Tips and Tricks to Succeed When You Begin Pilates Mat Exercises
1. Choose Pilates Instruction That’s Specially Designed for the Beginner
To quote the founder of Method Pilates, Joan Breibart, who played a major role in spreading Pilates world-wide, “Pilates is not brain surgery!” So relax and have fun with these carefully chosen exercises from among Joe Pilates’ original 34. Plus I present them with specially crafted instructions so that any beginner can easily learn Pilates and get results right away regardless of age or exercise experience. Start with my free lessons by signing up in the box at the top right. Take them as slowly or as quickly as you wish. There’s just one important caution: even if you’re a strong athlete don’t jump ahead to advanced exercises, because you can hurt yourself. Other than that, Pilates is really not complicated, time consuming or expensive contrary to what too many Pilates teachers would lead you to believe. In fact, the major reason I started this website is to cut through all the complexity so that Pilates for the beginner is fun and safe. If something is the least bit confusing just contact me, and we’ll go over it together. I mean it – I’m eager to be your online personal trainer.
2. Use a Thick Mat
Use a thicker mat especially if you’re a beginner. A thicker mat is a bit harder to find but well worth it to protect your back in all the rolling exercises. They can irritate the skin and tailbone of your lower back at the beginner phase. This is not an issue when your back becomes flexible. You can also double or triple the thickness of a blanket or a standard yoga mat and that will work just as well. Or workout on a thick soft rug. Click here for reviews of the best thick mat options.
3. Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing
Your clothing shouldn’t restrict movement in any way particularly around your waist. Sweat pants are perfect.
4. Keep It Simple
Don’t worry or even think about breathing patterns, body alignment, anatomy, fluid motion, precision, or any of the other deeper aspects of Pilates exercise. These will come easily and naturally once you’ve learned the form. Trust me! In the beginning just concentrate on the form and everything else will fall into place. By all means if you’re ready for more challenge and want to start adding all these extras, go for it! I carefully introduce all of these when the time is right. I start with a couple breathing patterns in the beginner lessons. My subsequent lessons – Intermediate, Advanced, and Cardio – add it all.
5. If It Hurts Don’t Do It
This is really the most important rule no matter if you’re a beginner or the most experienced Pilates practitioner. We all have different bodies, with histories of injuries and conditioned movement patterns. Thus not every Pilates exercise fits all. The most important thing to remember is don’t do something that hurts. I don’t mean the discomfort of stretching or the fatigue of muscle tissue in strength training – this is a natural part of Pilates and any exercise, and it’s an important level of exertion we need to reach regularly.
What I’m talking about is the other kind of discomfort that leads to injury. When something hurts in this way, stop immediately. Simply skip it or contact me and we’ll figure out a variation that works for you. One of the marvels of Pilates is that there are many variations for each exercise and I haven’t encountered any challenge that couldn’t be overcome with a variation. There is no need to fight your body with an attitude of “No pain, no gain!” This is part of the genius of Pilates – you can get strong and flexible without doing damage to yourself or enduring pain! Start a new relationship with your body – become an ally instead of an adversary.
6. Stick With It
The most difficult part of Pilates for beginners is the beginning! Honestly, this is absolutely the hardest part. You’re not only strengthening muscle groups that no other exercise program addresses, but you’re also un-learning exercise habits that just aren’t very healthy such as harsh movement and crunches. Be patient with yourself and stick with it – you’ll be richly rewarded with benefits beyond your imagination! Curious about those muscle groups that other workouts ignore, take a look at this short demonstartion by clicking here.