Posts In: Tips

Pilates for Beginners

September 15, 2021

Whether you’re new to exercising or just looking to switch things up, Pilates is an excellent option. You might think of it as a tough core workout, but it can be very easily adjusted for those of every skill level and physical fitness level, making Pilates a great option for beginners! If you’re skeptical as to whether Pilates is right for you, here’s everything you need to know.  

What is Pilates?

Pilates was named after its inventor, Joseph Pilates, whose focus was creating an exercise program to support soldiers during the war. It turns out that what he created has much broader applications; Pilates has the ability to support health and wellbeing, as well as to support physiotherapy efforts in injury recovery, and much more.  

Pilates is a low impact-exercise, which means it is not too taxing on joints, nor is it overly focused on cardio-vascular health.  Instead, it focuses on adding muscle, balance, and strength to the core. The core is responsible for much of our posture and balance, so building strength to this area can help improve many posture-related problems, speed up injury recovery, and more.  

Typical beginner Pilates moves will be about engaging the core and the back. Many exercises will stretch the hips, the spine, and the arms and legs. You will be lying, sitting, or standing on a mat when you complete most of these exercises unless you are using a Reformer machine. ABsolute Pilates uses Reformer machines, which can be very helpful to target different muscles on the body and ensure proper form. Don’t be intimidated – they are relatively simple to use, and your instructor will guide you, if you want to use them. Beginners need not feel obligated to jump into using a Reformer machine, mat work will do just fine! 

You will gain flexibility and confidence with the moves as you progress, and you’ll be challenged with increasingly difficult poses. If you already have strong core strength and balance, you may find that you can do more challenging Pilates poses right away.  

What are the Benefits of Pilates?

As a beginner, you will probably see a marked improvement in core strength, which will come with a wide range of benefits. These might include: 

  • Mobility: Anyone who has had surgery or an injury will benefit from the boost to mobility that Pilates can bring. By stretching and doing guided, repeated exercises you can improve any joint’s range of motion, especially after that joint has undergone surgery.  
  • Posture: Our posture is supported by our core muscles. When you improve the strength in these supportive muscles then you can also reduce the stress on your neck, back, hips and shoulders, sometimes relieving pain in these areas if the pain is partly or entirely stemming from posture-related issues.  
  • Balance: Balance will help you every time you move. For seniors especially, the benefits of improved balance are critical. Through Pilates you can prevent falls and feel more secure in a wide range of other activities. 
  • Flexibility: Even if you don’t need to improve your mobility after an injury or surgery, you can still benefit from the improved flexibility that Pilates offers.  

 

Overall, Pilates is a great exercise that can benefit anyone from those beginning their exercise journey, to those who are competitive athletes. Reach out to ABsolute Pilates today to discuss how Pilates could be right for you, or to sign up for a class! 

woman on mat stretching with bar in exercise clothes

You can do Pilates without equipment but adding resistance through a Pilates bar can make your workouts even more impactful and help you to build strength even faster. If you need to up the challenge in your Pilates workout and you’re looking at Pilates bars as a solution, you may be a bit overwhelmed by all of the options to choose from. Which is the best bar for your specific purposes? Here are some things to consider when you’re making your decision.

Level of Resistance

As when buying free weights, you want to think about how much resistance the bar and its bands will offer your workout. If you already have great muscle development, bands with high resistance are important for an extra challenge. Most bars have the option to adjust to some degree, by rolling the bands around the bar. However, you’ll still want high quality bands that will provide the optimal challenge for your skill level. The best way to test them is to pull on them in real life, but if you’re buying online you may also be able to find bands that have a weight rating.

Durability

The material of the bar and bands, and the connections between the two, will determine how durable the Pilates bar is and how long it will last. You’ll have to balance durability with cost. Bars made with steel and high-quality metals, and bands made with high quality rubbers will tend to be more expensive, though they’ll be able to handle strenuous workouts for longer. Beware of hollow cords, aluminum bars and cheap-looking plastic connectors, as they’ll likely have a short lifespan.

Comfort

You want to be comfortable during your workout so that you can focus on your form and challenging yourself physically. Pilates bars have many features that can help to make your workout more comfortable. Adjustable, padded foot loops are key. You may also find bars that are padded and offer sweat absorption. Otherwise, hold the bars yourself to compare their relative comfort and find a Pilates bar that suits you.

Height

Many of the bars you buy online will not adjust for people who are on the taller side. Look at the reviews to spot if this is the case for the bars that you’re interested in. In general, bars with straps that aren’t adjustable usually aren’t ideal for people not of average height, whether they’re taller or shorter than the average. If the only way to adjust the bands is to wrap them around the bar, then you may want to look elsewhere to find a bar suited to your stature.

Portability

Don’t be fooled by the online reviews that equate the bar’s weight to its portability. If you’re doing Pilates, you can carry the bar to and from your car. What really matters for portability is if the bar fits in your car or can fold up in order to fit in your vehicle or bike bag. Some bars fold up. Otherwise, you may want to take a measurement of your trunk and ensure the bar will fit in. If you go for a fold-up bar, be sure to read reviews to ensure you’re not sacrificing durability or strength for portability’s sake.

Exercises

If you’re exercising at home, you may be swayed by products that offer exercise guides to show you how to use the bar. Some have paper or digital instructions to teach you new moves. If you’re a beginner to Pilates, a bar that comes with guidance and example exercises may be just what you need to get the ball rolling. Or, use your bar at your Physiotherapy appointments and get professional guidance from Meadowland’s physiotherapists. Don’t have a bar? Join a class at ABsolute Pilates and use our equipment under the watchful eye of certified Pilates instructors!

Exercise Tips

Going on vacation is supposed to be a relaxing experience, but that doesn’t mean that you can (or should) neglect your exercise regime. Besides, if you are bringing the kids along then you might need to take a quick vacation from your vacation, and what better way to relax than with a quick workout, or yoga session!
(more…)

Fitness Apps

Staying fit isn’t always easy. Many of us spend most of our day behind a desk and in front of a computer. Fortunately, some technology is actually helping us get fitter, eat right, and exercise more.
(more…)

Yoga

Yoga classes are a great way to improve your physical and mental health. Some of the more elaborate yoga poses may seem impossible to master at first, but if you attend yoga classes regularly you’ll be surprised how quickly you will master them. (more…)

Pilates

​Pilates helps increase flexibility, balance, mobility, and coordination. It can build strength, decrease back pain, strengthen your core, prevent injury, decrease body fat, and increase cardiovascular health. (more…)

Kids

Do you want your kids to have… (more…)

march madness

We wanted to say thank you to all those who participated in our March Madness event! It was a lot of fun seeing everyone get involved by posting lots of different exercises and activities that you were doing in your everyday life or that you added to your fitness routine. (more…)

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!