Pilates is becoming more and more popular nowadays, however, many people are still not sure what exactly this kind of sport means. Some people mistake it for some special form of yoga whereas others associate it exclusively with unique equipment which is used in some of the Pilates classes. For that reason, people who are not sure about the exact form of the workout offered by Pilates tend to resign from such classes just in case. Yet, you absolutely should not do it since Pilates is a fantastic form of strengthening exercises which are based on a principle different from popular fitness workouts which are building the muscles by repetition of exercises.
If you are already intrigued by Pilates, you certainly should read this article which will provide you with all the information you need to know about this kind of sport.
What is Pilates?
As I have just mentioned, Pilates is aiming to strengthen your body, however, it is using a different approach to this task. Pilates exercises are low-impact and they are capable not only to make you more strong but also to improve your flexibility and the alignment of posture. The exercises offered by Pilates will be focused on your core however, their nature will make your entire body work.
At some point, you can compare it to yoga though. That is so since Pilates is also using breath control and requires precision in the movements you will be performing.
The Pilates instructors themselves believe that this kind of sport can be a great addition to other fitness programmes as it will build the strength of your body and its endurance so that you will ultimately become better at other kinds of sport as well.
Note that as a rule, a Pilates class takes between 45 and 60 minutes.
A crucial feature of Pilates is that it actually offers two types of classes. The first type is using a mat which should be thicker than a typical yoga mat. The other type of Pilates classes is known as reformer classes since they are using a special piece of equipment which looks like a sliding platform. This one has pulleys, springs and a stationary foot bar. With the help of this untypical device, you will feel resistance which is necessary for strengthening your muscles.
As you can imagine, both of the class types are using the approach of controlling your movements rather than repeating exercises endlessly so that your muscles will be eventually exhausted. That is so since, Pilates is making your muscles strengthen by working against the force of gravity. In the case of using a reformer, the resistance will be created by all of that bands and springs.
Although some people are not sure about using this strange reformer device, it actually gives a great and unusual experience which can be compared to gliding or flying.
Other crucial things you should know about Pilates
There are several facts about Pilates before you start your classes.
First of all, you should be aware of the fact that it is better to choose formfitting clothes for your Pilates classes. Body-hugging workout wear will allow you to observe your movements which as you have already learnt, have to be precise during Pilates classes. At the same time, if you are going to take reformer classes, you will have a safer experience since lose clothes can get caught by the elements of equipment. Also, if you do not want to get into any embarrassing situation, you should not choose shorts for your exercises as many of them are performed on your back laying on the mat with your legs uplifted.
Pilates workouts can be done either barefooted or in socks. Just make sure your socks have rubber elements.
Pilates is addressing different groups of muscles
It has already been mentioned before that Pilates will make your entire body work. Still, it is worth repeating since many people have an expectation of this kind of sport to build exclusively the core and abdominal muscles. Even though many of its exercises are working with these parts of the body, the exercises are engaging your back, thighs and arms as well.
Pilates workouts are intense
Some people expect mat classes of Pilates to be gentle like yoga for beginners. This is a great misunderstanding of this kind of sports. Pilates is very intense even though it is not based on typical high-intensity exercises for example dumbbell lifting or squat jumping. The majority of Pilates exercises will make your muscles burn so the next day you might find them sore. This is also the result of Pilates treating muscles with small and effective movements.
You might also come across other curious equipment
If you are going to take more advanced reformer classes, you might also use some other equipment for example the Cadillac, the Wunda, the Magic Circle, the spine corrector and the high chair.