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What types of Pilates classes are there?
Nearly all Pilates studios will offer a basic Pilates class that is based upon the form that was created by Joseph Pilates. However, you may also come across the following derivations:
Reformer Pilates is done on a piece of equipment called a Pilates Reformer. It provides a dynamic, full bodied workout with the aid of resistance springs that allow you to make the movement more difficult. Reformer class sizes can be between 8-30 people. They are designed for overall fitness.
Mat Pilates is done on the floor, on a mat with no other equipment. The focus here is on strengthening the core. You’ll probably find that mat classes have the biggest numbers in attendance and, therefore, the least level of individual attention from the instructor.
Contemporary Studio Pilates combine mat, reformer, traditional moves taught by Joseph Pilates, and new exercises that are the result of biomechanical research. Classes are small and intimate, often being limited to four people.
Clinical Pilates uses traditional Pilates moves to treat specific medical ailments.
What Should I Wear to a Pilates Class?
Wear comfortable, loose clothing that allows for a free range of movement. However, you don’t want your t-shirt to be so loose that it gets caught up in pulleys and cables when using a reformer Pilates machine. You can expect to sweat during your session, so opt for clothing that will wick away sweat and is odor absorbing.
Pilates classes are generally done wearing socks only. You can purchase specialized Pilates socks which have an anti-grip sole.
Do I Need to Bring My own Pilates Mat?
No. Unlike yoga classes, your Pilates studio will provide a mat for you. Of course, you are free to bring your favorite yoga mat with you if you prefer to use it!
What Benefits Can I Expect from Pilates?
Pilates will provide you with a full body workout. Here’s how you will specifically benefit:
Firmer Butt – nearly every Pilates move either directly or indirectly involves the glutes. Within a few weeks you should start to see a firmer, tighter butt.
Longer and Leaner Muscles – Pilates can accentuate the length of the limbs, transforming bulky muscles into longer, leaner ones.
Improved Posture – You should notice an improved posture almost immediately when you start doing Pilates. As a result, you may stand taller and look more elegant.
Flatter Tummy – Pilates can help you to achieve a flatter stomach by pulling your navel in toward your spine. In fact, it will train you to do this in your everyday life, so that you can have a flatter belly all day long.
Reduced Back Pain – Pilates will work to correct the muscular imbalances that lead to back pain. It will also improve the postural problems that often contribute to the issue. By strengthening the abs and the glutes, and stretching out the often-overworked back muscles, lower back pain can be significantly reduced.
Increased Flexibility – Pilates strengthens as it stretches. You can gently be increasing the flexibility of every muscle in your body as you become a regular Pilates practitioner.
Increased Bodily Awareness – Pilates will provide you with a renewed awareness of how your body works as a whole unit. You may be more conscious of pulling your stomach in, keeping your shoulder blades down and even breathing properly.
Do I Need to Have an Assessment Before Starting Pilates?
Generally, not. If you don’t have any injuries, aren’t coming back from an injury, or are not pregnant, you should be fine to come along to class without any previous consultation. Be sure to start with a beginner’s session and tell the instructor that this is your first time.
However, if you do have an injury, it would pay to begin with a one-on-one session so that the instructor can tailor the moves to your specific requirements.
Is There Anything Else I should Know About My First Session?
You should turn up for your class fifteen minutes before the session starts. This will give you time to register and get settled. While it’s fine to chat with class members and the instructor before the class, you shouldn’t chat during the session. This is the time for each participant to focus on themselves. However, the instructor may give you pointers or even correct your form throughout the session.
What Should I Bring to my Pilates Session?
You should bring a water bottle as it is important that you stay hydrated throughout your session. Bring a towel to wipe away your perspiration. Most studios also provide shower and changing facilities, so, if you wish to take advantage of these facilities, bring another towel and a change of clothes.
How Frequently Should I Do a Pilates Class?
Pilates will challenge your body in unique ways. You should, therefore, begin with just one class per week to see how your body reacts to it. If you are fitter than the average person, you can start with two sessions per week. Build up to a maximum of three sessions. Do these on alternate days and, always, listen to your body. If you don’t feel fully recovered on a scheduled day, take another day off!
Can Men Do Pilates?
Most definitely. Joseph Pilates created pilates to be used by both men and women. About one in four class members today tend to be male. Pilates helps develop core strength which is where the power from the body originates. Increased core strength can also help to alleviate lower back problems.
Will Pilates Help Me Lose Weight?
Yes. But some versions are better than others. If your goal is to lose weight you should look for forms of Pilates that are cardiovascular in nature. These would include Jumpboard Reformer Pilates, Pilates Circuit, and Pure Barre classes.
Can I Do Pilates When I’m Pregnant?
Definitely. Pilates is an excellent way for pregnant women to keep fit and to get back in shape after the delivery. The emphasis on the pelvis, glutes, quads and arms are ideal for pregnant women. You need to be selective about which abdominal moves you do, however. Your best bet is to do a specialized Pilates pregnancy class, of which there are many. In addition, you should consult with your GP before beginning Pilates or any other form of exercise while pregnant.
Will Pilates Make My Muscles Sore?
That depends upon how athletic and flexible you are and how much effort you put into your session. Your goal should be to feel some muscle soreness afterwards. This should be a comfortable tightness in the worked muscle. If you have pain in your neck, back and joints, you should consult with your instructor.
Should I Eat Before My Pilates Class?
Your Pilates session will have you moving your body in unique ways. You don’t want to be doing that with a full, bloated stomach. That is why you need to monitor your food intake around your Pilates session. Give yourself at least two hours leeway between your last whole food meal and your session.
Do I Need to Book or Can I Just Turn Up?
You should always book your Pilates sessions ahead of time. This will ensure that your place is reserved and the class will not be overcrowded. Many studios will take booking by the term. That means that you will be part of that group for the term and will, usually, pay in advance. Although policies differ, if you can’t make it to a session and give advance notice, many studios allow you to make arrangements for you to join another class.
There is no requirement in Australia to be qualified in order to teach a Pilates class. However, you should look for a studio that either has fully qualified instructors or those who are working towards a qualification. Polestar is a worldwide Pilates training organization that operates in Australia.
If you are doing Pilates as part of a rehabilitation program, you should check to see if the instructor is trained in rehab.
Does Medicare Cover Pilates If I Am Doing Rehab?
No, sorry. Medicare will not cover the cost of your session.