Beginners Yoga Pilates Workout

Beginners Yoga Pilates Workout

Do you want a robust and lean body? Would you like to avoid spending countless hours in doing exercises or working out in the gym? Well, you won’t get a toned and strong body just by lifting weights. You can easily get the best physique right at home by doing yoga and with a yoga mat. How?

Well, just try Pilates. Pilates will not only tone and tighten your muscles, it even makes your body strong and increases your core flexibility. It consists of various workouts that is filled with precise movements and even breathing methods. Now the question that comes to your mind is what’s so important or significance about Pilates. Well, just go ahead and read on.

Definition of Pilates

In the classical sense, Pilates is nothing but a system of exercises. It needs to be carried out in a prescribed order which can improve flexibility, physical strength and posture. The best part is that you must carry out less repetitions of each movement. As the focus is only on the quality of each of the single moment, this is also a great exercise. Pilates is not same as yoga.

Compared to other exercises, Pilates is kind of low impact. It basically aims in strengthening the muscles along with improving the flexibility and alignment of the body. In addition, it is a known fact that Pilates moves often target the core, even though the exercise works other basic areas of the body too.

Frankly, you can do Pilates with or without any equipment. However, no matter what the moves will be slow, and will have precise movements along with deep breath control. Physicians feel that Pilates is a full-body exercise method, which will assist you in doing all day-to-day activities in a better manner.

Not only will it strengthen and stabilize one’s core body, it will allow you to move efficiently. Your core body is the major foundation of your life and it is one that controls your flexibility, posture and mobility.

For Whom Is Pilates Good?

One of the best parts of doing Pilates is that it is good for all individuals. Irrespective of whether you are new to exercising or training for Iron Man, or you might be overcoming some injuries as well as planning to improve your posture, there is no doubt that it is a fantastic exercise. A physical regime that strengthens the muscles, promotes the movement control of the body and creates in developing endurance.

Here the major focus of Pilates training is to improve the spinal strength and mobility. This will reduce the risk of getting any injury and even enhancing athletic performance. On top of that, it even targets the hard-to-see as well as significant muscle groups like transverse abdominis and glute meds.

Now there are two basic kinds of Pilates classes – one is the reformer class and another one is mat class. At times you can end up tackling classes that are often based on the mat which can be a bit thicker compared to the standard yoga mat. Other times you might be using a mat to counter the cushion pressure point as well as using a machine called the reformer.

This is a sliding platform which is complete with all kinds of stationary foot bar, pulley, springs which in turn can give you resistance. Make sure that you very well know which one you are getting into just before doing the workout. Both options will be primarily be focusing on the control concept rather than cranking the various endless reps or till muscles exhaustion.

Now keep in mind that in Pilates, your muscles are primarily working to lift against gravity. Also, it will be working in resistance of the bands or springs along with the major goal of strengthening and isolating the basic muscles. Here your goals must be to take your own sweet time in doing the exercises.

Most people who are doing Pilates feel that the reformer experience will be most fun one you might have in the Pilates class. Not only does the machine give you required resistance, its sliding surface will provide you a challenging workout.

There are various Pilates inspired workouts like SLT, Studio MDR, etc which are not thought to be classic Pilates. However, they do provide various benefits that are like them. Some of these exercises are next-level reformers and larger than the traditional ones. So, irrespective of what class you are selecting, try to make sure that your instructor is aware you are a beginner. So, in such situations, they can keep a close watch on you while in the class and even make some modifications and adjustments.

Equipment in Pilates Class

Now there are some major equipment that are used in Pilates. Even though they won’t be used in the beginner’s class still the Pilates mat will be often used. Various Pilates mat class won’t need any other equipment besides mat. This is the most commonly used item. However, in other classes, they use other equipment in addition to the reformer.

Now, among them, the most common one is the Wunda which is a low chair having springs and paddling. Another one is Cadillac (this will somewhat look like a bed having canopy frame and is used in various ways by advanced students), the highchair, spine corrector, etc. Frankly, in most of the class settings, they use the reformer, Magic Circle, the chair, spine corrector and even the tiny version of the Cadillac which is called as the tower unit. Most experts feel that one needs to take some private lessons just before using the equipment to learn about its safety. If you don’t want to go alone, there are group classes.

Burning of Muscles & Getting Sore

Now you might not be crushing or doing high-intensity exercises like lifting heavy dumbbells, squat jumping, and all the regular body weight routines. But what is offered in the Pilates class is very much intense. Here one can take signature Pilates hundred. This is one of the most common exercises and one that is majorly focuses on the core movements.

