I’ve never been a person who loved exercise. High-intensity workouts like boot camp, kickboxing, and running make me feel tired and sore, and I’ve never had two or three sessions before throwing a towel.
Then I tried Pilates. I’ve seen some of my favorite torn celebrities get excited about it and it seemed like a perfect fit: a gentle workout that still produces results.
That was seven years ago, and I still practice Pilates several times a week.
Want to know if Pilates is the right workout for you? Here’s what you need to know.
Is Pilates good for beginners?
Yes! “A lot of people think that Pilates is just for girls or dancers, but it’s really for everyone,” says beginner Pilates instructor Lisa Hubbard.
“Your back and shoulders will be less tight and you will feel more tone throughout your body.”
Pilates was designed for literally all skill levels – the creator, Joseph Pilates, developed his method during his first World War I intern to help his fellow prisoners stay healthy and strengthen their minds and bodies.
(In fact, Cadillac – a large part of Pilates equipment that is still used today – was inspired by a temporary resistance machine he made from a hospital bed, straps and springs.)
Pilates can improve posture, build overall strength and help you lose weight.
And although Pilates has come a long way since its humble beginnings, one thing hasn’t changed: it’s still a great workout for beginners.
How Frequently Should I Do Pilates?
Is it okay to do Pilates every day? Yes! “That’s the beauty of Pilates,” said Andrea Rogers, creator of Xtend Barre and XB Pilates.
“You can do it every day in one way or another, whether you’re on a mat or with equipment like a Pilates reformer.”
That’s not what you say There is You need to do Pilates every day to see the results. One study found that doing an hour-long Pilates workout twice a week is enough to improve core strength and posture.
4 great Pilates moves for beginners
So, you decided to try Pilates. Great! These beginner-friendly steps can help you get started.
1. Hundreds of Pilates
“The purpose of this move is to warm up the body and increase circulation,” Rogers said. “Combines breathing with hundreds of movements and abdominal distractions.”
- Lie on your back and focus yourself on a mat.
- Draw both knees to your chest and hug with your hands.
- Lift your head up and look at your stomach.
- Extend your arms slightly above hip level.
- Float your legs in a tabletop position, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and your shins parallel to the floor. (Or, if you want, you can do this step by extending your legs at a 45-degree angle.)
- Keeping your arms straight, pump your arms up and down loudly. (This should be a short, quick movement – your hands should only move a few inches up and down.) Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed and focus on using your abs.
- When you pump, inhale for three “pumps” and exhale for three “pumps”. Repeat until you pump 100.
2. Ab roll-up
“Roll up stretches the spine and does the core work,” Rogers says. “The goal is to maintain a C-curve and clear one spine at a time.”
- Start by bending your legs and keeping your feet flat on the floor. Hold lightly behind your thighs and sit up tall.
- Round your spine, and lean back slightly. Slowly turn all the way down until you are flat on the floor, one vertebra at a time
- Pause for a moment, then engage your core and exhale while you slowly return to a straight spine. Repeat.
3. One leg circle
Looking to improve shoulder and hip stability? Add these steps to your Pilates routine. “It’s a deep stretch and an exercise that requires strong coordination skills,” Rogers says.
- Lie on your back with your arms extended at your sides.
- Extend your right foot straight towards the ceiling by pointing your toes. (Soften the knee if you feel too stretched.)
- Keeping your buttocks stable, keeping your legs straight and your back flat on the floor, throw your right leg to the left of your body. Place your right foot down on your left foot, then on the right, then return to the starting position, as if you were drawing a circle in the air with your toes.
- Then draw your right knee to the chest and give it a stretch.
- Complete eight repetitions and then reverse.
4. Kiss the scissors
- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, bend your knees and flatten your legs on the floor.
- Bring your knees to your chest, and then extend your legs straight toward the ceiling as you peel off your shoulders from the floor.
- Keeping your core engaged and your legs straight, bring your right leg toward your body as you slowly lower your left leg to the floor, vibrating twice.
- Repeat on the other side, bringing your left foot towards your body as soon as your right foot is lowered to the floor.
- Continue phasing until you have completed all the repetitions. Start with 10 to 15 repetitions.