are actually built during rest rather than the exercise itself. As the exercise provides the strain and damage needed to create little microscopic tears in the muscle tissue, the rest allows these muscles to repair themselves so that they can heal and grow stronger.
For that reason, you should remember to not push yourself too much on any exercise—including Pilates—because rest is where the magic happens. Try out and observe how your body is feeling each day and take a day off when you feel like you need it. There’s no shame in taking a rest day, and you definitely do deserve it.
Make Sure You Dress the Part
Pilates includes a lot of different and creative exercises and movements that will have your limbs going in all directions, so it’s crucial that you choose an outfit that can keep everything together in every pose, especially when you’re in a workout class.
In general, make sure that your bottoms are tight enough to keep everything hidden, while also being flexible enough to support all your movements. For tops, the only thing you need to keep in mind is that you want something that’s made of breathable and absorbent material to help you feel your best throughout the workout.
If you’re someone who prefers to work from home, you definitely have more options. A pair of shorts might feel much more comfortable as it’ll allow for much freer movement for any lifts and pulses, and all you really need is a sports bra that’ll keep you feeling secured and empowered.
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