Yoga/Pilates Pose

Part 2: Tips for Pilates Beginners

Yesterday, we covered the Pilates 101. This is an overview of what you need to be successful at Pilates as well as an overview of some of the beginner moves.

Tools for Beginners

A Quality Pilates Mat

The mat is important because if you don’t like how it feels, you won’t be motivated to keep up with your exercises. People often assume it doesn’t matter what you work out in or with (like clothes or the mat), but it can make a difference. Since much of Pilates is done on the floor, you want the mat to be cushioned and as comfortable as possible. A typical yoga mat is fine, but make sure the thickness works for you.

Comfortable Clothing

The next thing you need is comfortable clothing for the workouts. Avoid heavy sweatpants or baggy t-shirts that arePilates for beginners difficult to move in. This can make some of the moves awkward. A fitted tee or tank top and yoga pants are good options, but the main goal is to be comfortable in the class. Remember that you’ll be barefoot, so don’t worry about socks or shoes.

Take at Least One Pilates Class

There are different ways to start Pilates, from taking a local class to doing the exercises at home. However, although watching YouTube videos or using a Pilates DVD is a convenient option, it’s difficult to learn the core moves properly when you do it by yourself. It’s recommended that beginners take at least one or two classes with an instructor to make sure you have the moves down.

Know What Your Body Can Handle

Pilates is not an exercise that you’ll be able to do flawlessly and completely the first time. The point is to strengthen your body gradually, so be patient and don’t push too hard. If you can only do 5 reps of a new move instead of 10, do 5 and rest. The next time you try it, see if you can do 6, then 7 and so on until you hit those 10 reps. If you need to modify some moves until you get stronger, don’t be afraid to do so! So, you won’t need those adjustments.

Pilates Moves for Beginners

Pilates is not an easy workout. However, there are some moves (with modifications) that may be better for beginners.

The 100 Move

This isn’t exactly the simplest move you’ll do in Pilates, but it’s likely the first one you’ll learn. Even if you can only do Pilates for 5 minutes in the beginning, it’s important to get this exercise because it is so basic. The 100 move involves laying on your back on your mat, then bringing both legs up bent at the knees. Curl your head up, then straighten your legs out at an angle. While holding your legs and your head in those positions, you’ll hold your arms out to your sides and move them up and down for 100 quick reps. When just starting out, try to do about 20, then move to 50, then 100. Also, beginners can leave their legs bent at the knees or straightened at a lower angle depending on fitness level.

The Abs Roll Up

This might go by different name, but it’s another excellent Pilates move that strengthens your abdominal muscles. Lay flat on your back on your mat with your legs straight, lift your arms above your head, then slowly move your body forward until your head is lowered close to your knees. Then, slowly roll back down until you are flat on the mat again.  However, for beginners, there are modifications that would make the exercise easier, such as instead of having the legs out flat, the knees could be bent, or the arms could be held out from the shoulders straight in front instead of above the head. Either way, the roll up should be repeated several times.

Single-Leg Tease MoveTwo Leg Teaser

This move works your legs and your core. It’s good to start with the simplified move instead of having both legs in the air at the same time. You lie flat on the mat, with one leg extended out and one bent with your knee pointing up. Reach forward as if trying to touch your toes, then roll down. Do a few reps of this, then alternate your legs and do it the same way on the other side. Eventually, you will be able to complete the exercise with both legs pointed out up in the air.

There are many Pilates moves that have similar modifications. These are going to help you to perform the Pilates exercises even in the beginning, regardless of your experience level. Soon, you will become strong enough for the more advanced moves.

Remember, you should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness routine.

Have you done these exercises? Tell us about it in the comments.


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