What Is Pilates?

Learn what Pilates is, how to start doing Pilates, and whether Pilates will increase fitness.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #037

How to Start Pilates

The ideal way to start Pilates, especially if you’re new to exercise, would be to find a local Pilates reformers studio or class in your area, since reformers are good for strengthening a weak core, and face-to-face instruction is the best way to learn. Do an Internet search or inquire to your gym about local Pilates reformers classes. But even if you don’t have access to a reformer, you can simply join a beginner’s Pilates class at a gym, which will allow you to gradually strengthen your core muscles. You can also try a beginner’s Pilates video; I found a great website with very good Pilates video links here. For most people, books are typically not very good for learning new exercises, unless they have an accompanying DVD, or access to online video.

If you’re an athlete, or you’re already strong and confident with the fitness in your abdominal and low back muscles, then you may find that a regular Pilates workout presents new challenges and new movements that help you to become even stronger and more sculpted in your abdominal area. When I was bodybuilding and had very strong abdominal muscles, I tried Pilates a few times and discovered that while my abs were very strong, they didn’t have much endurance, and I was very tight and immobile in my hips and pelvic area. I would have never realized this if I hadn’t tried Pilates!

What Will Pilates Do For You?

Just like yoga may not burn many calories, Pilates will not give you the same calorie burn as running on a treadmill or swimming. But Pilates will improve the range of motion in your hips and core, which is important for people like athletes and dancers, and it will also help to strengthen, tone and flatten your stomach, with the flat part of flatten only being true if you’re not overeating! Finally, Pilates will help you with mental focus, and breathing depth and rhythm, which is important for stress relief and overall health.

Be sure to tune in next week, where you’ll learn all about Pilates, and whether or not it is worth trying.

Pilates image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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