This exercise involves moving one’s body two inches in a constant movement which can make the abs burn. Most importantly, if you have a good Pilates instructor, he or she will provide the necessary modifications which can make sure that each and every movement is in good form. Here dedicating the whole focus to the tiniest movement will mean that you are working on the muscles based on each of the exercises.

It means that you might have to suffer from muscle soreness after each of the workout. Well, it is not something to fret about. The next-day soreness will be of a whole new level. It will be present in the first week and after that your body will easily get used to the movements with the passage of time. Being sore the next day will mean that you are challenging your muscles in a somewhat new way. It will also mean that the working muscle will be getting the required amount of attention.

Doing Pilates Works is Good for Various Muscles

Most health experts feel that Pilates is not specific to body parts. No doubt, Pilates exercises is simply focused on the trunk and core. Even though Pilates is designed as an exercise that is for the abdominal and core muscles, it is very much necessary that clients are aware that the core means the whole trunk which includes the hips, abdominals and even the back. Hence you can expect the workout to be suitable for the whole body.

Beginners Will Have Same Pilate Classes for Each Group

Unlike other exercises, the beginner’s class of Pilates will have the sample group exercises for each class. Keep in mind that there is an established set of Pilates moves which is very much common in most of the beginners class. These consists of –

  • The roll up (which is a precise and slow movement that stretches the spine and even the back of the body and even strengthen the abdominals)
  • The Hundred (this is a breathing exercise which targets the core strength as well as stability)
  • Leg circles (here this will strengthen the core stabilizers and hips)
  • Series of five (this is a group moves which will strengthen the back muscles and abdominals)
  • Rolling like a ball (here this massages the spine and even opens the back)

Wearing Proper Clothes While Doing Pilates. Don’t Forget the Socks

Sometimes you might prefer to wear loose-fit workout dress. At times you might be happy to wear body-hugging options for your Pilates class. Now this method, the instructor will be able to view your movements in a better manner and even your clothes won’t get caught in the springs or any other equipment.

Also, avoid wearing shorts. In most of the exercises involving Pilates, there are many movements where you are lying down and your legs are moving right above you. In such case you won’t want the shorts to go up. It is better if you wear something like leggings or capris along with tank tops and fitted long-sleeve shirt.

Regarding the footwear, it will be better if you can go barefoot or wear socks for the session. In most Pilates studio, they have their own protocol. In most cases, just check their website to get more details. However, if you are going for socks, go with the ones that has a pair of rubber detailing on the soles. This won’t end up slipping on the machine or mat. Just keep in mind that a socks-only and barefoot approach will assist you to navigate in and out of the straps even on the standard reformer at ease.

Pilates Exercise You Can Do at Home

1) Pilates Curl

Here all you need to do is lie face up with your knees bent and make sure that the feet are flat on the floor. Then the arms must be at the side. Along with this you must exhale with the curling the chin to the chest and bring the entire shoulder to the mat. In addition, just hold the breath for one second and then lower back down in a slow manner. You also need to lift the breastbone for engaging the abs and avoiding the crunching neck.

2) The Hundred

In this Pilates exercise, you need to lie face up and then bring your knees towards your chest. After that you must lift your head, shoulder and neck off the mat and slowly stretch the hands by the side, making sure that your palms are facing the floor.

Then you need to extend your legs to about a 45-degree angle using the heels together and toes apart (this is called as Pilates stance). Along with that pump your arms up and down while breathing in and out using your nose for about 5 counts. Just do this continuously for about ten sets.

3) Roll-Up

For this exercise, you need to lie face up making your arms extended to the ceiling. Then you need to exhale, trying to curl the chin to the chest and then roll up in a sitting position with your arms, making it reach to the feet. After that exhale and then reverse to roll down on your one vertebrae at a time. Just make sure that you move slowly and smoothly without jerking and forward lugging.

4) Double-Leg Stretch

Here in this exercise, just lie face up on the mat. Then you need to lift your neck, head and shoulders. Make sure to bring your knees to your chest and arms must hug the shins. Continue to inhale and straighten your legs to about 45-degree angle along with making sure that you are extending your arms along with the ears. Go on to exhale and circle the arms down to hug shins when you are returning to the starting position.

Wrapping Up

If you are a big fan of being healthy and fit, then Pilates exercise is the best choice. You get to be healthy and mentally strong just by following some simple Pilates exercises without using any advanced and tough machines. Go ahead and try.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.