5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Any Pilates Class

Posted 25 January 2022

Pilates is an excellent exercise method that provides great results. Regardless of what you may be doing Pilates for – to recover from an injury, to stay healthy and fit, or to maintain a regular workout routine – the Pilates method is structured to allow just about anyone to try it.

Although Pilates has shown to be hugely beneficial for both your physical and mental well-being, it can be difficult to master the techniques needed to enjoy those benefits: control, breathing, centering, alignment, and concentration, to name a few.

We’ll help you enjoy the full Pilates experience – here are 5 ways to get the most out of any Pilates class!

Don't Put Pilates in a Box - It's Not Just For Gym Rats and Fitness Junkies

Pilates is for everyone: men and women, adults and children, the fit and the un-fit, those with injuries and those without. Long before gyms started selling reformers along side treadmills, Pilates was exactly that: an exercise method not bound to any specific piece of equipment or location.

If you’re ever unsure about how to adapt Pilates exercises to your current state of fitness, ask your instructor! They would much rather show you modifications than have you do something incorrectly because it wasn’t safe for you.

Listen to Your Pilates Instructor - They Know Best

As the saying goes, “when in Rome” – so when you attend a Pilates class, keep an open mind and trust your instructor to lead you through an incredible workout. Often you’ll find that instructors build the same exercises around the four Pilates principles (control, breathing, centering, and concentration), but how they implement those concepts into specific movements may differ.

However, there are three main styles of Pilates: method developed by Joseph H. Pilates (think traditional reformer work); Classical Ballet (where dancers learn to stand with their abdominals engaged); and Gyrokinesis (a system which emphasises movement training using small muscle groups).

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Any Pilates Class - Club Pilates member using the reformer

Focus on Your Breathing

Your Pilates instructor will emphasise the importance of slow, controlled breathing during your sessions. Doing so facilitates core engagement and centering by using both inhalation and exhalation to activate muscles throughout your whole body

You should never hold your breath while exercising (regardless of which method you use). Holding your breath increases tension in the body – exactly what you don’t want when trying to engage your core!

Remember Your Core!

Pilates is all about core engagement, so it’s important to think about your abs during every exercise.

Instead of counting reps or thinking too much about the exercise itself, stay focused on your breathing and engaging your core, which will help you maintain good posture throughout each movement.

Savour the Burn!

To get the most out of every exercise, you have to do more than just go through the motions. You have to concentrate on your body and how it feels during each exercise – comfortable or in pain? Is one side harder to engage than the other? Does that leg feel weaker or stronger during a particular Pilates movement?

By moving mindfully, you’ll notice where your body holds tension, which muscles are working harder, whether an exercise is easier with greater resistance, if certain movements are too advanced for you at this time.

Accept where you’re at today – maybe even give yourself a pat on the back for trying something new and challenging – but also think about what areas need attention in the future. By thinking critically about your body and the Pilates movements, you’ll be in a better place to make lifestyle changes and achieve your long-term fitness goals!

Have Fun!

Easier said than done, right? While a Pilates workout can be a serious challenge at times, it’s important to enjoy yourself and remember why you started in the first place.

With so many forms of exercise available these days (boot camps! boxing! hot yoga!) it’s easy to fall off track and lose motivation. But as they say: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it – and that applies to your fitness just as much as anything else.

By having fun with every Pilates class, not only will you keep exercising regularly – but you’ll also learn how to better push through those tough workouts and achieve your health and fitness goals sooner than later!

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Any Pilates Class - Club Pilates member on reformer

Ready to Try Pilates?

Pilates is great for building core strength, but it’s also a very low-impact form of exercise that can be performed by people with certain injuries or without previous training. Pilates is all about quality over quantity in terms of how many repetitions you do. It’s important to think about your abs during every Pilates movement – breathing is key!

You should savour the burn – get the most out of each exercise by concentrating on your body and what you’re feeling, not just mindlessly counting reps! Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself while working out – if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, it’ll be too easy to fall off track and miss workouts.

Ready to try your first Pilates class? Visit a Club Pilates studio near you to get started, or book your first class online here.